California indie pop siblings, Sydney (vocals), Noah (bassist) and Graham Sierota (drums), better known as Echosmith, came to First Avenue on a blizzardy Friday night in Minneapolis.
It’s an all-ages show. The floor is about half full, scattered with teenagers who have plenty of shoulder room between them. It’s obvious that the weather conditions stifled tonight’s ticket sales. Tight security rules ask those who are 21+ to remain upstairs with their beverages. We hug the railings of the balcony to get the best view.
The group begins their set with a bang as confetti canons burst tiny squares of colorful paper above the crowd, opening with their song “18,” followed with another uppity tune, “While We’re Young.” I notice right away their music is noticeably quieter than previous shows I’ve attended at First Avenue.
The lighting at tonight's @echosmith show was re-diculous. Shot this with a fish eye, first time for me using one. • • • #echosmith #sydneysierota #thescore #firstavenue #firstave #minneapolisphotographer#downtown #minneapolis #minnesota #pictureoftheday #livemusic #liveshow #citylife #concert #concertphotography#music #musicphotography #musicislife #rockshow #minnstagramers #nikon #ilovemusic #htbarp #sigma#bestmusicshots #poprock
Their set up is interesting. Two high rise platforms stand on either side of the stage. The drum set is on the left platform, while the right is unmanned with a combination of keyboards and drum pads, awaiting their moment to be used. In addition to the rack of keyboards on the platform, there is a large kick drum propped up eye level. The guitarist lurks in the shadows where a drummer is typically stationed.
Sydney’s performance is conservative, with simple choreographed movements here and there. The bassist is the most energetic member of the group. I realize he is a crowd favorite when he steps up to the microphone to sing and girls erupt in a lengthy scream.
The lurking guitarist steps up to the edge of the stage to shred for a bit, then steps back into the darkness. Sydney now jumps onto the once-empty high rise and begins to play the catchy hook to “Come Together” on a keyboard. She then firmly grasps two mallets in her hands and begins to purposefully smack the elevated kick drum.
Next, a new song is introduced. The crowd is unfamiliar. Many unsure head-bobs are attached to motionless bodies. Sydney notices. She attempts to regain energy from the room by encouraging fans to clap with the beat. They make it to the end and manage to receive a healthy cheer from their fans.
Before the next song begins, Sydney draws an imaginary line down the middle of the crowd with her hand and begins a competition to see which side of the room can yell the loudest—another technique for creating energy within the show-goers.
Sydney then asks us to participate in the next song, giving us a crash course on the lyrics to the chorus, “Right Now”.
During a synthy intro to the next song on deck, Sydney asks, “Who here came with someone they love?” A “Woo” comes over the crowd of mostly youngsters. A girl in front of me raises her hand. Her boyfriend looks at the side of her face as if he is shocked.
I get the feeling this young couple has not gotten far enough in their relationship to be on “I love you” terms. She gives him a smile. He smiles back, then proceeds to put his arm around her— a reminder that this event is more than just a concert, it is a lasting memory for many who are living in the moment.
Echosmith drops into “Runaway.” We sing along. Another break in the set happens as Sydney brings their mom on stage. She is wearing an Echosmith sweatshirt, which Sydney shamelessly promotes can be purchased at the merch table. Her mother snaps a group photo of her kids and the crowd together, a photo certainly destined for the scrapbook. Do people make those anymore?
Echosmith begins again with “Bright.” Sydney holds the microphone in one hand as she iPhone videos the crowd with the other. A slower song comes over us, called “Terminal.” Time for a bathroom break and a refill. The song is over in no time.
A stage crew member runs up and hands Sydney a parasol, the prop for this next song. She begins twirling it over her shoulder while they enter into “Talking Dreams”.
She picks a lucky fan from the crowd and invites her on stage. A crew member gives the fan a parasol of her own to twirl.
Next is a cover of “When We Were Young” by the Killers, done exceptionally well.
Suddenly, the lights go out and when the group reappears, Sydney is on the drum kit while the drummer and bassist are now on the other riser together. One is hitting electronic drum pads while the other beats the elevated kick drum with mallets. They rock to a heavy instrumental with a flashy light show that creates quite an intensity in the room.
Six oversized beach balls seemingly come out of nowhere and dance above the crowd as they’re batted around during their song “Goodbye.”
I hear a loud pop. My eyes catch more confetti pouring from the sky. I realize these beach balls aren’t beach balls at all, rather large confetti-filled balloons. When they are hit hard enough they explode.
These guys really have a thing for confetti.
The crowd reaches out in attempt to pop the others, almost more interested in the floating toys than the music. The final balloon is popped with the expected rain of confetti as the crowd cheers.
Echosmith ends their set with the ever-popular hit, “Cool Kids,” a double-platinum tune that reached number thirteen on the Billboard Hot 100.
This young band put on a professional performance from start to finish. They provided a wonderful experience for their audience by creating new scenes within their set to keep the show interesting and exciting. Still growing up, I look forward to seeing where their artistry will take them five years from now.
Positive energy-seeking singer/ songwriter, graphic designer, vandweller, writer, photographer and whatever else I can get my hands on.