It is a Sunday night in Minneapolis and indie-pop fans gather for a sold-out show at First Ave. The big act this evening? Illinois-based band Beach Bunny in support of their most recent EP, Blame Game.
Starting off Locally!
Local Band – Why Not
Warming up the venue this evening is 3-piece local band, Why Not. It’s always good to see people showing up to shows early in general, but this is especially true when there is someone Minnesota-based on the card.
Listening to their set, I get a more defined early 2000’s neon-pop vibe from them, complete with the autotune effects in their microphones. This effect stays on even while they are between songs and speaking to the audience. This may have been overlooked, but I still find it to be innocent and wholesome.
For such a young group, they certainly don’t have any signs of nervousness or discomfort on stage either. At one point, a fan yells from the audience, “You’re doing great!” and then comments that they wanted to provide a little motivation. The band smiles and responds, “Hey, thanks!” and then continues to play out the rest of their set.
A Little Irony
There is some poetic irony when they call out, “This song is called Casket!” and then break into one of the groovier songs on their setlist. This one includes a guest feature, which the audience responds quite well to.
Why Not plays about six songs, closing with one that has a notably interesting and intense build to it. (They got me in the first half with that slow opening, but the song as whole is worth the wait and makes a strong closer).
I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of this band in the future, as it seems as if they are already making pretty big waves.
A “Miloe” High Performance
Local Band #2!
Minneapolis local indie-pop band Miloe is up next and I am immediately captivated – what an incredible voice with an impressive lower range! Their songs are calming and melodically sound – like the feeling of the first day you can roll your windows down in the car in the spring.
Despite their calming presence musically, the band as a whole packs a full punch with their vibrancy on stage – I’m surprised to find out later that they’re actually without a member that evening. Nonetheless, they can be found bouncing, dancing, and pulling off the occasional well-timed jump-kick.
No inch of the stage is left unused or untouched – they take full advantage of the space they are allowed to take up.
Indie Mosh Pits?
The crowd really picks up the pace for these guys and I see a circle pit in full force at an indie show for the first time in my life. I never thought that kind of a reaction was possible within this genre, but I definitely respect the energy it gives.
Again, I can’t help but reflect on how great it is to see people popping off for a local act, and there is certainly no shortage of support for Miloe this evening.
Midway through their set, the band takes the opportunity to call out that there is an organization benefiting LGBTQ+ youth in the venue, and to donate if possible. I know that it isn’t necessary for bands to do any kind of active work, but I do always appreciate when musicians pair their platform with advocating for a worthwhile cause.
I’m happy to have happened upon this act – and will certainly be adding some of their work to my next playlist!
Fans on Cloud 9
Late, But Great!
This evening, Beach Bunny is scheduled to take the stage at 9:30. The house lights dim and the screen covering the stage begins to rise right on time. The band, however, is nowhere to be seen.
We wait around for a few moments wondering what may be the reason as to why. A song plays faintly in the background – is this part of the act? Audience members begin to stir.
I notice several First Avenue staff members hustling back and forth and whispering to one another, I wonder if something is wrong. I take this opportunity to look around a little more intentionally. It is then that I see retro arcade games on each side of the stage. This keeps in theme with their tour poster artwork and is a cute play on words regarding their newest album title.
By now fifteen minutes have passed since Beach Bunny was originally set to play – I take another look to the crowd to see if they feel the same impatience and confusion as I do. As soon as I turn around to check in with them, Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now starts playing over the speakers. The crowd enthusiastically dances and sings along, seemingly unbothered.
Lower Your Expectations
Midway through this, the song cuts out abruptly and we see Beach Bunny members walking on stage, carrying their own setlists. There is no sense of urgency, no apology, no explanation for their tardiness. Front-woman Lili Trifilio makes a comment about how she needs to tune her guitar and how she just drank a vodka Redbull and will need some energy from the crowd in support of that.
I’m a little thrown off by how unapologetic the whole entrance feels, but the crowd doesn’t seem to mind as the band breaks into their opening song, Prom Queen.
I can’t stay bothered for too long, as the band does sound great – exactly the same as they do in their recorded work which really speaks to their talent. And to be fair, the lyrics in the song do say, “You should lower your expectations”, after all. I guess that means I can’t be too upset that they weren’t perfectly punctual.
Gyllenhall isn’t Safe
I absolutely lose it when Trifilio makes the comment “This one is dedicated to Mr. Gyllenhaal.” and then immediately starts playing Good Girls (Don’t Get Used) – clearly a reference to the recent drama that has been reignited between Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal. I won’t admit to knowing many details of the Taylor Swift situation, but knowing the premise of the song, this is a pretty big power move.
I am met with my second indie mosh pit of the evening. Do I just not attend enough indie shows, or is this night in particular something extraordinary? I guess that isn’t as important as the fact the everyone who showed up for Beach Bunny tonight is very clearly having a fantastic time.
Giving Thanks, Staying Humble
At one point during the set, the band mentions that the first big show they had ever played was in Minneapolis. Trifilio comments that even though it is kind of silly, she wore the same outfit tonight as she did that day to celebrate that milestone. It always feels good to hear about history that our city shares with artists we love.
Soon after, the band calls out, “We’re at the halfway point in our set, so if you’re not dancing, you’d better start!” No one in the room had been standing still, but everyone takes it up a notch.
One thing I notice and really appreciate about Beach Bunny is the time they take to thank those who make such a vibrant show possible. They slow things down to give a shoutout to those on their team selling merchandise, taking photos, running lights, and running the sound booth. In all of my years going to shows, I have never seen a band take the time to call their crew members out by name in this way.
A Strong Close
After the band takes time for some sentimental shoutouts, Trifilio calls into the microphone, “This one requires a big pit, open it up!” and then the band starts playing Sports – the song that introduced me to them. Fans can be found dancing with their friends throughout the venue.
Soon after, Cloud 9 is played – another one of my favorites and one that got quite a bit of traction on TikTok with its re-release featuring Tegan and Sara. This song grew in popularity thereafter, as it was remade with more inclusive pronouns, hence making it a song that resonates with even more listeners.
A few songs more and the night, unfortunately, comes to a close.
I’m looking forward to the next time Beach Bunny is in town – seeing them in a live setting is definitely worthwhile! Check out Blame Game here so you’re up to speed the next time they hit up the Twin Cities!
Beach Bunny Set List:
- Prom Queen
- Love Sick
- Cuffing Season
- Good Girls (Don’t Get Used)
- 6 Weeks
- Dream Boy
- Nice Guys
- Blame Game
- Cloud 9
- Hot n Cold (Katy Perry Cover)