It was with warm smiles, open arms, and a sold out Cedar Cultural Center that eager fans welcomed Caroline Smith back home to Minneapolis on Thursday night; an intimate performance that united and captivated those in attendance.
The afternoon leading up to the show was warm and serene; I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t consider skipping the opening act in return for a few more moments of sunshine. However, by attending the concert in full (like we all should every time) I definitely was rewarded with both beautiful music and some extra time in the sun, as Eric Mayson’s performance brought a ray of light of its own.
Mayson was charismatic, inventive, and rhythmically ingenious. If his songs did not compel you to move, you simply were not paying attention. I adored the use of sound effects in his music, it reminded me of the episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S where Ross finds his keyboard, but it was obviously much more artistically sound, and eons more successful. I’m looking forward to growing with this artist, and watching where his musical journey takes him.
Catch up on Mayson’s catchy tunes by listening to his top hit, “Skyline”, here.
Smith took the stage with her acoustic guitar shortly after 9pm, and invited attendees to sing along with her in support throughout the night, as this show without the full band was different, and meant to be much more intimate.
The setlist kicked off with “Buy Me Something,” one of my personal favorites. I believe it holds some of the sassiest lyrics that are such a fantastic representation of the strong female powerhouse attitude that is reflected in so much of her work.
Caroline Smith provides the audacious, confident, pure empowerment that makes it onto each and every one of my encouraging “I don’t need no man” playlists. She brings a self-assured and free-spirited message, and the fact that she can sing those messages beautifully and seemingly effortlessly, doesn’t hurt either.
Smith has only put out a few singles since the release of Half About Being a Woman in 2013, so I was looking forward to the familiarity of the compelling and liberating messages and melodies that my favorite of her albums has to offer.
While many favorites like “The One Thing,” and even older gems, like “Closing The Doors,” were played, I was delighted to find that she had been writing new music, much of which she eagerly played for us as well.
One of the highlights of the evening was Smith’s introduction to “Gracie,” where she made a comment as to how she rarely gets through singing it without crying, then explained it was about her dog. Soon after, she triumphantly exclaimed, “You were all probably thinking it was about some guy…no, fuck that!” as she cheerily began playing the introduction. This moment definitely illuminated her spunky and carefree attitude that I, along with so many, have come to admire.
Later in the set, Mayson returned to the stage for a few collaborative pieces. One of my favorite moments between them happened just as Smith got only a few bars into “Half About Being a Woman.” It wasn’t long before she put the entire production on hold by exclaiming, “I feel like I need a cigarette!” Mayson leapt to the rescue, laughing as he pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and quickly allowed Smith to go, as she put it, “all Sinatra” for the remainder of the jazzy heartbreak anthem.
Smith strolled seductively across the stage while blowing smokey kisses in between lines of the beloved song; a true marriage of sass and class.
After several more beautiful and powerful moments, Smith paused to say, “If you’re the encore type of crowd, the time would be now.” She indicated that encores, though humbling, simply were not her thing. The crowd responded with a vigorous and wild applause, making Smith blush and smile sweetly as she went into her final songs with the lingering thoughts of the crowds loving reaction on her mind.
The night came to a close with a room full of once strained but now strengthened hearts singing out the lyrics to “A Child of Moving On.” A feeling of release and great unity swept the room as fans were left feeling thankful for the moments in music we’ve had through Caroline Smith, and excited for what new experiences she’ll create for us in the future.
If you’ve slept on Caroline Smith so far, you can (and absolutely should) catch up here.