Dream Wife is tearing up clubs across the US, UK, and Europe at the end of a crazy year. On Tuesday night the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis was the place to be to see one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the year with some extra fun support from Strange Relations and Russo.
Dream Wife formed in the UK when Rakel Mjöll (lead vocals), Alice Go (guitar, vocals), and Bella Podpadec (bass, vocals) met in art school. The intention at first was to be a “fake girl band”, but their clear passion for their craft has carried them to tours and festivals around the world.
First up was Minneapolis two piece Strange Relations. Consisting of Casey Sowa on drums and vocals and Maro Helgeson on bass and backing vocals, they skillfully wowed the crowd with a short but powerful set.
It took me a little while to realize that these two didn’t have a guitar player. A two-piece band is often a guitar and drum combo (think White Stripes). This made for an intensely unique dynamic onstage.
Maro’s bass playing was so smooth and melodic. She was effortless as she jumped and danced to the politically charged songs. Casey made drumming look like second nature. The music felt raw and complete at the same time.
The songs wove strands of politics, and gender inequality into urgent anthems calling for solidarity to keep things moving forward (If this sounds like your thing – they’re going to be at Mortimers on Oct 4th). It was the perfect way to kick off the night of inspiring and empowered ladies.
Next up was buzz band Russo; fronted by the charismatic Cailin Russo. I have to say, I’m not sure if I have ever seen a band have as much fun as this one on stage.
Tyler McCarthy on guitar, Hayley Brownell on drums and backing vocals, and Sean Ritchie on bass were a perfect compliment to Cailin’s cool-girl attitude (even when she’s got a cold). It was hard to look away from Tyler’s insane guitar moves as he transformed himself from upright to folded on the floor mid verse!
Russo played a set of songs from their new EP House With A Pool. The songs fused 90’s pop, rock, and a little soulfulness. It felt like everyone was finding something to love about their performance.
There were people in the audience who were completely devoted to this band. It was so fun to watch Cailin play it up for the superfans in the front row, even high kicking at them for their Instagram stories. I’m hopeful that we see more of Russo in the near future!
ABBA played over the speakers during a short break and Dream Wife invaded the stage. Alice and Bella plugged in and melted us all. There was no saving us from the first few chords of Hey Heartbreaker. It was a sharp turn from Dancing Queen, but it was impactful! The tone was set for the rest of the night.
Their sound is a lovely combination of sparkly punk and pop-grunge. I don’t know how a band can remind me equally of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Deap Vally, and the Spice Girls. Clearly, a strange but successful combination as they played an almost fully packed room.
They mostly performed songs from their Self-Titled debut album that came out this year. Favorites like Fire feature salty-sweet harmonies, whirring guitars, and gender-bending lyrical storylines that are meant to include everyone, and clearly resonated with fans in Minnesota.
Rakel talked to the crowd quite a bit. She mentioned that the band was excited to be in the “city of Prince”, and took the time to thank Russo and Strange Relations for their sets. She informed us that they wanted to include local acts from each city with female/female identifying/ non-binary based acts. The audience cheered again in support of locals Strange Relations. Dream Wife transitioned smoothly into their song Somebody singing “I am not my body, I am somebody”.
Their energy intensified as the 11 song set entered the final few songs. F.U.U. was especially punky as Rakel screamed the chorus and sweetly threatened the verses to us.
They kept the punk flavor for the final song of the night. It was the opener to their album – Let’s Make Out. They screamed and wailed their way through the song. The audience was jumping and singing along. They were completely amped. Then they hopped off the side of the stage completely casually and that was it!
The set was short, but like a shooting star, it burned bright while it lasted. I don’t think there’s a better way to do punk. I highly suggest catching them when they’re back. Although, I’m sure you’ll have to catch them in a much larger venue!
Spend the night
Love without reason
Act my age
Let’s make out