The last time Minneapolis saw Heart Bones, they were on the grand stage at Rock The Garden. As they get set to embark on another tour, they began with their first of 3 sold-out shows at Mortimer’s. For the audience, seeing them in a smaller setting provided an extra spark of energy and intimacy beyond previous performances. It also added a touch of heat and throwback reminders to their hot set this past July. It doesn’t help that Har Mar Superstar is a devoted fan of corduroy jeans.
The night started with a set by Margret. Joined by a collection of electronic beats and samples, Margret layered in keyboards and vocals seamlessly. Her voice had a softer sheen to it that complimented the heavier beats. The audience slowly warmed up to the set and pulled closer when she stepped out from behind the keyboard and belted out some heavier songs. It was a shorter set that piqued the interest and opened up the evening on a spark of energy.
Fresh off their new album release, Crying for Fun, Lunch Duchess filled the stage. Described as a “feminist Baroque-grunge,” the band easily ramped up the evening. The energized set was led by Katharine Seggerman, who weaved her way across the stage with dance. “Better” kicked off the set by getting everyone swaying back and forth in the front row. “Wistera Boys” and “Ride or Die” exemplified their ability to swing between witty one-liners and heavier guitar riffs. Their songs have a sway and mood to each of them which Seggerman translates well for the audience.
“Lust / Love” was a personal favorite. The song fires out fast and transitions back and forth between slower sections. The vocals lure you in with heartbroken requests and pretty melodies. Guitarist Sam Frederick and bass player Matthew Sandstedt were also locked together on this song. Seggerman is mesmerizing as well with her fluent movements and emotional vocals.
Ending the set was “Cry, Pt II” which is still playing in my head today. The catchy and whiny synth supported the lyrics well, along with the fast drums. The band was really tight and throughout the set bounced back and forth well with different tempos, key changes, and vocals. The dynamics of Seggerman exercising the therapeutic nature of singing was also a highlight and one we all need to witness.
Sean Tillmann and Sabrina Ellis have an immediate presence when stepping onto a stage. Both have a unique theatrical impact with their dance moves and splashy selection of outfits. With the audience cheering them onto the stage, Heart Bones quickly jumped into “Tiny Dancer.” Their unique chemistry is apparent as they blend and lean into each other. Part spontaneous, part choreographed, Heart Bones is a band filled with confidence in their identity. There’s a boldness to the vocals and backing band that is beginning to emerge more with each performance.
Sean announced they had just finished mastering the new album, which is now set for a February release. Many of the songs are still new and slowly working their lyrics into our heads, but the vibe and almost party-like energy of the group translates throughout all of the songs. “Unforgiveable,” a song about ghosting (which for the record, neither of them have ever experienced), is a tender song starting with Sabrina singing in French and ending with a hint of pain. It’s vulnerable but still holds this strength of being in power.
Looking around Mortimer’s, you could see the interest in the audience. People were sitting on the ledges in back, covering the stairs to see over, and crowding around the high bar to watch. The room became very hot, which moved the focus to Sean’s fascination with corduroy pants. After a joke worthy of a headline and suggestion from Sabrina to turn the pants inside out for “better enjoyment,” Sean revealed the detail that rivers of sweat were flowing down into his shoes. They then commented on their matching camo tank top outfits and the need for them to be androgynous and comfortable. This banter on stage is also a sign of comfort as a band and the development of Heart Bones.
A highlight included “I Kinda Like The Way You Dance” which tastefully mixed together a crunchy vocoder effect with light pop lyrics. It’s one of their more dancey songs, and the audience erupted in applause. Fan favorite and single “Disappear” also inspired huge cheers as Sabrina and Sean took turns with lead vocal parts. The larger than life drums and synths frame this song really well. It’s also a song that pulls us back to the original core of talent for both of them as lead singers.
After their synthesized and auto-tuned cover version of “Hungry Eyes,” Heart Bones dove into the final song, “This Time It’s Different.” Standing in the back of the room and watching the infectious wave come over the crowd was super fun. It’s a strong sign that the connections and lyrics of the band are continually growing a cult fan base. They ended the evening with an announcement of a Valentine’s Day show at the Turf Club next year. Keep your eyes out for tickets soon!