Photo By Stephanie Nardi

K.Flay Slays at First Ave’s Mainroom

Kristine Flaherty, more commonly known by her stage name K.Flay, bares her soul through cheeky lyrics and genre-jumping sounds to captivate a packed mainroom at First Ave. 

Local Minneapolis band DENNY kicked off the night. Comprised of Alexander Rollins, Randon Nelson, and Sully, it was clear from the moment the lights turned to them that these three were comfortable in front of a crowd. Their stage presence commanded the attention of the audience and dared them to look away. 

Photo By Stephanie Nardi

“Woke Up In The Hills” was a standout for the trio, with Rollin’s falling to his knees as the song reached its crescendo. The crowd reciprocated the display of emotion with cheers of approval as the final notes trailed off. 

With Rollin’s powerful vocals at the helm and uniquely catchy melodies backing that, this trio’s set was dynamic and engaging through its entirety. 

Photo By Stephanie Nardi

After DENNY, Houses, led by LA-based Dexter Tortoriello, kept the show rolling. The group’s ambient and upbeat electronic sounds kept the optimistic energy in the room. Tortoriello went back and forth between playing keyboard and free-floating around the stage with a microphone; mimicking the fluidity of their sound. 

Finishing their set with one of their most popular songs, “Fast Talk,” Houses left the crowd on a high and perfectly primed for what was to come. 

Photo By Stephanie Nardi

As 9:30 approached, the crowd, a vibrant mix of all ages, was buzzing; ready for the main event. Soon the lights dimmed and the audience erupted into cheers knowing they were in for a wild ride. 

With the lights low, a silhouetted K.Flay could be seen crouched at the top of her riser configuration, feeling the beat of her intro music. She was teasing her appearance and the crowd could barely take it anymore. 

The mounting tension was instantly cut when the opening chords of her first song blared through the speakers. Punchy and socially charged, “Not in California” started off her set with a bang and effortlessly transitioned into the unapologetic anthem “This Baby Don’t Cry.” From the first note, the crowd was hooked with hands in the air jumping around to the songs.  

I’ve never been to a concert where there were so few phones out to capture the moment. The crowd was completely present, which can be attributed to K.Flay’s own presence. 

The music seemed to take hold of her and moved her back and forth across the stage. She felt every note and lyric. That kind of authenticity was taken in by the audience and given back with the same ferocity. “You guys are incredible…not everyone is like Minneapolis,” she commented. 

“I Like Myself (Most of The Time)” had Flaherty smiling through its entirety as she delivered the song’s unapologetically honest and relatable lyrics. With so much focus on social media and the way people associate their worth with other’s opinions, this message of self-acceptance is a brash rebellion against the norm.  

Her versatility was highlighted in “Champagne,” where she displayed her rapping prowess, and again when she slowed the set down to play “Nervous” while sitting on her risers with only a snare drum an acoustic guitar accompanying her. 

Photo by Stephanie Nardi

Before transitioning into the final song of her set, “High Enough,” she told the crowd about her manager asking what she wanted to drink. Tequila? Whiskey? IPA? “No, I don’t need any of that. The people of Minneapolis are gonna get me f***ed up and you know I’m already high enough!” Needless to say, the crowd went crazy for this. 

To cap off the night, K.Flay ended with her Grammy-nominated “Blood in the Cut.” The energy in the room was electric as she jumped, spun, and grooved her way back and forth across the stage, and the crowd followed suit. During the final bridge, she got everyone low and led them to explode up as the chorus came back around. It was a moment the crowd didn’t want to let go of. 

Unabashedly herself, K.Flay’s authentic and relatable lyrics, coupled with her anthemic sound, allow her to connect with her audience at a very personal level. She created a space for people to be, to feel, and to express their connection to these songs in whatever way necessary.


  • Not in California
  • This Baby Don’t Cry
  • Bad Vibes
  • Black Wave
  • Giver 
  • Make Me Fade
  • Good News
  • Champagne
  • I Like Myself 
  • Nervous
  • Can’t Sleep
  • Fuck & Run 
  • DNA 
  • Only The Dark
  • Ice Cream
  • So Fast, So Maybe 
  • High Enough


  • Sister
  • Blood in the Cut

Written by Stephanie Nardi

just a photographer chasing the music


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