Lennon Stella brought her Nashville driven career to a SOLD OUT Fine Line. At just 18 years old, Lennon Stella has amassed immense success in her young career. Her path has featured plenty of fortuitous turns that seem to mirror a plot of a TV drama. Lennon and her younger sister Maisy are daughters of a Canadian country music duo and in 2012 gained national attention with their cover of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” video. (I’m sure local Minnesota company Land O’Lakes is still proud of their role in the viral video.)
It was a few months after this that they joined the TV drama Nashville for 6 seasons. Reality began to mirror fiction as Lennon began to write songs for the show. When the show ended, she signed a record deal and has been busy releasing songs. If the Twin Cities’ reaction to her tour is any sign, Lennon Stella has a very bright future ahead of her.
Quick to the stage, Valley opened the evening with a heavily compressed and thick form of pop music. It was the Toronto based band’s first time in Minneapolis, and they received a very warm welcome. By the time the second song, “Closer to the Picture,” started, the teenage crowd was swaying along to its dance-able groove. Following with “There’s Still a Light in the House” and “Push for Yellow,” we had a clear idea of their sound. Sampled and musically tight, Valley excels in their 4 part vocals. Rob Laska is infectious with his vocals and in showing his joy of performing. Michael Brandolino (guitar), Alex Dimauro (bass) and Karah James (drums) seamlessly support and provide textures, reminiscent of The 1975.
It was six songs in when “Swim” was recognized by the crowd, who responded with heavy cheers. It brought a wide smile to Rob’s face as they played through it, finding a connection to the audience. The last song was an industrial sampled, jolty, singalong that felt a bit different from their other material. It allowed the crowd to sing and harmonize, ending the set on a very high note.
At just 30 minutes with 7 songs, Valley have certainly earned some new fans in the Bold North. The group cite the likes of The 1975, St. Lucia and Arkells as their influences. When listening to their songs, it’s easy to hear those inspirations. They transition from folk to accessible pop, all within a high-end sheen and crisp delivery. It was a short burst of entertainment that even the monkey on stage will remember.
With a neon stenciled name, 4 pillars of lights, and screaming paparazzi wave of phones, Lennon Stella took the stage. Her first headline tour, aptly named “Love, me,” beamed through and gave us all Instagrammable photos. Lennon was given center stage and plenty of room to float around during each song. “Like Everybody Else,” “Feelings,” and “Much Too Much” kicked the set off, each one settling the crowd in a bit more. It was at “Bad” that another eruption happened. 75 video documentarians captured the song as everyone wanted to take a piece of it home.
“Breakaway” garnered another chorus of applause and plenty of singing along. It was during “Leave Me Alone” where a fan ironically used a folding fan to fan Lennon as she sang. There was an immediate smile and acknowledgment to the action, giving the audience a good laugh. An acoustic version of “Polaroid” gave an opportunity for the audience to profess their admiration by yelling “I love you Lennon” and “I love you more Lennon.” The tour name certainly aligns with her fans.
Lennon didn’t use much banter between songs and kept to a quick transition. A slow, dreamy, piano cover of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” followed. Two songs later, “Fortress” inspired all of the phones to appear once again. I consider this her best, most complete song so far. As a more upbeat song, this empowerment anthem has many of the same lyrical themes of her music. It touches on that vulnerability, but puts a positive cover on the hurt.
You don’t get in my brain
You don’t fill up the spaces
I don’t whisper your name
Now that I’ve built a fortress
I’ll never be the same
So I’m cutting my losses
I’m not letting you in
Now that I’ve built a fortress
When you call, I ignore it
I built a fortress
She closed the set (pre-encore) with a MGMT cover of “Kids,” “Black Light” and then “Bitch.” Everyone was once again draining their phone batteries recording the song, “Bitch” had everyone singing along and dancing. It’s fun seeing pop music do what it’s intended to do. Bringing people together by voicing their passion, moving to the beat, and not having to think too deeply into the situation. Pop music gives us relatable lyrics, digestible melodies, and ways we can all feel closer together. The Fine Line became a prime example of this.
Lennon’s encore started quietly with a piano/vocal version of “Goodbye,” then revved up with “La Di Da.” Most of the night had the audience singing along, but during this song, they received their spotlight. Lennon aimed the microphone back at us and gladly accepting, we sang loud and proud. An efficient 60 minute set, Lennon Stella displayed grace, love, and appreciation in her trip to Minnesota. The tour continues with many more sold out venues and phones to conquer.
As she’s stated many times, Stevie Nicks is a direct influence to much of her music and style. Watching her command the stage and listening to her warm, smooth voice, there’s a good possibility that, like Stevie, she may complete her journey from Nashville to Cleveland in the hall of fame.
- Like Everybody Else
- Much Too Much
- Leave Me Alone
- Not Missing You
- Polaroid (acoustic)
- Girls Just Want to Have Fun (cover on piano)
- Save Us
- You Would
- Kids (MGMT cover)
- Black Light
- La Di Da