As a strong supporter of Seattle artists (after having lived there for almost three years), Noah Gundersen‘s tour has been on my radar for quite some time. Having Lemolo, a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, also along on tour was an added treat. Combine that with an interview I was afforded from Gundersen a week ago and this night was filled with anticipation. There were some questions I had about this being Noah’s first tour with an almost completely new band.
Meagan Grandall, aka Lemolo, is set to release her third full-length album, titled Swansea. Described as “dream pop” and performed as a trio, Lemolo had a soft presence on stage. Scattered around the stage were electronic gadgets and sound triggers that quickly became used in texturing her silky smooth vocals. Starting off with 4 new songs, she settled into with an audience who was ready to engage. There was a quiet intensity in her songs and a perfect combination of drums, beats, samples, and keyboards.
She picked up her guitar on “Knives,” an older song, and instantly melded with it. The edginess and grit of the guitar added a nice contrast to the sound. Watching Lemolo play the guitar was a highlight. There was a sense and feeling that every note she played echoed through her body. The fluidity and style blended nicely with the reverb vocals and blanket of music. For most of the audience, her cover of “Creep” snagged their attention the most. The cover sounded like her own, with the softer voice and layered electronics.
Ending the set in a collage of colors and fog, Lemolo landed strong with “South of Sound,” one of her newer singles. I imagine many Minnesotans left the venue with her name entered into their Spotify playlist.
As the rain and chill surrounded the Fine Line, Noah shared that he felt like he was coming home when traveling into Minnesota. Opening with “Robin Williams” and an acoustic guitar, the crowd was quiet. The heaviness of his new songs wasn’t lost as we all tried to soak in each statement. Sliding in “Heavy Metals” from White Noise between his newer tracks added a familiarity and comfort. It felt seamless hearing his new band pickup and execute the song so easily.
There was a shift in crowd interaction when Noah hopped on the keyboard for a solo version of “Ledges.” It was met with a light singalong and huge applause at the end. Noah shared that when he is singing verse two, something in his brain always triggers the image of The Three Stooges. This revelation led to the best advice in the evening,
“Every time you’re having an exisential crisis, think of The Three Stooges.”
He then dove way back and did an acoustic version of a 2009 track “Jesus, Jesus.” The room was completely silent throughout. Even in a crowded room, Noah showcases his gift and ability to speak to each of us individually. His passion for storytelling and knack for sharing authentic experiences are poetically written for us in song. That song is a strong example of his skill that still resonates 10 years later.
Noah then welcomed back his band, who jumped into a sneaky selection of “Annie” from his side project, Young In The City. It was a surprising choice and welcomed by more than a few people in the audience. “Send the Rain” made for the loudest moment and buildup of the night while “Bad Desire” had couples in the crowd swaying back and forth together.
Noah lamented on his last time on tour in Minneapolis, and the “Purple Rain” cover. He shared that “Kamikaze” was written in the green room of the Fine Line during the last tour. Welcoming Lemolo back onstage, they beautifully performed the song. It was another moment of stunned respect as the audience tried to absorb it all in like a sponge.
Finishing the set with “Lover” and then a massive dance party with “All My Friends,” the evening was easily worth the wait. There were moments of heavy rock, wherein Noah channeled a bit of the Seattle grunge, and moments where a peaceful presence filled the room.
When he cracked a smile, it felt vulnerable. Noah’s had a long history of being an introspective artist who sings of sadness and heartbreak. At the same time, there are these new huge signs and junctures where his happiness succeeds. Personally, I’m interested and intrigued to see what develops out of him next. Hopefully “me and all of my friends will live forever” to see many more tours from Noah Gundersen.