Saint Motel Hosts Award Show at First Avenue

Saint Motel. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

Last updated on May 11th, 2024 at 06:32 am

Indie rock group Saint Motel returned to First Avenue’s mainroom to host a special award show themed performance. With QR codes posted throughout the venue, fans were given the opportunity to vote for the songs they wanted to hear. Fronted by Minnesota native A.J. Jackson, the show also served as a homecoming. 

Saint Motel. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

With over 10 years of fan favorite songs, and multiple RIAA certified singles, the show awarded fans who have been following the group since the beginning. Jackson and company pulled out deep cuts like “Butch” and classic hits like “For Elise”. Aside from fan voted songs, staples like “Move” and new tracks like “Fine Wine” were also performed. 

Saint Motel. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

Jackson and company are natural showmen. Horn sections, high energy piano solos, and hard hitting guitars helped build a theatrical feeling in every song. Tying it together with their award show theme, the band was dressed to the nines and brought out envelopes while presenting each fan voted song. 

Saint Motel. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

Saint Motel has always found ways to make their shows memorable. In their last mainroom appearance in 2020, the show was themed after different movie genres while touring behind their last LP titled “The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”. Their creativity, passion, and energy made their “Award Show” unforgettable. 

Saint Motel. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

A standout moment was when Jackson brought two fans on stage to present one of the awards. These fans were dressed as Jackson and Rudy, the lion from the “Van Horn” music video. Fan interactions continued to be a highlight of the show as Jackson often got up close with the audience. 

Despite their energy and fan interactions, one thing I felt was lacking in the show was their lighting setup. I was surprised to see them performing in the dark so much, and I would’ve liked to see some stronger lighting design from such a theatrical band.

Saint Motel. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

Additionally, the group could’ve committed even more to the award show theme. When looking at past setlists, it looks like the same songs often win the fan vote. It would be cool to see them change it up a little more and play more deep cuts, or change up which songs are being voted on. 

Regardless of those small gripes, the show still had an excellent mainroom performance. There was never a lull in the energy, and I heard fans exclaiming how impressed they were with Jackson’s charisma. 

Saint Motel. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

This was my third time seeing Saint Motel, the first being when they toured with Panic! At The Disco in 2017. Additionally, this was my second time getting to take their photos. To see the band grow and expand on their sound over the years has been a lot of fun to see. They are a band of excellent performers and are absolutely worth seeing live. 

Written by Dylan Novacek

Photographer, graphic designer, and multimedia storyteller from St. Paul. Most likely listening to CHVRCHES, Of Monsters and Men or Fall Out Boy. Once featured in the New York Times for using the bathroom during Avengers: Endgame.


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