I was absolutely thrilled to hear that The Moth & The Flame were back on tour opening for The Strumbellas. Both bands are touring in support of new albums. The Strumbellas are touring on their new album, Rattlesnake. The Moth & The Flame are touring on their new album, Ruthless. Both albums came out earlier this year.
The crowd was hyped and ready to go last night at a very sold-out show. The Moth & The Flame opening for The Strumbellas is very interesting to hear, especially since they are very different ends of the indie rock spectrum. Where Moth is grungier, with darker themes and tones, The Strumbellas are very upbeat, positive, and folksy in comparison. Think Alice in Chains opening for The Lumineers in an oversimplified way.
It’s been three years since The Moth & The Flame released their last album. Brandon Robbins, the lead singer, says the new album has a simple message of caring for others because you don’t know what they are going through. After they played “Red Flag” they played their new song, “Great New Depression”, which has a very sweet melody. Great set!
It’s been awhile since I saw a sound check occur during the intermission. That being said, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen someone tune a guitar on stage. I bring this up, because it looked like The Strumbellas didn’t do a sound check before the show.
The Strumbellas started with their big hit, “We Don’t Know“, and the crowd loved it. Though it was apparent the sound check didn’t go off without a hitch as Isabel Ritchie’s setup wasn’t properly hooked up to the monitors, so throughout the first songs there were phantom harmonica notes and her mic cut in and out, which was unfortunate but not too overpowering. Just unfortunate.
The best thing I overheard at the concert was a fan behind me who said, “I was a big fan of the Lumineers and then I heard the Strumbellas, and I was like, they are the best band ever”. That pretty much prepared me for the night.
The crowd leaned more towards middle-aged, which I was surprised by, definitely a much older crowd out to support the Strumbellas. They were all singing along.
The Strumbellas have a six-person band, which is like a family band vibe. Around the third song, I realized how hot it was inside the venue. It probably didn’t help that the Strumbellas main lighting set up was hot Tungsten lights. On top of that, I feel like Minnesotans feel guilty about using the AC until it’s about a hundred degrees outside and then it’s a luxury to have. I’ll never understand it.
The band hails from Canada, so they were very excited about the Raptors in the NBA Finals. They learned that the Raptors won as they started playing “One Hand Up”. Needless to say the place went wild. Minnesotans love an underdog.
I think it was David Ritter, their keyboardist, who said that they were a “Rock and Roll band from Canada”. I had to take a moment to think about that, The Strumbellas music is cheery, and upbeat, as I mentioned before, but if I were to define it, it would be Indie Pop Folk. Which, of course, is a sub-genre of rock, sure, but I don’t know how I feel about calling them Rock and Roll.
Simon, the lead singer of the band, was barefoot, with an outfit that said, ‘I’m here to have a good time.’ He’s quite a frontman, I can imagine it is difficult to lead a six-piece band, but everyone had their own free rein to be themselves on the stage. It was a fine set, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves even though it was incredibly packed.
Set List –
- We Don’t Know
- Young & Wild
- In This Life
- The Party
- Left for Dead
- Running Scared
- Sailor’s Blues
- One Hand Up
- We Were Young
- I’ll Wait
- Wild Sun
- Shovels & Dirt