One of the best things about existing in a music scene like the one we have here in the Twin Cities is the ability to watch one’s favorite artists grow, and to be able to take part in each one of their achievements along the way.
Tagging along while artists make the steady climb from radio showcases and backyard shows to filling the 7th St Entry, then moving up to the Icehouse and the Turf Club, and onto the Fine Line and beyond is incredibly rewarding not only for the artists but for the fans who feel like they have helped bring this band they love so much into the public consciousness.
On Friday night, Minneapolis-based pop group Yam Haus reached another impressive milestone in their already fruitful career by selling out the First Avenue Mainroom for the very first time.
While it may surprise some that this little band from Hudson, WI could be selling out the Mainroom on a Friday night only a year after releasing their debut album, it’s no shock to anyone who has been along for the journey. The hard work and laser-sharp focus of this band and their legion of fans has been apparent since I first saw them perform just a few years ago.
In a recent profile by Chris Riemenschneider of the Star Tribune, Lars Pruitt, Jake Felstow, Seth Blum, and Zack Beinlich discuss the early days of the band, including growing up together in Hudson, attending church together, and eventually moving into what they called the Yam Haus, where the four of them honed in on the sound and overall vision of the band which allowed them to get to this point so quickly.
To have seen these guys in action over the last handful of years, the idea that they could be selling out venues the size of First Avenue before the end of the decade was never a question of what if but more of a question of just exactly when.
That answer, of course, came Friday night, when Yam Haus performed alongside a few more budding stars in the Twin Cities music scene. Indie/spooky synth rockers Graveyard Club and the always energized rapper Dwynell Roland rounded out a show that not only sold out but did so months before the doors actually opened.
Much like the headliner of the evening, I have had the pleasure of seeing Dwynell Roland perform numerous times in venues all over the Twin Cities, and every single time I have been genuinely impressed by his stage presence and overall levels of confidence. He consistently puts on one of the best performances of the night, regardless of where he falls in the lineup, and this performance was certainly no different.
This was especially impressive last night, due to Yam Haus’, let’s say…. ability to draw out some of the older generations to their shows, people who may be less familiar with Roland’s style of music.
Bouncing around on stage, and even jumping out into the crowd to perform on the barricade and beyond for much of the performance, Young Roland had everyone on the floor jumping around and chanting his name within minutes of kicking things off.
This show was particularly special. It became a sort of quasi-release party for his latest project, Weird Captions, which dropped earlier today. Roland sent me an advance copy of the record earlier this week, and while it’s a bit different than anything he has released to date, this project perfectly showcases the leaps he has taken as both a songwriter and storyteller over the last few years, and includes some of my favorite Dwynell Roland tracks to date!
After Young Roland wrapped up, it was onto the part of the evening which was a bit of a wild card. Although Graveyard Club has been starting to take off here in the Twin Cities, our paths had yet to cross, and I was excited to finally see what this group was all about!
What I got was something completely unexpected, but something that I thoroughly enjoyed and cannot wait to experience again! Simply put, the music that Graveyard Club is putting out right now is unlike anything else that can currently be found in this music scene, and it’s really, really good.
From the haunting melodies and spooky synths to the dreamy new-wave dance trances, Graveyard Club had the entire venue embracing one another and dancing into the night. I am genuinely excited to begin to dive into their musical catalog and hope I’m able to catch another one of their performances early next year!
Finally, it was onto the main event, which saw the members of Yam Haus take the stage. They wore matching pink/salmon suits, giving off a bit of a That Thing You Do! vibe, which I, and the plethora of adoring ladies the crowd, went absolutely bananas for, albeit for different reasons.
After taking the stage, the band ripped through the majority of their 2018 release Stargazer, as well as all of the singles from this year, including the incredibly catchy track “The Thrill,” which can be heard on regular rotation all over the Twin Cities courtesy of radio stations like The Current, Go 96.3, and KDWB.
A little over halfway through the performance, guitarist/lead vocalist Lars Pruitt walked off stage to perform a handful of songs from within the crowd, which was an incredibly special moment and sort of summed up exactly how I feel about this band.
This was the most significant performance of this young band’s life, taking place on a stage that holds so much significance within this music community. It was a stage in a venue which the band single-handedly sold-out, but they still want to perform on the floor, completely surrounded by the people who got them there.
It was such a beautiful moment from such a special night, and it’s something I’ll likely think back on every single time I see the “TONIGHT: YAM HAUS” on marquees for years to come.
Congratulations to every single member of Yam Haus, their street team, family members, friends, and everybody in the Twin Cities music scene who helped them get to this point in their career. It’s been really fun to watch this phenomenon grow over the last few years, and I’m excited to see where it takes all of you next!