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Jeremy Messersmith at First Avenue

24 Jul

By: Lauren McCauley

After seeing Jeremy Messersmith perform mostly covers at the Fitzgerald Theater a few months ago, I was extremely excited to see him perform at First Avenue on Saturday night. Not only to hear his unique and intriguing voice, but also to hear what many call “the indie-pop darling of the Twin Cities” present his original songs. I had high expectations of the Messersmith show as I walked through the doors.

Greycoats started the show, with the trance-like vocal stylings of lead singer Jon Reine soaring over strong beats from the drum and random noises of distorted guitars and keyboard. My desire to hear the lyrics was irked as the amount of words I could understand was far and few between. The most I felt engaged in the performance was during a clap-along in the third song, which ended quickly. Take it with a grain of salt, but by the time the third song started I was already over it. From the wandering eyes and consistent hum of concertgoers’ voices I think the majority of the crowd felt this way.

Night Moves

As the screen started lifting to reveal Tretorns, a belly shirt, shaggy hair, a thick silver coil over guitar cords, and a red compact organ, I hadn’t the slightest idea what to think of the second band, Night Moves. What came out was a cosmic-like slide-guitar, a warm organ part, and a heavy bass and drum – all under the alluring styles of lead singer John Pelant. Pelant’s style is similar to Andrew VanWyngarden’s (MGMT). Then you have to add in the robotic dancing of Pelant hopping from one foot to another (with some slick moves in-between), to comedic stories about the band’s parking experience at a movie theater, while amusingly advertising their next gig at Loring Park, it’s obvious that one of the main priorities of this band is to have a good time. I couldn’t stop a few giggles from escaping myself during the set, and I wasn’t the only one. “We’re just going to do one more, ah no,” said  Pelant as he glanced over side stage, “Never mind, screw it, we’ll see you in the park!” The crowd chanted “One more!” as they left the stage for the night. All in all, I’m filing this under guilty pleasures – I felt like a seventeen-year-old probably did in the 60s going to a concert. I’ll definitely be seeing Night Moves again, but I’ll try to focus more on the music next time.

Jeremy Messersmith & band

As Jeremy Messersmith’s set began, I soon realized that any expectations I had coming in were going to be met – and more. The entire set Messersmith captivated the crowd’s attention. From upbeat songs with a heavy, catchy bass lines like “Dillinger’s Eyes,” to an acoustic guitar with melancholy lyrics like, “Now I’m a ghost floating and shapeless, trying to come back down to earth,” every song became a story that someone could relate to, dance to, and yes even sing along to. Messersmith also showcased some new songs that had people singing along even though it was their first time hearing them live. There wasn’t a lack of humor in the new material either, as the crowd laughed on several songs – one of which he sang about a couple getting away from reality by relating it to a one night stand singing, “You don’t have to meet my folks, you don’t have to listen to my stupid jokes, I’m just a guy with a mini van.” He also got help from some familiar faces like Sarah Elhardt from Cloud Cult stacking beautiful harmonies while playing keys, and the delightful sounds of the Laurels String Quartet that added to songs. For the encore he ended the set with a song he made from a poster he found on Reddit. “This is just the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard, and it was just too beautiful I couldn’t help myself,” Messersmith said as he chuckled. Then went into the brief song singing, “Someday, someone will love the fuck out of you” repeatedly leaving everyone with a smile.

All in all, Messersmith acts like that really cool, quirky friend that always has some crazy story to tell, and by the way they act and talk (or in this case, sing) you can’t help but be enthralled with every word – whether you’re fourteen or forty. He takes it a step further by creating an accompanying musical part that enhances every word blending it perfectly with the storyline and making it that much more meaningful. Jeremy Messersmith: musician, storyteller, and creator. He leaves you pleading, “Just one more story, please!”

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