Just another Saturday Night at First Avenue

Farewell Milwaukee at First Avenue

By Becca Martin
Photos By Tony Nelson

Just another Saturday night in the Mainroom of First Avenue, or was it?

Hardly, there was a familiarity that staffers, audience, and musicians all felt. It stemmed from the fact that this particular Saturday night in the Mainroom was a showcase of all local acts, something that the club hadn’t done for quite a while. Four bands for which it was a very special night, as Michael Ferrier of Fathom Lane succinctly put it, it’s like playing the “The Temple of Rock.”

The Ericksons at First Avenue

Ladies first as the duo The Ericksons warmed up the crowd with their burnt sugar harmonies. They owned their power as two sisters (literally) playing the Mainroom for the first time. Gracious in every way they performed old songs, and new songs that displayed a more electronically experimental sound. I am excited for their upcoming album to be released this fall.

Fathom Lane at First Avenue

Plugged in and ready to go next was Fathom Lane, they delivered their latest self titled album complete with The Laurels String Quartet, earning them an even more luminous aura. “Jack Knife” ripped it up, and they rocked a rare Rolling Stones B-side cover of “Child of the Moon” which was a pleasant surprise. Looking on, you could see how enamored they were with playing to the Mainroom crowd.

And The Professors at First Avenue

And The Professors, a new rock orchestral project fronted by the Honey Dog’s Adam Levy went on next. Levy splits his time between maybe eleven bands, such an underachiever! He warmly acknowledged the familiar faces in the crowd including students from McNally Smith with a shout of “McNally pride”, then jumped right into a song about “MN pride” which won over the rapt audience. The MN Opera Orchestra String Quartet was stunning in their contribution. Sadly, And The Professor’s vocal contributor Bethany Larson was bedridden on her birthday, and missed out being onstage. I can’t wait to see the full line-up perform.

Farewell Milwaukee at First Avenue

Bringing up the rear was the band Farewell Milwaukee. The headliners gave it all they had with their rock country alt style. The highlight of the set was “Can’t Please Me, Can’t Please You”, a song that showcased the emotional range of vocalist Ben Lubeck’s voice. As a parting gift their newest EP “Doubtfire Sessions” was given to each audience member. The joke was that the upcoming release of Mrs. Doubtfire II could be very beneficial. I was unable to corroborate the movie’s release at press time, but I’m sure it’ll be a box office hit.

Farewell Milwaukee at First Avenue

To end the night all four bands got onstage and took part in a full bodied rendition of the sparsely arranged song “Helpless” by Neil Young. AMAZING! As if there wasn’t enough onstage love, Farewell Milwaukee brought it down to the audience pit and played their final song unplugged in the midst of the crowd.

With the ample and enthusiastic crowd, friendly staffers, and awed performers, I would guess this wouldn’t be a one off for First Avenue. Just being an “unbiased observer”, there is more than enough local talent to fill a year of Saturdays in the Mainroom.

Tony Nelson Photo
First Avenue
Fathom Lane
And The Professors
The Ericksons
Farewell Milwaukee




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