Photography and review courtesy of Joe Stadele for TWTHS. Photos may not be used without consent. Published November 26, 2015.
When a full club is screaming “Louis Vuitton Tie” or “Green Collared Fuck Me Shirt….The Green One!” back to you…you can expect to be onto something. When you have the freedom to perform the Fine Young Cannibals’ “She Drives Me Crazy” and it fits into your set without irony…you are also onto something. So is the case with El Vy…and the nearly sold out audience that packed First Avenue on Saturday night to witness Matt Berninger (The National) and Brent Knopf (Ramona Falls) Minneapolis debut.
Early songs like “Careless” and “It’s A Game” were a little subdued, but also served as warm-ups as the show really took fire with the building epic of “Sad Case/Happiness, Missouri.” The audience hung onto every lyric of the cocky “Return To The Moon” and the hilarious performance of “I’m The Man To Be.” “I was getting a little too — way into that song….did anyone notice this move,” Berninger said as he stood with his mic stand between his legs. But the fact of the matter is, by “I’m The Man To Be” the audience completely ate up every thing the band was dishing out; paving way for an incredible cover of the Fine Young Cannibal’s “She Drives Me Crazy” which played perfectly into the set without irony. Clocking in at only 55-minutes the band packed a punch and left the audience as it began with the slower “No Time To Crank The Sun” and “Need A Friend.”
For fans of The National, the only alluding semblance of the former was Berninger’s delightfully twisted and twisting lyrics mashed against Knopf moody soundscapes. Contrary to the garbage Pitchfork has proclaimed as testament, Berninger and Knopf proved to be an excellent pairing, particularly live. In fact, if there was one word to take away from El Vy’s performance at First Avenue — it’s “potential.” One piece of reassuring news is the band has plans to build on that potential with a follow-up to Return To The Moon.
Denmark-native, Søren Juul opened the night with a set of electronic chill-out soundscapes; much of it accompanied with programmed percussion that, at times, overshadowed Juul’s lush keys in pure volume. While he worked to engage the audience, the set (and Juul) would have benefited from the spark of the live guitars and drums on his Ambitions EP. As Søren admitted, his music is a perfect compliment to an evening next to the fireplace.
Stay up to date on the latest El Vy news and tour dates, here.
El Vy’s Setlist:
It’s a Game
Silent Ivy Hotel
Return to the Moon
Paul Is Alive
I’m the Man to Be
She Drives Me Crazy (Fine Young Cannibals cover)
No Time to Crank the Sun
Need a Friend