Best New Bands 2012

First Avenue’s Best New Bands concert on January 11th certainly lived up to its name.  From starting gate to finish line, the marathon of a concert, featuring seven 40 minute sets, was filled with intriguing local talent. 


Bomba de Luz set the pace with compelling vocals and driving instrumentals.  This young group has some great years ahead of them.  The four high school students were clearly soaking in every moment of playing to the mostly full main room.


Strange Names followed with their strong 80s sound.  The audience quickly picked up the playful mood of the duo.  It was almost impossible  not to dance along with lead singer, Liam Benzvi.  Their set ended with a swell of excitement from the crowd as soon as they heard the first few bars of the catchy hit “Potential Wife.” 

A heavier classic Minneapolis Rock and Roll vibe followed with the next two bands.  Both Eleganza and Actual Wolf filled the hall with their well rounded sounds.

The tone switched quickly when eleven masterly young musicians filled the stage.  John Mark Nelson and his accompanists won the audience over with their folksy tone and masterful lyrics.  They were truly having a blast and invited everyone else to join in their fun.

The stage soon emptied out leaving Taylor Nelson, Alaine Dickman, a guitar, and their production equipment in the center of the stage.  The compelling and almost ethereal  electro-pop sound of Wiping Out Thousands had the crowd moving.  Even our hair was vibrating from the heavy bass.  

The show rounded out with local hip-hop group, The Chalice.  The trio pushed fast and feminine-power focused lyrics with beats by DJ Spacebar that kept the crowd dancing.  Special guest DJ Cuddles blew us all away with his extremely realistic beat boxing.  

First Avenue absolutely brought together the best of the most promising local bands from the past year and all of those who support them so fully.  The show embodied Twin Cites music with its extremely talented musicians from all styles and generations.  Keep your eyes peeled for more from each of these groups.

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