Lovejoy – First Avenue – Minneapolis MN – May 26th 2023

Lovejoy with Crywank and Spilly Cave – First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN May 26th, 2023

Review and photos by Kate Klaus

When fans start lining up outside the venue in the early morning, more than 12 hours before a sold-out show begins, it’s a sign that an incredible and hugely popular group is playing, and this was indeed true for British indie-rock band Lovejoy, who brought their “Across the Pond” tour to the iconic First Avenue main room on May 26th, 2023.  The mainly teenage and young adult audience who braved the hot pavement for hours to get a good spot at the show seemed to enjoy the excitement and energy of the wait, and were making new friends, trading bracelets, photo cards, and stickers. Even the Minneapolis Fire Department got in on the fun, stopping by to pass out stickers, water, and before departing, blasting some Lovejoy tunes to the excited fans lined up on the street.

The first band of the night performing were a Pennsylvania band Spilly Cave, originally the work of lead singer Billy Cave.  Minneapolis was their first night out with the tour, and their energy and excitement was on par with the sold-out Minneapolis crowd.  Their music was a great mix of upbeat rock with impressive guitar riffs and booming bass and drums and bubbly pop with an almost vibrant undertones matched with their vibrant outfits and personalities.  They were both a fun group to listen to and watch perform.

Crywank followed this up with a contrastingly dark and raw acoustic solo performance.  Guitarist Jay Clayton took the stage with just his acoustic guitar and a microphone, he delivered a stark and edgy, while hauntingly deep and beautiful set of songs.  His lyrics were emotionally transparent and took on an almost narrative nature, but his passionate delivery forged an instant connection with the crowd.  While at times, his delivery was almost tormented, it made for a dramatic performance which was captivating, and the beautiful musicality of his performance shone through the darkness.

From the moment Lovejoy stepped onto the stage, to the deafening screams of crowd, their energy was infectious.  They opened their set with “Warsaw” off their EP “Wake Up & It’s Over” which was released just two weeks before.  Their music is upbeat and almost playful, with playful riffs from lead guitarist Joe Goldsmith, but this is contrasted with heavy bass from Ash Kabosu and booming drums from Mark Boardman – fitting for their tagline “the only indie band with a double kick drum”. It’s a unique style that is captivating and easy to get drawn into.  Their playful personalities also juxtaposed often complex and darker lyrics, addressing the complications of life and relationships, and powerfully and yet also playfully delivered by front man Wilbur Soot.  Their 14-song set was mix of songs from their recent EP as well as some older favorites like “Taunt” and “One Day”.  With relatable lyrics delivered with vulnerability, and yet intensity, and supported with unique and intricate musicality, Lovejoy is a charismatic band that is surely one to watch rise on the indie rock scene.