It’s not often the stage of the 7th street entry is bare. Most of the shows I’ve attended here have the small stage cramped with drum sets, synths, and pedalboards that band members have to weasel their way around during sets. If anything, the sold out crowd had to struggle more with the maneuverability than the performers did last night.
We began with a duo onstage, who needed only two microphones and guitar jacks to plug in. Polished Nashvillian Jack Schneider, and his backup guitarist and singer Camille Thornton. Both of them brought with them original songwriting that had the elements of familiarity in heartbreak and storytelling – A phenomenal and well tuned opening duo for the evening.
“Josephine”, once it’s better well known, is likely to be a crowd favorite singalong for Jack in future sets. “Farewell Carolina” has the slow, western like feel that is reminiscent of The Cactus Blossoms. One of the show stopping moments of the night was a song written by Jack’s partner on stage, Camille Thornton. The song describes the death of a man pulled by a riptide while swimming in the gulf of mexico, written with a similar depth and respect for death like “The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald”. While it was a bit heavier than Jack’s songwriting, it was a welcome number to the audience, based on their pin drop level of silence, and loud applause as the last chord reverberated around the room.
“It’s cold here, but you make us feel warm,” Jack said with a lick of southern charm. He closed his set with “Best Be On My Way” waving to the crowd during the final notes as he and Camille walked off the stage. It’s not often the opening act is as good, if not better, than the main event, However Jack and Camille both have what it takes to have a headlining show of their own, and I’m hoping they both make their way back to Minneapolis soon.
From the moment Bella White stepped onto the stage, the crowd was captivated by her presence, her gentle strumming, and her honey-sweet voice. The set began with “Do You Think About Me At All”, a soulful, melancholic ballad that showcased Bella’s stunning voice and her ability to evoke deep emotions with her songwriting. The audience was completely silent, hanging on every word as she sang of heartbreak and the struggles of everyday life.
Looking around the room in the entry, it was incredible to see the crowd as attentive as they were. Even in between songs, people only whispered to their friends. Perhaps the loudest thing I could hear outside of the music was the crack of a beer can opening. Even Bella complimented us on our attentiveness. “You can get loud for this one if you would like” she encouraged, before performing “Gutted”
“Not to Blame” and “Now She Knows What It Feels Like” shows Bella’s voice in more of a bluesy light, however her voice, combined with the harmonies of her talented fiddle and upright bass player (who she later jokingly referred to as “my mice”) really stood out on songs like “All I Gave You” and “Just Like Leaving”
Bella then took a moment to speak to the crowd, thanking them for coming and regaled us with some of the events over the last few days she’s spent in Minneapolis preparing for the opening night of her tour, and the woes of attempting to order a pizza in America while using the Canadian domino’s pizza app on her phone.
Bella has one album out, released in September of 2020, with a handful of singles released since then. However, tonight she surprised the crowd with a few new tunes, and revealed to us that a new album is due out in the spring. “And, you’re the first to know that!” she told us excitedly.
The show continued with a series of powerful ballads and upbeat singalongs, each one more captivating than the last. While Bellas songs are fun in their own right, some of the crowd highlights from the night were a few very well done covers, including a performance of Marty Robbins “Doggone Cowboy” and a cover of Guy Clark’s “Dublin Blues” Which Bella said is a song she wishes she had written. “I’d tell people I would have written it too if they didn’t like it so much,” she laughed.
The 7th street entry has a rough-and-tumble look to it, with stickered up bathroom doors and scratched and scarred stages and walls. But tonight, Bella White started her tour here and made it feel like a warm front porch in Tennessee. And if she can do that in a grungy venue like the entry, she can do that anywhere. Her tour continues through the Midwest, Ending in Washington later this month. It would be a shame if her tour doesn’t sell out each show like she did at the entry.