The Aces bring queer indie-pop to Minneapolis, but opening act The Beaches ultimately upstage

Although the headlining band’s performance showcased each member’s musical talent, their energy and stage presence seemed to be a step down from the show’s opener.


Image by Ava Kian

The Aces perform in the band’s show at Fine Line on Tuesday, Nov. 30. Minneapolis is one stop on their tour for their album, Under My Influence, released in 2020.

by Macy Harder

“Am I sweaty or turned on?” Jordan Miller, lead singer and bass player of The Beaches, asked the crowd during the band’s high-energy set. “We’ll never know.”

The same question could be asked of the audience, as the Toronto-based alternative rock band exuded confidence and commanded the attention of every eye in the room. The group opened for The Aces on Nov. 30 at the Fine Line, whose calm, collected and comparatively underwhelming indie-pop performance made The Beaches seem like the night’s main attraction.

The crowd of teens and 20-somethings continued to shuffle in as the opening set kicked off. Most people went for a “casual but still cooler than you” look — leather jackets and blazers, sheer shirts, beanies and band tees aplenty. The same cannot be said of The Beaches’ on-stage attire, though, which was brightly colored and glistened in the spotlight.

Each musician’s look seemed to reflect their individual tastes and personalities, but when put together, the group took on a space cowboy-esque vibe. Miller’s sparkly red bodysuit was similar to the look of her sister, guitarist Kylie Miller, who donned a pink sequined mini dress. Guitar and keyboard player Leandra Earl went for a red jumpsuit and matching cowboy hat, while drummer Eliza Enman-McDaniel kept it simple with a white halter top and a bold red lip.

The Beaches’ set was just as expressive as their wardrobe. The 45-minute performance contained a hearty mix of alternative and punk rock jams that only seemed to get more electric as the set went on, which was matched by the audience’s exponentially increasing excitement. Their stage presence was energetic and infectious, as the band jumped around to a lineup of guitar-heavy tracks that beckoned a head-banging response from the crowd.

The band did exactly what any good opening act should do: they got the crowd ready for the headliner. It even seemed like the audience didn’t want them to leave, momentarily forgetting which band they bought tickets to see.

With the crowd primed and eager for more music, The Aces finally took the stage. “Minneapolis, are you ready to have a good time tonight?” lead singer Cristal Ramirez shouted, which quickly rekindled the audience’s excitement from the previous set.

The band came out with a bang, as the crowd cheered and enthusiastically sang along. The Aces’ indie-pop hits aren’t mosh-able by any means, but the audience expressed their enjoyment through raised hands and nodding heads that kept time with the upbeat tempo.

Ramirez, outfitted in a leather jacket, dark jeans and a vintage Flossie Band graphic tee, carried an undeniable confidence during the show. The same can be said for The Aces’ other three members, who remained calm and collected in their designated regions of the stage.

It’s clear that each of the musicians brought a significant talent to the performance, but the band’s demeanor and stage presence seemed to be their downfall that evening. Their ability to remain cool under pressure bordered on the edge of being nonchalant, which gave off a very different energy than what would be expected to follow such a bubbly, powerhouse opening act.

Because of this, it was easy to get lost in The Aces’ set. It became a bit sonically monotonous, aside from a few obvious fan favorites. Some tracks that stood out amongst the mix were “801” and “Kelly,” two unapologetic queer anthems that seemed to resonate with audience members.

“It’s not easy to be queer, not easy to be women on stage,” Ramirez said. “When you’re at an Aces show, you’re free to be whoever you want to be.”

Toward the end of the set, the band members began tossing roses into the crowd, who enthusiastically put their hands up as if they were reaching for the bride’s bouquet at a wedding. The warm gesture brought back a little of the excitement that was lost as the previous few tracks seemed to blend together.

Preceding a two-song encore, the band closed with “Daydream,” their most popular track. The crowd came to life upon hearing the song’s opening guitar notes, a clear shift in energy that remained through the encore. Their performance of “Stuck” concluded the show, a lively send-off that made the wooden floorboards shake as the crowd jumped around. Energy and excitement overflowed from the stage into the surrounding room, but it’s a shame that it took the entire setlist for this to happen.