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Best New Bands highlights Twin Cities’ prosperous music scene

Seven local bands performed in the annual concert at First Avenue.

First Avenue’s Best New Bands brought together seven up-and-coming Twin Cities acts in a show on Jan. 20 that featured eccentric stage presences and captivating songwriting by all.

The Best New Bands, an annual concert series that dates back to the 1980s, presents a group of young artists who are making waves in the local music scene.

“They have definitely become an example for young bands trying to find their sound. They don’t need to conform to the standard sounds and genres that the music industry uses to define bands, like putting them in an enclosed box,” said Sophia Kulow, Radio K’s marketing director and one of Best New Bands’ co-hosts.

Here is a full recap of the show.

Hailing from New York but recently relocated to Minnesota, Raffaella’s set kicked off the show with exquisite stage presence and crafty songwriting.

Raffaella’s newest release, “Live, Raff, Love (Act 1),” echoes the artistic honesty of her performance at Best New Bands. The 26-year-old singer’s music is full of catchy hooks and honest ruminations on life.

As a result of her well-produced music and ethereal vocals showcased in songs like “Blonde,” Raffaella will surely be a voice that elevates in the Twin Cities music scene.

Obi Original
Afro-fusion artist Obi Original performed his way into the hearts of the audience as the second act of Best New Bands. The stage presence and crowd work from Obi Orginal’s set excited the audience and stood out from the night’s other acts.

Obi Original’s music combines dance-heavy production with energetic vocals to culminate in a rhythmic groove that does not fit entirely into any one genre.

Obi Original danced across the stage joyfully during his entire set, cementing himself as the future of Afrobeats in Minnesota.

Mike Kota
The third act of the night, Mike Kota, showcased her elegant vocals and masterful self-production.

Kota’s sound feels dreamy and electronic, while still relying on guitar and percussion for the basis of its musicality. Kota’s vocal harmonies add to the dreamy atmosphere.

Kota said a year from now, she hopes to continue growing as an artist and working to reach a larger audience.

“I hope that this next EP brings some big fish my way — I’d love to have a powerful, well-connected team with me to take bigger strides,” Kota said.

killusonline thundered into their set with a dark hardcore rock sound reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine. As the instrumentation pounded through the speakers during the killusonline set, their lead vocalist, Mory, rapped with a poetic cadence that demanded attention to detail of the lyricism.

When asked about the future, killusonline cited their hopes for growth within the Twin Cities and beyond.

The next act, Harlow, makes folk-inspired music that takes listeners on a sonic ride through the Midwestern countryside.

Harlow’s music is passionately detailed and echoes songwriting similar to the alternative band The Head and the Heart.

“A year from now, Harlow would like to have a few more EPs released, a few festivals under our belt,” Samuel Ketcham of Harlow said. “Long story short, we have no intent on stopping; we love this band and each other too much.”

Creeping Charlie
Creeping Charlie consists of sisters Julia Eubanks (guitar and lead vocals) and Esme Eubanks (bass), along with Harry Miles (lead guitar) and Jack Malone (drums).

Creeping Charlie filled their set with reflective vocals and sharp guitar playing that showed off their blending musicality inspired by ‘90s grunge.

“Playing this show is so validating as a band,” Julia Eubanks said. “We’ve worked really hard and to get recognized on the First Avenue mainstage is insane. This music scene is such a special and close-knit group of artists.”

The brainchild of Julia Eubanks, Creeping Charlie plays expansive and deeply intimate tunes. With witty lyrics and Miles’ echoing guitar riffs, the crowd sang along to melodic songs like “Lean into It.”

When asked about their band name, Julia Eubanks said, “I like the idea of something that is seen as a weed in our lawns even though creeping charlie is also this resilient wildflower.”

Brotherhood of Birds
Brotherhood of Birds ended an epic night with bluegrass-influenced songs full of string-centered melodies and personal storytelling.

On songs “Wolves on the River” and “Beer Chaser,” the band echoed stories of life in the cold midwestern states, balancing bluegrass with modern songwriting technique.

Brotherhood of Birds’ closing set at First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2022 created a soulful ending to a night filled with new and exciting local music.

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