Go Fest 2019

6.28.19 // MINNEAPOLIS mn

photos by Morgan Winston

review by Maddi Wichert


Rocking a patterned outfit and sockless penny loafers in the 87 degree heat, frontman Sam Harris of X Ambassadors started off Go Fest ’19 with the single “Hey Child” off their new album Orion. The burgeoning crowd began to sing along as “Jungle” followed, with Harris trading his guitar for a saxophone to get everyone grooving. New songs “Boom,” “Quicksand,” “Confidence,” and “Hold You Down” kept the party going before the band chose to wind things down with the emotional sing-along “Unsteady.” Harris then took a moment to preface their closing number “Renegades” with a message of inclusion, urging the crowd to be proud of their individuality, to continue to fight racism and bigotry, and promising that “an X Ambassadors show will always be a safe space for everyone, no matter what.”

As the blistering sun began to retreat, crews set the stage for Welsh indie rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen. A neon toucan sign (cover art for their recent studio release The Balance) hung against the cotton candy sunset, providing a stellar backdrop as the crowd pressed forward, counting down the minutes to show time. Taking the stage in their signature all-black ensembles and drainpipe skinny jeans, the lads launched into Balance single “Longshot” as the ecstatic fans sang every word.

Frontman Van McCann tossed the mic stand around, replicating music video acrobatics. Older songs “Kathleen” and “Soundcheck” had the crowd bouncing, and the arena-rock tune “Twice” brought big sound to the packed Cabooze. “Conversation,” “2all,” and “7” followed, a sweat-slick McCann roaming the stage, singing from atop a speaker or rocking out with drummer Bob Hall, flanked by guitarist Jonny Bond and bassist Benji Blakeway. Crowd favorite “Cocoon” had the crowd screaming along before sliding into an instrumental lead-in for closer “Tyrants.” Bond and Hall took turns showing off before McCann finally took the mic for an epic and sweaty finale to their (too-short) fifty minute set. As the lights came up, eager fans stayed put, hoping for an encore before disbanding into a humid summer night buzzing with post-concert energy.