We Went There: Bonny Doon & Anna St. Louis at the 7th St Entry
(View Jon’s full photo set from the show HERE)
In my preview article for this show, I leaned into the “this show will be chill” mantra and spoke about the slightly different paths the two bands on tour together take in their unique takes on “chill.” In what is very much not a common occurrence, something I said turned out to be even more true than I thought when a good sized crowd gathered Thursday night at the 7th St. Entry for a charming, engaging show.
I had mentioned that opener Anna St. Louis was, even by the mild comparison, more low key than Bonny Doon, who weren’t going to blow any doors off hinges themselves. On stage Thursday night, she really leaned into that during her very short set. (Didn’t get exact times, but it couldn’t have been more than 20 minutes, which left the crowd definitely wanting more.) With her gentle, folky finger-picking acoustic guitar backed up by keys, bass and drums (including a few members of Bonny Doon), she played a hushed, meditative set that had the crowd in rapt. Her music is meant for late night with candles or early morning with a sunrise, but it was simply too damn good not to work even in a dank nightclub on a weeknight.
Throughout the night the fact that the Killers were playing a very sold out show next door in the Mailroom was a running joke, but luckily they had very little overlap during her set as she kept the volume low, even if the intensity was high with the crowd pulling themselves closer to the stage as the set went on to absorb her enchanting music. She ended her set with a solo song that was even more muted than the rest of her set, showcasing her outstanding blend of pop, minimal Americana and folk. I imagine she’ll be back soon and will be working her way both into larger venues and into the headlining slot as she is immensely talented.
Bonny Doon’s music isn’t rock, per-se, but closer than St. Louis’ for sure, and they ventured towards that pole in their set in the same way she seemed to lean away. It wasn’t a hardcore show, by any stretch, but the band (two guitars, keys, bass and drums) had a gallop on stage that really brought their songs to life. They leaned heavily on their latest LP throughout their hour-plus long set, but also pulled out some songs from their older LPs like mid-set highlight “Part of Me,” which they stretched and pulled for every ounce. There was some mild jamming throughout, but since their songs are so tight that simply made three minute songs into four minute songs, and added some flavor as the two lead singers traded roles out front.
The Killers set next door, and the middle mangers reliving their glory days singing along, was in full force during their set, which was a bit distracting, but the band rolled with the punches and made the requisite jokes throughout the set. The distraction didn’t take away from what was a great set that was a perfect mix of earnest songwriting, slacker vibes and a band that was tight but didn’t feel the need to show off. I’ve been a fan of Bonny Doon for a few years, but this was my first time seeing them live and really helped grow my appreciation for who they are as a band.
If you get a chance to see this duo when they roll through your town, don’t miss out. And hope on your lucky stars that a early 2000s novelty act isn’t bleeding through the walls.