Varsity Theater Marquee
Oh Hellos Setlist
Lowland Hum Setlist
The reason why the Varsity closed for business in 2017, was the owner, Jason McLean, was in legal trouble for sexually abusing a student at the Children’s Theatre Company in 1983. It was rumored that McLean wanted to sell both the Varsity Theater and Loring Pasta Bar, but only if they were purchased together. We don’t know all the details, but since 2018, the historic theater came under new ownership... the first being a local show in early February 2018.
The Varsity is still as beautiful as ever, with its award-winning bathrooms and lounge sofas, but with a whole staff. The only difference, I could tell, is that there is now a ticket booth (boxed with a window), instead of a counter. The other thing is that there are extra securities now. There was a long line for the guard to slowly wand everyone before entering the dance floor. Naturally, I understand the reason for this, but it just took too long to get in. If you wanted to catch the opening band, you have to get to the venue when doors open.
Opening up the show was husband/wife duo Lowland Hum (Daniel and Lauren Goans), who was last in town opening for Penny and Sparrow in September 2017, when they had just released their new record Thin.
After someone asked the duo about the “tambo box”, Lauren explained that Daniel made it... then quickly corrected it to, “he thought of it, he didn’t build it.” This caused Daniel to singing an impromptu song called “I Don’t Know How to Build Anything (Except for Songs)”. Since it was made up on the spot, Daniel admitted later that he was just singing things he was thinking (which included recently appearing in Milwaukee and two cats).
The true highlight of their set has to be the beautiful duet for Weezer’s “In the Garage”. It’s Weezer’s nerdiest song (“I've got a Dungeon Master's Guide/I've got a 12-sided die/I've got Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler too/Waiting there for me, yes I do...”), and under Lowland Hum’s version, it’s back to basic, with just a great melody and a song about being an outcast.
Unfortunately, near the end of their self-described “delicious salad” set, the audience were obviously too loud. The “quiet music” band had to say eventually explain, “We can’t play any louder. If you talk, you can’t hear us. So, choose not to talk, it would help.”
Still, we’re sure Lowland Hum won over some newfound fans, so all was good... but you can’t help but think they’re the wrong opening band for this loud “main course”.
Although we say The Oh Hellos is a folk rock duo (Tyler and Maggie Heath), when they perform live, it’s an eight-piece band. Tyler and Maggie Heath started in 2011, releasing music on Bandcamp, got featured on NBC’s Parenthood, and literally build up their fanbase by word of mouth.
If you attend any Oh Hellos shows, their fans are passionate about their upbeat/feel-good anthemic folk/rock sound. Looking on stage, there are only laughter and smiles, it’s really infectious.
The band is really fun, early in their set, one of their band member, Joshua Heinlein, asked for a “Mandatory Dance Party”, which includes a goofy “waiting for the waiter” dance.
The Oh Hellos’ latest release, Eurus (the second EP in a series of four), is out now, and it’s their Earthiest EP. Even Tyler admitted that, “We wanted the music to capture the feeling of dark woods, dry branches, dead leaves...”
Remaining tour dates:
03/11—Kansas City, MO—recordBar
03/16—Fort Collins, CO—Washington’s
03/17—Telluride, CO—Sheridan Opera House
03/20—Salt Lake City, UT—The Complex
03/22—Missoula, MT—Top Hat
03/24—Portland, OR—Roseland Theater
03/25—Vancouver, BC—Rio Theatre
03/28—Sacramento, CA—Ace of Spades
03/29—San Francisco, CA—The Fillmore
03/30—Los Angeles, CA—El Rey
03/31—San Diego, CA—Music Box
04/03—Phoenix, AZ— Crescent Ballroom
04/06—Dallas, TX—House of Blues
04/08—Houston, TX—White Oak Music Hall
04/10—New Orleans, LA—The Parrish
04/12—Atlanta, GA—Variety Playhouse
04/13—Gainesville, FL—High Dive
04/14—Orlando, FL—The Beacham
04/15—Ft. Lauderdale, FL—Culture Room
The Oh Hellos at Varsity Theater, Minneapolis (08 Mar 2018)