03.02.23 – Photos by Jessica Fredette / Review by McKenna Klaphake
The sounds of Duluth were brought down to the cities on Thursday night at the Turf Club in St. Paul. Adam Herman & The Slamming Doors, Lovehouse, and Lyla Abukhodair showed the special uniqueness that Duluth has to offer. The Turf Club was a fantastic place to host the Duluth Showcase and supported the theme of the night; melding the culture and sounds of Duluth with the Twin Cities.
Lovehouse started the night off with great charisma and stage presence. The indie rock band brought a collection of songs from their EP, “Shades of Red” as well as a good amount of covers. They played an amazing cover of “Stuck In The Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel, that they apparently had only learned earlier that day, which was pretty incredible! The band had a practiced cohesiveness that only comes with passion and dedication. For a relatively new band, they knew how to work a crowd and command attention. Their songs flowed easily from one into the next without having to take too much time in between to tune or adjust their instruments. The indie rock sound that the band has curated is driven by hypnotic and slightly twangy guitar riffs, as well as a fun vocal range from the lead singer. As a band just starting out, it’s so important to create an image for yourself and Lovehouse has done just that. It was clear that Duluth and Minneapolis/St. Paul fans alike couldn’t get enough as the band finished with the crowd literally begging for more.
Lyla Abukhodair played second with a full band supporting her. From the very beginning the audience got a breath of Abukhodair’s infectious and bubbly energy. The self-described “witty and gritty punk” band that Abukhodair fronts gives homage to punk rock sounds of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Abukhodair’s vocal range emphasizes the narrative being conveyed in each song. From speak-singing to full belts, listeners were guided through a wide array of emotions during her set. Between sick guitar solos, groovy bass lines, and fierce drum beats, the talent of the whole band was on display Thursday night. The band debuted a few songs live for the first time which just emphasizes the importance of small shows like this. It gives bands and artists the opportunity to try new things in front of a live audience and get reactions in real time. While Abukhodair and her band are clearly punk, the folk influences from Duluth are clear in her slower ballads. Abukhodair made sure to thank Adam Herman & The Slamming Doors for helping record her EP, “Your Mom Hates Me Now.”
Adam Herman & The Slamming Doors wrapped up the show with a classic americana sound. This is what you’d expect to come out of Duluth but with an added funk that is very similar to the musical influences of the Twin Cities. Herman’s soulful delivery mirrors that of Chris Stapleton and twangy instrumentals makes for an excellent dad rock set. The Slamming Doors’ music is driven by insane keyboard solos and funky percussion. The band has years of experience under their belt after producing four albums, with the most recent being “Brown Bears” released in 2020. Their expertise clearly shows in their stage presence and cohesiveness. A highlight of the show included the band playing their song “Goddamn Duluth” that really exhibited the love that all of these bands have for their city. Herman organized this show to get the Duluth music scene down to the cities. Based on the audience’s reactions, he achieved exactly what he set out to do and showed St. Paul exactly what Duluth has to offer.