REVIEW – Mega Mango, Aiden Intro, and Parachutes at Green Room

04.19.23 – By McKenna Klaphake

The newly opened Green Room, located in the uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis, is everything you could want and more. From the greenery surrounding the stage to the disco ball hanging from the ceiling, the overall feeling curated at this venue is unlike anything else. The light fog filling the stage created a hazy look and made the room feel warm and comforting for the upcoming show. Comparable to the size of Fine Line, the area provided ample space to get as close to the performing bands as you wanted or enjoy a more laid back experience sitting up on the balcony. The vibes at this concert venue were immaculate and truly created an overall amazing experience when I attended Mega Mango’s show on Wednesday, April 19th. With support from local acts, Parachutes and Aiden Intro the night previewed the future of indie rock music. 

Parachutes began the night with a powerful and upbeat jamming sesh. Lead singer, Ryan Kemp led the band through a lively set of their catchy and groovy tracks. The audience was full of hard core fans as they sang along to every song while lightly moshing to the beat. You could tell how much fun everyone was having, both fans and new listeners alike. This was mostly due to the outgoing and charismatic personality of front man Kemp. He was able to move the audience how he wanted and during the song “Slip Away” he made the whole crowd crouch down and jump up at just the precise moment that the beat dropped. It made the set so much more fun, even if it felt a little awkward in the moment. 

The band left the stage when Kemp played an acoustic version of their new song “Wicker Chair” which is also the title of their upcoming EP. Parachutes also performed a handful of their already released material including songs like, “Rewind” and “Go Back.” The band brought an elevated energy to the laid back indie pop/rock sound that is heard on their singles. Parachutes finished their set with an untitled song from their unreleased EP. This is always a really cool moment for me because I feel so lucky to hear music from artists before they release it. As an audience member, you feel special to be some of the first to hear a new piece and it also gives you something to look forward to from the band. Parachutes will be back at the Green Room for their “Wicker Chair” EP release show on May 20, 2023.

Aiden Intro performed second and consisted of lead singer/guitarist Aiden Hengel and his live backup band members, guitarist Nate Walker, bassist Joe Rendelman, drummer Wyatt Pepin, keyboardist Conor Bauhauddin (who also supported Parachutes that night), and Sarah Brammer on back up vocals. This energetic bunch brought a jazzy influence to the night of indie rock. The light hearted and groovy set was juxtaposed with seemingly improvised instrumentals. The band truly let go in these moments and allowed the audience to rock along with them. The incredibly talented guitarist, Nate Walker, frequently jumped around the stage interacting with each of his fellow band mates. The feeling created was uplifting and welcoming, like we too were part of that same energy that they created on stage. Back up vocalist, Brammer was the cherry on top of the Aiden Intro sundae and added an extra element to the sound with her peaceful harmonies.

The band played songs off of Aiden’s 2022 EP release, “Not Bad” including songs “Stop Sign” and “Staying In.” They also excited the audience with a brief cover of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” which had everyone singing along. The groovy instrumentals combined with beautiful vocals from lead singer Hengel added to the peaceful and chill vibes created that night. Aiden Intro also covered Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” which had everyone on their feet. I always think that it’s a good idea for smaller artists to perform covers because it hooks new listeners in with amazing versions of songs that they already love, especially when you might not be familiar with a newer artist’s discography; it’s a nice brain break when you can hear something that you are familiar with! 

The band finished with singing “Happy Birthday” to Ryan Kemp from Parachutes. The bond between the two bands was palpable and really showed how special the local music scene is. Having now witnessed this on several occasions, I’ve noticed that local artists are so supportive of each other and it really is heartwarming to watch. The community created in this scene is really cool and it’s awesome to look on as an outsider. 

Headliner, Mega Mango, agrees with this sentiment while noting early in their set that they have been “wonderfully indoctrinated into this music scene.” Their stop at the Green Room marks the first time in Minnesota for the Philadelphia locals. The band has been around since 2018, but their latest release “Fun and Games” marks the groups return to the indie rock scene. After hearing about this band growing in popularity in Philadelphia, I had to see if they truly live up to the hype. 

I can confidently say that Mega Mango lived up to all of my expectations and the group made a lasting impression that still has me thinking back to the show days later. The band consists of lead singer Crow Costello, guitarist Alex Spagnolia, bassist Niko Jones, and drummer Sam Poll. The music created by Mega Mango mixes a psychedelic groove with upbeat rock chords. Their songs are catchy, sentimental, and relatable, like the track, “Sorry!” of which lead singer, Costello explained was about being a crappy person in highschool and serves as an apology letter. 

The band created a wholly engaging show and the audience was entertained the entire time. While some band members were tuning their instruments in between songs, or taking a breather, other members conversed with the audience or explained the meaning behind specific tracks. They had a soundtrack playing in the background that not only provided instrumentals during down times, it also introduced and concluded each song. This gave the show a more put together feeling than what you get from a band who just plays through their setlist. The band guided us through every moment like it was a chapter in a story book and I never wanted it to end. 

Everyone in the band was moving around and singing along to each song. You could really tell that they love what they do. Guitarist, Spagnolia wailed away skillfully right in the audience’s faces. The rockstar quality with this performer did not go unnoticed. Lead singer, Costello belted gorgeous vocals that added to the songs groovy beats. The band’s talent, passion, and energy had the crowd dancing and moving along to every track. 

The band played through their EP, “Fun and Games” as well as fan favorites, “OMG!”, “Undone”, and “You Spent All Your Love.” They performed two absolutely fabulous covers; “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone and what ended up being the second Katy Perry cover of the night, “I Kissed A Girl.” I feel so lucky to have seen Mega Mango play in such an intimate setting. This band is going places and I have a feeling that soon enough seeing them play in a venue like the Green Room will be a long gone concept.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s