For Whosah, it probably felt like old times to return to Dinkytown and headline at the Triple Rock Social Club on Thursday night. With their roots firmly planted in the Twin Cities area, brothers Spencer, Dave, and Mack Grimes combined forces with Nate Flynn and Dallas Erdahl to bring their polished indie-pop sound and growing catalogue of music, which has evolved and matured since playing Student Sound on the University of Minnesota campus.
For me, the Triple Rock set was less of a homecoming and more of a chance to dig deeper after seeing the band blast through a 20-minute sampler at Go Fest earlier this summer. On what’s been dubbed the We Wrote a Song Called “Make a Move” and Wanna Play It For You tour, Whosah did just that on Thursday, though they didn’t break out the featured song until late. In fact, it was the group’s last three songs that garnered the most acclaim as they progressed from “Make a Move” to perhaps their most popular track, “Ghost Town,” which officially concluded the set—until the five-piece outfit retook the stage for a playful encore cover of Destiny Child’s “Say My Name.”
Showcasing their rock-synth lineage in a smooth performance that was reminiscent of a Smallpools meets Passion Pit show, front man Spencer Grimes engaged the audience with his high-level energy and charisma, especially during “Oxygen,” when the band got everyone immersed in a cheerful sing-along. Not really stopping to chat with the audience or explaining backstory until reaching “Make a Move,” the group was purposeful, motoring through the set like 1970s rockers on acid. They let the music speak for itself, and the show’s signature moment came when the house lights went out and lead guitarist Erdhal let loose on his LED-lit guitar, which captured the imaginations of the laid-back crowd during “Ghost Town.” Between his illuminated instrument and what seemed like every smartphone in the house documenting the moment, the room may have been lit brighter than it had been with the house lights turned up.
The only thing working against Whosah was the Triple Rock stage. Flying across the tiny stage like a guy who had just pounded a case of Red Bulls, Flynn frequently crashed into his bandmates—and, in a strange moment leading into the encore, awkwardly lost his bass, causing it to fall to the floor. With Spencer Grimes dancing and fueling the audience, the stage wasn’t large enough for both of them. The bass thankfully survived, and the moment incited some laughs, but it probably was not the ideal way to close the book on an otherwise purposeful and elegant set.
Bringing “Make a Move” and their EP Work across the Midwest to live audiences this fall, the Grimes brothers, Erdahl and Flynn bring a fast-paced set that is worth the price of admission and then some. They’re authentic, and though they work hard to win the audience over during a show, they make it seem effortless—which is the real beauty in their performances.