Hours before a flash flood warning on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, I got ready to see Stephen Steinbrink, Common Holly, and Pinegrove. My expectations were low and my enthusiasm was high as I made my way to the Majestic Theatre on King Street. As the rain wreaked havoc on my plants back at home, I was being blown away by Common Holly.
Let me get one thing straight: Common Holly was anything but common. Fronted by Brigitte Naggar, Common Holly produces the perfect blend of indie and rock. In a maroon turtleneck, Naggar captivated the audience with her soothing voice, soft eyes, and her ability to make the whole ordeal feel intimate, as if she was playing for you at a house show rather than at the Majestic. She was personable, exclaiming that “it is weird nice here,” in regards to visiting Madison for the first time. Most of all, she’s talented — singing ballads while also rocking out with her band. Naggar pulled me into her setlist and I was eager to hear more when it finished. I didn’t know anything about Common Holly before Thursday, but now they are at the top of my queue. The relatively new Montreal band followed Stephen Steinbrink to start the evening.
After 20 minutes of sound check and anxious waiting, Pinegrove ran out to eager fans. Starting with their most recent single “Moment,” the cult following of Pinegrove was made evident. Decked out in Doc Martens and light wash jeans, the majority of the audience (ages ranging from 17 to 50) sang along to every song. Not a single person stood still the entire show; everyone was dancing and enjoying themselves. Evan Stephens Hall, lead vocalist and guitarist, screamed into the microphone and made you feel every emotion he was feeling. The band brought the audience into the troubles of growing up and falling in and out of love, creating a shared experience.
Pinegrove made it clear who they were as a band: apologetic, honest, and true to themselves. They teased a few new songs during their set and I’m eager to see what they have in store.
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