A muggy Thursday night in Brooklyn saw a packed Baby’s All Right, as fans made their way to Williamsburg to catch an old favorite on their first album-supporting tour in five years. Now fully rested and recuperated from what was once an indefinite hiatus, Minnesota duo Now, Now is finally on the road again, this time in support of their new album, Saved. While it’s not their first time back on stage (that milestone was reached back in 2017), it is the first time in six years that they have a full, new album to play live. The venue was ripe with expectation as Now, Now and their opener WENS took the stage, ready for a night filled with both nostalgia for times past, and excitement for the future. Here is a recap of the night.
With Sharpie-drawn X’s on her hands, LA-based artist WENS stepped up to the mic for the second show of her first tour, three-thousand miles from home. But it hardly looked like she was out of her element; from the minute she hit the stage she was no longer a young artist on her first tour— she was bouncing around on stage like she’d been doing this for years. Opening for Now, Now is quite the feat for one’s first rodeo; it’s common to see emerging artists open for much smaller artists and then work their way up. Yet it’s clear her stunning vocals and skilled songwriting had rightfully afforded her this opportunity, as here she was, donned in a plaid matching set, dazzling a crowd she’s younger than.
Hardly 21, WENS’ lyrics are beyond her years, often dealing with heartaches foreign to anyone under the age of 17. Her songs detail the emotional aftermath of being left for someone else, of being alone, of drinking too much, of being with someone toxic despite the emotional damage you know it’s going to cause. While her songs deal with angsty topics usually associated with angry, guitar-heavy alternative rock, her sound leans more towards the chiller side of things, a sort of electro-R&B. It’s a unique genre that isn’t sure what it calls to mind, but one that meshes perfectly with her voice.
She boasts the stage presence of an experienced musician, and the vocals of one, too, and we can only imagine she’ll be playing bigger, grander venues the next time she’s this far from home— probably headlining a tour of her own.
Coming back from a five-year hiatus, Minnesota duo Now, Now took the stage as refreshed as ever, having completely revamped their sound to match. While they were sure to weave in old favorites that struck a nostalgic chord with age-old fans jamming near the front, their new songs equally wowed tonight. Saved is an album for everything— dancing included— and that was evident as Cacie danced about on stage, prompting everyone around to do the same. Despite the hiatus, they’ve been touring for years— they’ve supported bands such as Hellogoodbye, the Naked and Famous, and fun., and most recently, made an appearance at SXSW— but their level of energy (and possibly the long break) ensured they didn’t once look like they were tired of it. Cacie and Brad took every moment they could to engage with fans, thanking them for being there, for sticking with them even through the five years of silence when their future was uncertain.
And we’re certainly glad they did. That their new single didn’t fall upon deaf, unforgiving ears (nor was it released to radio-silence) arguably gave them the resolve to keep going and release the full album, some of their best work to date. If anyone in the audience came longing for old favorites, not having heard new ones, it’s safe to they left with a brand new album to listen to that night.
With a new sound comes new challenges, and maybe a loss of nerve when considering that old fans may not approve. But, in all the years that went by, and all the melodic personas that were shed, what Now, Now did not lose was their confidence in themselves. In fact, they gained even more, playing tonight with an aire of honeyed precision that one could argue did not exist six years ago. They were sure of themselves tonight, and of the direction they are going in, and that is what made this new album special. Nevertheless, despite now being one member short, they had the same striking sound they had back in 2013, one that fills the audience and almost lifts them up onto the stage. ‘Threads’ and ‘Wolf’, both off their 2012 album Threads, sounded especially full, debatably more so than before. From Cacie’s singing to her guitar skills, she, Brad, and their touring members played each song with as much fire and passion as their studio songs demanded, switching from acoustic to ultra-amped with ease, effortlessly filling the venue with a spirited sound that bounced off the walls and onto the audience.
Draped in the glow of the pink and blue stage lights that mirror the band’s new path, Now, Now start a journey with fans. It’s cool and refreshing, and we can’t wait to see where it leads.
Catch Now, Now and WENS on tour this summer, as they continue on with a show at Exit/In in Nashville, TN. Wens album, That Really Long Night was released 13 July. You can find the rest of their joint tour dates here, and opt to follow both of them on Twitter to be updated on the latest of news.