Minneapolis, MN is known for its budding music scene and this past weekend I got a taste of it at Bryant Lake Bowl and Theater in Uptown. It was a Sunday evening full of sensational storytelling through song featuring acclaimed Minneapolis indie rock band The Nokturnal North.
The Nockturnal North consists of members Joe Norton (songwriter, keys, guitar), Kiera Waskey (vocals), Sam Bostrom (bass), Joel Arend (drummer) and Brian Shields (producer). What originally started as a solo project by Norton in 2016, transformed into something bigger when after completing his primarily experimental electronic project, Norton had different ambitions for his creation. He decided to go another direction and transitioned into an indie folk/rock band. He recruited the help of Waskey to be the lead vocalist and face of the band.
Norton is a family friend of mine and I had the wonderful privilege of interviewing the band prior to the show. They shared details on the band history and all the exciting things they are looking forward to in 2019–including the release of their second album.
In January 2018, The Nokturnal North released their first album, “Farewell, Midwest,” complete with eight songs. When asked where the band gets their inspiration, they answered from artists and bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Arcade Fire and Sufjan Stevens. They have taken these inspirations and crafted, for themselves, a very unique sound.
Their show was captivating, impressive and very entertaining. It’s enthralling how talented each member of the band is, and how consumed by the music they are during their performance. It’s clear each member is proud of their sound, and truly wants to be on stage sharing it with others.
While the band might fairly new, they have combined years of great and extended musical experience. Norton, who writes all of the band’s music, has been playing instruments since he was 6. Waskey began playing the violin at a young age and pursued voice in junior high. Arend has been playing drums since 2012. Their skills and talents, which evidently are multi-faceted, definitely shine when they play onstage.
I haven’t listened to a lot of indie rock bands or been to many of those types of shows, but their sound has definitely peaked my interested in this genre. I especially think Waskey, the lead vocalist, has an intriguing voice. It’s mature and timeless for someone of her age of 20.
The Nokturnal North will be releasing their first full-length studio record this spring. It’s titled “This Wilderness” and as of now, includes 16 songs. They began creating it in May, recording at Allegiant Audio, and are looking forward to its release.
Each member of the band agreed that their second project is better than their previous. They have gone through some changes since they formed and they explained how they have really grown musically in their time together. Norton has found how to best write for Waskey’s voice and for other people to play, and she has learned ways to sing for their music style.
Their producer, Shields, shared his expectations: “The anticipation of the second album will completely change people’s perception of us. It’s much more developed than our previous album.” Everyone agreed that their first album is not their current sound, as their style has continued to develop, evolve and change since its release.
Catch The Nokturnal North when they play in Minneapolis on January 25 at The Warming House.