Nikki Lane, Hugh Bob and the Hustle, and Frankie Lee – 7th Street Entry (Minneapolis, Minn, June 14, 2014)
On June 14, the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis, Minn., hosted a trio of up-and-coming alt-country artists: Nikki Lane, Hugh Bob and the Hustle, and Frankie Lee.
Lee, who has been getting some airtime on Twin Cities and surrounding area radio stations, opened. The hometown boy played all five songs off his excellent self-released 2013 Middle West EP including great renditions of “East Side Blues” and “Black Dog.” He also tried out a couple of new songs, “How Long Must I Live Alone” and the exceptional “Streetlight Girl.”
Hugh Robert Masterson (Hugh Bob) and his band, the Hustle, were next up. Masterson, who is originally from a small town in northern, Wis., now hails from Milwaukee. He and the Hustle showed off influences of both areas with tunes like “North Country” and the incredibly catchy “Milwaukee Man.” Other standouts included “This Bar is a Prison,” “Loves on Fire,” a duet with Lane, and a couple of new tunes – “Long Way Down the Highway” and “Somewhere in the Middle.”
Lane had top billing. She’s had some recent press resulting from a superb album, All or Nothin’. The album was produced by Black Keys’ front man Dan Auerbach and released on the New West record label in May of this year. She’s also been hyped as a “country rebel.” The reality is, however, she’s hardly a female version of Ryan Adams. To be honest, when she ragged on two women for having a conversation – something half the bar was doing – or went on about pot not being a gateway drug – something it surely can be – it did nothing more than detract from the music. And that’s too bad because Lane has some great songs and a really good band backing her up. Specifically, songs like “Good Man,” “Wild One” and “Sleeping with a Stranger” all sounded terrific. Here’s to hoping that in the future she’ll stick to doing what she does best, playing the alt-country.
All in all, Lane, Lee and Masterson are definitely some up and comers to keep an eye on.