Live music doesn’t have to be about huge arenas and screaming fans or late nights at crowded rock clubs. Sometimes it’s about connection. I recently had the pleasure of attending an event at Torch, a new performing arts space in Minneapolis that puts the audience-artist connection at the forefront of the experience. It’s a great space with a strong vision, and I am excited to see what’s next there.
I caught the final date in the Raw Deal concert series that ran on Sunday evenings in December and January. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect at Torch, but I couldn’t help but smile when I walked in to find friendly faces and the smell of brownies baking. “Homespun” is the way it is described on the web site, and I think that describes it well. Torch has a homespun feel to it in the most complimentary way possible. This is a venue where you introduce yourself to your fellow audience members and you talk about what brought you there. It’s a venue where you can, not only meet the artist, but also have a conversation with them. When the show started, we all paid attention.
Hannah von der Hoff performed first. Her bluesy style radiated warmth and fit perfectly with the setting. There was no set list. The audience drew the song names from a couple of hats, which kept things conversational and open.
Matt Latterell closed the night with songs that told stories. His album Life on Land has been in regular rotation on the playlist at our house for a while, and my husband and I were happy to have the opportunity to see him perform in a venue like this one.