One Girl, Two Cities

Raw Deal with Hannah von der Hoff & Ashley Gold

I went to a concert at someone’s house on Sunday, and I’m pretty sure that was a first for me. The space has been christened TORCH by Jennifer Chilstrom and Hannah von der Hoff, so named for an original piece of stained glass that adorns the front door of their home on Hennepin in Uptown. I’m hoping to sit down and chat with them soon to get a little more information on who they are and what they’re envisioning about the space. For now, this post is about the show!


Sunday morning I received an email with the address and it turned out to be mere minutes from my apartment. Hannah and Jennifer basically turned the lower level of their house into a performance space that holds approximately 50 people. Lit by pretty white holiday lights encasing the mic stand, Hannah performed first, just her and her guitar. I couldn’t help but be drawn in by her soulful, bluesy voice. They’ve titled this concert series “Raw Deal” because it’s a quite casual format; someone even offered that Hannah’s guitar was too loud after her first song, which she graciously took note of and corrected. After her set, the ladies brought out brownies they had just made (admittedly, from a box but kudos for having a gluten-free option!) and everyone spent some time chatting while Ashley Gold and crew set up.

I had tweeted about the show earlier in the day and Ashley replied to say I should introduce myself, so I took this time to do so (yep, while she was setting up, I’m a very rude person as it turns out). Ashley was so kind and gracious; it’s not often you get an opportunity like this which is part of what makes Raw Deal so special. Both ladies mentioned what a change it was to be playing for a room full of people who are actually all paying attention. As Ashley put it, “Basically this is awesome and I’m scared.”

ashleyBacking her up during the set was a keyboardist, drummer & stand-up bass player and they all have great chemistry together. Everyone was featured during the set in turn, and I loved the playful rapport between Ashley and the bass player. They were all good about making the audience feel included, too – we even started with some deep breathing which was amusing.

If you’re a person who even remotely likes live music, check out a Raw Deal show whether you know the artist or not. You can bring in your own alcohol, and you can choose your price with a minimum of $10 which is a steal for this kind of performance. Keep in mind the limited seating and snatch up a spot; this isn’t the kind of experience you’re going to come across very often.

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