Every band or musician, before it achieves breakout and begins its ascent, goes through a proving ground phase, and for the Twin Cities-based Reina del Cid, that period was a two-year stretch performing at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall in downtown St. Paul.
The night the band began its residency, Reina del Cid — that’s the name of the band, and the lead singer — played in front of a crowd of one, if you don’t count the bartender, and that one person was Reina’s best friend. But week after week, the band played, and week after week, the audience grew as the bar’s regulars stopped in and later brought their friends.
And by the end of the second year, Reina del Cid had moved its performances from the bar to the more spacious hall and the crowds were near-capacity. And it was time to move on to the next stage.
“When we emerged after like two years, we were a different band,” del Cid said.
Reina del Cid will play Wednesday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the season finale of the Americana Showcase at Rochester Civic Theatre. Also performing will be Rochester’s Six Mile Grove.
Since ending their residency, the folk rock band has toured nationally, released its first album, “The Cooling,” in 2015, shot a music video in Iceland and is working on material for another album that will be released next year. And strong reviews have been rolling in.
“One of the hotter new bands in the Twin Cities … Infectiously folksy and fiendishly fun,” the Star Tribune reported.
One question Reina gets all the time is about the name itself. Reina del Cid? What does it describe? Does it apply to her or the band? The answer is both, although it started out as her stage name. But as the band’s popularity grew, fans began to apply it to the band as well.
“I think it’s cool that it is both,” Reina said. “Because of all the shows we played together in the last few years, it has come together to be more just the band. I’m just one part of it.”
Another transformation, other than the growing elasticity of the band’s name, was the band itself. It ended up with a different lineup of performers by the end of the residency than the one it started with. Band members now include lead guitarist Toni Lindgren, drummer Zach Schmidt and bassist Andrew Foreman.
Reina del Cid is described as a folk-rock band, but Reina says that the band’s rock sound comes through more in the band’s live performances.
“Toni Lindgren, the lead guitar player, just plays killer electric guitar,” she said. “Just kind of brings down the house at the live show. It doesn’t always come through in the recording. But there’s a certain energy that goes along with it. It’s a rock-influenced sound.”
What: Season finale of Americana Showcase featuring Twin Cities-based Reina del Cid and Rochester’s Six Mile Grove.
When: 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 18
Where: Rochester Civic Theatre
Tickets: $19 in advance, $24 at the door.