The best shows are the ones where there is no difference between the stage and the floor. This doesn’t mean that there is no stage and the band is just playing on the ground. This means that the band invites people to come up on stage and do what they want. Sounds like a trainwreck, I know. Usually it is a trainwreck but it is the best trainwreck you could ever watch, the best trainwreck you could ever be a part of.

Last night was the Four Year Strong show at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis. I have seen these guys a couple of times before and they bring the energy every time. Most recently, I saw them at The Varsity Theatre back in May (my blog post titled This Will Forever Be My Home). That show was great. Last night was better.

The stage at the Triple Rock is only about three feet off the ground. It is a fairly small venue but that never seems to affect the crowd. Last night was the rowdiest crowd I have ever seen there.

Speak Low if You Speak Love started the show with their calm indie, acoustic-y, pop-punk sound. They sounded great but the crowd wasn’t moving. I think it was a bit expected by the band and it was nice that they didn’t let it affect them. They even called themselves out for being the odd ones out on this tour with two hardcore bands and Four Year Strong. Regardless, they legitimately seemed appreciative that they were on this tour. They got up, played their songs, the crowd clapped and that was it. It was the calm before the storm.

The second Expire took the stage, the crowd went off. Before the first note was even played, the guys in the crowd had started stomping back and forth from side to side of the venue. That’s a sign that you either need to get out of the way, or get your arms up because, pardon my french, shit is about to go down. And down it went. The pit erupted. There were arms flailing, legs kicking, people flying. I quickly assumed the position on the outside of the pit with my arm up in front of me so I wouldn’t get smacked by the flying limbs.

By the time Defeater took the stage, I needed a break from fearing for my life so I stood in back and just watched. A pit like this is something you can not put into words. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, a pit at a show like this is intense, it’s terrifying, and it’s the best place to be. Watching from the outside of a pit doesn’t do it justice. It honestly just looks like a giant brawl. But when you’re in it, it’s you enjoying music with your family. Nobody is trying to hurt anyone (intentionally) and everybody is looking out for everyone else.

After my breather during Defeater, it was time for Four Year Strong and time for me to assume the position in the middle of the crowd, my home away from home.

There was an endless stream of people being carried (there were not enough people to legitimately crowd surf) to the stage where they would proceed to jump into the crowd. Even though there were not many people there to catch the people jumping, people were sure to catch them or at least do their best to make sure they didn’t land on their heads or get seriously injured. I found myself in the thick of it. I became a jumping off point for some people. They would jump on my shoulders and crawl onto the stage from on top of me. I tried my best to catch legs and arms that were flying at me. I was taking care of my family just like everyone else in there.

Four Year Strong encouraged people to come up on stage and jump. It didn’t matter that the power cord has been unplugged already by a jumper. They didn’t care. They just wanted everyone to have a good time and get involved.

The last song they played, they invited everyone to grab the microphone and sing. There was no sight of the band on stage at that point. You could hear them playing but you couldn’t see them. The stage became our stage, the show became our show, and the band members became our family.

I woke up this morning feeling like I got hit by a bus. It is the most fulfilling feeling in the world.

Line Up:

Speak Low If You Speak Love

Expire

Defeater

Four Year Strong

Venue: Triple Rock Social Club

Sausage Fest Meter- 4287 out of 10

Crowd Surfers- There was no way to count this

Broken Bones- 1 busted elbow; 1 concussion (that I noticed)

Drunkards Taken Out By Security- They weren’t serving alcohol

Found in the Pit- Countless flat billed hats, 3 cell phones, 1 shoe– they were all returned to their owners

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