I walked into Mill City Nights last night and was greeted by that sticky floor that I have gotten to know so well. I stood there and looked around me. Last night was the last night I will ever see a show at Mill City Nights. I never thought I’d say this but, I’m really going to miss that sticky floor.
Venues are more than just venues to me. They are a second home. I honestly spend more time at various venues in the Twin Cities than I do at my own apartment. The people that work in these places have become my family along with the hundreds of random people I meet in the crowd. I feel comfortable at my venues. I know that no matter what’s going on in my personal life or in the world, I can go to any of the venues here and feel safe and just escape.
I don’t know the whole story as to why Mill City Nights is closing but I suspect it has something to do with how much it costs to run a venue that is only open for shows. Mill City Nights doesn’t have a bar that stays open on “dark nights” so if there is not a show, there is no profit but they still have to pay rent and all of the other bills. Maybe Mill City Nights wasn’t my favorite venue to see shows but that doesn’t change the fact that their staff became my family and their space became my home away from home.
I was running a little bit late last night so I didn’t have much time to reminiscence and get emo about last night being my last show at Mill City Nights before ONI took the stage.
I’ve seen metal bands with accordions, bagpipes, even a hurdy-gurdy but ONI was the first metal band I’ve ever seen with a full-time xylophone player and I must admit, I’m a sucker for a metalhead behind a xylophone. Being a marimbist, I understand the talent that it takes to play a xylophone, let alone headbang while doing so. I understand the pain and the blisters that come with playing with four mallets and it’s not pretty but what Johnny D does with that xylo-synth is nothing short of beautiful.
Can you tell that I’m a bit obsessed with this xylophone thing? Beyond that, ONI’s music is unique. It’s definitely in the vein of progressive-metal like The Human Abstract and Protest the Hero, but at the same time it’s completely different and a beast of it’s own. Frontman Jake Oni has an energy and power behind him that makes their live show really stand out and stick with you. If you ask me, these guys stole the show last night (but I’m also biased because of the xylo-synth).
Abbath was another favorite of mine from last night. These guys may be a fairly new band (having formed last year) but they are already a force to be reckoned with in the black metal scene.
Fronted by Abbath Doom Occulta (okay, that’s not his given name but that sounds so much more intimidating than Olive Eikemo), Abbath has a look and sound that is nothing short of nightmarish. The members all wear various styles of corpsepaint (facepaint that makes you look like a corpse) but Abbath’s has become a bit of a symbol for him and the band. The other members of Abbath were just as intimidating looking as Abbath himself, but they seemed to fade a bit into the fog that had engulfed the venue. Regardless of if you could see the band members or not, you could definitely hear them.
The music of Abbath is chaotic and intense. It hits you like a freight train and leaves you trying to figure out what is actually going on. Even with the chaos, the music still has an element of being organized and felt clean and fairly understandable other than the growled vocals. Even though I really couldn’t understand anything that Abbath said during the songs or in between songs, I felt the conviction and the passion and that is all I need to enjoy a band’s live set.
In between ONI and Abbath was Exmortus. This American metal band has been around since the early 2000’s and has a very loyal following. With a short excerpt of Mozart’s Moonlight Sonata played as an intro to one of their songs, these guys proved that they are beyond talented and are not going anywhere. Their musicality was blatant and their unique blend of all sorts of metal genres definitely had me intrigued.
Headlining last night was Children of Bodom. I have to be honest, all I knew about these guys is that my old roommate, and good friend, has a tattoo of singer Alexi Laiho’s signature on his arm. He obsesses over this band and I just could never really get into it. Being from Finland, chances to see these guys are a bit sparse so I was more than excited to finally get the opportunity last night.
There’s no denying the amount of talent that Alexi has. It’s hard to ignore it as his fingers seem to be moving at light-speed up and down his guitar. When you hear the music of Children of Bodom and hear Alexi’s vocals, the first picture that pops into your head is probably a big burly metal head. I was a bit shocked to realize just how tiny Alexi really is. He’s only about 5’8″ and maybe weighs thirty pounds soaking wet (okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration… this dude is seriously tiny) but the voice and energy he has is truly larger than life.
Children of Bodom powered through their set of Finish melodic death metal as the crowd continued their unrelenting pushing and shoving. Much like Abbath, you could feel the passion coming off of the stage and the passion in the pit swirling around in the area to create the perfect concert environment and what I crave.
As I was walking out of the venue last night, I couldn’t help but get a little nostalgic and start thinking about the many shows and drunken nights I had spent at Mill City Nights. Of course I was a little bit bummed about the loss of one of my many homes away from home, but the Twin Cities has so many amazing venues and places for me to call home that I think I will survive. At least Mill City Nights went out with a good show.
I’m really going to miss those sticky floors.
Venue: Mill City Nights (RIP)
Sausage Fest Meter- 7 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd- 26
Crowd Surfers- 9
Broken Bones- 1 Super Busted Up Nose
Drunkards Taken Out By Security- None
Celebrity Sightings- None
Overall Score-7 out of 10
Show on Deck- Impaler