Minneapolis has an awesome volunteer run radio station that broadcasts all day, every day both online and over the radio waves with the help of normal people who just have a passion for music. KFAI is the definition of DIY. With different shows throughout the day, the people with shows on KFAI are able to play whatever the hell they want and highlight the bands they want. There’s no big brother corporation to tell them what they can and can’t play. It’s seriously whatever the volunteers want to play. One of the shows on KFAI that got my attention was Roar of the Underground. They play local and regional metal and is right up my alley. I somehow connected with Bill, “The Metal Evangelist” and mastermind behind the show. We started talking and he was telling me all about his radio show and the live concerts he had coming up. Well, it’s me and as soon as he started talking about a local metal show I just couldn’t say no.
The show last night was hosted at The Turf Club in Saint Paul which had me excited from the get go. The Turf Club used to be a complete dive I mean, the bathrooms always had an inch of water on the ground and bar was always sticky as shit. It was the perfect place to have some dingy metal shows and the perfect place to just hang out. A couple of years ago First Avenue bought the Turf Club, cleaned it up, and turned it into a super nice venue. Unfortunately, with the working bathrooms and clean bar came a whole new line-up of music. It seemed like the local metal scene was pushed out of the venue as First Avenue brought in national touring acts. Sure, I get the business move but I felt like the metal scene really took a hit with that change over. The fact that last night’s show was being hosted at The Turf Club gave me hope for the future of the local metal scene. I walked into the venue and, although it didn’t quite smell like piss as it did back in the day, it felt like things were getting back to normal and really set the scene for what ended up being an awesome night of local music.
The show started with local thrashers Mutation. As soon as these guys started playing their set, I was hit by just how clean their music was. Their music was super fast at times but never felt frantic. They showed a bit of restraint throughout the set while still keeping it energetic which can’t be the easiest thing to do. I typically tune out during guitar solos of local bands. They sometimes come off as an ego booster for the local musicians where they just want the crowd to clap and cheer or something they just become so repetitive that I completely lose interest but something was different during Mutation’s guitar solos. They were musically interesting and kept my eyes glued to the stage and kept m interest throughout the set. Although I would call them thrashy, they easily bridged the gap between many sub genres in the metal scene and, like the solos, it kept the music interesting and feeling fresh.
After I had my mind blown by Mutation, it was time for Redshift. This local trio had an almost frantic and muddled sound compared to Mutation but it was perfect for what they were playing. Their set started off heavy with drummer Kevin “Shamrock” Shermock screaming into the microphone as the guitarist and bassist played the fast strings of notes with a sense of fury and ferocity. I braced myself for a long set of driving metal music but, within just a couple of songs, Redshift had completely changed their music and, with it, the vibe of the show.
I wouldn’t exactly call what they were playing fusion but it was definitely close. You could hear interesting patterns of notes that sounded like they were straight out of a jazz band while the drums kept a driving pressure against them. Singer Jake Spanier had a voice that seemed to juxtapose the screams from Kevin. The music was layered beautifully and was unlike anything I expected to hear at a show like this. It was awesome to see a metal band that wasn’t afraid to be a bit “not metal” at times and still get appreciation from the crowd. Redshift’s set was intriguing and interesting and, even though they also played for more than enough time for me to get a taste of what they were doing, I would love to see these guys again sooner rather than later. There’s just something about them that has me completely intrigued.
Antiverse was the next band to take the stage. I couldn’t tell if them calling the show a “safe space” when they took the stage was a jab at me or just a coincidence (If you missed it, I wrote a post that went a bit viral about a black metal band that I found completely inappropriate. I wrote that concerts are my “safe space” which apparently was the wrong thing to say. Said band recently named their next tour the “No Safe Spaces” tour and, in doing so, brought up the whole thing again). Whether it was a jab or a coincidence, I didn’t care as soon as they started playing. These guys had a sense of energy that hadn’t been felt previously in the night. With howling guitar solos, driving drums vicious vocals, these guys got the crowd moving. Carl Skildum and Matthew Kirkwold, both on guitar, played together perfectly. It harmonies were beautiful but subtle. The guitars added a layer that could have been easily lost behind singer Rocky De Vries’ voice. Rocky’s voice was powerful to say the least and definitely helped their set full of songs about Stephen King and fantasy novels pack a powerful punch.
Finishing off the night of great local music was Amiensus. Although the drummer is from Green Bay, WI and the rest of the band from Rochester, MN, being able to call these guys “local” would be nothing short of an honor. With a more progressive sound than the rest of the night, these guys finished the show off with a bang. Vocalist James Benson had a truly amazing voice. It was beautiful when it needed to be beautiful yet harsh when it needed to be harsh. It was a perfect balance and made this band stand out. These guys are not new in any way, shape, or form. They had a sense of perfection that you would only get from seasoned musicians and it made them a standout of the night. With three albums out already and one on it’s way, it’s easy to say that these guys aren’t going anywhere any time soon and that makes me more than happy.
Last night’s show was full of bands from a side of the local metal scene that I’ve never really gotten involved in. If they don’t mind, I think I’ll be coming around to these shows more often.
A huge thank you to Bill, “The Metal Evangelist” for inviting me to check out last night!
Venue: Turf Club
Sausage Fest Meter- 9 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd- 27
Crowd Surfers- 0
Broken Bones- 0
Passed Out People – 0
Celebrity Sightings- 0
Overall Score-6 out of 10
Show on Deck- Senses Fail!