Being able to check out a new venue is always fun. Being able to watch a truly jaw-dropping, awesome show at a new venue is a treat. I got to do both of those things last night and it was absolutely amazing.
The Parkway Theater is a bit off of the beaten path. It’s in a residential area just outside of downtown Minneapolis on a very unassuming street. With one of my favorite Mexican restaurants right next door, it’s the perfect place to grab dinner and catch a show with a friend so that’s exactly what Jessica and I did. After eating far too many tacos, enchiladas and chips at Pepito’s to the point where we were uncomfortably full, it was time to check out The Parkway.
We walked into a very small make-shift bar area and were instantly greeted by members of the bands and the promoter. Jessica, who works with me at the other blog, knew one of the bands and the singer of the headlining act because of the work she has done with them before but I was going in blind. I instantly felt welcomed as I walked in the door and was bombarded with new faces and hand shakes. It was one of the best atmospheres I have found myself in a good while and set the tone for the night.
We passed by the small bar that was in the lobby and made our way into the theater part of the venue. It was exactly what I wanted it to be. It was a movie theater with a stage in front of the giant screen and a couple rows of the classic theater seats missing towards the front. It wasn’t perfect, it felt old and a bit run down, but it had so much character that it was absolutely the perfect place to catch a show. I was more than impressed by how great the bands sounded in there and the way they looked. With professional lights and a sound guy that clearly knows what he’s doing, it took me awhile to get over how amazing this venue was. Once I let it set in a little bit, I claimed a spot towards the front and started actually paying attention to the music.
ImLazarus opened up the show but, unfortunately, times were listed wrong on the website and even though it said that music was at 8, the music had actually started at 7:30. My apologies to these guys but after hearing so many people buzzing about ImLazarus and seeing all of the merchandise that was already being worn throughout the audience, I promise to catch you again sooner rather than later.
The first band Jessica and I caught was If Eye May. Like the other bands that would take the stage after them, If Eye May had a vibrant feeling to them. They were bright eyed and bushy tailed and seemed genuinely happy to be on that stage playing for the good sized crowd that had come out. Although their music sounded like it could have fit perfectly in the 90’s alternative scene (their next to perfect cover of Everclear’s “Santa Monica” solidified this idea), there was still a sense of youth to it that was nothing short of refreshing. Their set seemed short, or I just didn’t want it to end, whatever it was, I really loved these guys and hope to catch them again soon!
As great as these guys were, what happened next had my jaw on the ground and my phone in my hands to get the word out about Eagle Trace, the next band to take the stage. This band of brothers (four of them are literally brothers) with an added friend may be one of the best bands I’ve seen in quite awhile. Hailing from Milwaukee, these guys had an attitude and energy that was nothing short of electric. Their music and the dance moves of their tall and lanky singer were quirky and full of personality. Their sound was much more in the indie-pop vein of things but, at the same time, I hate to classify them as anything other than fun. To say their set was enjoyable would be an understatement and I was truly bummed out when it came to an end. Later on in the night, Jessica and I ran into the guy who put on the show and we couldn’t help but beg him to bring these guys back to the Twin Cities sooner rather than later. When they do come back, you absolutely have to come check them out with me. I promise you will not be disappointed.
As the stage was being turned over for XIII Arrows, we decided to go outside for some air. The air conditioning didn’t seem to be working all that well in The Parkway so we figured we’d go outside to cool off a bit completely forgetting that summer has finally hit Minnesota and it was nearly 90 degrees out. With no relief from the heat, we headed back in and were greeted by XIII Arrows.
Jessica had put a bug in my ear about these guys a couple of months ago and I was excited to see what the hype was. As soon as I saw and heard singer Mike Borrell, all I could think was Frank Turner. He had the look, the sound, and the attitude that made me fall in love with Frank Turner the first time I saw him and, because of that, I was instantly falling head over heels for XIII Arrows. Their upbeat music fit the line-up perfectly and they were able to keep the energy steady from Eagle Trace. Their sound was a bit more straight up rock & roll with some bluesy undertones to it. It was groovy, it was fresh, it was fun, and, most importantly, it was clean. Mike’s vocals were absolutely on point. There were times when they sounded raspy but other times when they were super smooth. Every song they played had a different feeling to it but, when put together into a set, had a cohesive feel to it. The diversity kept their set feeling exciting and kept me interested. Being a fairly new band in the scene, after seeing them last night it became clear that these guys will be one of the next big things to come out of the cities. Don’t miss your chance to jump on them before they get too big!
As if the night wasn’t already amazing enough, there was still one more band to go- Boomtown Riot. Jake Kemble, the singer and dancer of the group, was a familiar face for me. He was the singer of the now defunct local group Kick. I had only gotten to see Kick once but was struck by Jake’s energy and his stage presence. You could be having the worst day of your life– watching Jake on stage will make you smile. The music of Boomtown Riot was a unique take on basic rock & roll. The band seemed to take a backseat to Jake’s larger than life personality but there is no denying the talent that is in this band. They all work so well together and create a truly beautiful thing to listen to and watch. To say Jake’s voice is versatile would be an understatement and that gave the music a super unique feel to it. With falsettos that would make majority of singers cringe and a smoothness that was undeniably impressive, it’s easy for me to say that you should be expecting big things from these guys.
As Jessica and I were leaving for the night, we heard “Bye Ma!” ring out from in front of the venue. It was one of the Eagle Trace brothers bidding his proud mother adieu. That right there said everything about last night that needs to be said. It was a perfect show with a perfect atmosphere. It was a truly perfect night.
Not only did I find my new favorite venue in the cities, I found a couple new favorite bands. I love it when nights work out like that!
Venue: Parkway Theater
Average Age of the Crowd- 27
Crowd Surfers- 0
Broken Bones- 0
Passed Out People – 0
Celebrity Sightings- Colin Campbell of the Shackletons
Overall Score- 11 out of 10
Show on Deck- Ben Nichols (of Lucero)/ Molly Maher