Friday night was one of those nights where I had a difficult decision to make. I was intrigued by the fact that locals Hippo Campus and Now, Now were able to sell out the Palace Theatre in Saint Paul two nights in a row. I mean, I knew they were bigger names in the scene and are more than just “local bands” at this point but two sold out nights in row? There must be something special there and I wanted to figure out what it was. Just down the street was the album release party for Druid- a local metal band that I keep on telling people will be the next big thing to explode out of the scene. I definitely wanted to be there not only to support them but to back-up my idea of them being the next big thing. I didn’t know what to do. My heart was torn. I couldn’t play the “support local” card because both shows were technically local shows and each bill had bands I had never seen before so I couldn’t use that to make my decision either. I know they say you can’t have your cake and eat it too but I was going to try to do just that.
First up was the Hippo Campus show at The Palace Theatre. Sold out and all ages, it would be safe to say I was a bit annoyed as I weaved through the young crowd and claimed my normal spot against the wall. Now, Now was the first of the two bands to take the stage. They instantly whisked me away to an indie-pop world full of infectious beats and sing-a-long moments. Their set was quick but definitely packed a punch and had me in the mood to dance and get lost in a sea of youngsters while pretending like I knew what was going on around me.
Following Now, Now was Hippo Campus. Hippo Campus may be a fairly new band having only started back in 2013 and with only two full length albums, but they are clearly making waves in the national scene. I honestly never understood why. Sure, their music was fine but it really did nothing for me. One of the main reasons I wanted to go to the show was to figure out what it was that had this band’s name up in stars instead of being just another local group trying their best to stay together. Within the first song, it all made sense. The screams as the young band took the stage were deafening and the excitement that filled the sold out venue couldn’t be ignored. I may not have been able to sing along to every word like the people around me but I definitely felt the emotion that every word held for majority of the audience. The up-beat music had me in my happy place and had me wondering if it was really worth it for me to hop to another show. The infectious beats had me tapping my toes and bobbing my head. I honestly could have stood there all night lost in the indie-pop world but, alas, I had my cake in hand and I still had to eat it.
After pushing my way through the young crowd that was less than helpful when it came to creating a path for me to get out, I found myself dumped onto the street of Saint Paul and hustling to get down the block in time to catch at least the last two bands at the Druid album release party. Although I felt like I was part of something, it didn’t feel like home at The Palace Theatre. That changed the second I walked into The Amsterdam Bar & Hall. I was instantly greeted by friends from the metal scene that I hadn’t seen in a couple months. Although exhausted, I felt a sigh of relief as I walked into the venue side of Amsterdam and heard the sweet sounds of the local metal scene.
Time Keeper was up as soon as I got in and instantly whisked me away from my sing-a-long world that I had been in for the past couple of hours and into a world of aggression (the good type) and raw emotion. Their set was intense and in your face without coming off as hostile or dangerous. That vibe matched the crowd. Although there were plenty of people kicking and swinging their way through the pit that opened up in the audience, nobody was trying to hurt anyone and every kick to the butt of a fellow audience member was all in good fun. I couldn’t help but have a giant cheesy smile creep across my face as I watched all this go down. Sure, Hippo Campus may be a local band that sold out the huge venue that is The Palace Theatre, but here I was watching Time Keeper play to a surprisingly large audience full of people that were there to support the bands, not just watch. It was heart warming to say the least.
Following Time Keeper’s short set was a much anticipated performance from local metal band Druid. I’ve watched these guys grow over the past couple of years and have been saying that they will be the next big thing to break out of the local scene since day one. Last night was just a good reminder of why I think that and almost reassured me that my thoughts on these guys are correct. They blasted into their set with a sense of force and power that I had never seen them have before. I instantly leaned over to my buddy standing next to me and all I could say was, “Holy. Shit.” My jaw was on the ground throughout their short yet powerful set. Not only was their energy higher than I had ever seen before, their sound was cleaner than I had ever heard before. Vocalist Noah Lecuyer seemed to attack every word with a sense of precision that I had never heard him have before. Every note played by the other four members was played right where it belonged and was played with a sense of conviction. Everything about Druid’s set from the music to their stage presence was methodical without coming off as fake or rehearsed. It just wet to prove that, as I suspected since day one, Druid is just one of those uber talented bands that has “it”.
After playing through their quick set, the audience was left pleading with the band for one more song. Noah explained that they literally had nothing else to perform but, if the audience wanted, they could go into a bit of a jam session with just one epic breakdown. The crowd (myself included) honestly didn’t care what we got, we just wanted more. The band obliged and ended the set with an improvised breakdown that lasted minutes. As the music faded out and the “after show mosh” wound down, I found myself a little bummed that I didn’t just spend my whole night at Amsterdam for this show. I had everyone telling me what I had missed and I was honestly super bent out of shape having missed some of the other great local bands that this metal scene has to offer. That being said, I set out to have my cake and eat it too and that’s exactly what I accomplished.
Last night proved that the Twin Cities are exactly where I belong right now. It doesn’t matter what type of music you’re into, there’s something here for you. It goes without saying but, #oursceneisbetterthanyours regardless of what scene you’re in.
Sausage Fest Meter- Palace Theatre: 6 out of 10// Amsterdam: 10 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd- Palace Theatre: 12// Amsterdam: 22
Crowd Surfers- Palace Theatre: None// Amsterdam: 1
Moshability- Palace Theatre: None// Amsterdam: 10 out of 10
Danceability- Palace Theatre: 9 out of 10// Amsterdam: 2 out of 10
Stage Divers- Palace Theatre: None// Amsterdam: 1
Broken Bones- Palace Theatre: None// Amsterdam: None
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Palace Theatre: None// Amsterdam: None
Fights- Palace Theatre: None// Amsterdam: None
Pukers- Palace Theatre: One// Amsterdam: None
Drunkards Taken Out By Security- Palace Theatre: 4 Underagers// Amsterdam: None
Celebrity Sightings- Palace Theatre: None// Amsterdam: Jerrid of Royal’z, DJ of Buried Above Ground
Overall Score- Palace Theatre: 7.5 out of 10 // Amsterdam: 9.7 out of 10
Show on Deck- Louis the Child
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