Music is a powerful drug. I will say that until the day I die. Every hard moment of my life has a soundtrack attached to it. Every breakup, every death, every bout of crippling depression I have ever gone through- there’s a song for it. That being said, when I see a friend struggling or going through one of the hardest parts of their life, I can’t help myself but to offer up a live show. Hell, it works for me, and maybe it will work for them. That’s how I ended up at last night’s local metal fest with a friend that knows nothing about metal music nor does she have a desire to know about it. It’s not her scene, not her music but last night it was absolutely everything she needed.

The seven band show kicked off with Los Suenos. A breath of fresh or stale air (depending on how you want to look at it), Los Suenos brought a very 90’s rap-rock vibe to the night. I heard nods to bands like Limp Bizkit and Alien Ant Farm and, although that may sound like not your cup of tea, these guys were selling it. So maybe the music had me questioning the year but I actually kind of loved it. Last night may have been my first introduction to this band but I truly hope it’s not my last!

Following Los Suenos was Soulkeeper- a band that keeps on impressing me a little more every time I see them with last night being no different. Los Suenos’ 90’s vibe was quickly replaced with an intense energy that would reign supreme throughout the rest of the night. With a couple of drinks in us, I could see my friend (who had been holding back tears majority of the day) finally start to let the music take over. She turned to me and said, “You know, I think I’m starting to get it now. I think I get metal music!” And, with that, Soulkeeper powered through their quick set and whisked her and myself into a world that I am honored to call home.

A personal favorite of mine- All That We See- was up next. I have loved watching these kids (and I mean kids) grow into what they are before. Vocalist Evan Gillen stole my heart back when he used to sing in Milestone and continues to win me over with his intensity and talent behind the microphone. I say this everytime that I see All That We See play but there is seriously a huge amount of potential with this band and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are the next to break out of this scene.

An unfamiliar name but with familiar faces was up next. Ultrarare is new to the scene as a band but the members are not. Featuring members of Road of Glass and other local bands from days past, Ultrarare has a sound that I think the local metal scene has been needing. With a unique blend of hip-hop and metal, Ultrarare reminded me a lot of HO99O9 and Marijuana Deathsquads which is a win-win. Their intensity took over the audience and, although some seemed a bit caught off guard with the new sound, everyone seemed to be digging it. It was so nice to see some familiar faces I hadn’t seen in awhile and get to hear a sound that I loved and that this scene so desperately needed. I truly hope these guys keep going and that I get to catch them again sooner rather than later. They may be my new favorite local group.

Coming in hot after Ultrarare was the one and only Terraform. Having seen these guys multiple times before, I knew exactly what to expect- a brutal set full of energy and aggression that easily commands the audience whether you want to be commanded or not and that’s exactly what they gave me. Although my friend and I had been hanging out in the back at the bar, Terraform’s set apparently struck a chord with my friend and within just a few songs I found myself following her towards the stage. Their music is loud, in your face, and abrasive but not over the top. There’s a method to their madness and every note and cymbal hit has a spot where it belongs. To the untrained ear, this may just sound like noise and chaos but these guys are killing it when it comes to their music and it’s perfect.

In Search of Solace, much like Terraform and many of the other bands on the bill, is a band that I have seen almost too many times to count yet never get bored watching. Keeping with the heavy vibes that set the tone for the night, ISOS seems to have this sensitive side that pops in and out throughout their music creating an almost therapeutic set that was exactly what anyone having a bad day, week, month, year or even life would need. The large crowd (at least large for a Sunday night at the dive that is Lee’s Liquor Lounge) was clearly looking to blow off steam and although the pit was small, it was mighty and full of friends and smiles– the way a pit should be.

The reason we all came out last night (other than to just see friends and the great music here in the Twin Cities) was the celebrate all of the accomplishments of local band By The Thousands. It’s been years since the first time I saw these guys and befriended the members. Even through line-up changes, shows that completely flopped, and everything else a band goes through, BTT has stayed a constant in the local scene that is always going out and making us extremely proud to call them one of our own. It had been awhile since I had seen these guys perform but, like a good wine, they are just getting better with age. Their sound was cleaner than I had ever heard before and their live show was more intense and powerful than I had ever seen. Although I could only stay for a few songs due to the alcohol finally catching up to my friend, I walked out of the venue with a smile that stretched from ear to ear knowing that I am a part of one of the best metal communities in the world.

My friend walked into last night’s show only because I thought that it may be some sort of therapy for her like it is for me and I was right. She’s going through one of the toughest times of her life right now but she had a smile on her face as she headbanged (or at least she thought she was headbanging) and moshed (or at least she calls it moshing) through the sets. Live music has always been my drug of choice and my therapy. To see it work on someone else just sort of validates everything I preach to people.

Line-Up:

Los Suenos

Soulkeeper

All That We See

Ultrarare

Terraform

In Search of Solace

By The Thousands

Venue: Lee’s Liquor Lounge

Sausage Fest Meter- 12 out of 10

Average Age of the Crowd- 25

Crowd Surfers- None when I was there (although I hear there was at least one later one)

Moshability- 12 out of 10

Stage Divers- None when I was there

Broken Bones- 0

Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing

Fights- 0

Pukers- 0

Drunkards Taken Out By Security- 0

Celebrity Sightings- Too many to list

Overall Score- 8.7 out of 10

Show on Deck- Sheila E.

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