It’s no shock that I am a nostalgia seeker. It’s not that I enjoy living in the past but there is no denying that I find a complete sense of comfort in the music from my past. Whether it was a band that had a major role in defining who I am to today or a band that just had that one song that was on repeat for awhile because, well, it was a banger… those are the bands I gravitate to when it comes to live shows. Don’t get it twisted– I love new music and definitely go check out some of the latest and greatest bands out there but when given the choice between a night off and a chance to see that one band that played that one song from back in the day well…

Local band (well Elk River, Minnesota based but I’m calling them local) All Four Inches got the night started a bit earlier than advertised forcing me to miss majority of their set. Although I was late to the party, I was able to catch a couple of songs from this group and instantly realized that this would be a band to watch. Their set definitely wasn’t perfect but after the singer explained that this was his first set with the band and had only actually been part of the group for about a a week and a half, it all made sense. Sure, there’s a lot of polishing that needs to be done with this band but I saw the potential and the stars in their eyes and that was all I really needed. Their sound was reminiscent of bands from back in the day like Silverstein but it didn’t feel old or recycled. All Four Inches could be the fresh face this scene needs.

Halcyon Wander took the stage next and I was instantly captivated by their performance. Think Being as an Ocean meets a bit of Hotel Books with a whole lot of Underoath energy and you will get close to what Halcyon Wander was giving the audience but also not exactly what it was. They are definitely a band with their own sound and that sound stands out in the local scene. There was something painfully real about their music and that was only magnified as the singer took a moment to remind everyone in the audience that they were needed and special. The topic of mental health is a hard one to talk about especially when on a stage but these guys did it perfectly. The raw and real emotions conveyed during their quick preach about everyone’s lives having a purpose was matched only by the emotions in the music which lead to a truly impressive and powerful set. I have my eyes on these guys. They have all of the makings of the next big band to break out of this local scene.

The first of the two touring bands was up next and much like Halcyon Wander, they instantly had me captivated but for a different reason. The amount of energy that Wolves at the Gate had as they stormed the stage was unreal. It may have been a Wednesday night and the crowd definitely wasn’t sold out (although there were a lot more people than I had expected) but nothing held this band back. The Ohio based metalcore band powered through their set with a sense of fury, chaos and passion that left no survivors. They called out the elephant in the room and explained that they knew they were quite a bit different than the headlining act but that they appreciated everyone’s attentiveness and support. Honestly, with the show and energy that these guys have, they could be playing with Tony Bennett and would still be gaining fans left and right. Just like the two previous acts, the passion that Wolves at the Gate has for their music and fans is undeniable and that’s truly what this game is all about.

Sadly, that passion took a turn towards the end of their set. I won’t drag this on as I have gotten into this before but there is a time and place for a sermon on Jesus Christ. Personally, I don’t think a concert is that place. I have zero problems with religious bands and honestly, as a Jew, am a bit jealous that there aren’t more Jewish metal bands (shout out to YidCore– one of the few Jewish punk bands that I’ve found) but I think a sermon about Jesus that lasts, not a minute, but minutes is a bit too much. Again, I’m not trying to start a fight and I know I’ve brought this up before but please just let this serve as a reminder that there may be people of other faiths in your crowd. Go ahead and say your prayers and let everyone know why you do what you do but please don’t go on and preach for the length of a song (or two). It can make some people in the audience feel extremely uncomfortable.

Closing out the night was Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Full disclosure, this is one of those bands where I literally only know their one song. That one song came in the form of “Face Down” back in 2006. It was a truly amazing song and one that still, to this day, gets stuck in my head out of nowhere. Sadly, this band just didn’t stick with me but it made me so damn happy to learn that they are still out there and doing their thing. Since their 2006 release that had “Face Down” on it (‘Don’t You Fake It’), this band has continued to put out music including four other albums with one as recent as last year. I haven’t spent any time digging into their newer material but it was clear while listening to them perform last night that this band has stayed true to that sound that made them a breakout hit in the mid 2000’s.

Although the things have definitely changed in the 16 years that this band has been in existence, there was still a sense of comfort that I got while watching original vocalist Ronnie Winter sing his heart out. Their set was full of energy and a sense of nostalgia but also a sense of respect for those in the crowd that had clearly been with the band since day one. Their set may have been short with only around a dozen songs in it, but it definitely packed a punch and clearly gave the audience everything that they wanted and needed.

All in all, last night was a great show. Sure, there were moments I could have done without but every single band that took the stage last night had a sense of a passion about them that was exactly what I look for at every show I go to.

Line Up:

All Four Inches

Halcyon Wander

Wolves at the Gate

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

Venue: Amsterdam Bar & Hall

Sausage Fest Meter- 5 out of 10

Average Age of the Crowd- 19

Crowd Surfers- 0

Mosh-Ability- 4 out of 10 but nobody was really moving

Stage Divers- 0

Broken Bones- 0

Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing

Fights- 0

Pukers- 0

Drunkards Taken Out By Security- 0

Celebrity Sightings- None

Overall Score- 6.1 out of 10

Show on Deck- 80/35 Festival in Des Moines, Iowa

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