Going to a new venue is like a first date and last night was my first date with The Fillmore in Minneapolis. I was nervous as I weaved through traffic on unfamiliar roads and my anxiety rose as I parked in an unfamiliar parking lot. My palms were sweaty as I stalked the cold and fairly empty streets of a part of downtown I’ve never walked before but as soon as I saw the lit up building, all anxiety was put to ease. The line to get into the venue was inviting complete with heaters and security working like a well oiled machine to get the sold out crowd into the venue in a timely manner. For only being the first week of operation for this venue, I was more than impressed and, after going through security, I found a sense of comfort and instantly felt at home at this new venue. I guess it helped that I was about to see one of the few bands that has stuck with me since my high school years. It was almost like being on a first date with your best friend at a different table just keeping an eye on you. I walked into the giant room with the stage and just took in my surroundings.
My timing was next to perfect and I found what is sure to be my “normal spot” just in time for opening act Why Not to take the stage. Why Not is one of those bands that I had never heard of prior to the show but instanty wondered how they had completely slipped under my radar. Their music was unique and blended a lot of elements to create a perfectly imperfect sound that was absolutely my jam. There was a sense of intensity to their music and vocals at times but, at other times, they came off as a more typical pop-punk group. Their set may have been short but it packed a punch and Why Not officially hit my radar.
People seemed a bit confused when the stage was cleared and set up for another opening act. I have to be honest, I was a little surprised too since I thought it was just one opener and then the headlining act but that surprise turned to excitement as soon as I saw vocalist Tony Esposito of White Reaper take the stage. Much like Why Not, White Reaper has one of those sounds that can’t quite be classified. A little pop-punk, a little garage punk, a little surf rock and a whole lot of fun, their music is all over the place and getting to see them perform again was an absolute treat. I’ve caught them a few times and everytime I see them, I’m thoroughly impressed with their sound and perfection. They are one of those bands that is clearly grinding and working hard and it’s so nice to see all of that work and that grind starting to pay off. They got people talking last night and it’s just a matter of time until they are headlining shows like last night’s.
Although both openers were great, I was at the show for one main reason– a nostalgia fueled night with the one and only Motion City Soundtrack and that’s exactly what I got. Motion City Soundtrack was one of the first bands I ever took my little brother to see. I remember it vividly along with every other time I saw the Minneapolis act come down to Des Moines, Iowa to play the small clubs that I frequented. Sure, it’s not the early 2000’s anymore and I no longer have to deal with the humiliation of my dad dropping me off at the concert and then begging him to drop me off at Perkins for a late night snack after but, other than that, not much has changed. Motion City Soundtrack took the stage and I was instantly flooded with all of the memories of going to see them back in the day with my friends in tow and an endless flow of Cherry Cokes (it was my drink of choice back then).
MCS’s setlist was next to perfect. They focused on the older songs that I somehow still remember every word to but also played some tracks from their older albums that just never stuck with me like their early works did. Sadly I didn’t get to hear “Capital H” but I got to hear “Make Out Kids” which is almost as good. I wasn’t the only one eating up the setlist and, within the first few words of their opening song “Attractive Today”, I found myself in a sea of people having the same nostalgia filled evening as myself refusing to let any word slip through the cracks. There were multiple times throughout their twenty one song set where vocalist Justin Courtney Pierre would step away from the microphone and just let the audience take over. Although this happens frequently at shows, there was something magical about these moments last night. Maybe it was the fact that I was so lost in a cloud of nostalgia or maybe it was because people were just going nuts but it was goosebump inducing.
I’ve lost count of how many times I have seen MCS but it never gets old. From the way keyboardist Jesse Johnson freaks out between every note he plays including a handstand attempt at one point to the way guitarist Joshua Cain and bassist Matthew Taylor just seem to be in their own little worlds throughout the set or the way drummer Tony Thaxton never misses a beat– sure, times have changed but Motion City hasn’t and the amount of comfort I (and clearly the rest of the audience on Saturday night) take in that is beyond words. My heart broke when the band anounced they were done in 2016 and I definitely cried as I saw them for what I thought would be the last time at Riot Fest in Chicago so being able to witness their genius again was just what I needed for my Saturday night.
Saturday night was my first date with the Fillmore and although I’m not typically one for first dates, this one was one for the record books. What a great show at a great venue setting the stage for a flawless Saturday night.
Venue: The Fillmore
Sausage Fest Meter- 7 out of 10
Smell-O-Meter – Weed and Beer
Average Age of the Crowd- 30
Crowd Surfers- 5 Spotted
Nostalgia-ability- 9.9 out of 10
Stage Divers- None
Broken Bones- None
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Bodies, Drinks
Fights- None Witnessed
Pukers- None Witnessed
Passed Out Drunkards- None Witness
Idiots Taken Out By Security- None
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before-
Why Not- 0
White Reaper- 2
Motion City Soundtrack- 30 (or something around there)
Celebrity Sightings- None
Overall Score- 9.2 out of 10
Show on Deck- Machine Head
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