Every time it started raining yesterday, my heart broke a little more. I mean, let’s be honest, I wasn’t going to miss last night’s show, but it would be a lot more enjoyable if my friend and I didn’t have to sit in the pouring rain to enjoy it. Thankfully, the rain held off and it almost got nice out as we made our way to south Minneapolis and the beautiful Hook and Ladder Theater and I felt the weight of a week lift off of me as we walked through the gate and got to our seats. I know I went on and on about this after the show on Friday but I truly can not explain to you how nice it is to be back at shows and last night was absolutely no exception to that.

Before I get into the music, let me just say how perfect everything about the layout of this show was. As soon as my friend and I got checked in, we were taken to our seats by a wonderful volunteer who gave us the lay of the land. Bathrooms inside, food on the other side of the building, bar inside, wear your mask. I mean, he didn’t have to tell us that last part but just knowing that this venue is still very covid conscious even though mandates are dropping and things are getting even closer to normal was super comforting. Everyone working seemed to truly be excited to be there and, after a suggestion on an amazing local cider from the bartender, it was off to the races.

A personal favorite of mine, Whiskey Rock ‘n’ Roll Club MPLS, kicked the night off and definitely got it started right. These guys have such a great sound and I fell in love with them the first time I saw them years ago. Now, even after over a year off, they haven’t changed a bit and I absolutely adored that. Their set, although short and sweet, absolutely packed a punch. On our way to the show, my friend was asking me what kind of music it was and I just kept on saying good ol’ fashioned rock n’ roll. I don’t think she quite believed me because I’m the queen of tricking friends into metal shows but, as the band played through the set, I’m pretty sure she got it. There’s something classic about this band’s sound but it’s not retro. It’s fun and in your face but not aggressive. However you chose to describe Whiskey Rock ‘n’ Roll Club MPLS’ music, one word that will surely come up is energy. Yeah, this was a seated show but it absolutely didn’t feel or sound like that. Everything about this opening set was perfect from the energy felt in the air to the hooting and hollering coming from the audience.

Black Widows were up next and, I’ll be honest, this is one of those bands that I have heard a lot of hype about but have never gotten the chance to see live. Well, after seeing them live, I get the hype. This trio had me sold from the second they took the stage with their amazing matching outfits and light-up shoes. Their surfy-punk sound played off the energy of the opening set but also brought a whole new vibe that was laid back and just made you smile. Powerful vocals and fuzzy guitars are the name of the game when it comes to Black Widows but there’s also something so much more about this band. They play with such conviction and clearly take their music seriously while still having fun which was so great to see. I may not have known what the hype around Black Widows was about before last night but I get it now!

Every band that played last night was great and had a stellar set but it was Low Rats that stole the show for me. Rightfully so too. Last night was their ‘Year of the Rat MMXX’ release party. I’ll be honest, this is another band I knew nothing about before last night’s show but they have been all I’ve thought about since. The second the vocalist came out on stage, my friend and I couldn’t help but laugh. Maybe that was the cider laughing but there was just something so cliche about his look that came complete with sunglasses even though it was far from sunny. We may have been laughing but the second he grabbed that microphone and the band kicked into their first song, my attitude changed. Sure, he was acting up the cliche lead singer persona but this band meant business. Their sound is almost rockabilly infused with moments of pure punk surrounded by more standard rock anthemic-ness. The band seemed to be a bit all over the place as far as the stage goes. You ever see a band and think, “Dang, I want to see these guys at a house show!”, that was my thought throughout this set. There’s a DIY spirit attached to Low Rats (which probably came to my mind as they hung up a banner that looked just like printer paper with the letters L-O-W-R-A-T-S printed on them) that somehow blends perfectly with their apparently talent. Their vibe is dirty and has a punk edge but it’s not intimidating or aggressive. An intense and perfect cover of “I Put a Spell On You” (originally by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins) was just the icing on the cake when it came to this band’s set and although last night was my first experience with this group, I swear it will not be my last.

Ending the night was Melk Boys. I won’t even try to play cool here, I’ve never heard this band before seeing them on this line-up but I loved how they took the stage and instantly started bringing up a corporate vs. punk theme as they stood there in mostly button-ups and just looking a little bit more “accountant” than the previous acts. Even though the look had shifted, the sound had not. Melk Boys have a great good ol’ fashioned rock sound that boomed through the alley and gave the audience one last blast of energy before ending the night and forcing us all to go back to the reality that it was only Thursday night and most of us still had to get up and work the next morning. I’ll be honest, I was fading fast through Melk Boys’ set. It’s not that it was bad, more that I have just fallen so out of my old routine that I was exhausted and may have had one too many drinks and had reached my wall a bit earlier than expected. My apologies to Melk Boys but I promise to come see you guys again and be a bit more attentive and awake!

I want to thank everyone who was there last night or had a hand in the show. From the talented performers to the amazing staff to the wonderful crowd– my life is coming back slowly but surely and last night was a reminder of just how amazing this summer is going to be.

Live music is back people– get out there and enjoy it!

Line Up:

Whiskey Rock ‘n’ Roll Club MPLS

Black Widows

Low Rats

Melk Boys

Venue: The Hook and Ladder

Sausage Fest Meter- 7 out of 10

Smell-O-Meter – The sweet aroma of Gentleman Forager Eats

Average Age of the Crowd- 37

Crowd Surfers- None

Dance-ability- 7 out of 10

Stage Divers-  None

Broken Bones- None

Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing

Fights- None Witnessed

Pukers- None Witnessed

Passed Out People- None Witnessed

Idiots Taken Out By Security- None Witnessed

How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-

Whiskey Rock ‘n’ Roll Club MPLS- 3

Black Widows- 0

Low Rats- 0

Melk Boys- 0

Celebrity Sightings- Nato Coles of Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band; The always lovely and beautiful Brenda- booking agent extordinaire

Overall Score- 10 out of 10

Show on Deck- Yam Haus

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