I am a creature of habit. I like “my spots”, “my bartenders”, and “my bathroom” at “my venues”. It may shock you to find out (although it won’t be a shock if you actually know me) that I am a very shy person and just like to be completely familiar with my surroundings. I have little rituals for every show. I have the places I stand, the bartenders I look for– again, a creature of habit so it was a bit rough for me to walk into Dark Horse Bar & Eatery for a show on Thursday night not knowing anything about the spot. I didn’t know what the layout was, where the bathrooms were, and if I would be sitting or standing. Everything was up in the air and all I could do was take a deep breath as my boyfriend and I showed our IDs and Covid cards and walked in. I saw the Triple Rock sign straight ahead from the door and my whole body calmed down. I may not have been in the space before but I instantly felt at home and ready for one hell of a punk rock show.
Kicking the night (and I mean night as the show didn’t start until nearly 10 PM) off was a local favorite of, well, everyone, Butcher’s Union. Featuring members of Dillinger Four, this band has that distinct Dillinger Four sound and style while bringing something new and fresh to the table. Although unfamiliar with their tracks, there was something so familiar about this band just due to seeing both Paddy and Billy on the stage and I loved every second of it. The addition of Christy from Pink Mink was just the icing on the cake. The way her energy and vocals blended in with the D4-influenced sound really made it something special. I think I have seen Butcher’s Union one other time but it was a fluke where I had just stumbled (quite literally) into one of their shows and just honestly didn’t appreciate it the way I should have. I definitely appreciated their opening set on Thursday so it broke my heart when they announced it would be one of their last shows as their drummer is taking the leap into working for the post office. I really hope they don’t actually stop being a band with the change but, if they do, I am honest to God just so grateful to have had a chance to check them out one last time.
Following the local legends was Bacchae from Washington, DC. These guys looked super young as they took the stage but, as soon as they jumped into their set, they came off as seasoned professionals. Even with that professional vibe, there was something so fun about watching this band. Vocalist/ keyboardist Katie McD had this way of commanding your attention and eyes without even asking for it. Honestly, I spent all of their set with my eyes darting from member to member just trying to figure out this band but it was Katie that had me stuck from time to time. There was something so sweet and innocent about her at times but, at other times, the power that she had in her voice left me in complete awe. Beyond that, the way she utilized the entirety of the stage and even the gate (formerly from Uptown Bar) that acted a bit like a “ledge” on the stage made their set super fun to watch. Overall, their sound felt a bit light compared to the other two acts on the bill but it somehow fit perfectly and, when all was said and done, the conversations throughout the venue had turned from pleasantries and strangers becoming friends to praise for this up-and-coming band.
Things got a little bit weird as the stage was turned over for PEARS, the headliner of the night. There was an individual at this show who was clearly having a good time but it was obvious within the first set that maybe he was having too good of a time. Things really escalated just as PEARS was about to take the stage and I don’t know what exactly happened but I did notice him being asked to leave by the staff and responding by taking his shirt off. A bit of a weird situation but staff acted swiftly and calmly and got the gentleman out of the venue but said gentleman must have decided to throw a bit of a fit or something and ended up cracking one of the front windows of the bar. Obviously, everyone in the venue was a little concerned for his well-being but I think there was a collective sigh of relief as he was led out of the venue and PEARS was able to take the stage (after a couple of comments about the events that had just unfolded of course).
Where to begin with PEARS. I honestly don’t remember how I stumbled upon this band but they were one of the main reasons I made my way to Las Vegas last year for Punk Rock Bowling. Their live shows are dynamic, to say the least, and their sound is unique while being completely familiar at the same time. Basically, everything about this band is perfect and I was reminded of that as I watched them power through their late-night set on Thursday. Although the crowd was modest, there was an undeniable sense of energy throughout the beautiful venue. From the stage to the audience, it was quite obvious that everyone who had made it out so late was getting a true treat. There were many moments throughout the show that had the audience roaring in laughter and others that had the audience pushing and shoving their way through tracks. Regardless of what was happening, there wasn’t a single frown throughout the place and that was seriously the biggest takeaway from the show.
From a comment about the band’s friend Bobby Tommy (AKA Rob Thomas) before the band broke into a hysterical cover of “Smooth” by Santana and Bobby Tommy to their explanation of spending covid trying to break into the jingle world of things by doing a “Pears does Korn does a Hormel chili jingle”, there were literal tears welling up in my eyes just from laughing so much. “If you’re feeling really silly, put sone Korn in your chili!”. I mean, how can you not laugh at that. Although I was definitely at the show to get my fill of PEARS’ amazing music, the personalities that shined throughout the set made it feel like a super special and intimate show. Although it was far past my bedtime and I was in an unfamiliar place, it felt like home throughout PEARS’ set and I can’t thank them enough for that.
The show was absolutely amazing and the setting was pure perfection but one of the best moments of the evening for me was meeting one of the owners of Dark Horse. He was outside as my boyfriend, a friend and I stepped out to get some air and he instantly came up to me commenting on the color coordination between my glasses and earrings. He went on to explain who he was and I feel like it just added to the unfamiliar venue instantly feeling like home. It was clear that he was there to enjoy the show and I think that’s super important as a venue owner and booker. Again, just a small moment in a night full of amazing moments but it was one that definitely stuck out to me. If you’re a local to the Twin Cities, I highly suggest stopping by Dark Horse Bar & Eatery on 7th in Saint Paul. Even if it’s not for a show, just stop by for some drinks and food.
Venue: Dark Horse Bar & Eatery
Smell-O-Meter: Just a slight hint of BO
Average Age of the Crowd: 34
Crowd Surfers- 0
Mosh-ability- 9 out of 10
Sausage-Fest Meter- 8 out of 10
Stage Divers- 0
Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around- $2
Broken Bones- None Noticed
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing
Fights- None Noticed
Pukers- None Noticed
Idiots Taken Out By Security- 1
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-
Butcher’s Union – 1
Bacchae – 0
PEARS – 2
Celebrity Sightings – Members of Tightwire/ The Right Here
Overall Score- 9.8 out of 10
Show on Deck- TBD
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