I was excited to mix things up a little bit on Monday night. Going to a new venue is anxiety-inducing for me but I also find it thrilling. I was a bit nervous as I walked up to the Underground Music Cafe in downtown Minneapolis. I had been here one other time but that was for a sold-out show in their larger event space. Monday night was a sold-out show in their more intimate cafe space. I didn’t know anything about the bands, didn’t know anyone else going, didn’t know where the bathrooms were or how much a beer would cost me. I didn’t know anything. I was nervous but excited and, as soon as I walked into the welcoming space, it was as if I had spent an entire life in there. I may not have known anyone at the show with me but I knew the faces of people who were just there to have a good time and enjoy some amazing music so I instantly felt at home.
Kicking the night off was nine-piece local act NATL PARK SRVC. That’s right– I said nine-piece and I promise that’s not a typo. I was a bit late getting into the venue due to my crippling anxiety about being in a new space so I couldn’t see all of the members but I didn’t have to see them all to believe it. The sound of NATL PARK SRVC is full as you would expect from such a massive band but what struck me was how well organized the sound was. There was never a moment in their thirty-minute set where I felt like a member (or members) were fighting for the spotlight. All nine musicians worked in unison creating an indie-pop soundtrack that was just as flawless as it was infectious.
I’ve had the honor of seeing the next band, bugsy, twice before and they never seem to leave me anything less than impressed. Monday night’s set was no different. Another local group, I was instantly in awe of the vocals as I always am. I really can not understate the range that the vocalist of this group has. It’s truly stunning and comes off as second nature without any hesitation to this performer. Don’t get me wrong, the entire band is solid but those vocals are what will keep me coming back time after time. bugsy treated the sold-out audience to some new songs within their quick set on Monday. I loved hearing the addition of a little more angst in the vocals and a little more complexity in the instrumentation when it came to these new tracks. I don’t know exactly what the future holds for bugsy but I absolutely have high hopes and can not wait to catch them again sooner rather than later.
It’s not every day that I show up at a show and am treated to an international act but that’s exactly what happened as Weatherday took the stage next. Weatherday is the side project of Swedish lo-fi musician Sputnik. Sputnik is a bit of an enigma with very little online about them or their history but none of that matters. The young audience was clearly ecstatic for the chance to catch this musician live and it was one of those atmospheres that was so full of life and excitement that it was impossible to not get lost in it myself.
Coming in the form of a duo, I felt as though the sound was a bit hollow for my liking but Sputnik’s fire and passion that radiated throughout the intimate space absolutely made up for that and then some. We saw their personality shine as they thanked the audience over and over again throughout the set. That appreciation was clearly reciprocated with the way the young audience danced and lightly moshed their way through the quick set. Sure, musically this wasn’t my favorite act of the night but the fact that I got to witness some Swedish magic in such an intimate space surrounding by a bunch of beautiful people enjoying the crap out of it was more than enough to have me sold on Weatherday.
You may be wondering why I was even at this show on Monday night. Obviously, I try to go to a show nearly every night but why did I pick this one in a new space and without a familiar face? The headliner was Newgrounds Death Rugby. I’m sorry, but with a name like that, you’re going to get my attention. Add to the fact that the few tidbits I saw online prior to the show referred to the band as an emo band– yeah, I was ready for whatever Newgrounds Death Rugby was going to give me and what they gave me was perfection.
For their first time in Minneapolis, NDR absolutely surprised me not only with the fact that they had sold this show out, but with the passion that they brought to the stage. I may have not known who this band was when walking into the Underground Music Cafe on Monday night but I was alone in that. As soon as the band started their headlining set, the audience started jumping, pushing, and shoving their way through the set. There was even one person in what looked like a FernGully or bat costume taking part in the festivities. To say it felt like a party as I stood on the edge of the audience would be an understatement.
The few mentions of NDR online that I found and that referred to the band as an emo band were not wrong. I was completely enamored with this South Carolina-based group’s sound within the first couple of seconds. It was absolutely nostalgic-based emo feeling music to me but it was also so much more than that. There was a handful of a different sounds and genres that I was getting from NDR. It was everything from that aforementioned nostalgic- emo vibe but there were also nods to everything from a classic pop-punk sound to something almost like a 90s energy. Like all three of the previous acts, NDR brought a sense of fire and passion to the stage which I feel like gets lost in translation when it comes to a lot of the larger shows I go to so it was beyond refreshing to feel that.
I was one of the oldest people at the show on Monday night and I felt it. The headliner didn’t go on until after 10 PM and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t longing for my bed while the kids around me were losing their minds to the music. It took me back to all of those years spent at similarly sized shows growing up and the thrill of just being surrounded by like-minded people (whether you knew them or not) and enjoying good music (whether you knew what it was or not). That was the point of the show on Monday night and the point of the space that is the Underground Music Cafe. What a perfect way to spend a Monday.
Venue: Underground Music Cafe
Smell-O-Meter: Nothing Notable
Average Age of the Crowd: 19
Crowd Surfers- 0
Stage Divers- 0
Mosh-ability- 6 out of 10
Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around- $0
Broken Bones- None Noticed
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing
Fights- None Witnessed
Passed Out Kids- 0
Idiots Taken Out By Security – 0
How Irritated I Was With The Audience – 0 out of 10
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-
NATL PARK SRVC- 0
Weatherday – 0
Newgrounds Death Rugby – 0
Celebrity Sightings – None
Overall Score – 8.5 out of 10
Show on Deck — Sam Smith / Jesse Reyez
**NO SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION ON THIS POST. PLEASE SUPPORT THE VICTIMS OF THE NUDIELAND TRAGEDY **