Friday night was one of those shows where I wasn’t going to write a review. In all honesty, the burn out has been real lately and I wanted a show just for me but, as I stood there, I couldn’t help but be in work mode. It’s both a blessing and a curse. I can’t promise how long this article will be or if it will even make sense to you but it just doesn’t feel right to let such an amazing night pass by without a review written so here goes nothing.
Rookie of the Year was the first nostalgic act to take the stage. This old-school acoustic pop-punk act was honestly never quite my thing. When they were getting big (around 2005), I was wanting things to be a bit heavier and a bit more intense. Rookie’s acoustic songs of heartbreak just didn’t do it for me. All that being said, being able to see them perform on Friday night was the best way to start my trip down memory lane. Coming in the form of a duo, the songs from their short opening set came with the weight of the world attached to them.
The most surprising part of Rookie’s all-too-short opening set was when the duo played a new song that was written during the pandemic. It was a solid song and definitely in line with the nostalgic tunes that filled the rest of their set but it also brought a new sense of maturity to the speakers. I’m not sure what Rookie of the Year has planned for the future but if that one new song is a glimmer of hope that they will be putting out new music in the future, well, count me in.
Following the acoustic set from Rookie of the Year was another acoustic set. This one came from Bob Nanna. Bob has been in a bunch of bands but, most notably, he is the singer and guitarist for Braid and Hey Mercedes. Braid is still an active band and one that I will often listen to but Hey Mercedes was a blast from the past for me. Much like Rookie of the Year, they were never “my band” but I never turned down a chance to listen to or see them live when growing up. It has been so long since that name has crossed my lips that I couldn’t even tell you if he played any Hey Mercedes songs (although I think the last two may have been) but that wasn’t the point of his set on Friday night.
Bob had majority of the audience wrapped around his finger throughout the quick set. He showed a sense of charm and humor while keeping a fairly deep and serious vibe surrounding the music. The way his personality shined as he would do things as small as taking a sip of beer while nodding and thanking the crowd was something that I thoroughly enjoyed about his set. At one point towards the end of a track, he stated to the crowd that “now is the time for a jump!”. So he grabbed the neck of his guitar and did a “rockstar jump”. As he landed, he acted like he hurt his back. This was such a small moment in his set but it got the audience laughing because, well, it was relatable. We are all much older than the days when we were worshiping bands like Hey Mercedes, Rookie of the Year, and the headlining act, Spitalfield, and I think seeing Bob acknowledge that helped snap me out of my haze of nostalgia if only for a few seconds.
Before I get into the headlining act, let me give you a little background. I’ve talked about The House of Bricks before. Bricks is the venue that I called home throughout middle and high school. It was in downtown Des Moines and was honestly a bit of a dive but it was a home away from home for me. I found solace there while I was going through my angsty teenage years. I was a restless kid and definitely made my share of mistakes but I always felt at home there. The staff was nice and, being underage, I always felt like they had their eyes on me and my friends. I’m not convinced that my dad didn’t have a hand in that but that’s a whole story for another day. Long story short, that was my First Avenue when growing up. I saw so many bands there and it truly sparked this obsession. One of those bands that I saw multiple times there was Spitalfield. Their pop-punk drenched emo songs fit my life perfectly and I always looked forward to seeing them perform. It has been well over a decade since I got to experience their magic live but that changed on Friday night.
Friday night’s show was a celebration of twenty years of their album ‘Remember Right Now’. The band played through the album with a few random additions sprinkled throughout the set. It didn’t matter what song they were playing, as I stood there watching and singing along I was transported back to House of Bricks. I could smell the cherry cokes I used to chug throughout the shows and could smell the stale smell that seemed to be a permanent fixture in that venue. I was completely lost in a haze of emotional nostalgia but I was not the only one. Although the audience was fairly small, it was mighty. There were very few people not singing along to every word as if their life depended on it and although there was no mosh pit to speak of or anything like that, there was an electric energy throughout The Turf Club during the set.
Now that I sit here writing this, I realize I could go on and on about how amazing it was to see Spitalfield on Friday night but those words would fall on deaf ears. I acknowledge that Spitalfield is definitely a bit of an obscure early 2000s emo-pop-punk band and that there are very few people that can relate to the emotions that I felt on Friday night but that’s okay. Friday night was for me. It was for those people who grew up on Spitalfield and it was for the members of Spitalfield. There were a bunch of shows going on in the Twin Cities on Friday night and I hope you found one that made you feel what I felt.
Just for kicks– here’s an old photo of me and Spitalfield vocalist Mark Rose back during one of those House of Bricks shows. Feel free to have a little laugh but also recognize just how much Friday night meant to the people who were there.
Venue: The Turf Club
Average Age of the Crowd: 36
Crowd Surfers- 0
Stage Divers- 0
Mosh-ability- 2 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)-
Rookie of the Year- 3
Bob Nanna– 0
Spitalfield – Honestly, probably 4 or 5 but I honestly can’t remember that far back
Celebrity Sightings – Mod Sun
Overall Score – 10 out of 10
Show on Deck — Sweeping Promises / Green/Blue / Florina
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