Regardless of how many shoes I’ve gone to cover over the last year, every time there is any long period of time in between shows I become nervous for the next one. Once I arrived at The Garage, the first thing that I noticed was the large amount of people near the city’s Civic Center Park, presumably at the ice rink, which made me more hopeful for a smaller and more intimate setting inside the venue, as some of the best shows I’ve been to over the last year have been the ones with a smaller crowd.
The first band on the bill for the evening was Twin Cities based rock outfit Skyhaven. With only the name being familiar to me before the start of the evening and not certain of what to expect, I can confidently say that the band made a lasting impression on me, almost instantly reminding me of the instrumental band Polyphia. The band sauntered onto the stage and started the first notes of their opening song, changing the dynamic in the room to match their energetic and earnest stage presence.
Next up was Indianapolis based indie band Plans, making it to The Garage albeit facing the setback of their van breaking down the night before and being unsure if they would be able to make it to the show. Even with facing setbacks from the previous night, the band walked on stage collected, putting on a very emotive and cathartic performance from start to finish. One of the themes of their set was the shared experience of dealing with emotional pain, particularly from within. With this as the fuel for their performance, Plans made their set a shared and intimate experience, as they encouraged the crowd to come close together and seek out help if needed.
One of the bands I was personally looking forward to see came on stage next. Hailing from Montreal, Quebec, pop rock band Story Untold quickly altered the energy of the room, molding it into a faster paced and more upbeat dynamic. Easily one of the highlights of the evening was right as the band played their last song of their set, which to my surprise, turned out to be a vast medley of songs from bands including Paramore, Fall Out Boy, Simple Plan, Linkin Park, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and blink-182, to name a few. This medley arguable had the best crowd reaction of the evening, as every single person in the crowd was moving and singing along.
Last up for the evening was Chicago based pop-punk outfit 7 Minutes in Heaven, a band that I have only listened to and never seen live before. The band carried the energy of Story Untold into their set, using it to fuel their own emotive and sincere performance all the way from the beginning to the end of their set. The definite highlight of their set was right at the end when 7 Minutes in Heaven slowed everything down to acoustically play their original Christmas song “Noel,” creating the ideal atmosphere and ending for a show close to Christmas.