Seeing bands take the stage that haven’t done so in over thirty years is truly a special sight. I could have been at the Taylor Swift show last night watching pop-music in it’s best form with a show full of production, fireworks, and costume changes but there was a better show in town that I just couldn’t miss. I wanted to see that joy and passion that comes from an older band gracing the stage at one of the most famous venues in the country that they hadn’t stepped foot on in over thirty years. I made my decision to see Impaler and although I will always wonder how the Taylor Swift show went, I know I made the right decision.
The Saturday night show kicked off with local metal group Kublai Khan. Formed in 1984, broken up in 1988 and back together in 2003, it was as if this group hasn’t missed a beat over all of these years. Their thrashy sound pumped through the speakers and had the quickly growing crowd excited and happy to be where they were with who they were with. Although the set was loud, intense, and fast, there was this sense of true joy as the band powered through their half hour set. It may have been thirty five years since the last time they played that stage but time definitely didn’t forget them. They stayed true to their 80’s thrash sound playing songs that were from a completely different era but it worked and the crowd was eating up note after note. The smile on singer Greg Handevidt’s face as they finished up their last song said everything that needed to be said. “I’m not gunna say goodbye because its a hello!” he shouted as the screen fell from the ceiling to conceal the stage for the change over.
Following the opening set from Kublai Khan was the one and only Dare Force. Initially formed in the late 1970’s, much like Kublai Khan, Dare Force is a band that hasn’t sacrificed their sound and honestly seems like they haven’t changed much at all. With two of the four members wearing leather pants that may have been left over from the 80’s, Dare Force took the stage to a roar of applause. I may not have known the importance of this band when I walked into First Avenue last night but the excitement around me said it all. Hearing them talk about the two month tour they did that ended in Argentina and other stories helped me get in the mindframe that one should be in when going to see a show like this. This music, the fashion, everything is of a different time and although it was a different setting for me, it was perfect.
Dare Force charmed the crowd for nearly an hour with their 80’s hard rock sounds. I loved watching the older generation in the crowd sing along to every song. Just like I had been reliving my youth the past couple of nights with shows full of nostalgic bands and sounds, it was this generation’s time to shine and honestly they put my sense of nostalgia to shame. The excitement that I felt throughout Kublai Khan’s set extended through all of Dare Force’s set and when it was all said and done, I was extremely excited to see what the last two bands would bring to the table.
The final opening act was a band I have been wanting to see but just never had a chance (before last night)- The Regime. As soon as they jumped into their set I was hooked. Their sound was much more abrasive and in your face than the previous two bands and their energy was a bit higher than the previous which was perfect because we were getting close to 11pm and my exhaustion was starting to take over. Now, I can’t find much on this band online so I couldn’t tell you how long they’ve been around or why you should pay attention to them but I can tell you that they had me in the palm of their hand throughout their set. With giant fire extinguisher looking things to spray the crowd down with water and snarky (albeit politically incorrect) statements made to the crowd and between band mates, I found myself smiling throughout majority of their set. “You guys look like a smart crowd!” proclaimed the singer about half way through the set. “You look smart because you aren’t at the fair to see Hair Metal!”. He went onto explain how much he appreciated that people came to First Avenue to see real music instead of going to Hair Ball at the fair. No truer words were spoken last night.
Closing out the Saturday night show was a personal favorite of mine- Impaler. Now, having seen these guys over a dozen times since I moved up to Minnesota, I knew what to expect and knew their shtick but that didn’t stop me from having a hell of a time during their late set. With the stage covered in headstones, gargoyles, lights, and other creepy items, Impaler kicked into their set just a bit after 11:30. It was late but singer Bill Lindsey’s energy seemed to keep me and the rest of the crowd going. They wasted no time and jumped into a set containing both old and new songs. Having been around since the early 1980’s and having eight full lengths along with a spattering of EP’s and other random releases, I love the fact that I always hear something new when I go see them and that makes every show feel exciting instead of stagnant.
Impaler was up to their usual tricks last night what with Bill Lindsey eating way at the neck of a head on a stick until the blood trickled down his chin. With copious amounts of fake blood (although nowhere near Gwar status), and the over the top theatrics that sometimes you just can’t help but laugh at, Impaler’s set was refreshing. I may go see these guys every chance I get but it never gets old and that’s the magic behind this legendary local group.
I will always wonder what Taylor Swift’s show was like but I regret nothing. I got to see some legendary bands on a legendary stage. Sure there were no fireworks and no costume changes but Impaler’s show had fake blood and that’s something I don’t think Taylor Swift’s show had.