I almost didn’t go to the show last night. Honestly it was absolutely freaking freezing out and, well, I’m tired. I was definitely in the mood to just sit at home, binge watch some terrible TV and be asleep on the couch by 7PM. Thankfully, that’s not how my night went down. Although reluctant, I bundled myself up and made the three block walk to my new favorite venue and ended up having a damn good night. Maybe it was the drinks, maybe the music, maybe the people I was surrounded by, regardless, I’m so grateful I made the call to venture out in the sub-zero tundra that is Minnesota.
Mortimer’s is a very unassuming venue. Sitting at a major intersection on the edge of Uptown, it went from one of my favorite drinking holes that I didn’t get to enough to a venue hosting Triple Rock worthy shows on a nightly basis that I wish I could get to more often. My schedule is the worst and I’ve honestly only been able to catch a handful of shows there but, after last night, I vow to catch many, many more. The venue just has a very inviting vibe about it. The staff is nice but not too nice. The regulars are clearly regulars with their spots at the bar and their crew of friends but they aren’t afraid to make room for you to belly up to the bar to get your drink. It’s a neighborhood bar and that neighborhood is all of Minneapolis. People of all kinds can be found here drinking, playing any of the arcade games strewn around the bar, or just sitting and standing around socializing. I can’t tell you what it is but something happens when you walk into Mortimer’s and that something is beautiful.
The show had been advertised as an 8:30 start but, in true Mort’s fashion, doors didn’t open until slightly after 9 and after the stand up comedy show had come to an end. Nobody (myself included) seemed to mind and took the extra time to have another drink and catch up with friends both old and new. As soon as the doors opened, a line streamed into the smaller side of the bar that houses the stage, another bar, and a very funky nook like seating area. After a good portion of the people in the bar area had flooded into the venue side, the show kicked off with the one and only Whiskey Rock ‘n’ Roll Club MPLS.
Whiskey Rock ‘n’ Roll Club MPLS is one of those bands that seems to always be playing yet I never seem to catch them. When I do get a chance, I’m consistently blown away by their sound and their energy. Last night was no different. These guys may be a trio but they have a bigger sound than some six piece acts I see. Their bluesy rock vibe was heard loud and clear through the speakers and had myself and the rest of the crowd grooving along to the beat. Although there were no amazing jumps to speak of or a rowdy mosh pit going on, there was an undeniable sense of energy that could be felt as the trio blasted through their opening set. You could stand there and be wowed by their power or you could hang out upstairs in one of the nook-like areas to catch up with friends. Regardless of where you were during their set or what you were doing, their music refused to be ignored and that’s the magic of this band.
With only two bands on the bill, the night seemed to move fast and it seemed like as soon as I had enough alcohol in me to really start grooving along with the band, they were packing up and making room on the stage for the headliner- The 4onthefloor. The 4onthefloor have been a staple in the Twin Cities music scene for ten years now and have been playing nearly every night this week in celebration of those ten years. Each night focused on a certain album so last night’s album was their 2013 release “Spirit of Minneapolis”. Full disclosure- I don’t know much about these guys other than I get a warm fuzzy feeling everytime I see them perform. They could have played the album straight through from front to back or they could have mixed it up and not even played the full thing- I honestly don’t know but who the hell cares.
All that matters is that as soon as The 4onthefloor took the stage, they commanded the audience’s attention with a stunning sense of ease. Vocalist Gabriel Douglas has one of those voices that just brings an instant sense of comfort to even the most troubled soul. Add the blues and Americana infused rock n roll instrumentation behind him and you are left with this sound that soothes you but also makes you want to move. It’s impossible to not smile while watching this band perform. Their constant 4/4 beat (hence the name 4onthefloor) make it hard for you to not pretend there’s a bass drum in front of you that you absolutely must stomp in time. Much like Whiskey Rock ‘n’ Roll Club MPLS, The 4onthefloor had the audience moving and had a sense of energy flying through the air that refused to be ignored.
Every song was followed up some hooting and hollering from the packed audience. The cozy venue was probably the warmest place in the cities as the temperatures outside plummeted to subzero. People who could sing along were singing along to every word like their life depended on it. Those who couldn’t sing along still had a giant grin on their face as they nodded their head and tapped their toes through the performance. I feel like I’m rambling here but The 4onthefloor is just one of those bands that you have to see live in order to explain the joy they bring to the stage and to whatever venue they are playing. The Twin Cities music scene is amazing no matter what genre (are you getting sick of me saying that?) and The 4onthefloor is just one of the many gems in this scene that I call home.
It would have been so easy to just stay home last night and blame it on the weather. Thank God I didn’t do that. Last night was a great show at an amazing venue surrounded by the best of people.