Not every show can be a sold out show where you are watching one of the most influential bands of your life play their final Minnesota show. Not every show has fire, sweaty mosh pits, and some of the best people watching you’ve had lately. That being said, every show is perfect in it’s own way and last night was no different. Sure, it didn’t stand a chance against my Thursday night spent at Slayer but I was excited to go to one of my favorite venues in the Twin Cities and have a calm, chill night while listening to some of my favorite local music followed by a California headliner I had never heard of.
Kicking off the night was local group The Modern Era. As much as they play around the cities and as much chatter as there is among my friend group about this group, I had only seen them a few times and I felt like I had never really given them the attention they deserved. This alternative rock (almost punk at times) band has energy and power behind them even though they are a local group. Sure, they were kicking off the night but, with a 8PM door time and 9PM start time, the party had already started and within the first song the modest crowd seemed to be drawn away from the comfort of the high top tables in the back of the venue and towards the front where the stage is. Although the stage seemed to be plagued with technical difficulties, the band didn’t stop. They powered through no vocals, feedback, and everything else that was going wrong and gave the crowd a truly great opening set that definitely set the mood for the rest of the night.
Following The Modern Era was another local favorite of mine that, although they play a bunch, I seem to never catch– The Missing Letters. The Missing Letters’ sound was a bit more rough around the edges than The Modern Era’s clean cut rock music. With a bit more grunge and a bit more edge, The Missing Letters were the perfect pick for a band to play between the two other acts of the night. With the technical difficulties sorted out, the band’s set was flawless and full of energy and fun. “Look! I’m Jake Kemble!” Said singer Bryan Murphy as he kicked off his shoes and started dancing. Don’t know who Jake Kemble is? You probably should. Jake is a local musician that I absolutely adore and always look forward to seeing live. I love that the local music community is tight enough that musicians make jokes and talk about other local musicians without hesitation. If you know who they are, you laugh. If not, you feel left out and feel a need to dig into the local scene a little bit deeper. After a hearty laugh over the Jake comment, and a couple last songs, The Missing Letters disappeared from the stage and I found myself already looking forward to catching them again.
Huntington Beach, California based Them Evils were the headliners of the night and took the stage just a little bit after 11PM. Their sound definitely stood out from the two openers but the choice of locals made sense within the first song. While still staying in the vein of good old fashion rock n’ roll with a bit of punk thrown in, Them Evils brought a sense of swagger to the stage the the previous two bands did not. With an almost country twang and a bit of grit, these guys had the entire crowd up and out of their seats within the first song. Sure, they were the only band that asked people to get up and move closer but I don’t think that’s why. Them Evils’ music had a way of making you want to get closer to them. That swagger and a discreet sense of fury had the modest crowd feeling electric and even got some of them dancing around.
Yeah, it was a late set and I was fading fast but the energy that radiated off the stage was more than enough to have me excited about the closing set. To be honest, there wasn’t a huge crowd at The Turf Club. It was a beautiful Friday night and I understood why people would rather sit on a patio somewhere than inside a muggy club to see music but that didn’t stop Them Evils from putting on a hell of a show. They truly looked like they were having fun and every thank you they gave to the crowd felt genuine. Bands that can do that when staring into a less than full venue automatically gain all of my respect. It’s so easy to write off shows when you’re on the grind and on the road but Them Evils didn’t and because of that (and their perfectly presented gritty music) they earned a new fan. I didn’t know what I was getting into last night beyond the openers but I left with a new favorite and will definitely be adding Them Evils into my daily playlist.
Getting opportunities to cover shows like Slayer and giant festivals like Northern Invasion is amazing. It’s truly a dream come true. Getting to cover shows like last night’s show is almost better. It’s a reminder of why I got into this in the first place and it reminds me to stay grounded and humble. The amount of talent and passion that I felt last night in the Turf Club was more than I’ve felt at some stadium shows and that says everything you need to know about last night’s show.