Free Throw Turns Sold Out Green Room Into A Sweaty Mess (In A Good Way)


I am a creature of habit. I have my venues. Within those venues, I have my spot near the stage and my spot at the bar; it goes as far as having a preferred bathroom stall. I am a creature of habit, and trying something new (especially a new venue) can be a super anxiety-inducing event for me, especially if I am on my own. With Wednesday night’s show being completely sold out, the chance of me taking a friend along to help ease my anxiety was out of the question, but I also knew I didn’t want to miss this show, so I pulled on my big girl pants and weaved through traffic to get to The Green Room in Uptown Minneapolis.

I know this area well. I lived in this half-trendy, half-sketchy neighborhood before buying my townhouse. It both felt good and weird to be back in the area, but I felt sheer panic as I walked up to the doors of the two-story venue. I had all of my stuff ready. My ID, my email saying I was approved to do photo, literally everything as I ran through all of the scenarios that would prevent me from getting through the door. While I was panicking, I didn’t even realize that I had made it through security, had gotten my wristband, and was inside this new-to-me venue. I’m not sure what it was, but as I took inventory of my surroundings and scouted out the spot that I would claim as mine, all of that anxiety I had fought through to get to this point fell by the wayside. Something about the Green Room made me feel comfortable even though I was clearly one of the oldest in attendance at this show. I loved the greenery that hung from random columns scattered throughout the venue and loved how, although a sold-out show, there was room to breathe if you wanted to take advantage of it. Long story short, I felt a bit silly for being so nervous about checking out this new venue when I instantly felt at home and in love with The Green Room.

You aren’t here to hear about the venue. I know this, so let’s go ahead and talk about the banger of a show they hosted on Wednesday night, starting with opening act Slow Joy. It was an interesting choice to have a touring band open while a local band waited in the background to take the stage second, but it worked. Slow Joy is the solo project of Dallas-based, New Mexico-born Esteban Flores. Although it definitely felt like a solo project, Slow Joy came in the form of a powerful trio on Wednesday night. The depth of this band was impossible to ignore. Whether you felt that depth in the actual song, the brilliant lyrics, or the overall composition of each song, you felt depth, and Slow Joy’s set hit you. Personally, I knew very little about Slow Joy prior to their taking the stage on Wednesday, but I instantly felt a connection to this band solely because of Esteban’s lyrics. This is the kind of band that you could know nothing about, but within just one song, you feel seen, almost exposed in a way, with the raw and all-too-honest lyrics that are served up with an undeniable sense of emotion and passion.

Following Slow Joy was local band Heart To Gold. This trio is a local favorite, but I feel like I don’t get enough chances to catch live, so I was excited as they took the stage and jumped into their hardcore-leaning pop-punk set. The reaction of the crowd as Heart To Gold started their set was insane. Don’t get me wrong, people were clearly into what Slow Joy was doing, and by the end of Slow Joy’s set, a small and sweaty pit had formed, but that pit seemed to take over the entire floor as Heart To Gold played through the first song of their set. The energy that this band gave throughout their quick set was insane, but I think my favorite part of the song is when the band would play songs and portions of songs that leaned a bit more into their sensitive side. The way the audience screamed along to every word with such conviction made this set feel more like that of a headlining megastar than the humble local band Heart To Gold. Another favorite part of mine was how, after the set, many people could be heard telling their friends, “Hey! I’m just going to go say hey to the Heart To Gold guys really quick.” I understand that saying hi to bands is absolutely a thing and something that I encourage, but there was just something too unassuming, almost plain, about these statements, and for that to happen after such an explosive set, it just really left me absolutely in love with this band more than I already was.

Slow Joy and Heart To Gold had absolutely given the sold-out audience their money’s worth, but we still had Nashville-based Free Throw to go before we could call it a night. Free Throw isn’t a new band, as they got their start back in 2012, but I feel like they are starting to gain some traction in the national scene with their signature emo-leaning sound and intense live shows. Looking back, I saw this band when they opened for You Blew It at the 7th Street Entry in February of 2017, but I won’t try to be cooler than I am; I honestly don’t remember that show. I stumbled into this band from a random playlist I had going one day at work. One of Free Throw’s songs started playing, and it made me stop everything and go down a rabbit hole. Since then, my life has revolved around Free Throw’s music and how it speaks to me, regardless of my mood. If I’m happy, there’s a Free Throw song for that. If I’m having a crap day, there’s a Free Throw song for that. Long story short, I was beyond excited to see this band that has been speaking to my soul lately.

I knew in my head what I wanted Free Throw’s set to be like. They hit that and then some with their performance on Wednesday. Although they sounded great, and every note and word was in its perfect spot, there was something raw about their performance. This came in both the way the band played each note with such a fierce sense of energy and the way the audience reacted to those notes by constantly pushing and shoving their way through the set. From an outsider’s point of view, the audience during Free Throw was insane and aggressive, but to me and those around me, this was a showing of pure passion. I’m not sure how many times I want to say “passion” as it seems to be losing all meaning to me at this point, but I really can not understate how much passion was in the Green Room as Free Throw played and, again, that was exactly what I had always dreamt a Free Throw show would be like.

I am a creature of habit, and being in an unfamiliar environment with people I had never met or even seen before around me had me a bit on edge, but the flawless nature of the show and the perfection of The Green Room had me at ease. Wednesday night ended up being way better than I had ever expected, and I definitely think you’ll be seeing a lot more of me at The Green Room.