Yesterday was a rough day. I can’t tell you why or what set my anxiety off but it was just a rough day. I went home after work and crashed. I wanted nothing to do with anyone. I honestly just wanted to sit in silence and figure out my life but my concert schedule said I would be going out so I put on my big girl pants, invited my friend/ photographer over for a couple of pre-show drinks and we were off. I was still in a panic as we were driving into Saint Paul for the concert but as soon as I stepped foot into The Turf Club to see Hockey Dad, the panicked feeling that had been plaguing me all day instantly disappeared.
Kicking the night off promptly at 8:30 was Mt. Eddy from Oakland, California. As soon as the four piece took the stage, I was struck by just how young they looked. I joked with my friend that they couldn’t have been much more than 15 but after a couple of songs, I felt like it was less of a joke and more of a truth. Doing my research on them this morning, I found out that the singer (who happens to be Billie Jo Armstrong from Green Day’s son but more on that in a bit) is a ripe 19 years old. I was shocked but not stunned. I knew they were young but I think reading the age was just the nail in the coffin. The amount of respect that I have for young bands is truly off the charts. It’s admirable and always tends to spark a fire under my ass to follow my dreams and chase my passions. Mt. Eddy’s set was short and sweet much like their songs. Although they definitely came off as a younger band with their timidness on stage and an almost shyness, there’s a lot of potential for these guys.
As I briefly mentioned, singer Jakob Danger Armstrong is the youngest son of famed rock n’ roller Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. I didn’t know that until this morning when I was doing my research but while talking to my friend after Mt. Eddy’s set I literally told her that I felt that Jakob was the Billie Joe of 2018. His laid back demeanor seemed to match the chilled out garage rock sound that radiated from the speakers and also reflected the attitude and stage presence that I remember his father having the few times I’ve been able to catch Green Day perform. Sure, Jakob wasn’t running around like a maniac like his dad often does but there were similarities in the look, style, and sound that made it impossible to not notice.
Following Mt. Eddy’s quick set was Cold Fronts from Philadelphia. Where as Mt. Eddy was a bit more laid back and chill, Cold Fronts’ set was electric, wacky and completely unpredictable. Their music remained in the vein of the garage rock almost punk sound but their show screamed absolute chaos. I watched with a giant grin on my face as singer Craig Almquist leaped from the stage the crowd and eventually found himself singing as he was standing on the bar of The Turf Club. “We’re breaking up because of Max (guitarist) after this song!” Craig stated towards the end of the set. They played their “last” song which was followed up by, “You know what? We should probably get the band back together!” and the band jumped into their final song of the night. That wackiness and pure light-hearted fun truly defined Cold Fronts set. The music matched the happy-go-lucky vibe in the venue. You could hear elements of surf punk, shoegaze, indie rock, straight up punk– I mean, you could hear a little bit of everything and that made the music so distinctively Cold Fronts. All three of the bands that performed last night were stellar but something about Cold Fronts set stood out to me. I’m already waiting anxiously for them to announce a return show here in the Cities.
Headlining the Tuesday night show was Australian punk group Hockey Dad. Although I had heard their music before to the point where they are part of my daily playlist, I had never seen the band members before. I didn’t know what to expect but I know I wasn’t expecting the duo that took the stage. I’m always thoroughly surprised when I see a duo with so much power and sound. Although a shock, it’s always a pleasant surprise and just makes me respect a group even more to know that all of those sounds are created by just two people. The music of Hockey Dad is loud and in your face but not abrasive or aggressive. It’s music that makes you want to move a little bit and maybe even shove your neighbor but nothing too extreme. Both singer/ guitarist Zach Stephenson and drummer Billy Fleming had personalities that shined throughout the set. Although it was hard to understand them at times due to the heavy Australian accents, it wasn’t hard to understand the genuine laughs that came from the two men. Passion has no language or accent and, at a concert, that’s all that really matters.
The audience was eating up the positive and electric energy that Hockey Dad was giving off. I don’t know if it was the older gentleman that was having the damn time of his life as he jumped up and down with the beat or maybe it was the three girls that were clearly out for a girl’s night dancing around with the biggest smiles on their faces. Maybe it was the small push pit that had formed just in front of the stage… honestly, it doesn’t matter what it was. What I’m trying to point out is that this was one of those ‘come as you are’ shows. If you wanted to push and shove, there was a place for you. If you wanted to kick off your shoes and dance, there was a spot for you. If you wanted to completely forget your age and relive your youth- there was a place for me. Looking around and seeing the different groups throughout the crowd was the absolute perfect ending to a completely crap day.
Find what makes your crap day turn into an amazing night. For me it’s a concert at a venue that acts as a home away from home full of people who know you probably had a crap day but don’t care and just want to dance with you or drink with you. Some of the most unassuming nights turn into the most magical. Last night was one of those nights.