I see a lot of live shows each week. It’s incredibly rewarding, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But sometimes getting pepped up for an early, 5:00pm show with five bands on the bill is daunting, especially after an exhausting eight hour workday. It’s not very often I head into a show feeling truly excited to see every single band on the bill, but Wednesday night’s show at the Skyway Theater delivered a stacked lineup of bands I couldn’t possibly miss.
Knocked Loose, Stick to Your Guns, Rotting Out, Candy, and SeeYouSpaceCowboy were all in town kicking off the second show of Knocked Loose’s “A Different Shade of Blue” tour. This lineup boasted some of the hottest bands in hardcore right now, so I was understandably feeling stoked to see some familiar favorites (Stick to Your Guns, Rotting Out), as well as new bands I have never seen live before.
I left straight from work and headed over to the Skyway in Minneapolis to brace myself for what I was anticipating to be a high energy, no nonsense show. I was pleasantly surprised to walk in and see a steady crowd already in attendance for the first openers. Unfortunately, even though I left work early, I ended up missing SeeYouSpaceCowboys set (damn you, early weekday shows!). So my apologies to the band, I will look forward to catching you next time.
Candy delivered a short and sweet set full of sludgey, full fledged brutality. They were fun, high energy hardcore and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed watching them. They had a unique sound and vibe, and have an incredible amount of potential looking forward. While many may have been unfamiliar with the band, people in the audience seemed to dig them, dancing and headbanging along throughout the set.Next up were hardcore heavyweights Rotting Out. I last saw Rotting Out in 2013 in Denver when they were on tour with The Ghost Inside. At that show, I was blown away by their raw and brutal energy. In fact, I got kicked in the face so hard by a stage diver, I ended up losing an earring. It was a pretty damn memorable set.
Rotting Out broke up in 2015, but recently came back onto the scene, ending their hiatus and reuniting in 2018. I was super stoked for their set at the Skyway, hoping it would be just as high energy as the last time I saw them. Sure enough, they took the stage by storm with plenty of sweat and spit from frontman Walter Delgado, who wasted no time throwing down on stage getting in the audience’s face. The crowd was obviously hungry for Rotting Out, as many people moshed, danced and screamed along with the band. It was an absolute treat to see them once again.Now, it’s no secret that Stick to Your Guns is a band near and dear to my heart. Their music has picked me up and kept me going on numerous occasions, so when they were added to this tour lineup a few weeks ago I couldn’t wait to see them again. Lead singer Jesse Barnett, who is known for his powerful, on stage speeches, came out of the gates swinging and immediately sparked the crowd. The entire band seemed to be going as hard as they possibly could in their short set, wasting no time throwing punches and getting the crowd moving. Barnett paused halfway through the set to reflect with the crowd by saying, “The world is a scary place right now. You may not want to think about it. You may not want to talk about it. But it’s up to us. We are not like them. It’s up to us.”
As usual, STYG were incredibly fun, fast and loud. Playing a favorable mix of new material and old favorites, the band continued to carry their mission of delivering delectable Orange County hardcore forward. And if having the most circle pits of the night were a competition running at last night’s show, they won by a landslide.During the intermission between sets as Knocked Loose began to set up, the music playing over the loud speakers switched from rock and punk to straight up country. “Chicken Fried”, “Wagon Wheel”, “Beer in Mexico” were some of the selections, and surprisingly, many hardcore kids in the crowd started smiling and singing along. I was confused at the sudden change of pace, and even found myself chuckling at the new selection of songs being played until someone in the crowd mentioned that Knocked Loose are from Kentucky. Ah. It all started to make sense now. It’s a southern thing, I guess?
As the lights went dim, the country kick continued as LeAnn Rimes’ “Blue” started blasting over the speakers. A cheeky touch to the pre-show antics, as Knocked Loose were celebrating the release of their new album, A Different Shade of Blue (again, I get it). The anticipation for Knocked Loose was infectious. Before the band arrived on the stage, the pit was agape, ready for those first, heavy notes to hit. Sure enough, when the band came out the crowd absolutely lit the f*ck up. People started jumping on top of each other, toppling over the barricade trying to get close enough to lead vocalist Bryan Garris to scream just as loudly back in his face.
Knocked Loose were incredibly heavy, and had an insane energy the whole entire time they were on the stage. Everyone in the crowd was beyond delighted to be witnessing the band, as they stayed on their feet the entire set moshing, crowd surfing, circle pitting, and jumping. It was all out cathartic madness. An emotional release. I absolutely loved watching their set. My personal favorite was “Oblivions Peak”, which hit hard and dirty, showcasing gnarly breakdowns and growling vocals. If I could say anything about Knocked Loose, it would be don’t sleep on this band. They are awake, and they are hungry. I really respect everything about them and everything they are doing right now.
At the end of the day, this show at the Skyway was the very thing I needed to feel revitalized after an already long week. Knocked Loose proved they are easily one of the most promising and vigorous hardcore bands in the scene right now, and the more veteran bands on the bill showed they are not going away anytime soon. And while early show times can be hard to accommodate for, it’s usually well worth it to show up for the rock show.