Militarie Gun Tears Through A Sold Out 7th Street Entry


I spent my Saturday night straddling two different worlds. In the First Avenue Mainroom was my indie-rock side with a brilliant performance from Cold War Kids. In the adjacent 7th Street entry was my hardcore and punk-leaning side with a truly stunning show from Militarie Gun. The two shows couldn’t have been more different, and both were definitely great, but I felt a bit more at home in the completely packed 7th Street Entry.

Up first in the intimate 7th Street Entry was Buffalo, New York-based Spaced. Before playing a note, this band urged people to inch closer to the stage. The quickly growing crowd obliged, and what happened next left me speechless. Spaced didn’t hold back and instantly hit the crowd with their classic hardcore sound and an undeniable and quite incredible sense of energy. I only found the time to jot one note down during their set, and that note was, “Holy crap.” Okay, I didn’t use the word “crap,” but you get it. I honestly was lost in Spaced’s set in such a brilliant way. From trying to catch every movement on stage to all of the bodies moving to the beat, this band had me hooked perfectly. Unfortunately, with a four-band lineup, their time on stage was short but Spaced left a lasting impression on me and the rest of the audience. I will be there if they ever announce another show up here in the Twin Cities.

I was still trying to recover from what had just happened during Spaced’s set when Spiritual Cramp took the stage. Their sound leaned more into a classic punk vibe but was just as captivating. It was somehow both bright and fun at the same time as being dark and intense. Vocalist Michael Bingham was a character on stage, to say the least. At first, I hated his persona. It came off as prick-ish and rude, but he addressed this towards the end of the set. “I know I come off as a bit of a prick, but, really, I am so honored to be here!” He explained how he gets nervous in front of large crowds, which just made it click with me. Mike’s persona aside, Spiritual Cramp was another act that hooked me and is definitely on my list of “bands that I will drop everything to see live again.”

There’s a downfall to being a live music junkie and covering two shows in one night, and that downfall is when the timing doesn’t match up well. Unfortunately, this was the case regarding the third band performing at the 7th Street Entry. They started just a hair before the headlining act started upstairs in the main room, which meant I had to miss the beginning of their set. I may not have caught the first few songs of Pool Kids’ set or have had the opportunity to snag photos of them because of it, but I was able to catch the last half, leaving me completely in love with this band. Pool Kids’ sound focused a bit more on the tender side of the punk world, but that doesn’t mean there was a lack of energy. This group hit every mark as far as their power was concerned while ensuring their musicianship and sound’s integrity stayed in the spotlight. I could tell that the audience wasn’t blind to this because everyone seemed to be just stuck in Pool Kids’ sound. Instead of limbs flying everywhere, the packed audience was attentive and appreciative of every note that Pool Kids performed, leading to a great second-ever Minneapolis performance for this band.

I was beyond excited as the stage was turned over for the headlining act Militarie Gun. Militarie Gun is one of those bands that has just been hitting so perfectly lately. From the balance of angst and beauty in their music to their heart-on-sleeve lyrics, there’s just something about this group that I honestly can not get enough of lately, so to see them live at this particular point in time was a dream come true.

Militarie Gun is a relatively new act, starting just a couple of years ago in 2020. That being said, their album ‘Life Under the Gun’ has been all the talk in many scenes. I say many scenes because, like a couple of other bands out there, these guys have an unclassifiable sound. It’s a bit of IDLES meets something a bit more classic hardcore but with some more traditional alt-rock tendencies about them. All of these styles come together to create a sound that is as distinct as it is intense and, when put into a live show, creates an unforgettable experience.

Within the first song, the crowd had split creating a small open space in the middle of the floor. Although this didn’t last long, and the space was quickly swallowed up by the crowded venue that, honestly, left people with nowhere else to go, there was an intensity felt throughout the room. A couple of crowd surfers here, a couple of stage divers there, for such an intimate show, the feeling in the room was huge. There were moments when I could do nothing more than cringe as I saw kids inch dangerously close to the low-hanging ceiling, but I loved the almost DIY feeling this gave to the show. I also loved the fact that, after just a couple of songs, vocalist Ian Shelton stopped and explained to people that the goal of stage diving was to get on top of the crowd, not just back into the crowd. This was in reference to one fan who kept trying to stage dive but tended to just ram into the mid-sections of those in the front row. Although I understood what Ian was trying to say, in such a small venue with low ceilings, I felt like this kid was just playing it safe, and I couldn’t blame him.

That interaction was just one of many that happened between the band and the audience on Saturday night, but it was a perfect example of this band’s respect for their followers and vice versa. Beyond the respect is the connection that flows between the band and fans when it comes to Militarie Gun. From people moving furiously around the floor of the venue to people singing their hearts out like their lives depended on it, it was clear that a lot of people felt the same way about this band as I did. They came out at a perfect time and speak to the soul and heart, not just to a love for music. Seeing that power just mere feet in front of you and feeling how the music affects strangers around you was one of the many highlights of Militarie Gun’s set on Saturday night.