It has been quite some time since I have been to The Garage for a show, and the feeling of excitement of seeing Real Friends in such a small venue was a complete understatement. The expected line was already formed, and from the chatter of those waiting to get inside, I could tell that the excitement was shared experience.
Hunter Dumped Us Here was the first band of the evening to take the stage, an indie rock group from Iowa that took me completely by surprise. Even with never hearing of them prior to their performance, I was thoroughly impressed from start to finish, from the moment the band took the stage to the moment they departed. Full of a powerful yet delicate musical energy, Hunter Dumped Us Here played an incredible opening set.
Next to take the stage was Twin Cities based pop-punk band Rally Cap. Met with a warm hometown show welcome, the band stormed on to the stage, amplifying the energy in the room and in the crowd. Even though I had never seen or heard of Rally Cap before their performance, this was another instance where I was impressed by the band and their eager brand of pop-punk. From start to finish, they put on a high energy set, proving to be the perfect bridge into the direct support.
The very first time that I saw Life Lessons was when they opened for Homesafe at a tiny venue in Cambridge, MA, and I was instantly hooked, knowing then I would inevitably see them perform again. From that show earlier this year to now, the band felt more polished and more in sync with one another. Life Lessons definitely did not disappoint; small venues with intimate crowds feed the band’s performance.
Within the last year alone, I’ve been able to see Real Friends play in three cities across the country, from the House of Blues in Boston, to Riot Fest in Chicago, and now in a tiny venue in the middle of the Twin Cities’ suburbs. Once the set change from the previous band to the headliner started, I noticed a visible change in the room, as the crowd’s anticipation for the Chicago based pop-punk band intensified. One of the best aspects of seeing Real Friends is being able to witness the connection the band has with the crowd immediately when they walk onto the stage. Right away, the band was jumping around, encouraging members of the crowd to get off their feet, crowd surf their way to the stage, and stage dive right back into the crowd. The Weekend in the Midwest Tour provided a cathartic experience not only for myself, but for everyone in the crowd.