Friday night, Minneapolis was treated to what I will go ahead and claim as one of the best rock ‘n roll shows of the year. Okay… I will put the bias disclaimer out there now, because The Dirty Nil and The Menzingers are two of my favorite bands, so I was going to absolutely love this show no matter what. But there’s no arguing that Worriers, The Dirty Nil, and The Menzingers totally demolished a crowded Skyway Theater and delivered tons of high energy, sing-along fun all night long.
Heading into this show, I had some confusion of where exactly it was all going to go down. This is the first show I have been to that was advertised as being at “The Lyric” and I had no idea where this room actually was. Now don’t get me wrong, I have been to the Skyway Theater several times, but I had never heard of such a place as “The Lyric”. Turns out, the venue is directly upstairs from the mainroom. It’s a nice, medium sized venue with no space reserved for seats like its sister space below.
Despite being in a new room for the first time, I was genuinely happy to be back at the Skyway. I recently saw Angels and Airwaves in the mainroom and the sound was absolutely superb, so I was incredibly hopeful that The Lyric would also deliver the same kind of tasty ear candy. And sure enough, I was not disappointed.
The evening kicked off with the boys from Dundas, The Dirty Nil. This was my fourth time seeing The Dirty Nil, and while I have thoroughly enjoyed their shows every opportunity I have had the pleasure to see one, this one was different. I could tell they were pumped to be back in front of a crowd playing live music again. They were sharp. Powerful. Loud. As if they were on a mission. The band played a lot of new material off their latest album Fuck Art that went over well with the crowd, who were all familiar with the words.
During their set, I was curious to see how the ‘Nil’s new interim bassist, Sam Tomlinson, would fit into their well established live blueprint. Sam has big shoes to fill from former bassist Ross Miller, who recently announced his departure from the band right before the tour. Ross was a high energy, charismatic character on stage. But Sam delivered just as much energy — jumping around and screaming into the mic, carrying the torch of his predecessor.
In what felt like a short set, The Dirty Nil delivered high energy rock ‘n roll and the crowd absolutely loved it. Moshing and dancing was abundant, as well as the ‘Nil’s adopted hometown chant, “Yes baby, yes yes baby!” The band even paid homage to Minneapolis by covering The Replacements’ classic “I.O.U” which they absolutely crushed. “I.O.U” wasn’t just special because it was a tribute to the ‘Mats, but because it featured lead singer and guitarist Luke Bentham using a capo on his guitar for the first time live.
Brooklyn based melodic punk band Worriers were second on the bill. I was mostly unfamiliar with Worriers before Friday night’s show, but they had solid stage presence and were really fun to watch. It’s always nice to see an opening band win over the hearts of fans who attend solely for the headlining band. Lead singer Lauren Denitzio has a very genuine and warm stage presence and I enjoyed watching them dazzle the room. I was not the only one who felt the amiable presence of the band, as I caught myself as well as many others in the crowd nodding and tapping along throughout their set. Worriers is no doubt a band that will continue to grow and cultivate themselves in new territory, and I look forward to catching them around town again in the future.Headlining the evenings’ antics were one of my personal favorite bands, The Menzingers. It’s been two years since The Menzingers were last in town, but it honestly feels like a lifetime has passed since then. So honestly, it was hard for me to contain the excitement and joy I felt watching the band and crew set up the stage. I was not alone, as the crowd for The Menzingers instantly went off the hook from song number one. Sweaty smiles were in ample supply as dancing, jumping and moshing ensued the crowd like a tidal wave.
If I could describe The Menzingers in one word – it would be consistent. Consistently fun to see live. Consistently energetic. Consistently brilliant. Consistently turning out a loyal fanbase. And consistently invoking nostalgia in their songs. The Menzingers are one of those bands that can bring out a faithful crowd no matter where they go. And not just any crowd, a crowd of die hards.
Being a die hard myself, The Menzingers set seemed to absolutely fly by. The band played a healthy mix of newer songs from their 2019 album Hello Exile, as well as their beloved hits from After the Party and On the Impossible Past. It was obvious the band was just as excited to be back in front of a crowd as much as the crowd was excited to be back shouting the words right back in their face. The energy was infectious, and the band rolled into song after song, taking little time for stage banter or reflecting on the previous year we’ve all had to endure away from touring and seeing live music.
Overall, it felt like an incredibly special night, and a great first experience in The Lyric. It was so cathartic to be able to sing, dance, and scream along with friends and new acquaintances in the crowd. For the first time in a very long time, the worries of the world melted away for me. It’s nights like last night that you “realize that happiness is just a moment…”