The Spill Canvas Takes Sold Out Parkway Theater On Trip Down Memory Lane


I got thirteen texts asking me if I was at the Coheed & Cambria show happening at The Armory last night. I would have loved to be there. I mean, Coheed, Mastodon, Every Time I Die… I’ll admit, the line-up was amazing and it was going to be a hell of a show but my heart told me I had to go to a different show. Always on the search for nostalgia, I found myself heading the opposite way of The Armory and ended up at the beautiful Parkway Theater for The Spill Canvas.

I fell head over heels for The Parkway in June of 2017 after catching a local show there. Sadly, not long after that show, it shut down and the future of the beautiful venue was unclear. After a couple of months in limbo, the venue found a new owner (I think?) and re-opened. It made me so happy to see such a gem in the cities to be saved. I was a little concerned that the quirkiness of the venue would have changed over the past couple of years but was thankful to see that very little has changed. Still a small and quaint theater on an unassuming street in South Minneapolis, I instantly fell back in love with the energy of this place. Everyone was nice, the drinks were strong and the popcorn was delicious. Honestly, it was the perfect setting for what was to come so after grabbing a drink, my friend and I settled into the last row of comfy theater style chairs and let all of the feels and nostalgia take us over.

Local trio The Push was already on stage by the time we walked in (either they started early or had literally just started and only played a fifteen minute set). Their music was calming but still had a sense of energy that was perfect for a Saturday night show and perfect for downing drinks a bit quicker than I probably should have. With relateable lyrics and infectious beats, the response they got out of the sold out audience said it all. Although everyone was clearly there for a night of nostalgia provided by The Spill Canvas, every song that The Push played was followed by clapping, hooting and hollering. Typically at sit down shows like this the screaming and cheering is kept to a minimum (I blame it on the feeling of being old that you get from sitting down all night and low key absolutely loving the comfort of it) but that wasn’t the case last night. Although their set was short, The Push definitely got people talking and are now stuck in my head as a local band that I must keep my eyes on.

After a really quick changeover, it was time for The Spill Canvas. As soon as the members took the stage the sold out crowd erupted and my heart instantly started to flutter. I haven’t been able to catch The Spill Canvas live since I lived back home before college. That makes it damn near fifteen years since I caught them live. Full disclosure, it’s probably been about that long since I really sat down and listened to their music. Their 2005 album ‘One Fell Swoop’ was one of my saviors while going through the mess that was my emo teenage phase. I remember laying on my bed listening to the album on repeat while bawling my eyes out about something that was probably so trivial but, at the time, was ruining my life. That album and their music definitely left a lasting imprint on my heart but times change and my life isn’t nearly as dramatic as it was back then (well, maybe it is but now I can legally drink so that changes things). It’s not that I ever forgot about the band and what they meant to me, more that they were just kind of put on a shelf and only come out for a rainy day. What a mistake.

Although in my mind the only album they put out was that fateful 2005 release, this group has never stopped putting out music and I quickly learned yesterday that they still do it with the same amount of heart and passion as they had when I was obsessed with them. Saturday night’s set was sixteen songs (including a two song encore) that spanned The Spill Canvas’ entire discography. Although I thought all I would know were songs from ‘One Fell Swoop’ (which they did play a lot from), I was shocked to find myself singing along to so much more. That just shows the power of this band and of the songwriting. Their lyrics may have hit me more back when I was a freaking wreck of a teenager but they are still relateable as the lost 29 year old that I am today. 

There was something beautiful in the air throughout the show Saturday night. There was a sense of admiration that went from the fans to the stage and vice versa. A couple of songs in, vocalist Nick Thomas started to tell the story behind of his songs. He started talking about how his mother passed away about a year ago and… well then he stopped. He stepped away from the microphone, took a swig of water, wiped his head, took another swig of water… the audience started shouting out words of encouragement. “You got this!” “We love you!” “You can do it!” He was never able to finish the story and instead just said “Call your mom” into the microphone before jumping into the beautiful song. He didn’t need to tell us his story, he didn’t need to let us witness a breakdown but he did both and that was truly a beautiful moment. Just like The Spill Canvas’ music has helped me through many a breakdown, there I was witnessing the same thing from the voice that saw me through it all. I won’t go into my normal spiel but the power of music is an amazing thing and that was a prime example of it.

There were multiple times throughout the night where I found myself lost in the haze of nostalgia that I am almost always searching for. From breakdowns to break ups, I sat there and let The Spill Canvas bring back all sorts of memories before they left the stage and and I was catapulted back into the reality that I made it through absolutely everything and I have them to thank for that. 

I’ll never know how many broken bones there were during Every Time I Die’s set last night and will never know just how amazing Claudio from Coheed & Cambria sounded but I do know that I made the right choice. Nostalgia and music are both some of the most powerful drugs in the world. Mix them with some good friends, a beautiful venue, and a couple drinks— last night was perfect in every way.