The Von Tramps Make Monday Feel More Like A Friday


Photos by David Rubene


Yesterday was insane. From the gym, to work, to a haircut, to home to slam a pizza into my mouth then to the show- I honestly didn’t have time to catch my breath. I was still in that frantic space as I walked into the 7th Street Entry. My stomach hurt from scarfing down half of a mac n’ cheese pizza, I was subconsciously worried about missing the second episode of The Bachelor because I know my friends are going to ruin it for me, and, well, I was just in a freaking tizzy. That tizzy calmed the second Of the Orchard took the stage. It was just like falling into a meditation. All of my stress and frantic-ness that had seemed to plague me throughout the day instantly went away and all was well in the kingdom.

Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the show on time to see opener Stain the Mind. Full disclosure- I had my dates wrong and thought this show was on Friday so made the mistake of committing to help out a friend by being a hair model and, well, who would say no to a free hair cut by a salon owner?! (And yes, it looks amazing.) My apologies to the band. I do hope to catch ya’ll again sooner rather than later.

The first band I did catch was Of the Orchard. With a little bit of 90’s pop rock mixed with some bluesy tendencies and an all over upbeat yet under-stated sound, Of the Orchard was the perfect band for me to kick off my night with. Vocalist Ben Vanden Boogaard definitely has a voice that lends perfectly to the alt-90’s vibe of this four piece without it sounding recycled or overdone. One of the biggest things that stood out to me about this group was Zach Ward’s guitar playing. Although his wailing solos seemed to over-power the rest of the band throughout the set, there’s no denying his passion and dedication to his craft. His sweeping guitar solos had me absolutely captivated throughout the band’s quick opening set. 

Following Of the Orchard was Theyself. Theyself was honestly the only act I knew anything about on the bill and I didn’t know much. All I knew was that it was a kid I went to college with that I sadly lost touch with after graduating. I had seen the Theyself name all over the place and was intrigued to see what this kid had been up to all of these years since graduating. As soon as Pat aka Doc aka Theyself took the stage and kicked off the quick set, I was stunned and had my jaw on the floor. Theyself’s voice was absolutely stunning as it took over the air in the 7th Street Entry with just voice, guitar, and a stomp pedal type thing that mimicked a bass drum hit. The sound was a bit hippy mixed with a bit of the blues all blended together in a bowl of complete and utter passion. Although the music was definitely not what I was expecting when walking into the show nor what I typically listen to, it was impossible not to fall in love with Theyself and the music. Every song had the same beat but, being a one person band, that wasn’t surprising. What was surprising was that even though each song had the same beat, each song had a completely different sound and vibe. Was Theyself’s set the most exciting set I’ve seen this year? Absolutely not but it was one of the more passion-filled sets I’ve seen and that trumps anything else.

Closing out the Monday night show was The Von Tramps. As Theyself pointed out, can we just admire that name for a minute– The Von Tramps. I mean, it’s freaking perfect and that perfection in the name matched their flawless sound and fun-loving live show. Formed in Minneapolis back in 2015, The Von Tramps are one of those bands that truly doesn’t give a crap about the latest trends or fashions in the music industry. Their unique brand of ska meets punk meets pop meets riot grrrl had me sold within the first song. I was instantly struck by singer Jenna Enemy’s voice. It had a sense of power to it that any pop singer would die to have but it also had an edge to it that any punk band would kill for. That larger than life voice matched her personality perfectly. Bubbly and far to perky for a Monday night, Jenna wasn’t afraid to get into the crowd and make the people who were hiding out in the back of the darkened venue change their minds and move to the front.

Beyond Jenna’s bubbly personality and the personalities of the other members that shined much brighter than the stage lights, The Von Tramps’ music was infectious to say the least. As I mentioned, it was a unique blend of ska, punk, pop, and a little bit of everything else. Every song was more upbeat than the last and every epic hit of the drum-kit made by Kieran O’Donoghue made you bounce along. There was something so powerful and moving about the music but it wasn’t in your face (unless you refused to scream “Shout” during their Otis Day and the Knights cover in which case Jenna wasn’t afraid to shove that microphone in your face). All in all, it was a set I wish I could check out on a Friday or Saturday night when I could have a couple of drinks of me and let all of my nerves and inhibitions fade away. I walked in knowing nothing about The Von Tramps and walked away with a new favorite local band that I need to take all of my friends to see (this is a warning to my friends) very, very soon.

Yesterday was just one of those days where something was off. I was stressed, in a tizzy, and honestly would have loved to have just curled up on the couch and fallen asleep by about 6PM. Good thing I didn’t. Last night was an amazing show and cured all of my ailments better than a full night’s sleep would have.