It happens every year and every year I pretend like I’m not excited. Zombie Pub Crawl is one of those annual events that Minneapolis should be very, very proud of. The amount of people that come out for this event is staggering and the amount of fun you can have at it if you let yourself is off the charts. You can either go all out when it comes to your zombified costume (as many do) or you can just show up as is (I feel like the bags under my eyes count as zombie makeup right?). It’s a magical night of one too many drinks and a bit of a fantasy setting that you have to experience at least once.
This year’s Zombie Pub Crawl line-up didn’t seem as strong as years past. There was no Third Eye Blind again and no Smash Mouth as in previous years but there were still some highlights in the line-up of acts I had never heard of before. I mean, throw Impaler on a line-up and clearly I’ll be there. Tease me with DJ Diesel (AKA Shaquille O’Neal AKA Shaq) and of course I won’t be missing that. Tempt me a big name from the EDM scene like Alison Wonderland… yeah, I wasn’t going to miss this event even if it meant I was going alone.
Zombie Pub Crawl has moved locations before but has found it’s home in downtown Minneapolis for the past couple of years. I’m not sure why they went and changed it as hosting the event downtown seemed to be perfect but this year they moved to Northeast Minneapolis in the beautiful parks that line the river. Although I wasn’t completely stoked on the small hike between the two main stages on a path that wasn’t lit at all, it actually worked perfectly. There was a feeling of a complete zombie take over when walking on the path with zombies stumbling all over the path while dripping in fake blood. A bit surreal yet completely perfect, the dreaded walk turned into a great place to just blend in with the drunks that had decided to just sit down on the sit and watch everything unfold in front of me.
Although I definitely had a Brain Belt or four (Brain Belt is just Grain Belt beer re-branded for this event every year), I was more at the event for the music, less for the drinking and frat party atmosphere. That being said, with both main stages starting at the same time for each set and a third stage that seemed to do pretty much the same thing, it was impossible for me to catch absolutely everyone but I was able to catch a couple favorites and a few new musicians that I’m sure will turn into some new favorites.
The first group that I caught was the almighty Impaler. Having seen these guys too many times to count, I already knew that I was going to love their shock-rock based set. They played some of my old favorites but added some new elements into their show that I definitely hope they stick. The most notable addition would be the fire breathing performed by singer Bill Lindsey. Although new to their set (or at least they have never done it when I’ve seen them previously) it fit in perfectly with the fake blood dripping from members’ mouths and the all over shock factor of their intense music. With a little 80’s hair metal, a little 90’s trash and whole lot of energy, Impaler’s set was my favorite of the day and the one that seemed to fit the zombie theme the best.
While wandering between stages, I was drawn to a small tent stage by the sound of Viva Knievel. Hailing from right here in the Twin Cities, Viva Knievel’s set of covers was beyond perfect. It was enough for me to hang around and grab another beer just to stand and watch them. Their sound was perfect and although clearly a cover band, they definitely had their own spin on each song which made their set feel like so much more than just a set of covers. Although on the smallest stage that was covered by a tent, their song and energy was beyond powerful and drew many people to it. I could have stayed in that tent all night and been perfectly content but DJ Diesel was about to take the stage and that was one set I wasn’t willing to miss.
You know DJ Diesel but probably not by that name, you probably know him as Shaquille O’Neal. Seeing this truly larger than life superstar behind a turntable was definitely a favorite image of mine from the event. Although he wasn’t one of the final acts of the night, the audience seemed to treat DJ Diesel as a true headliner. There was a roar of applause and cheers as the giant took the stage and the clearly intoxicated crowd never stopped moving throughout his set. Although clearly a mega-star in the sports world, Shaq definitely takes his music seriously and I was honestly impressed and stunned by his mixes and beats. Had I just heard his music, I never would have thought basketball superstar and I love that fact.
There were so many amazing performers last night including Snow Tha Product, Alison Wonderland, Twista…. the list goes on and on but, like so many other festivals, there were just too many for me to write a couple hundred words on each. You would get bored with reading this and, honestly, I would get bored with writing it. Zombie Pub Crawl is one of those events that I look forward to every year and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for this always growing event.