The air smelled of pizza and cigarettes and you could hear the live music from blocks away. Moms with sleeves, little girls with sugar skull face paint, heads of dreads, and young people on bikes filled the Warehouse District. This Saturday’s all-day Pizza Luce Block Party was held in the entire block containing Pizza Luce – Downtown.
The ten hour event featured Minnesota performers with headliners After the Burial and Motion City Soundtrack. It was free to all and advertised family friendly. There was complimentary face painting and a bounce house, but the guest of honor had to be the Pizza Luce slice line. Other attractions included a dunk tank hosted by the Minnesota Rollergirls, a Summit beer tent, and a PA system playing what was essentially The Current without commercial interruption.
“My name is Sean Anonymous, I slept in a tent last night, and I’m going to make rap music for you!”
With that simple intro, everyone condensed against the stage. Sean Anonymous started out acapella due to technical difficulties, but when the beat came in at the ideal moment. It made me wonder if the “difficulties” were actually staged by Sean and DJ Nate. Arms raised like waves and heads bobbed like buoys in the eclectic ocean of people. Most of the families had left due to the explicit nature of the lyrics, which left a group primarily composed of 20-somethings holding beers and dancing ironically. Sean held control of the crowd, able to get them to repeat seemingly anything. He kept his energy consistently up–running and jumping, joking and rapping as fast as Watsky. The set included features by Rapper Hooks, DJ Snuggles, and Phillip Morris. With such a large performance, Sean Anonymous undoubtedly left with more fans than he entered with.
As the day went on, the sun went down, the crowd grew larger, the lines got longer, and the people became hipper. Several sporadic hacky circles popped up throughout the block, then disappeared the moment After the Burial hit the stage. Their one rule: Don’t be [a jerk]. The bass immediately radiated across the parking lot asphalt and within 30 seconds a pit of flailing limbs opened in the center of the crowd. It only took one word to get the entire block off the ground.
That word? Bounce.
Fists, devil horns, and middle fingers rose like stalagmites when singer Anthony Notarmaso instigated “Pizza Luce’s first circle pit.” With sweat dripping from the band, beach balls riding the outstretched arms, and bodies being thrown violently in and above the crowd, it was easy to tell that everyone was feeling it.
Finally, the moment so many seemed to be waiting for, the one, the only, Motion City Soundtrack. The crowd turned into a rambunctious choir, bouncing and singing along to every word. During every catchy chorus, the crowd would levitate, but try as they might, they just couldn’t jump higher than frontman Justin Pierre’s trademark hair.
The burly body surfers from After the Burial may have disappeared, but up front security was still a necessity due to the screaming fans that would’ve trampled the barricade if they only had the chance. Restricted by both singing and rhythm guitar, Pierre seemed to have settled on spirit fingers as either a dance, or a way to relax his fingers before he had to play again. He kicked out a wicked guitar solo, and after the sun had fallen past the buildings of 5th St. N. the light show began. Along with the light rigs atop the stage and the images projected on the brick wall to the left, phones illuminated the night sky–Tweets, Instagrams, and Snaps. Motion City Soundtrack even played a song from their sixth album which is currently in the works, ending the night on a high note.
It wasn’t until I attempted to navigate myself out of the crowd that I realized how many people had crammed into the Pizza Luce Block Party–the parking lot, sidewalk, and street packed with hip and hardcore sardines. Motion City Soundtrack met up with fans after their set and the block was cleared. It would look like any other Minneapolis street by morning.