Photos by Liah Taylor
Review by Lauren
When Villain of the Story announced that their debut album Wrapped in Vines, Covered in Thorns would finally be coming out on March 3 I just about lost my mind. When they announced the lineup for their release show I was incredibly excited. Nanashi, Glass Houses, and In Search of Solace are, in my opinion, easily some of the dopest bands in the scene here, and with Villain of the Story headlining, I figured it was going to be an amazing night. I was correct.
The concert was held at North Summit Church in Blaine. Now, a metal show at a church is not something I ever thought I’d witness in my lifetime, but I was excited to see how it would all come together. The room was spacious, and even though there was no stage, there was a section of the floor blocked off by lights. It was very welcoming and friendly and right away I could tell the people who were working there genuinely loved the local music scene and were in it for the right reasons.
Aureate, a band out of Kansas City, kicked off the show with a very unique sound. One second they were playing breakdowns, and the next a bass drop. They even threw in an Owl City cover. I could never anticipate what was coming next. The band was having a good time and that made things enjoyable, even if I was confused by their music at times.
Even though Glass Houses are technically out of North Dakota, they consider the music scene here in the Twin Cities home. Very few people seemed to know who they were, but Josh’s incredible skills as a front man definitely drew people in. Whether he was jumping around, headbanging, or on the ground, he never stood still for very long. Josh wasn’t the only one to keep the energy high however, the entire band had incredible stage presence. They kept things moving, playing song after song from their album Wellspring, closing their set with the title track off that record. When the song kicked in the band invited the crowd up on the “stage” to sing along. Those who knew the words screamed them at the top of their lungs standing right next to those who didn’t, but everyone up there had a smile on their face. It was the best way to end an incredible set.
Nanashi has a special way of bringing out the best way of crazy in people. Whether it was a simple head bob or a full out pit that was formed, almost everyone was moving during their entire set. Nanashi consistently kills it, and this show was no exception. They held down some strong vocals with solid instrumental to back it up. Their set consisted of mic grabs and moshing, and everyone close to the stage was hype. Super high energy from both the band and the crowd meant a good time for everyone involved. Nanashi ended their set with “Ride It Out,” a fantastic song that made myself and others be tempted to become violent. People were screaming the lyrics, throwing down or both. Definitely ended the set on a good note, leaving people excited and ready for more.
I am thoroughly convinced that In Search of Solace is one of the best bands to come out of Minnesota, and based on the crowd reaction I believe many of the people at this show would agree with me. ISOS is a band that is just all around excellent. Their music combined with their stage presence and the vibe of the venue itself created a mesmerizing show. Not as many people were moving, but those that were moving were going hard. It was fun to watch and really enjoyable to listen to. In Search of Solace puts on a live show like no other. I’m consistently amazed by their talent and musicianship. Their set was more of an experience than just watching a band play, and they finished leaving me wanting more.
Villain of the Story was setting up when they ran into some technical difficulties. The suspense was building and everyone near the front was getting impatient. When they figured out what was wrong and fixed it and the clapping from the crowd died down, they started. None of us were ready for what was to come and they opened with the first song off their new record titled “GHC.” The energy stayed high through the next few songs as people were jumping around, screaming the lyrics back to the band, and having a great time hearing the new songs live for the first time.
Villain of the Story is another band with fabulous stage presence and with Logan and Christian switching off on vocals there is a lot of crowd interaction. I could tell how excited they were to play the new songs, but before they continued with those, they threw a few old favorites into the mix. VOTS played “Queen of High St.” to get the crowd off their feet, then, invited the crowd on “stage” and played “The Phantom.” As the crowd still, screaming the lyrics with smiles on their faces, and in my case tears in my eyes. When the song was over everyone went back into the crowd and the band announced the song they were playing next: A new one titled “The One Reborn,” aka “The Phantom pt II.” I had to go get water to keep myself from collapsing, but when I came back I took a second to take it all in.
There were a lot of people up near the front singing the words right back to the band and everything just looked and sounded right. Mistakes weren’t being made and Logan and Christian’s vocals didn’t sound forced or as though they were tired or struggling at all. The energy they had got the crowd pumped up and it made for a great show to watch and be a part of. When they played “Powerless,” the audience was loud. It genuinely never gets old hearing the crowd scream the words when the band stops singing. It makes me all proud and happy inside. I’m pretty sure there were probably a few people tearing up during this song. Its emotional and hits you hard as it is relatable, and in a live setting, it’s dang near magical.
To close out the show VOTS played “A Life Worth Living.” It’s a song that got everyone off their feet and moving with the help of Christian came into the crowd and pushing the people in the pit around a bit. During the last note of the night, I fell to my knees exhausted and a bit overwhelmed. Some of the fans took the microphone and said some things about the band, how grateful they were for them — initiated by Logan’s biggest fan, his mom. More tears rolled from me, what more could they expect. As three of the fans were done they all started yelling for me, wondering where I was. I went up there, still crying of course, and said, “I just love them a lot, that’s about it.” That statement really summed it up for what seemed like a lot of people at the show. An insane night for the most deserving group of people, we all seriously couldn’t be more proud.