The Triple Rock Social Club near Downtown Minneapolis seems like about the least likely place for a straight-edge hardcore gathering. Made infamous thanks to NOFX's single "Seeing Double at the Triple Rock" on their most recent studio full-length, the T-Rock is consistently filled with bar-goers seven days a week, and their Free Bacon Wednesdays have become the stuff of legend. I even have friends who routinely drop close to a hundred dollars a night there on booze, food and jukebox tunes. Not exactly a vice-free environment.
However, as Bane's frontman Aaron Bedard would comment partly through their set, the Triple Rock hosted the band the first year it opened its doors in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood 10 years ago. Coincidentally, Bane was also on their very first tour, crossing the country with a then-relatively unknown band called Saves the Day. Ten years later, Bane returns as the headliner with a free 10-year anniversary EP for those in attendance, and seasoned hardcore heroes H2O as well as newcomers Cruel Hand and Energy in tow.
I unfortunately had to miss both Energy and Cruel Hand, and even missed roughly the first ten minutes of H2O, walking in as the band was ending their globetrotting anthem "Faster Than the World." The band was energetic and youthful, despite the gray hairs and weathered skin, and the crowd responded with epic sing-alongs to favorites like "Guilty by Association," "Thicker than Water" and "5 Year Plan," which started out with a Black Sabbath "War Pigs" teaser intro. Even the newer material like "Fairweather Friend" and "What Happened" in particular roused excitement from the audience and kept the dancefloor moving. Bringing out guests from the opening bands for surprise vocal duties, while Aaron Dalbec of Bane hopped on guitar for a verse or two, H2O put on a spirited performance and warmed up the chilly Minnesota night for the show's headliners.
After a very speedy setup and soundcheck, Bane took the stage, and the bodies started piling on. Despite being both an early show and a weeknight, there were enough kids to fill the sides of the stage, where stage-divers launched themselves into the crowd with every opportunity. Starting with "Speechless" off the band's influential 2001 album Give Blood, Bane traversed their discography, plucking songs from each of their four full-lengths, including fan favorites "Can We Start Again" and "Ali v Frazier I" that sent the crowd into frenzies of microphone sharing and stage-diving. However, the band also showed a tremendous level of awareness on stage, stopping on a dime after a girl caught an elbow to the face to see if she was okay or needed anything. It seems like hardcore has been getting a lot of negative publicity regarding violence lately, and it's fantastic to see a band with Bane's amount of influence taking an interest in the well-being of all their audience members. The girl ended up being okay, and the dancefloor opened back up for an incident-free remainder of the night.
Speaking of dancefloors, Aaron Bedard is the most amusing dancer in history. The Triple Rock stage was alive with action throughout the set, and by the time the crowd was finished shouting along to "Swan Song," there was no energy left from either party for an encore. Afterwards, fans lined up to the Bane "hardcore sweatshirt factory" as Bill Molloy would say, where the band was also selling "I'd Rather Be Stagediving" bumper stickers and giving out the aforementioned free 10-year anniversary EP, which includes a new original and a killer Björk cover. With the great bands and great crowd on hand, it's fair to say that the Triple Rock hosted one of the Twin Cities' best hardcore shows of the fall.