Armor for Sleep Takes Varsity Theater Back a Decade

Armor for Sleep performing on the stage at Varsity Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Sunday, October 29, 2023. (Photo by Jess Beck)

JESS BECK | Go Venue Magazine

Well, even though it might be the same venue, you have to be able to pivot on a moment’s notice.

Yes, that is an official nod to the late Matthew Perry.

But just because you’ve been there before doesn’t mean that things are the same.

With new shows come new rules, and this time the rules stated that photographers had to stay on the side of the pit and could only cross in the middle between songs. Yes, we still got the first three from the pit as is the standard, but it was a very odd experience to say the least. But I get it from the venue’s side too – you have to keep your patrons safe, even if it means creating new rules from time to time.

I’m only mentioning this because if you think the images are a bit one-sided…well…yeah they kinda had to be.

However, it’s time to gather ’round for a night of music that took us straight back to the mid-2000s, a time when wearing skinny jeans and swooping bangs was cool and MySpace was still a thing (we miss you Tom). The Varsity Theatre on Sunday, October 29, 2023, in Minneapolis played host to a throwback extravaganza featuring The Spill Canvas, The Early November, and Armor for Sleep. If you weren’t there, you missed out on a heavy dose of nostalgia and some pretty catchy tunes.

Kicking things off was The Spill Canvas, and let me tell you, they were spilling their hearts out. It was like a one-man therapy session for lead singer Nick Thomas, but we’re here for it. Nick shared his deepest feelings through his music and let us in on all his emotions, making it feel like a cozy fireside chat with a couple of hundred people in the audience. But hey, we love a little emo sing-along, so no complaints here!

Next up, The Early November took the stage, and if you blinked, you might’ve missed their set change. They had the speed of a Formula 1 pit stop, and it was impressive. Their performance was a well-orchestrated mix of heartfelt lyrics and those classic mid-2000s post-hardcore vibes. They still make broken hearts sound like a beautiful thing, and we’re grateful for it.

They played the entirety of “The Room’s Too Cold” but in reverse, and it was every bit as perfect as you thought it would be. The highlight of the performance for me was when Ace told the audience, “You know, this tour has been tough. I’ve missed my kids doing band things. I’ve missed my daughter’s birthday. But this energy that you’re giving me right now…go give that energy back into the world!

And finally, Armor for Sleep closed out the night with a performance that was like a warm, comforting blanket of nostalgia. Guitarist and vocalist Benjamin Jorgensen and the gang took us on a journey through their discography, reminding us why we loved them in the first place. Even though it’s been a while since we’ve heard from them, they haven’t lost their touch, and the crowd was singing along like they’d never left.

In all honesty, this concert felt like a musical time machine back to a time when our biggest worries were picking the right song for our MySpace profile and figuring out how to sneak our flip phones into class without getting caught. The Varsity Theatre was the perfect setting for this blast from the past, and the crowd couldn’t have been happier.

So, here’s to The Spill Canvas, The Early November, and Armor for Sleep for taking us on a trip down memory lane. It was a night filled with sing-alongs, angsty nostalgia, and a sprinkle of snark, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

As always, a tremendous thanks goes to the staff making sure that we’re all safe to enjoy the evening. The work that y’all do is never unappreciated, even if it is often unnoticed. Without you guys, there wouldn’t be shows to enjoy – so thank you so much! Keep being excellent to one another, keep pushing forward in whatever you’re doing in life, and please keep wearing deodorant.

Until next time, keep those emo hearts beating, my friends.

Armor for Sleep

The Early November

The Spill Canvas

All images © Jess Beck

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