Emery and The Almost Bring Back Teenage Angst at Amsterdam Bar & Hall

Emery at Amsterdam Bar and Hall in St. Paul, Minnesota on Sunday, May 12, 2024. (Photo credit: Jess Beck)

JESS BECK | Go Venue Magazine

What a night. It was nostalgic in all the ways that you could think of. The feelings of a simultaneous youth group concert trip with church friends who have somehow developed an affinity for swear words, craft beer, tattoos, and beards.

And arguably, “LET’S FUCKING GGGOOOOOO!” isn’t something you’d expect to hear at an event that also could have been described as a worship service, but more on that later.

On Sunday, May 12, 2024, at Amsterdam Bar and Hall, Emery and The Almost teamed up to deliver probably one of the best, intimate shows that I had dreamed of attending since discovering their music on the cusp of colligate endeavors that never quite panned out.

The opener was no joke, by the way. Bad Luck might have actually found very good luck when they started playing instruments together. Based out of NYC, they’re a fresh sound to the pop punk sphere, even if they all dress like they just discovered the early 90s. They sound like a heavier and less lengthy Angels and Airwaves – certainly worth a listen!

Next up to the stage was The Almost – and I have to be honest, having photographed Underoath back in Texas in 2022, this was a real treat. Southern Weather, which made its debut in 2007, was like a smoother sounding They’re Only Chasing Safety, and it’s difficult for me to not hear the influence of that record in this one, but Aaron Gillespie is one talented dude. Not only can he mash the drums, but the dude can play a mean guitar.

Hey, there’s no barricade here,” he said to the crowd. “It’s kinda sexy, isn’t it? Let’s see what you got!” before he launched into obvious crowd pleasers such as “Southern Weather,” “Drive There Now!” and “Say this Sooner.

Remember when I told you it devolved into a worship service at one point during the show? After playing some slower songs for a few minutes, Aaron played “Amazing Because It Is” which essentially is a rendition of “Amazing Grace,” during which people could be seen with their hands in the air and swaying side to side after recently having pounded into one another during the mosh pit.

Oh, did we mention that his voice is still as juicy as it was in 2004? Because it is. Now, I won’t hold it against him for not playing the entirety of Southern Weather (even if the majority of the band was Emery fill-ins) because they ended with what is possibly my new favorite cover of all time in “Reinventing Your Exit” with the assistance of Emery vocalist/pianist Josh Head. Not to steal any thunder from Emery, but this was absolutely the highlight of the night for me. The way the crowd got engaged, moshed, and went with the flow of the show was incredible, and the energy was palpable. Literally the best way they could’ve ended their set, and I still have goosebumps from thinking about it.

It’s like I was fresh out of high school again and things weren’t so bad.

Angsty, sure. But not bad.

Last up was Emery, a Christian band that isn’t a Christian band. “We’re just all old and mow lawns now,” joked Toby Morrell to the audience at one point. But Emery puts on a solid performance. You can tell that yes, even though these dudes are old enough to be your kids’ youth pastors now, that they are soaking up every ounce of being back on the road that you can. It’s just something you can see from stage where the band is either excited to be there or they’re paid to be there.

And before you come at me with “EvErY BaNd iS pAiD tO bE ThErE” yes, but you can tell.

Anyway, they played a number of hits, including “The Ponytail Parades,” “The Party Song,” and “Walls” to round out the night. Emery really brought the energy though and the fans reciprocated well. Hopefully, this won’t be the last time that some niche bands decide to do a reunion tour, because this is bread and butter right now!

As always, a big shout-out to the staff at Amsterdam Bar & Hall – we couldn’t enjoy shows like these if you didn’t have amazing staff to help out. Also, a big thank you to everyone who wore deodorant to this show! Keep being awesome to one another, and we’ll see ya at the next show!


The Almost

Bad Luck

All images © Jess Beck

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