JESS BECK | Go Venue Magazine
Saturday night on November 18, 2023, at the Uptown Theatre in Minneapolis, I had the pleasure of attending a concert that felt like a nostalgic trip back to the era of questionable fashion choices and regrettable MySpace profile pictures. Youth Fountain, Four Year Strong, and Story of the Year took the stage, reminding us that the 2000s are alive and well, whether we like it or not.
Que Gollum’s voice:
“BUT WE LOVES IT PRECIOUS!”
This also marks the 15th venue I’ve been able to photograph in Minnesota this year, which I’m not sure if that’s a record or not, but this venue is a really good spot for shows, having recently opened up again.
The evening kicked off with Youth Fountain, a band that had me questioning if I had accidentally stumbled into a high school talent show in the best way possible. With their emotionally charged lyrics and earnest stage presence, it was like reliving the angsty days of scribbling song lyrics in the margins of my notebook. I might even post a vague status using these lyrics at some point in the future. If you’re into raw emotions and feeling personally attacked by your teenage self, Youth Fountain is your ticket to a trip down memory lane.
Vocalist Tyler Zanon has a way with telling stories, and while most of them are…well…depressing, they somehow helped all of us in that space to feel a little bit better about ourselves.
And that’s the thing about Emo shows that I love. It doesn’t matter when you became depressed – it’s just important that you are.
Next up was Four Year Strong, whose energy on stage was so infectious that even the guy in the back wearing cargo shorts and a New Balance sneakers couldn’t resist breaking into a pitiful attempt at a mosh pit. The band’s pop-punk anthems had the crowd singing along, with choruses so catchy they should come with a warning label about getting stuck in your head for weeks. If you ever find yourself needing a soundtrack for skateboarding poorly or attempting ill-advised stunts on a BMX bike, Four Year Strong has got you covered.
They played enthusiastically through hits like “It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now,” “We All Float Down Here,” and “Go Down In History.” They also pulled off some covers of Green Day that the audience really ate up.
I don’t know what else to say about these guys. They’re like if Austrian Death Machine had a baby with New Found Glory and out came a bunch of awkwardly dressed hardcore kids ready to throw down (and I mean that as an absolute compliment).
And then there was Story of the Year, the headliners of the evening, who fuckin’ nailed it.
Listen, I’m one of those humans that believes Page Avenue is a 10/10 album with zero skips.
You can disagree if you want, but you’d be wrong.
And they played the whole album start to finish, with some newer material sprinkled in there for good measure.
The band delivered a set that was equal parts nostalgic and face-melting, with a performance that had me wondering if it was socially acceptable to still be wearing studded belts in 2023. Opening with “And the Hero Will Drown,” they didn’t let their foot off the gas once. “Anthem of Our Dying Day,” and “Real Life,” were also major audience pleasers until they finished out strong with “Until the Day I Die,” which is arguably their biggest commercial success.
Their angsty lyrics and high-energy stage presence transported the audience back to a time when life’s biggest concern was deciding which band to put in your Top 8 on MySpace.
And honestly, I think we should bring that back. There’s some fake ass people out there who could learn a lesson by getting put in their place.
Oh, and about the belt thing…
According to vocalist Dan Marsala who wore one on stage – I’m assuming the answer is “yes.”
Mine is full of sparkles, so I guess that makes us Emo Bros.
Also, a huge shout-out to the venue staff. I’m not even kidding when I say that this was the most well organized, polite, and good natured security team I’ve encountered (not just up here, but probably anywhere – and y’all know I cover a LOT of shows). I had the opportunity to chat with Teddy, the operations manager who is a local resident in the community, and he was very excited for Uptown opening their doors to bring some vibrancy back to the area.
“I’m just happy to be a part of it,” he said, speaking of the resurgence in the area.
We can tell, Teddy. Keep doing amazing things with your staff and we’ll get there one day!
So in the meantime, keep being nice humans to each other, keep wearing deodorant to shows, and remember that studded belts and neon hair never went out of style.
It’s not a phase – it’s the story of the year!
We’ll catch ya at the next one.
Story of the Year
Four Year Strong