REVIEW – Piss Fest at 7th St. Entry w/ VIAL, Unturned, Modern Nun, Grrrlstomp, and Surly Grrly

03.25.23 – By McKenna Klaphake

Piss Fest got my attention, reasonably so, due to the spunky name and line up of powerful punk rock artists. Minneapolis band, Vial, headlined the sold out show and was supported by Unturned, Modern Nun, Grrrlstomp, and Surly Grrly. This full bill highlighted some of the best of the local punk scene as each artist brought their unique spin to the genre. Piss Fest was a fantastic display of self expression as musicians and audience members alike dressed to theme by wearing yellow and let the carefree energy of the night take over. 

Surly Grrly is a self-described queer-core protest band and I can’t think of a more fitting description than that. Musically, their songs are driven by ferocious drum beats that sent the audience into a frenzy. Surly Grrly’s lyrics are an act of protest and outrage. They call out corrupt systems in our society like toxic masculinity, rape culture, and crooked politicians. The four piece band played songs off of their self titled album release from 2021. 

Surly Grrly walks the talk (which is coincidentally one of their song titles) and truly lives their lyrics. At their merch table they had free menstrual products, contraceptives, narcan, and safer use kits available. They were also collecting donations for the local non-profit, Outfront Minnesota, which advocates for LGBTQ+ rights. This is the best kind of community support by giving out products so that people can be the safest and healthiest they can be. Surly Grrly started the night out with a bang and set the tone for the rest of the show. 

Grrrlstomp, who up until recently went by riotgrrrldarko, showed how successful genre blending is done. The combination of rap, pop, and punk created a unique sound that artist Bray’Jana Coleman skillfully executed. Her punk Y2K aesthetic is another perfect example of how shows like Piss Fest are safe spaces for self-expression in art, which includes fashion. 

Her attitude of not caring about what people think and self love add to the relatable nature of her songs. She spoke about writing her new songs when she needed a reminder of how great she is (don’t we all need that reminder sometimes.) All of Grrrlstomp’s music can be found on sound cloud so be sure to check out this Twin Cities local. 

Chicago band, Modern Nun enticed the audience with a groovy rock influence to Piss Fest’s punk theme. Lead singer, Edie Mckenna is originally from St. Paul and recalled the times when she would attend shows at First Avenue in her youth. Mckenna engaged the audience with her passion and highly skilled vocal range. Modern Nun’s track list has influences from many genres which can be heard in the twangy vocals and groovy guitar riffs. Lyrically, their songs range from that familiar feeling of not knowing if you’re actually a good person, to the simple topic of lunch. The band also infused their special sound into a cover of “Crimson and Clover” by Joan Jett which resulted in a really fantastic piece that had everyone singing along. 

Unturned brought major nostalgic vibes to the night. The Minneapolis pop punk band has been playing together since high school and it certainly shows. The bands synchronicity and intense energy had the crowd moshing and jumping along to every track. Unturned released their first album in 2022 titled, “Dreams of Being on Television”, which they played songs off of on Saturday night. The band also performed an older piece titled, “Swimming.” The lead singer’s gritty vocals will attract fans of Blink-182 and other early 2000’s pop punk bands. I wish I could have heard more from Unturned, but with such a full line up that just wasn’t possible. I look forward to future opportunities to see this talented band play! 

Vial began their set with cheers and chants from a sold out crowd. Similar to Surly Grrrly, their lyrics are aggressive and in your face in the best way possible.

Vial consists of keytarist and bassist Taylor Kraemer, guitarist KT Branscom, and drummer Katie Fischer. One of the unique things about the band is that all three members seemed to take turns as lead singer. I don’t think I’ve seen any other band do this. I loved it because the band was able to highlight each performers unique voice and still maintain the same image and sound that fans love so much. 

This indie band is bringing in the next generation of punk. Vial played songs off of their two albums, “LOUDMOUTH” and “Grow Up.” They performed fan favorites, “Piss Punk” and “Roadkill.” Some of their songs address toxic masculinity and other oppressive systems, while other songs are just random, like a new one that’s just about soup. 

The band rocked out to their recorded material plus a few new songs that have yet to be released. The energy that they created had the crowd moshing and quite literally screaming the songs back at them.

The emotions radiating through the crowd were infectious and you could feel the collective affection for the band. Most of Vial’s songs started with high energy while other songs built in crescendo. Vial effectively engaged in banter with the audience which left many holding on with anticipation for the beat to drop or the next high energy single to start. This was one of the aspects that make this band so engaging. The band finished with two encore performances demanded by a crowd that could not be satiated. 

Vial did a fantastic job of curating a night of talented local musicians. The crowd was alive and whether you were shoving in the mosh pit or jumping safely off to the side you were sure to have an entertaining time at Piss Fest!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s