Origami Angel sells out The Garage with Pinkshift and Sweet Pill

04.29.23 – Photos by Ani Carlson / Review by McKenna Klaphake

On Saturday, April 29th, Origami Angel sold out The Garage in Burnsville, Minnesota. The venue was packed with fans of all ages to support the legendary emo band in addition to openers, Sweet Pill and Pinkshift. The night was full of insane guitar riffs, powerful rock songs, and an energetic mosh pit while ending promptly at 9:30 pm.  

Despite online communications stating that the show started at 7:00pm, the first opener, Sweet Pill was already playing by the time I arrived at 6:45pm. This disappointed me a little as I was most excited to see Sweet Pill perform but I hurried inside the venue to catch the rest of their set. This was the Philidelphia natives second time in Minnesota and the love for the band has grown exponentially since they were last here. The band played songs off of their 2022 album release, “Where the Heart Is.” I was particularly excited to see them perform the song, “High Hopes” as I have come to love the catchy beats and riffs. 

Sweet Pill is distinguishable by the explosive energy in their songs and stage presence. Lead singer, Zayna Youssef, belted each track with stellar vocals that sounds just like their recorded material. Their talent is palpable as they moved across the stage with passion in their face and body. Guitarists, Jayce Williams and Sean McCall wailed away the most thrilling riffs that added to the energy of the room. Of course this powerful band wouldn’t be complete with out drummer, Chris Kearney who ensured the essential synchronicity evident in all their tracks. This was especially crucial in their last song, “Cut” which exploded into practiced chaos as the band members freestyled a fiery finish. Youssef also had the audience scream “happy birthday” to their brother over facetime. Their charismatic personality when engaging with the audience set the tone for the rest of the night.

Baltimore locals, Pinkshift, challenge music industry norms as they bring punk music to a new generation. I was blown away at the amount of young people moshing and singing along to their music. All ages venues like The Garage allow young folks to engage in punk culture, often times with family members who are veterans of the scene. The diverse group of performers bring a refreshing perspective to a predominately cis-gender, white, and male industry. Their songs express anger at the world around us. Lead singer, Ashrita Kumar had the audience participate in a call and answer with the powerful lines, “I don’t want your fake obsession, I need something real to change.” The band also celebrated Kumar’s birthday with the audience and led them in a hastily thrown together rendition of ‘Happy Birthday.’

If I thought Sweet Pill brought a lot of energy, I was not ready for what Pink Shift had to bring. Kumar jumped around the stage and encouraged the crowd to move around and get sweaty. Guitarist, Paul Vallejo performed a cover of Microwave’s song “Dull.” The crowd went wild with chants in support for the artist. Vallejo admitted that they were nervous to perform the cover because they rarely sing in front of a crowd. If the audience was any judge, (and I tend to think they are pretty good ones) Vallejo expertly executed the beloved song. 

In between songs of fierce passion, Kumar preached words of love and togetherness while recalling the collective energy in the room. This certainly was the case as I watched in on the explosive unity which fomed among the growing mosh pit. While I never find myself in the pit, I can respect the culture of togetherness and support. If someone dropped an item, or fell down, there were people to pick them up and help others out. There aren’t many settings where you see that level of support among strangers and it’s truly a sight to see. 

Origami Angel has become a staple in any midwest emo playlist. Among the greats like American Football and Mom Jeans, the rock band has been bringing in fans from all over since their creation in 2017. Prior to attending the show, I had no idea that Origami Angel was a duo consisting of vocalist/guitarist, Ryland Heagy and drummer, Pat Doherty. The all encompassing sound created between the two of them contain lyrics that touch on heartbreak and insecurity, and you truly can’t get more emo than that. Their first album release in 2019, “Somewhere City” gained major traction with fan favorites, “24 Hr Drive-Thru” and “The Title Track.” The performance of these two songs were truly the highlights of their set as everyone seemed to know all of the words. They also performed hit songs from“Doctor Whomst” and “Skeleton Key” which also come from their 2019 album. 

Everything about this band’s performance made my emo heart sing. The guitar riffs that have become synonymous with the midwest emo genre made me literally giddy. It was a surreal feeling to get to see a band as legendary as Origami Angel, especially in such an intimate venue. Their songs are upbeat and fast paced, often directly contrasted against slower hard rock beats. Despite vocalist Heagy admitting to having a hoarse voice for the past couple of shows, he was still able to bring his signature sound that has become so iconic over the years. The few moments when Heagy’s voice did strain went virtually unnoticed as die hard fans sang along, loudly, to every song. 

Fans of Pokémon rejoiced as the band played songs off of their Pokémon themed 2019 EP titled, “Gen 3.” The duo also played interludes of sound clips from the video games as they tuned their instruments and prepped in between songs. Those not used to punk/rock shows may have been surprised at the sheer amount of stage divers and crowd surfers, however, all of the bands played on like normal as the moshpit swelled and sweat. 

Overall, I was thoroughly pleased with the performances of all three bands. The supportive punk rock atmosphere made for a fun night where fans of all ages could jam to their favorite songs.  

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