In the end, there was a lot of moshing, and nothing too mushy.
Minneapolis' Triple Rock Social Club hosted its final night of live music Tuesday, ending a 19-year run as a popular corner dive bar and a 15-year legacy as a live music venue that fostered harder-edged, underappreciated and/or none-of-the-above performers.
An especially raucous and rowdy lineup of rock bands and one Irish bagpipe troupe was brought in to sound a very noisy death knell for the West Bank hangout. Among the performers was Dillinger Four, whose guitarist/co-vocalist Erik Funk owned and ran the Triple Rock all these years with his wife, Gretchen Funk.
"It was her idea," Funk said from the stage, as his quartet — known to sometimes go off the rails at the club where they essentially had an open bar tab — surprisingly kept it together in a thrilling set that ended just as the coolers emptied of the last Budweiser bottles and Pabst Blue Ribbon cans around 1 a.m. "I thought a lot about what to say, but just really couldn't come up with something," Funk added, letting his more verbose bandmate Patrick "Paddy" Costello instead do most of the talking.
"We said someday we'd have a place of our own, and we did," the bassist said. "And one by one, the punk, metal and hip-hop scene showed up."
Even on a night mostly steeped in indignant punk-rock, there was a conspicuous lack of anger or blame in the room over the pending closure. Instead, there was a focus on celebrating the club's lasting impact.
The venue wasn't going under or being swept up in gentrified condo and retail development, like what happened at the similarly beloved Uptown Bar & Grill in 2009. As the Funks hope to move on to new ventures, the new owner of the property intends to rent out the bar to a restaurant, while the venue side will host weddings and special events.
Still, many of the roughly 500 or so attendees expressed their disappointment and all-out disbelief that the Triple Rock would be no more.
"It was a place you could always feel welcome, and always hear great music you couldn't hear anywhere else," said Lisa Finley of Minneapolis, whose first time at the club was also the first weekend the venue hosted live music: a gig by Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn's reunited band Lifter Puller in 2003.
Since then, the Triple Rock bolstered everyone from Doomtree, Lizzo and Motion City Soundtrack from the local scene to TV on the Radio, Imagine Dragons, Against Me!, the Buzzcocks and NOFX among touring acts. NOFX even crafted a song in the club's honor, "Seeing Double at the Triple Rock."
Said frontman Gabriel Douglas of the band 4onthefloor: "Scenes always change, and hopefully something else will come along that was as beautiful and important as this place was."
Danielle Cusack of the underage punk trio Bruise Violet applauded the club for "being open to bands like ours." Similar comments were made on stage by the members of Kitten Forever, who opened for D4 along with Negative Approach, a veteran punk group from Detroit that came to town for the occasion.
As the members of Dillinger Four walked off the stage, scene fixture Sean "Har Mar Superstar" Tillmann crashed the stage and said he wouldn't stop crowd surfing until the band came back out. It worked.
Once again, it was D4's bassist who offered the final salute to the Triple Rock, putting a twist on a quote that Texas punk band Big Boys would use to challenge their fans at show's end. "Now go start your own [bleeping] club!" Costello yelled to the crowd.