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In the meantime, Grimmer has made a jovial attempt to join another pop powerhouse. "I think Ultimate Fakebook needs me in their band," Grimmer says of the latest local crew to become major-label darlings. "I was trying to talk them into thinking that was a good idea the other night." Some might try to talk Grimmer into thinking it's a good idea to join the excellent three-fourths-female group Sister Mary Rotten Crotch, but, she replies with a laugh, "I wore my Catholic schoolgirl skirt when I was in the Main Street Saints (as the drummer), and I wore it out."
This One's for the Children
Happily, plenty of groups in the area are still going strong. One of these is Slanted Plant, a fledgling funk band that will showcase its new material August 9 at the Granada and August 12 at a daylong benefit show at Shawnee Park in Kansas City, Kansas. Both are free all-ages shows, which singer/guitarist Brian Isbell raves are his favorite type of concert to play. "Wow, thank you very much," he says, recalling his reaction when he learned that Slanted Plant had been added to the Granada bill. "I was dumbfounded." Then again, it's hard to imagine any type of show Isbell wouldn't like to play; in one brief conversation he repeatedly extols the virtues of "playing out."
Going along with Isbell's self-proclaimed "We'll play anywhere with anyone" credo, Slanted Plant often ends up sharing the stage with what Isbell describes as "death-metal-up-your-ass bands." This week's shows are no exception. The Granada show includes such hard-rocking bands as Six Percent and Eight Degrees, while the benefit, which is known as Crunch Fest (though not to Isbell or other sources interviewed for this piece, who admitted they'd never heard that name used for the concert), stars Six Percent and Canvas. Although Slanted Plant can't always make headbangers move their groove thangs, the band usually manages to soothe the savage beasts, although on one occasion the metal act that followed it was none too appreciative of the funksters and their booty-shakin' fans.
"Right after we got done playing, the next band went up on stage and basically started talking shit because all of our fans left, and they were basically like, 'Fuck Slanted Plant, fuck this, fuck that.'And we were like, 'Well, why?'" Isbell says. "But that's about the only thing negative thing that's ever happened. We attract a lot of people of different generations, because the older people like the funkiness and the younger people like the harder edge."
For those in the harder-edge crowd, Isbell says the band's new tunes, which now incorporate a DJ named Planet J, are heavier than its earlier work, and that crowd participation has become more of a factor in its live shows. Such audience involvement is a necessity for these gig-mongers, and, to Slanted Plant's credit, a fair number of the shows it plays are not-for-profit affairs. A January concert at The Bottleneck with the eponymous Six Percent raised more than $1,000 for the American Cancer Society, and the upcoming Crunch Fest will donate proceeds to The Missing Children Awareness Foundation.
"Anytime we can play, we'll play, anywhere, for whatever," Isbell says, repeating his mantra for one last time. "And if it happens to be for a charity, great, more power to it. We're totally in support of any kind of charities."
Sharing a similar view -- and the charity bill -- but playing a much different brand of music is Canvas, the dean of local rap/metal. In addition to shopping its new five-song demo to labels and playing Crunch Fest, Canvas is preparing for its third appearance at Battle of the Bands at America's Pub on August 16. Unfortunately for the noisier bands in the competition, this is also the same night as OZZfest, a conflict vocalist/guitarist Pauly C describes as "kind of a bummer," given that it might cost the groups valuable points in the "crowd response" category. Pauly C says his hard-hitting crew definitely has what it takes to win, but if it doesn't, he won't be "going 'Nam" on the club, as some might expect given his lyrics.