Kansas City natives Lafayette stepped up to the plate to pinch hit for the pissed-off headliners. In a welcome departure from National Skyline's antics, they praised the PA system, the venue, and the audience before delivering a poignant set.
Lafayette combines '80s-era art rock and new wave. Imagine if Rush developed a profound appreciation for King Crimson, or if Shriekback combined efforts with Level 42, and try not to cringe too much. Actually, it's possible to compare Lafayette to a single group: The Police, in their more exploratory Robert Fripp-meets-reggae mode. Like Sting, Lafayette's bass player handled most of the vocal duties, and the band's drummer had a penchant for fluid fills and off-kilter rhythms à la Stewart Copeland.
The vocals provided the only anachronism during this '80s retro inferno. For some reason, the bassist/vocalist seemed to think his band was indie/emo and tried to merge the disparate genres. This forced marriage resulted in a few snags, but for the most part, it succeeded. Songs such as "A Mirage" and "Agape" rolled along on a jittery white-guy-funk-rock vibe, and the singer sounded as if he needed a hug and a sandwich.
To add to the surreal nature of its set, the quartet employed a fifth member to play a video projector behind them throughout the unexpectedly long performance. Footage from Clash Of The Titans and Tron scrolled across the screen between fritzed-out fractals, serene seagulls, and bubbling kaleidoscope chaos. It was sort of like a Power Point presentation for the criminally insane, but it was often mesmerizing, as was the music turned in by this up-and-coming local outfit. Who needs namby-pamby national touring acts when you have a local talent pool that features such bands as the militant mutants of Lafayette?