The Supernauts and Making Movies. Monday, June 18, at Jerry's Bait Shop in Lee's Summit.
Photos & Review by Crystal K. Wiebe
To a Westport dweller, a trek to Lee’s Summit is no small thing, especially on a Monday night.
But I heard through the grapevine that last night’s gig at Jerry’s Bait Shop could be the Supernauts’ last, so I hopped in the car and headed to the suburbs for the scoop (and a few slices of Jerry’s garlic ranch pizza).
I arrived a full half hour before the three-band line-up was set to start, so I parked at the bar and waited for unsuspecting Supernauts to walk by. Via my lean-backwards-and-pounce approach, I talked to all three band members. None of them seemed certain about the Supernauts’ future, and they all seemed stressed about it.
The Supernauts rock out one last time...?
Drummer John Floyd Whitaker suggested that he may have another project or two on the horizon. Singer and bassist Jordan LeBrecht Smith has already been moonlighting with National Fire Theory and Making Movies (with whom he also performed last night). But Smith indicated to me that the Supernauts – his band for half his life – is still his main priority. He just got freaked out by a recent case of writer’s block. Now, that’s an affliction I can identify with, and I sure hope it doesn’t recur or ultimately lead the end of one of KC’s most talented groups.
Jordan LeBrecht Smith makes like Plant.
For all their recent struggles, the 'Nauts played a good show, sandwiched between some young group whose name I never quite caught (the Color of Sound? the Color and Sound?) and emo rockers Making Movies. All of the standard, vintage-sounding Supernauts originals made it into the set, including “Dream Lovely,” “Don’t Pretend,” “Radio Blues” and the rousing “Showdown Girl.” As he sang about truth, beauty and the state of the airwaves, Smith, his face obscured by an overgrown beard and knotty strands of curls, reached even the way-high notes with his raw tenor.
He came back on stage for Making Movies, lending bass and backing vocals. His harmonies helped fill out that band’s hooky, Get Up Kids-influenced sound. Making Movies was the band most of the younger people in the audience turned out for, no doubt due in part to the Lee’s Summit roots of dreadlocked frontman Enrique Chi and his keyboard-playing brother, Diego. Their Panamanian good looks don't hurt, either.
Making Movies makes its move.
But the band does have a legitimate claim to its growing following. Making Movies makes accessible indie pop that’s neither too dumbed down nor overly complex. The songs can border on being too earnest but are usually laced with something harder edged, as when sweet-faced Enrique changes the refrain “spread your wings” to “spread your legs.”
The final act of the night was a conglomeration of Making Movies and the Supernauts playing covers. When the Supernauts dragged out the Led Zeppelin, I made my friend hush during “Whole Lotta Love.” Smith’s imitation is impeccable. Enrique sang lead on some Pink Floyd and Radiohead. But when the set started turning too ‘90s, I decided to call it a night. I mean, who wants to hear “Counting Blue Cars” performed by Dishwalla itself, much less an impromptu cover band?