The Runaway Sons, Thunder Eagle and Dead Set
The Point, KCMO
Better Than: Other fates that have befallen people at the Point (getting stabbed, maced, etc.).
Download: MP3, Thunder Eagle, "Whiskey Pills Lady Shake"
By JASON HARPER
The Point, with its perennial David Basse and Phil Woods jazz poster up in the window and reputation as an outlaw Plaza sports bar, is about the last place you'd expect to find live punk rock, but the bar's basement level is perfectly suited for a brat-smackin' rock show. The space, which consists of a well-maintained bar area with TVs and tables and a basement room that looks like any midtown stone basement, has in the past been exploited by DJs, but thanks to booker Neill Smith, bass player for Attack on Uranus, the place has become the site of $2 punk and rock shows two Thursdays a month.
Last night brought out a crowd of haggard hipster dudes and a few chicks for a show that got increasingly loud and reckless as the night wore on.
Dead Set went first, bringing metalcore and hoarse, barked vocals courtesy of a frontman who, with his bushy beard and Kangol hat, looked like a hardcore Matisyahu. The dude stalked between the two PA speakers -- one set up on a couch, the other on a table -- getting halfway into people's faces and causing whistles of mic feedback. (By the way, I fuckin' love the sound of a raw band setup with just amps, drums and a vocal PA in a small space.) The two guitarists -- willowy blokes with rings in their lips and noses -- made some fiendish rock faces but wasted too much time playing up on the neck, going for pretty-yet-aggressive sounds that Christian emocore bands like to play. At one point, the singer introduced a song by saying that it was about something the band is very passionate about. OK, I thought, what's it gonna be? Getting crunk? The Royals' terrible season? "Homelessness," the singer said, then proceeded to quote a statistic about how many homeless people there are in the U.S. (3.5 mil) and how many of them are children (one third). The band launched into a song that had a very U2-esque hook, and I thought, my God, the Metal-yahu has just become Metal-Bono! But seriously, I do admire a band that takes an altruistic, socially conscious stance. If only, you know, Dead Set was actually good.
Altruistic toward your eardrums, the next band, Thunder Eagle is not. Loud, tight and awesome as hell, Thunder Eagle is. I want to kick, bite and punch myself in the neck for not having discovered this band sooner, because these bastards are totally ready to go on tour opening for acts like Mastodon and Lamb of God. One of the guitarist/singers wore a Maylene and the Sons of Disaster shirt -- please, they could fucking school Shmaylene.
Armed with three guitarists, two of whom do vocals (the screamer-singer-duo variety), ex-members of Vena Amori and the Starboard Side, and the ability to turn a basement into the Beaumont, Thunder Eagle is metal as God intended: rock and roll at sinful levels. Hell, one of the dudes shredded on a fuckin' Telecaster.
Roll over, SG. Teles are the new devil guitar.
I wish I could spend more time discussing Thunder Eagle's greatness, but I gotta move on. Thunder Eagle, I raise my glass.
Not too many folks stuck around for the last band, who went on after midnight, but that didn't deter the Runaway Sons from going scum-wild and tearing up the living room like a pack of rabid javelinas.
Clad in white v-necks stenciled with the phrase Soy Español, the Sons tore through songs with titles like "Kathleen Turner Overdrive" and "Get Your Tongue Out of My Mouth." Drawing on '70s garage rock and throwing in craploads of irony, the Runaway Sons are like a sweeter, funnier Last of the V8s (God rest 'er souls). Pint-size singer TJ Robinson will get in your face, throw water on you and sprinkle pepper on a bald man's head (I saw him do it at the Record Bar a few weeks ago), but you kinda just want to pick him up and give him a big ol' hug.
All in all, the night was a blessed steal at two bucks. I'll look forward to Thunder Eagle and the Runaway Sons becoming local heroes and to Dead Set solving the homeless problem.
Personal Bias: Sick of seeing guys wearing tight jean cutoffs.
By the Way: The Point bartender (woman, hat) and doorman (man, hat) downstairs were very friendly and welcoming. Yay!
Random Detail: I'm afraid our Thunder Eagle is not as scary as the guy at Myspace.com/thundereagle.