Monday, August 1, 2011

The Sonic Spectrum Tribute to AC/DC, Sunday night at RecordBar

Posted By on Mon, Aug 1, 2011 at 12:00 PM

The Architects
  • The Architects
BY NICK SPACEK

More than 10 years ago, on the eve of my 21st birthday, I saw another configuration of Kansas City musicians get together to play AC/DC covers at El Torreon. In a bit of synchronicity that displays the depth of love for the Aussie band's music, quite a few of the same players were onstage again on Sunday night. That night in December of 2001 featured the Throttlers and the Gadjits, among others, so it oughtn't surprise anyone that the Architects (most of the Gadjits, plus Keanon Nichols), were the headliners for the most recent installment of Robert Moore's Sonic Spectrum tribute series.

The Architects fucking smoked it, too. Brandon Phillips was in full-on rock-and-roll preacher mode, with his brothers pounding the rhythm out, while all the while Keanon shredded guitar lines like a wild man. The brothers Phillips have been doing these songs off and on in various forms for over a decade, and surprises still appeared. Long ago, I'd heard Brandon complain that the hardest part of covering "Riff Raff" was that, after a two-minute intro, you still had three minutes of song left. Last night, the song was played at punk-rock speed, blisteringly fast, stripping the whole thing down to a lean 180 seconds. "Sin City" closed it out after a rather touching "Ride On," sent out to "absent friends."

acdc_tribute_1403.jpg
mark_smeltzer_1316.jpg
 The show opened with a bluegrass rendition of "Girl's Got Rhythm" by the Country Shags. Jason Beers' accompaniment on a variety of oddball instruments like saw and spoons gave their set some quirky, medicine-show effects that offset the unbridled rock that was to follow.

Federation of Horsepower
  • Federation of Horsepower
 The blues-rock aspect of the AC/DC sound was fully explored by the Federation of Horsepower. Taking in as they did "Down Payment Blues" and "Night Prowler," their set took the time to work on the guitar parts that went beyond power chords. By doing so with deeper cuts, the FoHP proved that Angus Young was more than just a man-child in a school uniform. Drummer Kriss Ward got a shout-out from frontman Gregg Todt (as well as the rest of the crowd) for his double-duty performance behind the drums for FoHP and fronting Faster Than Hell immediately prior.

The Architects
  • The Architects
Faster Than Hell
  • Faster Than Hell
Faster Than Hell
  • Faster Than Hell
Faster Than Hell's Kriss Ward was the embodiment of Bon Scott's maniacal energy. As the rest of the band knocked out double-time, ferocious versions of the songs, he stalked the stage like a man possessed, almost vibrating with barely restrained energy. Insanity, really. As entertaining as the Country Shags were, the show REALLY started when they tore into "Let There Be Rock." Also, Faster Than Hell (with former Throttler Mike Farren) meant that there was another bit of alumni from that earlier tribute show.

The Architects
  • The Architects

Set lists
Shags
Girl's Got Rhythm
Givin' the Dog a Bone
Have a Drink on Me
Ride On
Whole Lotta Rosie

Faster Than Hell
Let There Be Rock
What's Next to the Moon
Let Me Put My Love Into You
Walk All Over You
Rocker
TNT

Federation
Rock 'n Roll Damnation
Down Payment Blues
Night Prowler
Live Wire
Touch Too Much
Beatin' Around the Bush

Architects
Shoot to Thrill
If You Want Blood
Riff Raff
Problem Child
Ride On
Sin City

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