We hit the road from Lawrence to Kansas City last night after a bit of confusion - confusion as to whether I was home or not, confusion as to whether or not we were even getting into the Record Bar show, and confusion as to whether or not the exit to I70 was going to be blocked by a big goddamn truck. After clearing all that up (yep, I was home; our receipts said "April 5"; and he finally got back in the truck and drove off), we hit the interstate.
We showed up at Record Bar with enough time to catch Schwervon, who'd literally just that day moved from New York to Kansas City. Their take on the guy-on-guitar, gal-on-drums rock band was pleasantly refreshing. They shared vocal duties, with the drummer's sweet croon counterbalancing the guitarist's slightly nasal twang. Good stuff.
My take on Cher UK
could simply be summed up by the fact that they played "BaBaBaBaBa" and "Cooks" back to back, because that's nearly perfect, in and of itself. Dirty power pop never sounded so wonderful. It's a goddamned shame Mike McCoy moved to Austin. That city's gain is a loss that only aches all the more when he comes up to visit. It's like picking at a scab: if you leave it alone, all is well and it heals. Pick at it, and it just reminds you of the pain of injury. Still fucking worth it, though. Those songs are too good to not hear 'em played live.
After a lengthy set change, during which the audience had the privilege of hearing the strange juxtaposition of The Esoteric
's samples play through the Clash, the Lawrence metal act took the stage. It's weird to hear Stevie Cruz kind of singing again. Hammerlord might be the best fit for his vocal stylings, but hearing him sing for the Eso again really reminds me that Cruz can occasionally rip out some screams. They flat-out pummeled the Record Bar and, much like the Esoteric of old, took a good long while to set up, suffered equipment issues during their set, and basically danced on the precipice of a total meltdown most of the time they were on stage. Ah - it was like memories come to life.
Two songs in for Season to Risk
, and a bass amp went to shit - the same problem which affected the Esoteric - yet, the audience seemed so eager for another reunion set that it mattered not a whit. Kansas City's kings of post-hardcore are worth waiting for.
Cramming in for, too. By the time Steve Tulipana and company took the stage, the Record Bar was packed. How packed? Some guy "helped" me through the crowd with a hand on my back, knocking me into someone (specifically, Mike McCoy) and thus, he into the guitar rack. Many apologies were necessary.
All of the bands - despite set problems, equipment issues, and what will probably be an ominous foreshadowing of overcrowding - sounded fantastic, due to the ever-amazing Paul Malinowski working the board. The Record Bar was sounding great. S2R knocked out a slew of classics, with an especially tasty take on "Mine Eyes" that reminded me how much of a live powerhouse this band can be.
We stuck around 'til the end of the band's set, dealing with the obscenely packed Record Bar, because the last song on S2R's setlist was "Last Breath Aboard." Despite being recorded by a totally different line-up than the band on stage, it's such a fantastic show-closer, I can't imagine them not teaching the Men Are Monkeys Robots Win
lineup how to knock out those chords. As per usual, it was explosive, with extra punch at the end, as Stevie Cruz and Wrath and Ruin's Dean Edington grabbed the mic for the "S.O.S.O.S." ad infinitum part at the end.
We passed on Molly McGuire to head west home. Two more nights of this means knowing when you're exhausted, and trying not to push that with a 45-minute drive home. It's all about pacing.