Friday, August 10, 2007

South by Midwest.

Since SXMW just doesn't have the same pop to it as SXSW, they decided to call this thing the Pitch Music Showcase. It was one night of 30 bands at 6 venues for five bucks. Sounds pretty neato eh? Meh.
If you just can't get enough of those confusing to traverse barricades around Westport after a few too many bottles of unfiltered wheat, this was the night for you. Endless obnoxious sound checks? You betcha. Throngs of too- clever- for- their- tight- pants hipsters reveling in being a part of KC's, ahem, scene? Check and check.
Anyway here's the highlights and low lights of what the Anti-Cow caught of this local music extravaganza:

Kasey Rausch @ McCoys:
The Anti-Cow is partial to dives so trashy you risk contracting an STD just from looking at the bathrooms, so for starters McCoy's is just too yuppified for our tastes. Ms. Rausch put on a pretty decent show considering she had a stage the size of a postage stamp to prance around on. Nice voice, girl-next- door looks and a backing band that looks charmingly just this side of inbred. We think this gal could go along way in the whole Americana/alt-country racket. But after a couple beers and feeling too sardine like in the stage-areas cramped surroundings, it was time for the Anti-Cow to amble on to the next gig.
It's Over @ the Beaumont Club
First we drunkenly mistook this for the time slot the Popsicles were to play. The we waited through two beers and most of what we hear was a 45 minute (!) sound check. All we saw were some baby faced kiddos who looked like they were playing "dress up like an indie kid for Halloween". Maybe they rocked the place when they finally did play some damn music, but in the Anti-Cow's book it really is over.
Be/Non @ The Hurricane
Finally a show that came close to the quality the local music scene has hyped itself as having. The Anti-Cow went mad for this band's angular groove and smart/stoopid songwriting. Also lead singer Brodie Rush's ability to competently croon and pound the skins at the same time won us over. We put him in the same pantheon with other illustrious drummer/singers as, as, uh... Phil Collins and Levon Helm of the Band. Don't kill us for the Collins comparison Brodie!
Gaslights @ Blayney's
We only caught the tail end of this one. The show seemed pretty swell, but mainly we observed loads of JoCo looking middle age couples and a lot of crotchety oldsters complaining that the music wasn't to their taste. Hopefully things improved after we left because ya gotta keep the grizzled geezers in Skynrd t-shirts happy.
Flee the Seen@ The Beaumont Club
This was the beginning of a trifecta of great acts that we saw through until closing time. Screamo can be tricky. Just the right balance of loud/soft dynamics and driving rhythms and you're the Blood Brothers. Do the shit wrong and all your vocal-chord shredding wailing actually becomes a sedative. Flee the Seen mostly avoid sharing shelf space with tylenol pm. Lead singer (screamer?) Kim Anderson seemed a little stiff and nervous the first couple songs. Although with this kind of music who can tell. But the second part of the show was pure evil ( in a good way). Once they got the attention of the quite diverse crowd, they had punks, vatos, and emo kids moshing together in pure black nail polish ecstasy.
The Roman Numerals @ The Beaumont Club
The Anti-Cow can see why this is one of KC's top acts of the last few years. While we tnd to shy away from a lot of groups that attempt a sound so epic and Bono-like, we still have to give this band props. Their sound encapsulates, Radiohead, U2, The Church and plenty of other giants, but they do put a unique spin on t when it's all said and done. Also, the theatrical light show backing these guys gave the show a massive feel that made us forget we were at the Beaumont Club.
The Architects @ The Beaumont Club
This set was all we could ask for to cap off the night, and it restored our faith that the KC/Lawrence scene might still have what it takes to break big. Not much can be added about this group that hasn't been said or written. They will grab you from the first note and have you dancing or at least pumping your fist by the end of the first line of lyrics. So many bands we observed this night, looked like kids playing guitar hero in Halloween costumes. The Architects seem to be on another plane. A mixture of seen-it-all rock veteran status, an ear for absolutely perfect and accessible songwriting, and an attitude of joyful swagger unlike any local band we've seen in years, and like painfully few bands on the national scene. These guys look, sound, and even somehow sweat like superstars!