Saturday February 12th, 2000 at The River Market Brewing Co in Kansas City, MO
Aerialuxe, & Q

Aerialuxe Aerialuxe Q Q [more]

Photo Note: I normally don’t muck with my pictures, but as you can tell this time I had to. Without lights in the club, it was just too dark to take photos normally, so to get anything to come out I either had to use a flash or play with the equalization as I have done with the really dark photos. Hopefully they’re interesting even if they’re not historically accurate.

I ducked out of the El Torreon after witnessing another find performance from Boyfriend Hero [now called Boy Hero: The Brett Ray Halocaust] and drove the three miles down to the River Market Brewing Co. to catch two indie contenders: Q & Aerialuxe.

Q’s music comprise so many elements and in such unconventional ways it’s impossible to adequately describe their sound. Brendon Glad’s vocals are emotive but more like rock bands of days past than any of the emo bands that have been toiling around the Midwest during the last decade. Their music is often complicated and somewhat mathy but again not in an expected way. Although Mark Culbertson’s guitar work (and to a lesser extent his bass work when the guitarists switch roles late in the set) is certainly complicated and twisting, the rest of the band seems to play on happily without giving into to many stops, dynamics or tempo changes. It’s a little distressing and at this River Market show that fact was highlighted as Mark’s guitar rang through the brew pub loudly.

Unfortunately it wasn’t always loud enough to cover the sounds of people talking and watching the television compete above the band. It’s confusing that the River Market Brewery has recently spent large sums of money on a new vocal PA, but still don’t bother to shut off the televisions when bands play or bring out the light show to enhance the performances.

Aerialuxe, shooting for a touch of the dramatic, elected to play their set in almost entire darkness to suit the band’s somber, textured and sterile music. Two basses (though when playing through 1,432,836 effects pedals, the instrument originating the sound could be a kazoo and it would sound the same) provide more ambiance than any control of meter or tempo, and the guitar generally provides only accent, not melody. That leaves the light voice of Janette Chastain tasked with creating a song over all the noise and extraneous art of the band.

And although this may sound like my proverbial cup of tea, it simply doesn’t work because of two key issues. First, Janette always seems unsure of her actions and voice and would be voted least likely to front a band by even the kindest of audiences. When I first saw the band nearly a year ago, I thought that would change, but it hasn’t. Her voice is definitely not Liz Frazier wonderful, but it does the job and could be even more interesting with a little vocal processing. Second, the entire band’s proliferation of pedals seldom add variety to their sound (outside of an obvious echo or flange). With all that gear you would expect to hear more swirl, more space, more interest, but they never deliver.

After catching both bands on this promising double bill, I felt much the way I did when coming in – these bands are contenders and with time and energy they could champions, but for now they are the hard-working underdogs of the local music scene.