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Saturday February 17th, 2018 at Record Bar in Kansas City, MO
A Light Within, Giants Chair, & Sundiver

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Note: It's been a while since I wrote a long-form piece about a show. Let's not break that streak.

KC quartet Sundiver started the night with slow and tumbling post-something or another. There's a heavy churning post-grunge element, there are a few tricky post-hardcore moments, and it's all sanded smooth by some shiny 1995 Kansas City sound. Key components are the active bass lines, a second guitar that provides color (and in one glorious song trades jabs with the lead guitar), and elongated, sung vocals. At its pinnacle the band reminds me of Quicksand, but those heights are rare and ultimately the band continues to rate "fine" on the Too Much Rock scale.

Giants Chair followed. There's an illustrative history, but the band doesn't care to dwell. Instead frontman Scott Hobart announced that it would only play material from its (yet to be recorded) new album. And that's what it did. These new songs do vary a bit, but most are loud, slow, and rumbly. Hobart's guitar is never sharp or jagged and certainly never soaring. No one could call them emo. That's sad as the band deserves some props during this revival period. Luckily there are moments, such as the driving finale — introduced as "Russian Racehorse" — that have potential to excite. It's time to see where this reunion goes.

The sound of rain poured out of the speakers as A Light Within prepared for its set. The stage was dark, and it stayed that way save for a few flashing lights (triggered by the vocalist) that flanked the drummer at the back of the stage. I suspect there were supposed to be lasers too, but they didn't come to life until some chin-scratching engineering work was completed after the set. In related news, my photos took a lot of work in post. Other technical difficulties stalled things too — microphones, guitar amps, and pacemakers all had to be tsR7MlkBDKwd during the set. I'm not positive about that last one. More "post-" stuff from this band. A theme for the night? The songs are long, more post-rock than progressive though maybe post-metal says it all. Songs are loud and heavy and notes are sustained a very long time. Atmosphere abounds as Kyle Brandt's vocals echo and echo, adding gothic overtones, and making me miss Peter Steele. This was a release show for the band's new four-song EP. The EP is okay, but live is the way to experience this band. You need immersive to experience A Light Within. A dark stage in a dark club (with or without lasers) is the definitely the way to go.

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