February 4th, 1999 at The Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS

The Palindrones, Reflector, The Anniversary

I almost missed this show actually. I had just come home from work, scarfed a quick dinner and was starting to take off my shoes and wonder what was on TV when I remembered I was supposed to be there to pick up a tape from The Anniversary and another from Greg of The Believe It Or Nots. I tried to find out what time the show started but the Bottleneck doesn't list start times on their website or in their phone message so at 7:45 I just jumped in the wagon and headed out to Lawrence. Since Nessa wasn't coming I dropped in the Emperor CD I purchased the night before. There's nothing like being alone listening to high volume black metal, driving 80 miles an hour through the dark and dripping rain.

I got to the club a little before 8:30 and of course the show wasn't going to start for a couple of hours still. I caught the sound check from the Anniversary and was hella impressed with a new song they did. After their check I headed over to Borders to get a book so I'd have something to do for the next few hours. I came back in, paid my $3 and sat down with "An Architectural History of Kansas City" and began to read. By now the club was starting to fill in and Jake from The Reflector sat down and we chatted about the music biz or what not for a while as people drifted through our table. Seems like everyone in the club new everyone else.

At 10:30 or abouts The Palindrones took the stage. They were such little kids. I hear that the guitarist is 16, his bassist brother is 14 and their drummer was a bit older. Jake said they played with them the week before at Gee Coffee and they were a great lo-fi indie band with great lyrics so I was interested and walked up to the front of the stage. As anyone who has been to the Bottleneck knows, the front of the stage isn't the best place to hear anything so I canít say much for the great songs. The band was fairly simple with more complex (if not overplayed) drums. There were mostly slow quiet bits with some interesting dynamics and almost mathy bits thrown in. The young band had very little crowd interaction and generally looked scared. Can you blame them? Gradually I was joined up front by about 10 folks and another 20 or so looked on appreciatively as the band wrapped up a thirty minute set.

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I found my way back to my table which had been partially taken over and sat down with my book. It wasn't long however before Reflector had set up and brought me and my camera back up to the stage. Unfortunately it was another 10 minutes before they actually played and I pretty much stood up there the lone gimp.

Reflectors set was a little less hectic than the last time I saw them and had almost a commercial rock appeal to it that I didn't notice before. Jake continued to hit the drums harder than anyone should and really only has one volume, LOUD, but the rest of the band continued to take dynamics to the extreme. The dichotomy of loud/quiet pedal work seems to be smoothing some as the band writes more complete songs. I understand they've done a lot of recording recently so I'm sure that helps with the evaluation of their material. I enjoyed the band more than I did last time and the crowd (about 25 up front, 25 others in the room) did as always.

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Pepper appeared towards the beginning of Reflector's set and we sat down together as The Anniversary pulled their gear forward and began tuning and moderate level checks. The crowd was growing and I was impressed with the 80 or so people that showed up on a cold, rainy Thursday night. Again I jumped forward for The Anniversaries set, which I later regretted due to the diminished sound quality. Pepper was smarter and stayed back.

The Anniversary's set went off without a hitch which is a bit unusual for them. Their set included the new song from the soundcheck and a few others that I hadn't heard before. Again they've been recording as well and had some new material to test out. Josh's stage presence was a little smug at times, but most everyone has pretty much come to expect it. Sweet he is not, but every other element of the band is 100% on. They're gonna do well.

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After the set Greg, John (drummer from TBION), Pepper and I headed to Greg's car to listen to the CD-R pre-release of "There's A Great Future in Plastics" out this summer on URININE Records. It sounds great and there is a full song available on the URININE website if you're interested. It was after 1:00 when we were done discussing business and I left his truck and headed over to my car waving to the members of The Anniversary as they left the club.