Again, no time for an in-depth dive, here's just the facts (ma'am):
Big news on the Red Kate front. The band has recently shed a guitarist and is now playing as a trio until Brad Huhmann is replaced. This means a modified set list, a bit less nuance, and a few jagged edges. Of course frontman and bassist L. Ron Drunkard took those jagged edges and used them as a weapon to deliver a powerful eleven-song, 30-minute set that blended aggressive punk and muscular rock. "On My Mind" from the band's 2014 split sounded particularly punchy and nice. Stay tuned.
Duluth's No Interest followed twenty minutes later. While first impressions are never complete (and sometimes completely inaccurate), the band reads as a straightforward hardcore band. Vocalist Greg Brown paced the concrete floor in front of the small stage, dragging the microphone cable two and fro, and occasionally up into the air as he jumped. Drummer Tyler Wood delivered simple, brutal beats, guitarist Dean Berlinerblau seldom strayed from power chords, and bassist Antwan Brown simply held it all together. I'm not sure the band ever connected with the audience (or vice versa), but there's only so much information that can be processed in a fifteen-minute set that featured seven songs.
Rumor is that The Blind Tiger has a kitchen. I've never ordered, or seen anyone else order, but the stink of bacon occasionally overwhelmed the basement.
A quick turnaround brought Minneapolis's Constant Insult to the stage. Even though the show was (ostensibly) at a bar, basement show rules were in effect, requiring a local to play last (so the locals stick around). Probably unnecessary in this case, but them's the rules. Constant Insult is a punk band because its members are punks. If its members were disaffected art students, or stoners from the coffee shop, we might categorize the band differently. Sure the band's music is brash, cocksure, and headstrong, but guitarists/vocalists Will Olsen and Katie Thornton create big melodies and (with the help of drummer Matt Stagner and bassist Mike Wilson) smart song structures that don't generally fit with pure aggression of modern DIY basement punk. I don't either, and so I'm happy that Constant Insult have put Kansas City on its regular regional touring schedule. I just hope next time Olsen's amp isn't acting up, and that the band plays somewhere with better sound, as the venue's stone walls and floors combined with a vocals-only PA and the band's penchant for volume resulted a seven-song, 25-minute set that was 85% racket, and 15% brilliance. That 15%? Closer "Sir Dog" from the band's 2015 self-titled 12".
And what band was it that the promoter knew everyone would stick around for? The Bad Ideas – a band fronted by universally adored guitarist Britt Adair and vocalist Breaka Dawn, and one excellent at harnessing rackets in basements, bars, flea markets and anywhere else you might plop it down. Just back from tour, the band is tighter than ever, with the new rhythm section of Matt Roberts (bass) and Brit Schitt (drums) really gelling. The result is a harder, more aggressive sound as witnessed in the band's opener "Party Bus." Is this new song a sign of things to come? Will Adair turn the punk band into a driving hard rock band? We'll find out, but as long as diminutive dervish Breaka Dawn is flying around the stage (or the area in front of the stage as was the case on this night), shouting about every injustice large and pet peeve small, everything will be all right.