Time has gotten away from me, so just a few notes on this gig if I need an alibi in a murder case someday.
Surf Wax started at 7:30. I was expecting an 8:00 start. That means I only caught 3 songs. And a lot of that time was spent snapping pictures rather than studying the band's tunes. A four-piece. Led by Cooper Kelley who started the project in Springfield before moving it to Kansas City. That makes sense. Bigger scene yet still manageable. And pop with reverb-heavy surf elements. Kansas City does a lot of that. But Surf Wax pushes the pop one step further than Shy Boys and that ilk. I'll have to catch the band another time to know what lurks beyond the surface.
Daniel Gum followed. That's why I came. I'm a stan. The set began with a few earlier songs. In fact, most of the pretty songs were loaded at the front of the trio's 35-minute set. After those tunes, the set took a turn for the rock. The back half was standard guitar tuning, less banter, a solo in a song built around a blues shuffle that could have come from ZZ Top, a grunge number with big drums from Micah Ritchie, and a cover of "Wreck Me" with a bass line from Joel Stratton that sounded more Minor Threat than Tom Petty. The final song brought a little jangle back into the set, and even borrowed a note or four from The Replacements' "Androgynous." Afterwards Gum confessed he's been listening to a lot of Nirvana lately, and that a lot of the new songs (for the album after next!) have been written with a full band, skewing them a bit more rock than those born on an acoustic guitar. Still, I stan.
The night ended with Brother Moses. The touring band. The headliner. The biggest draw of the night. And the band that I'd never heard of. Like Surf Wax, the band started in a college town (in this case Fayetteville, Arkansas) before moving to the big city. But Brother Moses really went for it, moving to New York City. Frontman James Lockhart wore a Kansas City Chiefs jersey and mentioned the team multiple times between songs. Maybe that's pandering. Or maybe the Chiefs have always been his team and he was just looking to celebrate the Super Bowl victory with a crowd that would care. It could be both. Lockhart plays guitar; so do two other dudes in this five-piece all-bro band. Okay, one moonlights on keyboards as well. That's fair. But the output was slick alt-rock with a polish and sheen that was just too sanitized for my taste. I don't know what Neon Indian sounds like, but this band sounds just like them. Except for the song that sounded like Vampire Weekend. Generally, not my thing, but the band did it well. At least one song was modified to include "Kansas City" in the lyrics. That is most definitely pandering. Deeper into the set Lockhart explained that the band has a new album recorded, but he was unsure when and how it might be released. The set would be focused on this new material. By the end of the night Lockhart got genuinely emotional thanking the audience for listening to the new stuff. Of course, it was all new to me, but there were plenty in the audience that sang along to few "hits" pulled from previous releases. During the last song Lockhart set his guitar down and moved about the stage and audience with his microphone. I liked it. And by the end of the set, I sort of liked the guy too.
So, Officer Friendly, as you can see, I couldn't have killed that guy, I was at the Record Bar photographing bands between 8 and 10 on that night. ACAB.