Too Much Rock
Pics+Video Podcasts Singles About
Sunday April 16th, 2023 at Farewell in Kansas City, MO
Dreamist, Winterforever, Futureday, & Pink Phase

Somehow I've gotten behind again, so here's an entree recap without the sides. You can read it hovering above the kitchen sink.

I'm high on Pink Phase. The trio comprised of Iona Dewalt (guitar/keys), Bailey Keling (drums), and Leland Williams II (bass) play smart instrumental indie rock. The band's strong compositions are rife with hooks and occasional leads (on both guitar and synthesizer) that are sure to click with any audience. Gear hounds can dig deeper and lose themselves in the inventive tones Dewalt colors with to create her gauzy swells. But it's the tempo shifts, the odd chord progressions, and the underpinnings of both krautrock and math rock that blow my mind. The threesome didn't throw a lot of energy into their performance, but there were plenty of smiles on stage during the half-hour set that balanced tracks from the band's latest EP with new ones that just can't be recorded soon enough.

Futureday pops up on a lot of bills, but somehow, I've missed the act until now. The trio is fronted by vocalist/guitarist Max Meininger and completed by a rhythm section consisting of Brawley Bentz (bass) and Slyvia Kopf (drums). The threesome's 35-minute set was built on indie rock that sometimes creaked into slow core. Its compositions are understated, but heavy on the vibes. For most of the night, Meininger offered simple power chords over his sung vocals that intermittently erupted into a post-grunge earnestness. Bentz was an active player on his five-string bass, but there was no flash to steal (or create) focus. Kopf was similarly utilitarian, and she spent most of the set looking down (literally) and dour. It's going to take me another show or two to figure out the magic of this band.

Idaho's Winterforever made its appearance in the coveted third slot starting just before 10:00. The band is emo, merging the 2nd wave/post-hardcore elements with later Midwestern twinkle and taps. Guitarist Corey Hugo fronts the quartet with Jess Greaves (guitar), Max Graham (bass) and Chris Hunter (drums) all contributing the band's full and churning sound. Graham's bass was particularly strong, nearly always setting the groove, while Greaves' leads (and taps) added sonic ribbons decorating every song. Vocals (both backing and lead) came from everyone at the front of the stage, with Hugo taking the bulk of the responsibility and offering the occasionally histrionic elements the genre demands. For this set, the quartet confined themselves to the small Farewell stage, yet still delivered big energy and small jumps all while remaining exceptionally tight – something undoubtably honed through their excessive touring. Without a setlist to cheat with, I've no guesses on the content of the band's half-hour set, other than recognizing several cuts from the foursome's latest album, 2021's Laevitas.

Dreamist headlined. Actually, Dreamist destroyed. Hell, they should probably be given the keys to the club the way they owned that place. The set began with an explosion of tuneless noise before coalescing into four expansive, unreleased songs. After five years as a band, the quartet has figured out the perfect ratios for their hardcore aggression, emo passion, and post rock restraint. They've never sounded better.

The act's geometry up was curious. Drummer Mitri McCawley and vocalist/guitarist Kole Waters set up on stage, while bassist Jacob Kingsley and guitarist Elisha Ruhman flanked the duo down on the floor. Waters delivered his raw vocals with more intensity and power than I'd seen before. It's possible the club's new stage monitor should be thanked for that. However, the club can't take any credit for Ruhman's energy – he danced and thrashed and spun about his station while delivering every manner of guitar wizardry, all of his own free will. Each of band’s four songs were strong, but the finale (called "Family History") was epic. It was a sprawling number that covered every mood from quiet and comforting to devastating and destructive. While portions of the audience ebbed and flowed through the performance (Doldrums were headlining the sister venue next door), I remained awestruck in Farewell surrounded by headbangers and whole-body convulsers, feeling every bit of Dreamist.