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Saturday November 11th, 2023 at Minibar in Kansas City, MO
Drifter, Orphans of Doom, RxGhost, & PanHead 87

We should make this one quick.

Post Festival is in Indianapolis. It's big. Bands and fans drive for it. Post_This Fest is in Kansas City. It is a smaller, black-market version created by local Jeff Irvine who you may know from Of a Light Within and (The) Medicine Theory. But it's okay if you don't. This show was denoted as Post_This Fest 2.0. There was one last year too. It was also a well-curated lineup of locals that exist just outside of the mainstream. I'm not sure four bands constitute a fest, but I like brevity, so kudos to Mr. Irvine.

The night opened with a ten-minute set from PanHead 87. If the lore is correct, the project was formed in 1987. That's a long time to be toiling in obscurity. That said, when I first heard the band, I was transported back to very early '90s and the age of Wax Trax!, Nettwerk, and Play it Again Sam, so I'm not calling anyone a liar. The band creates industrial music that is dark and deviant and layered with disarming dialog. The duo played behind a net. Was it there to keep us out, or them in? One member played laptop-fed keyboard, providing deep modulating synthesized washes, launching cold leads, and triggering the dialog under it all. The other played a guitar that was kept deep in the mix and drenched in effects. It was barely discernable from the rest of the composition and never carried the melody. The duo didn't say a word until after the four-or-so-song set was over. The legend of PanHead 87 lives on from the Minibar on down.

RxGhost followed. The band is both something new and something old. Fronted by Josh Thomas and most of his High Diving Ponies compatriots, the band continues the "danger pop" of that earlier project with a bit more shoegaze and texture added in for good measure. However, it's safe to say that if you liked one, you'll like the other. Especially live, since the half-hour set was built from six RxGhost songs supplemented with several each from High Diving Ponies, Spidermums (an even earlier incarnation of the current band), and Bodisartha. Sure, some of the older material was a little more rock than the new stuff. And some channeled that Matador Records-lazy with a Pavement or Silkworm feel to it. Oh, and I thought the rhythm section of Chris Snead (bass) and Justin Brooks (drums) snapped with a bright Brit Pop feel. Okay there's a lot happening, but no matter which genre the band's songs tilted toward, Thomas's guitar and voice led it. His seldom-heard scream was a real charmer, as was the second guitar of James Capps. His guitar added texture, including some long, sustained tones that I would have sworn came from an EBow (but didn't). It'll take a bit to wrap your head around RxGhost but you'll find it utterly satisfying. And I think that's the point of Post_This Fest.

Up next was Orphans of Doom. There is truth in that advertising. The foursome was loud and heavy, the result of full stacks carted up the long steep stairs into the small MiniBar. The growled vocals of Jeremy Isaacson had little chance of making it over the thrum those amps created at the behest of Isaacson, lead guitar Bryan Sedey, and bassist Justin Mantooth, or the crashing cymbals of new drummer Brett Southard. Isaacson's and Sedey's guitars often followed each other for maximum heft, delivering repeated, locked in grooves, but pulling up well short of the sort of drones that Sunn O))) and that ilk create. Occasionally Sedey would go on his own, delivering winding leads that broke the surface, with the best of them singing out like power metal. In final number "Realms," the guitarists even twinned their leads adding a true Iron Maiden nod to the riff-heavy brew. That sort of melody often found its way into the band's nine-song set – one largely built from its just-released third album "Realms." You should probably just pick it up from Bandcamp today and ignore everything I wrote above.

The fest headliner was Lawrence, Kansas' Drifter. The trio's songs develop slowly, often materializing from either the synthesized noises, whirrs, and washes created by bassist/vocalist Dean Edington on the spot using his "junk rig" of electronic toys, or from the picked arpeggios played on the heavily effected guitar of Brodie Belt. Soon drummer Joel Denton worked his way in, judiciously playing his large kit. The result is part post-rock and part doom. At its apex it's heavy and thundering. Evidently the perfect combination for Hollowed's Joe Yoksh who stood front and center trashing his long hair throughout the set.

Edington was sick on this night. As in ill. Woozy and fevered. The volume of his bass made me queasy too, but maybe it helped clear his congested chest, as his shouted vocals sounded good. There were signs of his malady though. The long tuneless interludes that often bridge the tracks were noticeable absent. Instead, the set was quick and aggressive. More cohesive than experimental. More rushed than usual. Yet the band still ended with a twelve-minute version of "The Flood." It luxuriated in its development before culminating in a percussive explosion led by Denton, augmented by Belt's own floor tom, and capped by Edington's deep reverberating percussion pads. The resulting din was enveloping, proving the band may make music outside of the mainstream, but it's worth everyone's attention. Jeff Irvine already knew that, and now we all do.