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Monday April 24th, 2023 at Green House in Kansas City, MO
Dunes Day, Social Cinema, & Junkyard Royalty

I've not really had the fortitude for long write-ups lately. We'll just do this one as a recap.

This show kicked off the third season of concerts at Green House – Kansas City's longest running and most atypical DIY. This spring finds the basement to still be resplendent, though without any obvious upgrades for this season. I don't know what it could need. Maybe a snow cone machine? It gets hot down there. Scratch that, I don't want to think about how sticky that floor would get. The place is perfect as is.

Junkyard Royalty played first. The sextet packed in the biggest crowd I'd ever seen in that basement. And despite only having 2 songs on Spotify and no physical releases, the fanatical audience sung (and screamed) along with every song. Well, each one except "Carousel" which the band debuted that night. As always, Junkyard Royalty flits between indie rock, punk, and sparse radio-friendly pop. There are no rules. Without dissecting too much, Miguel Silva's heavily processed lead guitar gave us most of the melody while frontwoman Richie Rich gave us all the energy. She danced and kicked in the small space, and even crowd surfed in the eight inches between her fans' heads and the basement rafters.

Social Cinema is from Wichita though it and its members are honorary locals. The band's sound is indie, full of endearing pop charm and bolstered by the rock chops of three guitars. It's ready for the radio – if radio was still playing music with guitars. Griffin Bush fronts the band. He's got charisma to spare. Mari Crisler adds keyboards, guitar, and her own vocals. The keyboards hit nicely, but her vocals were lost in the mix. After battling some bass issues, the quintet kicked it up a notch and everything clicked. Bush upped his energy level, and guitarist Reed Tiwald and bassist Austin Engler matched it. The band's set highlighted songs from its new EP. Maybe I should pick that up.

Dunes Day headlined the night. The band is the creation of vocalist/guitarist Brenden Shy. He releases a lot of textured music online, but the live version of the band, recreated with help from Sydney Aldridge (bass) and Reiden Ogden (drums), is an entirely different animal. Like Richie Rich earlier in the night, Shy writes all sorts of songs without regard to genre, embracing the maximalism of "Vada Vada." Vocals were sometimes rapped, sometimes only delivered with a cadence – the latter reminded me of Wire in some way that I can't explain. After a few songs that might be called experimental hip hop, the audience got a Foo Fighters cover which is the last thing I would have expected. And then came a number of punk songs that owed more to Minor Threat than anything else. On these Shy proved he could scream, Ogden turned out to be hardcore drummer, and Aldridge's bass rattled nicely. It'll take a while before I can wrap my head around the band, but it'll be time well spent.

At 10:40 the band wrapped it up and I followed suit. Soon I was through the garage door and out into the backyard where I ran into another crowd and their cloud of smoke. Then it was through the gate and around the corner a block to where concertgoers park. On my walk I wondered where I could get a snow cone at 11pm on a Monday night. Maybe Green House could just hand out snow cones to go?