Monday February 7th, 2000 at The Grand Emporium in Kansas City, MO
Eric, Keely Zoo, & Squidboy

Eric Eric Kelley Zoo Squidboy [more]

Note: Just a quick account of a show that happened a long time ago. I’ve realized the long drawn out reviews are more someone else’s style than my own, so I’ll try to work my way back to the old quick way things used to happen and we can at least keep up.

I dropped by The Grand Emporium to support friends made years back. I first met Iowa’s Squidboy when they were looking for a show in Indianapolis, and after listening to their demo and singer Eric Kennedy’s resemblance to John Fogerty, I quickly (and easily) convinced the band to be on a CCR Tribute record I was planning at the time. That was about 5 years ago and since then I’ve seen them a number of times in an almost equal number of states but never twice at the same venue or with the same drummer.

Their high intensity, straight forward rock ‘n roll never seems to play to the correct crowd and when opening this Zone Monday at The Grand Emporium, the band played to a smattering of folks that couldn’t really be called a crowd at all. Their music is strong in hooks and interest, occasionally noisy and always a frontal assault on rock ‘n roll. The twin Les Pauls are driving to say the least and to say too much, it occasionally reminds me of southern boogie of 70s past.

Up next was Kelley Zoo and although I’m sure its mean to prejudge a band by the way they look, I thought I was in trouble from the moment I saw the band - certainly a motley crew of rockers, some with longer hair than others, but none that paid too much attention to current fashion.

The four piece produced music with just as few frills. It was straight forward Midwestern bar rock with low-brow lyrics (one particular song entitled You’ve Got a Lovely Vagina drove out at least one audience member). An acoustic guitar added some depth to the band’s sound, but was so overpowered by the electric guitar and bass that no stylistic elements were distinguishable.

Unimpressed, I waited for a headliner who I had never even heard of. Again first instinct told me I wasn’t going to be too impressed [maybe I was just in a bad mood that night]. However this time I was wrong, how could I have ever thought poorly about a man wearing a Harris Tweed hat?

Eric played a fairly infectious and ultimately funky set that wasn’t too far from the beaten rock path. And although the band fired on all three cylinders, it was really the playing of their bassist that kept me interested (if not mesmerized) as he worked his way up and down the fretboard. Without trying too hard, he put my guitar finger stretching exercises to shame.

Generally it was an interesting night with three rock based bands each with their own different slant: Squidboy with a blues slant, Kelley Zoo with a touch of country, and Eric highlighting a funkier feel. And although that line-up may worked for many people, it just wasn’t for me.