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Friday June 2nd, 2023 at The Ship in Kansas City, MO
Ghosty, 95 Sweetbird, & Daniel Gum

Oops. I never got around to writing up this show. Seems like I should at least jot down a few notes since this was a rare reunion and all.

Daniel Gum opened. He was as charmingly awkward as ever. "I'm Daniel Gum. It's a normal name." The trio delivered a calmer set than we'd seen recently. Nine songs in 35 minutes. Good mix of old and new. The Big Star cover was back in. The threesome sounded excellent in the room. Joel Stratton's bass runs came through nice and clear. Micah Ritchie's drums were a bit too rock sometimes and transcendent in others. Gum writes the best songs. I won't be taking questions on that.

95 Sweetbird performed as a trio too. Jeff Stolz on keyboards. Heidi Gluck on bass. Justin Parr on drums. No James Thomblinson on guitar. Their half-hour set was a combination of Stolz's and Gluck's songs with a few of the normal covers including Fleetwood Mac's bitter "Silver Springs" and Leonard Cohen's spooky "Who by Fire". Tempos seemed quicker across the board, giving the project's normally breezy songs more oomph. And Gluck had more bounce. Maybe it was the Vans she wore. Thomblinson's colorings were missed, but the songs – especially Gluck's – are fantastic. The band was made to play in rooms with unfinished wood pillars and exposed brick.

Ghosty was back in town. While the band never broke up, its members are now scattered across the country making assemblages very rare. Rare enough that frontman Andrew Connor has just released an excellent solo album that probably should have been a Ghosty record. The set featured a bit from that, a lot of Ghosty classics, and a handful of covers by The Go-Betweens, Cleaners from Venus, Everly Brothers, & Neil Young. I guess those are fine data points if you want to triangulate back to the band's melodic slacker pop.

The 80-minute set was full of smart and well-composed songs. Ones that Connor could perform solo, but are elevated by the keys of David Wetzel, and then made rockin' by the rhythm section of Bill Belzer (drums) and Mike Nolte (bass). Newest member Ryan Connor added guitar and backing vocals, filling out the sound and giving his brother license to solo. A few of songs in the nineteen-song setlist came back to me like old friends despite not hearing them for a decade. They came back to the band too – some with false starts or unsure endings, but it was good to have them back. Based on the size of the audience and that it included just about every musician in town, it's obviously that I'm not the only one that has missed the band.