Too Much Rock
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Saturday March 25th, 2023 at Replay Lounge in Lawrence, KS
Greg Wheeler and the Poly Mall Cops, Pale Tongue, & Day Sleeper

Too Much Rock isn't just a URL, it's a confession. Turns out if you're at a different show every night, you just don't have time to edit the videos, develop the photos, and write incisive bits about the gig. So, here's the half-ass show account.

Allison Meyer of Day Sleeper took the stage announcing, "You've never heard of us, but after tonight, you'll never forget us." A bold proclamation. Meyer leads the fourpiece. She's charismatic, comfortable on stage, and sings. You can't help but wonder if there was a show choir somewhere in her past. The band around her (bassist Max Yoder, drummer Sean Wilson, and guitarist Jake Little) covers a lot of ground, although breezy psych pop seems to be its base of operations. From that starting point, the band went on all sorts of enjoyable diversions from pop bops to spurious goth during its short twenty-minute set. We should all keep our eyes out for this quartet, as there's something secretive about the band we've yet to discover.

Ten minutes later Pale Tongue was on stage. I'd not seen the band for years. Maybe that was a mistake. It's a four piece now with vocalist/guitarist Carlos Calderon joined by drummer Nick Fredrickson, bassist James Thomblison, and guitarist Evan Herd. That's some firepower. The band came out screaming. Heavy, heavy psych. Acid rock. Plenty of solo heroics from Herd who moved about like a mad man, but when the tandem of guitarists teamed up, they enveloped the audience with glorious squalls of dense, effects-driven excess. Someone in the audience shouted, "You are quintessential rock & roll." Maybe a bit generous, but the audience was feeling good on a Saturday night, and Pale Tongue was bringing it.

It was 12:30 when Greg Wheeler and the Poly Mall Cops took the stage. Wheeler announced that the band intended to play twelve or thirteen songs in 30 minutes. And then the Iowan trio launched into a dynamite set of fuzzed-out punk & roll that nearly did that. Behind Wheeler's guitar are Jill McLain-Meister on bass and Eric Hutchison on drums. They are the Poly Mall Cops and they wore the badges to prove it. The trio's short songs are dumb and catchy. The clumsiest of which recall The Misfits or Ramones. The wittiest, Ex-Bats or Parquet Courts. That's good company in my book. The set was built on the band's new brand-new album Manic Fever, with a few new ones tossed in as well. The chemistry between Wheeler and McLain-Meister was entertaining, but there was little time for banter as the band was in a race against the clock. In the end, the set went just past the 30-minute goal, in part due to an unplanned encore played to appease the zealous fans that weren't ready to call it a night despite the late hour. I was smitten, so expect to read a lot more about the band on Too Much Rock in the future. You know, when I have time.