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Saturday July 31st, 2021 at The Replay Lounge in Lawrence, KS
Heels, The Whiffs, & The Sluts

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No time for anything big so let's just get some notes down.

The Sluts started late and the band wasn't so happy about it. Me, I was thrilled as I had just rushed over from the SKC match and didn't arrive until 10:15. Once things got rolling, the band was exceptionally tight and spot on. Turns out that they've been doing this for a while, and they've gotten good at it. Go figure. Short set as they were openers. That's fine because while I love the single fat guitar tone and big dumb power chords that Ryan Wise delivers, and the way that Kris Dover beats the hell out of his floor tom, I find myself lulled by a sea of sameness during the band's long sets. The band played the expected bits, and "Linger" is still the best song the White Stripes never wrote. Despite being the opening band, the club was still full of people dancing and singing along. The Sluts have fans. Lots of them.

The Whiffs made an appearance as a trio as Joey Rubbish wasn't available (Rory Cameron said Joey was dead or in Portland, but he wasn't sure he knew the difference anyway). So the set was a bit of an odds and sods affair of old and new songs bolstered by a couple of fun covers including a faithful telling of The Nerves' "When You Find Out." The 25-minute set was a stream-lined power-pop affair with fewer leads and somehow no tuning breaks. Have I told you how much I love this band? A lot. I love this band a lot. Rumor is there's a new album recorded and we're just waiting for music industry stuff to run its course before it lands in our hands. Please.

I thought Heels were a touring band. Maybe from the dirty south somewhere. But nope. Locals. Ones that have been in a million other bands (Hammerlord, The Esoteric, The Slowdown...) and made their debut right before the pandemic. Touring band energy though. Took the stage with the intent to own it. Mission accomplished. Frontman Stevie Cruz had the high kicks. The audience pushed forward. There were dancers. Maybe there were groupies. The band is as much metal as hardcore. Guitarist in a Refused shirt but that tone was all Prong. Lots of fat bass groove ala Clutch. Cruz moved from screams to shrieks. Had an effects pedal when he needed more. The band's half hour set was exhausting. Or maybe it was 1am and I am an old man. Afterwards I slipped out the backdoor without a single goodbye.