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Saturday January 23rd, 2016 at Minibar in Kansas City, MO
Hipshot Killer, & The Big Iron

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No real time to write this one up, but that's okay. Anyone who cares about either of the bands that played doesn't need my in-depth analysis on the show anyway. So here's the quickie:

Super Thief from Austin were supposed to play. They didnÕt make it. I don't know why. As a result, the show was pushed further back from the already late 10pm start time. I passed the hour by sitting on the comfortable couches that ring the upstairs room at Minibar reading a small press literary journal I picked up at Prospero's a few weeks ago. I could have used better lighting. Eventually the room filled with the bands' friends, and The Big Iron decided it was time to play.

Minibar has yet to embrace appropriate stage lighting (or build a stage for that matter) but the room sounded nice and loud. Without a stage, vocalist Jeff Pendergraft kept carting his microphone stand deeper into the room allowing him to stare steely-eyed at the audience from close range. Thankfully each time he turned around, a friend would move the stand back. I'm not sure if Pendergraft ever caught on. The rest of the five-piece stayed in the darkened corner of the club, not drawing much attention to themselves, despite several fiery guitar solos. Of course there's never anything flashy about The Big Iron though. The (ostensibly) punk band is made up of working class lifers, far removed from the bondage pants and leather jackets worn by the peacocking kids at the city's basement punk shows. However, I'd bet that some of those kids' parents stood at Minibar that night. A room full of goddamned role models if you ask me.

Hipshot Killer has seen a flurry of activity lately as it promotes its just-released LP They Will Try to Kill Us All (Throwing Things Records, 2016). In the last week, the band has popped up on radio shows, in newspapers, at record stores, and now at the bars. When frontman Mike Alexander surveyed the small crowd of familiar faces, he decided that this was a house show, and happily treated it as much. There were plenty of dedications, including several directed at prodigal son Ernie Locke (Sin City Disciples, Tenderloin, Parlay) who was in town for Lord knows what. Locke looked a lot like the rest of the audience – approaching 50, bearded, balding, and overweight. These must be my people. But make no mistake, Hipshot put on a hell of a show with tons of energy, plenty of sweat, and unquestionable heart. The new album dominated most of the fourteen-song set, with lead track "Anthem" continuing to floor me with every performance. Favorites from the first album like "Silence On the Line" and "Straight Line" showed up in the set, as did a few songs I didn't recognize. Rumor is that Alexander has several albums worth of songs ready to go. He's just daring us to keep up with him and his "power punk" trio.

Rock and Roll Sightings: Sean of Red Kate, Dawn of Bad Ideas, Ernie Locke, Chris Haghirian, Todd Zimmer.