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Friday July 9th, 2021 at Lemonade Park in Kansas City, MO
Idaho, The String and Return, & Slights

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Not a lot of time today so let's just get a quick recap of this touring bill. That's right: bands on tour. Seeing bands in your town that have travelled from other places. What will they think of next?

Slights opened the night. Frontman Matthew Dunehoo had a startling amount of energy. There was lots of new material in the set, and it all sounds delightful. The band continues to baffle me. It's a cohesive whole that makes sense, yet it's definitely Brit pop with chugging guitar and '80s guitar solos and snapping post-punk percussion and abrasive Killing Joke-style noise. How it works, I don't know. But it does. Matt still slips into some odd British accent. Maybe that's endearing. I haven't decided. I have made up my mind that the band's planned new album will be amazing though.

The String and Return put this tour together. And seem to be responsible for reforming Idaho too. After twenty years the foursome doesn't have many surprises. They're still awe inspiring. And I'm still impressed with how well the band leaves open space. A couple of new songs and a resurrected old one hint that there could be something new from the band soon. That'd be great. The band closed with "Roundworm" from its 2000 debut. It ebbs and flows for nearly 10 minutes alternating between explosive chaos and quiet artful moments that were as much about the breeze and the cicadas as the guitar. My phone alerted me about thunderstorms entering the area. They might have been summoned.

Idaho deserves more than a paragraph but that's all it's going to get. The band formed nearly 30 years ago, released some records for a while, was largely inactive for ten years, and then reformed in anticipation of this tour by founder Jeff Martin with help from some talented come-latelies. Thirty years means the band has seen a lot. There's angsty post-grunge, there's sculpted shoegaze, and there's '90s slackerdom. Different eras. All were played though. All sounded exceptionally true to the time of their creation. New song "Heaven on Earth" fit into that latter indie rock bucket as it hit its Pavement-esque climax. The night ended with "Skyscrape" from the band's first 7" in 1993. The song is laconic, building slowly into a gazey whammy bar-fed feedback that filled the outdoor venue. That song is too short, but the one-hour, encore-less set felt about right.