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Thursday April 12th, 2018 at The Brick in Kansas City, MO
Jorge Arana Trio, Witch Jail, Bird Girls, & Neptune

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Four bands are a lot. Four shows in four nights is too much. One might even say "too much rock." Get it? Anyway, I've only time for a quick rundown of this locals-only gig.

Four bands. All with an experimental bent. All remarkably different. All hand-picked by Guy Slimey to celebrate the release of his band's new album. But if there is a through line, we'll find it. The night started with Neptune. The fourpiece is a six-month running art school project that is as alien as its name. Otherworldly synth lines, shrill vocals, and post-punk bass lines defined a twenty-minute set as chaotic as it was cathartic. I smiled to myself as I watched the date night couple in the booth at the back of the bar scurry away as if they had been personally insulted. Bird Girls were up next. Psychedelic rock, but heavy on the rock. In the simplest moments there were hints of surf, in the most experimental, I think LSD was leaking from the quintet's amplifiers. Bass led everything, but at the best moments I was mesmerized by the swirling keyboards. The guitars were mixed low all night long. Witch Jail played third. The opening number was tight, powerful garage rock with no frills. It was amazing. The remaining tracks were more kooky, affected, and campy. It's punk, it's surf, it's a bit of '60s exotica. But mostly it's entertaining frontman Guy Slimey playing the theremin with a beer bottle, or prissily twisting across the stage. It was 12:20 when Jorge Arana Trio began. The audience had thinned. A set that kicks off after midnight on a weeknight is a hard sell. Frontman Jorge Arana was loose and talkative, maybe a little drunk. Well, definitely drunk. But I liked the results. The chatty frontman eased the audience into a tight set of instrumental free jazz, math rock, and unclassifiable experimentation. Well the chatty frontman and all the drinking the audience had been doing over the past four hours. As the one-song encore ended just after 1am, I returned to my quandary. Can four bands be part of the same scene if they all play in different genres, use different tools, and have different missions? If so, these outsiders, leftovers, and curiosities made it happen late on a Thursday night at The Brick.