Monday August 23rd, 1999 at The Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS
June of 44, Proudentall, Terra Firma

Terra Firma Proudentall June of '44 June of '44 more...

After negotiating nasty construction around The Bottleneck I parked the wagon in the Borders lot, switched off Classic Cash and headed in. $7 and I'm in but not spotting many people I know. I thought like everyone I knew would be there, in fact I was worried the club would sell out but I guess it never did. There were a lot of people there though, students are back.

I found Matt and sat with him for a while before migrating off to see if I could spot other pals so I wasn't the kid skeezing on the band. I skeezed kids from The Believe It Or Nots and The Anniversary for a while before I ran into two of the three guitarist that tried out for my last band. One of 'em bailed with my guitar strap so I was happy to spot this guy again. The other was a pretentious kid from Louisville that I wasn't so happy to spy. The fact he called members of June of '44 by their first names like they were close pals annoyed me as well.

Terra Firma (featuring ex-someone important) were the first band up that night. I heard they appealed to both the indie rock kids and the hippies with their long winded meandering song structures and rhythmic drumming - ya never know if that is a good sign or not. The band was lead by someone playing vibes, occasional 2nd guitar, as well as handling loops and sequences. There was also a guitarist, bassist, drummer & 2nd percussionist, but no vocals. Right off bat, their songs are good, but could be better.

The songs are open and experimental certainly, but I would have been more impressed with a bigger jazz influence and more quick changes and dynamics. As it was, the band got a little tedious in the long loose songs [especially after 10 minutes of watching someone wave a vibrator over the pickups of his guitar] but were in their best form in the tighter, more rock orientated tracks featuring both guitars such as in the closer.

Proudentall took a long time to set up and started pretty late, combine that with a too long set and you know I was damn tired by the time they finished. I don't know the scoop on this (though I think I may do an interview for Too Much Rock to find out) but I think Proudentall is officially a three piece now - rumour is Steve was kicked out of the band he wasn't even in by Billy right before the show. Wow bummer as those 2nd guitar parts are really so much of what made their early songs so interesting.

Anyway their set tonight was long, I already mentioned that but it needs to be driven home. I guess they played like an hour which is just too brutal for an opener. They played a variety of newer songs which are all nice but sound quite a bit alike. They brought up Breeze again on violin and of course Mike Walker joined 'em on Trombone for 2 or 4 songs. Unlike the smooth trombone that connects the surging music, the violin adds a scratchy abrasion and discordance that fights with the music. Of course Breeze has only played with the band twice with like 1 or 2 practices so maybe they'll make better use of her talents in the future.

Although this all sounds kinda bad it's not. I've just seen Proudentall enough that I've turned into some sort of over-zealous rock critic. In short Proudentall played their emotional indie rock and are in the midst of pushing towards something new. The crowed enjoyed them and reviews from first time viewers were very positive.

June of '44 set up while I sat tight on my spot on stage knowing if I left it, there was no way I'd find another place to see the band from. I was told by several folks that they find June to be boring live - a few came to the show anyway just to see and be seen by the other indie rockers in Lawrence. Musically they do lots of wonderful things, but when you're tired as hell, it's after midnight, your sick of the cigarette smoke and bothered by the crowds, they loose some of their appeal. They're not a religious experience live, but they were very solid performers playing to a crowd of their fans, in that way they reminded me of the Sunny Day Real Estate show. I left about 30 minutes into their show too.

On the way out the door I introduced my very sleepy self to Danielle from The Zone who I've been trading emails with for months and spotting at shows for weeks without an introduction. I also met someone (though I don't think I even got a name!) from The Black Water who complained that I never go to their shows but instead go to every emo show. Emo? I think Deep Elm owns the right to that word now forcing bands to call themselves "emotional indie rock with firm roots in hardcore."

Just to quickly wrap things up, I skipped the Donut route opting instead for A&W Onion Rings and a medium root beer. I did request The Believe It Or Nots on KJHK and they played it. I was home and in bed a little after 2am.