Wednesday October 20th, 1999 at The River Market Brewery in Kansas City, MO.
Lushbox & The Hillary Step

Lushbox Lushbox The Hillary Step The Hillary Step [more]

Wow this show happened a long time ago. I normally wouldn't bother to try and recall the fuzzy events but since the pictures came out so nicely, I'd thought I'd better jot down a little something.

The show was supposed to start early, but at the advertised start time there wasn't a fan to be found -- only the bands, a few techies and a handful of confused restaurant patrons. And it was after 9pm before the staff set up at the door to trade music fans five dollar bills for a coupon redeemable at the bar or for homemade pretzels from the restaurant's late-night menu. Thankfully by 10pm there were a hundred folks sitting at tables in front of a small stage were the pool tables sat only a few hours earlier. That's always a scary thing, however the brewpub to nightclub transformation was pretty complete with two banks of lights set up on each side of the stage and a capable PA and monitors brought in. There was even a silly fog machine that the sound guy seemed to be quite proud of.

I've talked about The Hillary Step so many times that it seems silly to describe the band again, so please check out their website or a previous review if you'd like more info. Tonight's [read Lushbox's] audience seemed to run hot or cold with the band's intense indie rock; tolerating the intricate quiet parts and hooting and applauding the driving noise. Vocalist/guitarist Brad Hodgson had tons of energy and we saw a lot of his signature hop/stomp/stumble/lurch with guitar dance move. His vocals were strong and the audience even interrupted Asleep Before the End to applaud a particularly emotional scream.

That interruption was certainly more welcomed than the one provided by a sloshed concert goer who took it upon himself to walk onto the stage, thank The Hillary Step for playing, and entice the crowd to "give-it-up" for Lushbox – all in the middle of the band's set.

Besides the aforementioned alcoholics, Lushbox drew a disparate crowd of area musicians, indie rock slackers, bar flies, and over dressed college kids – a concoction that voted Lushbox best new band at this year's area music awards. Do these fans come for Lushbox's well executed pop formula, their springy and edgy songs, their pleasantly contrasting boy./grrl vocals or do they come because everyone in the band is just so damn cute? And is it just me or is vocalist/guitarist Brianne Grimmer a ringer for Claire Daines?

Obviously fans show up for all these reasons, and undoubtedly more. I can't help but enjoy a band that rips through up tempo pop songs with real teeth and power. I must admit I was dragged away early (a little before midnight), but I was disappointed that there so was so little "show" in the band's performance. The crowd was having fun but they weren't always engaged. And furthermore only another drunk enjoys a drunken sloppy drummer [who started peeling off clothes early and was playing totally nude by the end of the show], the rest of us find it a bit embarrassing.