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Tuesday June 20th, 2023 at miniBar in Kansas City, MO
Moon 17, Child of Night, & Static Phantoms

Am I way behind? Yes, yes I am. Thanks for asking. So another speedrun. Ah details without any context! Here goes:

Static Phantoms opened the night. The band is Dedric Moore (synth/backing vocals) and Krysztof Nemeth (vocals/baritone guitar). Those are names you know from their numerous other bands. The first song opened with what was nearly a trip hop beat, but after a few of these bright tunes, Nemeth announced, "This is going to get dark now that we got the pop shit out of the way." It did, somewhat. The next group of songs would have been at home on Seventeen Seconds. Later Nemeth introduced an old song that the band had recently reworked. It came in hot with a booming bass drum that had soundperson Alex Ripplinger scrambling for calming knobs and sliders. The band managed the variety well, delivering its strongest set to date. The twosome is currently in the studio finishing new material that will give us a better read on where the band is settling on the darkwave to dreampop spectrum.

Child of Night followed. The band is mysterious. It was once a duo that became a trio but is currently touring as a duo. The band is from Columbus but also from Pittsburgh and Brooklyn. Only the shadow knows. The band lives in the intersection of Siouxsie Sioux's dour goth and danceable darkwave. Throbbing bass urges you to move. The brightest moments approach synth pop, while the noisiest incorporate an industrial din. It's all a mystery. Washes of sound filled the gaps between songs, removing the opportunity for banter that could shed light on the band's secrets. Instead, the 35-minute enigma was performed on darkened stage where two figures lurked –g Jonathan Thompson handling production and backing vocals and Niabi Aquena singing, dancing with microphone in hand, and playing an occasional keyboard line. While I studied the act for clues, others danced without concern. I suspect the latter was a better use of the evening.

The night culminated with a duo performance from Moon 17. It wasn't long ago that Zach took the stage solo for an inaugural performance that had him attempting to sing, play guitar, and build the project's EDM live from racks and racks of finicky electronics. Now is joined by his wife Samantha Conrad. Not only are the tools streamlined, but the duties are split for better load management. Now Conrad handles most of the vocals, adding her warmth to the band's industrial clank, gurgling rhythms and glossy synth hits. Sometimes she screams. Sometimes does too. They both build, control, and mutate the band's sound. They each provide live keys. Sometimes they both step away from their stations where they dance in pulsing, colored lights placed on the floor. While early compositions were full of pop-leaning blips and beats, new songs make use of the extra bandwidth to include all sorts of harsh noise, doubling the chaos previously attainable. As with the opening act, the band's 25-minute set seemed transitional. Adding another question in a night full of conundrums. Strange things afoot at the Minibar.