Tuesday June 29th, 1999 at The Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS
Pedro the Lion, Reflector, The Appleseed Cast & Koan
raw photos

The afternoon started with a drive down the I-70 toll road to Lawrence from downtown KC. I was headed to a The Believe It Or Nots practice but had left the directions to John's house at the office. Oh well I was able to fake it and listen for the noise until I located the house. Despite the fact I arrived nearly an hour after practice was supposed to start, the band had not yet begun so I settled back with the liner notes to Message in a Box and proceeded to learn all the exciting and necessary facts about Sting, Stewart and Andy.

After the band ended practice and we cleared up some details about the upcoming CD [release party Aug 6th at The Bottleneck], I headed to downtown Lawrence to get something to eat before the show. Per the usual I headed over to Rudy's ordering a small pie with tomatoes, garlic, and ricotta cheese and sat down with a copy of The Pitch and an article on Greyhound racing and the disposable dogs of the trade. Lately the Pitch has had some critical pieces with some bite to them and it has kinda impressed me.

About 9:50 I got up and walked over to the club. Sometimes if there are four bands on a weeknight The Bottleneck will start at 10:00 and I didn't want to miss Koan. Unfortunately the band had already been playing for 15 minutes when I arrived. Odd. I ran into Matt Paper Brigade and got the low down on the line up for the night and snapped a few pictures of the band.

Koan are a little tough to describe. In a lot of ways they were very reminiscent of a scene that was popular a few years back and still makes inroads with bands like Boy Sets Fire or Eiffel. It was emotional and screamed vocals with metallic guitar riffs alternating with sensitive moments. They weren't bad, however they didn't do much for me.

The Appleseed Cast played next announcing they were now from Lawrence, KS. I thought they were local before so maybe it was a KC thing or maybe a Columbia thing and now the band has relocated. Hopefully someone is there for college because if a band were going to relocate to make it big, there are probably better places.

I had only seen The Appleseed Cast once before and that really didn't count as it was just a two person acoustic set in Harry Jr.'s parlor. However after seeing their set I now wanna find their CD (even if it is on Deep Elm) as I really enjoyed them. Musically they are a textured and layered indie rock band with guitars alternating between angular rhythms and massive wall of noise sound. They finished the set with an eight or so minute piece of colourful feedback and power. It wasn't quite Mogwai, but still I was very impressed.

The hardest working band in Kansas City (a.k.a. Reflector) were up next. They started the show with a familiar tune, tossed in a song from the new 7" as well as one from their split with The Casket Lottery, a few songs from the CDep, and had a few newer ones as well. As always their blend of aggressive yet songful indie pedal rock sounded great and the band played well though there wasn't anything spectacular to report about tonight's show.

Up last were Pedro the Lion. I hadn't heard the band though I noted they were on a lot of college radio station's charts currently. I wondered what the darlings of college radio sounded like now a days since none of my bands have recently come close to holding that honor. Earlier that evening someone told me they were snore core. Hmmm....

Pedro the Lion weren't exactly snore core, but they were someone you'd want to sit down for. The Seattle trio do a very slow and deliberate low-fi indie rock thing that actually is pretty original (if you can be boxed into those genres and still be original). They were emotional and powerful and stirring and almost spiritual and the crowd seemed to be mesmerized by them, that is except for the folks in back talking that just weren't into them at all. A hit and miss kinda thing to be sure.

Live I thought they were really good - better with my eyes closed. Recorded and sitting in my living room I think I'll find them to be stellar so I'll try to hunt down some mp3s to test my theory before popping down the $10 for their full length CD.

I was pretty tired after their set and not looking forward to the long drive so I split pretty quick only waving so long to the folks who came out. I stopped only briefly to chat with the vocalist to get the band's email address so I could ship off the pictures to them. Proudly I didn't even stop at Duncan Donuts before heading back to Kansas City - I'm such a health trooper.