Friday April 30th, 1999 at The Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS.
The Poster Children, House of Large Sizes, & The Believe It Or Nots

Honestly I really didn't care that the Poster Children were headlining when Greg mentioned that The Believe It Or Nots had another show at The Bottleneck. I thought that the P Kids probably would draw a decent audience and that'd be good for The Believe It Or Nots but I thought I had heard all that the Poster Kids had to offer and it was with that bias that I still talked Vanessa, MNO and my cousin Ryan (who was in town on business) into going to the show.

We had a nice dinner at Eden's Alley in Kansas City then did a quick tour of the town before heading out to The Bottleneck via I-70 at dusk. When we arrived at 9pm The Bottleneck was pretty empty but Vanessa did comment the folks there were was a little older than usual sort. I figured if you were a Poster Kids fan in 87 then you're bound to be a little older now. I played pool in the back of the club with Ryan until a little before 10:30 when The Believe It Or Nots started marking their cursory noises and I was forced to drop my cue, forfeit the game, and head up front.

The band started out with lots of energy ripping through a quick tempo Terra Incognito but then quickly slowing down with Milkman. John rearranged the set list playing Blackberry Sage next, but he soon tuckered out and the band went through two long, slow numbers (Cold, Summer Love) followed by Signals Mixed and a new number that I don't remember the name of. The new song had Greg on vocals and Mike only followed with barchords throughout the song. The bass and drums were driving but the song tempo was only mid paced; this one may have to grow on me a bit. The band finished with a longer version of Broadsword with an extended opening and Greg jumping off the monitors like a grade school kid on recess. The 30 folks up front seemed to get into the band and the applause was good from the audience, so mission accomplished.

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I joined my chums who had relocated up to a booth but seemed restless. A quick set change brought House of Large Sizes up to the stage so I moved closer with my camera. Once upon a time a roommate in college had a HoLS cassette, and I knew they were from Iowa but that's about it. The band is a trio in the usual manner who were appeared to be in their early 30s. Dave's guitar playing was very energetic and he was constantly running around in a circle while playing and then hurrying his way back up to the mic for his share of the vocal duties. Barb was a bundle of energy on bass and spent most of the show in a constant pogo with her two braided pigtails flailing about. Brent appeared to be a grizzled punk of yesteryear providing some intragal backing vocals along with the drums. Musically they were an amalgamation of all sorts of good things, and their big dose of straight forward rock augmented by punk frenzy and big hardcore bass solos made me think of Squidboy, Bis, & Squatweiler all at different times. I didn't think it was possible not to enjoy a band that put so much into their performance but my mates had vanished for some coffee during their set and other friends told me they thought the band was suck. I guess they had a different measuring stick than I did.

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After HoLS finished to great applause, the 50 or so folks who were up front milled around the club allowing me to get right up front so I could hopefully get some decent shots of the P Kids. I got lucky when the always photogenic Rose set up right in the center making me wish I had more than 11 pictures left on my camera. I had seen the rock unit a few times as an opening band (once for The Buzzcocks!) and had i a few of their CDs at one time or another but as I mentioned before, I was never really that impressed. After a minute into the first song I wondered two things. 1) how could this band EVER open for anyone and 2) how did I miss out on all that is wonderful about this band?

Rick had the perfect guitar sound though I had no idea how he got it. I would have guessed a hollow-body Dan Electro with a lip stick tube pick-up on the neck but it wasn't that way at all. I'll probably have to wait until the Guitar Player interview comes out to know what the secret is. Regardless it was wiry and jumpy and sawing and ripped through every song. Rose was a maniac of intensity, tossing around her now signature mop top and making the fiercest of smiles the whole time - especially when stomping on her Heavy Metal pedal. Their latest drummer (Howie) was rapid fire and so precise he could have been a machine while Jim's guitar both provided a foundation that everything was based on, and interesting bits that helped define the songs.

I can't tell you the name of more than 2 or 3 of the songs they played though you can unscramble the set list if you need to know. What I can tell you is every song was high intensity and each came one right after the other with no time taken out for tuning. They all smiled (though some looked more tired than others) and the band always seemed surprised when one person would begin the next song while applause was still growing for the last.

After a "final" song, the band disappeared backstage for a quick blow leaving the crowd to hoot and holler and stomp for 3 or 4 minutes before returning for a quick 4 song encore. Of course that never sits right with me, but other than that the band couldn't have been any better and they put on the best show I've seen at the Bottleneck this year.

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Around 1:30 the lights came on and the club started to clear out. Vanessa, MNO and Ryan returned telling me of their adventures and parties visited, Jake and Vince filled me in on their thoughts concerning the show and Greg hooked me up with the artwork for the The Believe It Or Nots CD. Networking abound. We slowly made our way out through the crowds (this weekend is an annual celebration of sort for KU) and back to the car with one thing on our minds. Sleep? No, Dunkin' Donuts. A dozen donuts later and we were heading back to Kansas City to continue the party at Chubby's. But that is a whole other story.