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Friday March 30th, 2018 at Record Bar in Kansas City, MO
A Tribute to the Kings of Power Pop: Badfinger & Big Star: Honeywagen, Headlight Rivals, The Dynamite Defense, & Matt Mason

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I'll not add insult to injury by writing a full account of this show. Let's just say this tribute night was not well thought out or executed by its promoters, and none of the bands seemed to have any passion for either of the bands being honored. Here are a few notes:

The night began with a last-minute addition in the form of Matt Mason and his giant twelve-string acoustic. Sadly, the sound was rough during his shoe-horned three-song set, and "Thirteen" without audible vocals felt like wasting a great song. Followers The Dynamite Defense expertly reproduced all of Badfinger's guitar solos in "Baby Blue" and "No Matter What," and even put in a solid vocal effort on "Without You," but soon after it switched to originals to "stretch time." In what world do concertgoers want bands to "stretch time?" Headlight Rivals provided a highlight with the night's lone reimagined cover — a Weezer-esque retelling of Chris Bell's "I Am the Cosmos," but then padded the set out with a half-dozen originals. On any other night, the band's pop punk-meets-power pop songs, bolstered by the witty banter of vocalist Eric Kleiner, would have been great, but that's not what I or anyone else paid to hear. I was getting grumpy. My wife was getting angry. Lena left. Honeywagen took the stage next, faithfully recreating hits like "In the Streets," "Ballad of El Gordo," and "Day After Day." Unfortunately, the band of journeymen did it with all the zeal of working musicians paid $27 each to slog through a setlist at a wedding reception. My mood sank similarly low when the quartet padded out its 45-minute set with a number of original songs. On another night the band's rootsy power pop (think Tom Petty) would have thrilled me, but on this night, I was just over it. Evidently, we all were over it, as the show ended with Honeywagen. But wait, weren't The Whiffs supposed to play? Yes, according to the promoter and his flyers. No, according to the band. That sounds about right for a night that could have been great, but failed to even reach "okay."