Sunday May 10th, 1999 at The Granada in Lawrence, KS
Shiner & Reflector

Show times mess me up constantly. Like of the 20 or something reviews on my site you'll see I got to only like 1 on time. Vanessa and I just got back home after seeing Election (don't bother) so I gave The Granada a call and asked what time show time started.

"7:30? Like 3 minutes from now 7:30?"
"Like really 7:30 or like we want you here an hour early 7:30?"
"We're running a few minutes late but yeah 7:30".

Shit. So off the Taurus wagon and I go to Lawrence.

This time I was going for the land speed record as I wanted to see Reflector. Right when I merged with k-10 I was passed by a red Ford Probe. I figured I'd follow 'em and see how fast he is going. 70. 75. 80. 85. 90. 95. 100 and then I let him keep going. That Ford probe was alternating between 110mph on the open stretches and 70mph when he hit traffic. Because of him I was able to pretty much set the cruise control at 85 and let it ride. 29 minutes after pulling out of my driveway I parked my car in front of the Granada. That is the current standing record.

After living in Kansas City for a year and a half this was my first real need to go to the club. Generally it does bad alt bands (Stabbing Westward) and worse retro dance nights, i.e. nothing that interests me. I was happy to find no cover charge and Reflector still playing. I came in and snuck to the front of the theatre.

The Granada is a large converted theatre. Like real theatre though, not movie theatre. There is a balcony with couches and the nastiest rock club toilets up top. A few raised areas with pool tables and other tables and chairs then a large pit opening next to the immense stage. The sound was good and so I guess it gets my thumbs up.

Reflector were most way through their set when I arrived. They played a brand new number which rocked me, one from a recent 7" and "Little Black Box" from the CD before they left. The band sounded tight and so very thick. It amazes me that all that noise can come from only 3 people. Constantly you'd swear there was as second guitar, but it's all Jared. Somehow he keeps the rhythm going even while playing leads. The band just is lovely, too bad there were only like 40 folks there to see them.

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After they stopped playing I turned to duck around intending to explore the club but instead tripped over a small run way placed at each side of the stage as well as in the center. I think folks were laughing, but I got a nasty boo boo so poo on them. After picking myself off the floor I ran into Brad from The Hillary Step and we talked about their debut CD as well as touring and whatever else came up.

Before Shiner took the stage we were all warned that this was being broadcast live on The Lazer (local alt station) so we should holler and make lots of noise Oh goodie! (*sarcasm drips*) Evidentially the station has pledged to start doing weekly local shows at The Granada for free and broadcast them periodically during their local music program. A great thought but you know how sleazy commercial alternative stations are so it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Shiner took the stage and were much older than I expected. They weren't geriatric or anything but most appeared to be a bit more than a smidge into their 30s. The crowd was pretty varied and I even saw a family up front with their 10 year old son. The band's fanbase walks a line sharing an audience with both the indie rockers in town (Reflector, Proudentall, Grovel etc...) and the big alt bands (Exit 159, Creature Comforts, Frogpond) which made for an interesting mix at the show.

Sound wise they are a hard one to place. They have a big sound, a polished sound, one that drives and rocks out. There are elements which say indie rock, but not many. I think they're an easier sell to fans of Bush or Sponge or the Toadies or the Flys or whoever is big now-a-days than to fans of Jawbox, Trenchmouth or Shudder to Think. I wasn't too terribly impressed and when even my ear plugs couldn't save my hearing, I ducked in the back to sit down on a chair and listen to the show.

I wasn't too familiar with their music, only hearing bits on a mix tape made for me years ago, but you can take a peek at their setlist if you want to know what was played. I know they played the A-Side from their new 7" which was available tonight for the first time. They played a lot of other new material from their CD which is recorded but is having some troubles getting put out due to label swapping and some such. The band even said at one point "Sooner or later we'll play something you know." Another new part was the addition of Jason Gerkin (of Molly McGuire) on drums. He was confident if not cocky but very tight. The whole band sounded tight.

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After the show I snuck up on Jake from Reflector and mentioned my guitar had been in the C&C shop for months. He said he hadn't heard anything about it but it sounded bad to him. He asked me to hold on for a second and then he'd take me over to the shop and see if he could find anything out. What ended up happening was Jake handed me another Commie red Dan Electro U2 no questions asked. That was nice beyond words.

I played it (out of tune) for a while and then hopped in the car back to Kansas City. Driving back in the daylight was a bit of a shock but the weather was nice and I took it slow to make up for the earlier speeding. I'm sure it all evens out in the end.