After I had spent about thirty minutes and three quarters with Tekkon II, The Casket Lottery started making noises and I turned around to face the band.
The Casket Lottery were notably absent from the Kansas City scene for most of the summer which is a long time for any band to be missing - especially one whose sound evolves so much. When the band first started they were a dead ringer for Jawbreaker, since then they have found their own voice - a slow, dry, emotional indie rock defined by pop song structures.
Being away from the stage for a few months had its affects on the band and they admitted they were a little rusty. I noticed the members grimace a few times during the set when things didn't go right. There were no collapses and I'm sure few folks noticed, it just wasn't very tight in the changes. Although Nathan's voice sounded weak in the quiet parts, that's usually a result of the shitty sound at The Replay. Both Stacy Hilt and Nathan Ellis sounded nice when they went full voice.
The biggest problem with sound actually wasn't the club's fault, but rather the bands; The Casket Lottery love to be loud, much louder than they need to be. Normally I leave my earplugs out a little, for this show I had then buried. And in a club with a bad mix (or in this case - no mix) that means you loose the vocals. Register that as the only downside to a great band.
Sweep the Leg Johnny set up quickly and started their set early saying they wanted to get us out early for work tomorrow - I couldn't have agreed more. The band started with a long, slow builder filled with lots of quiet sax work which has gotten better ever time I've seen them. However as the old squawk turns to new melodies, it echoes a change in the direction of their music. The complicated and twisting mathrock is slowly starting to straighten up, songs are becoming more obvious, and in that, becoming more emotional and direct - not like an emo band, just like a hint of Mogwai or Godspeed You Black Emperor. This is a good thing but something that may take their fans some time to get used to. Don't worry though, with over 200 days on the road a year, they're still the tightest band in the world.
True to their promise, the band played less than a half hour - just enough to give the denizens of Lawrence Kansas another taste of the band and enticing them to wait for their return in a few months.