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Saturday April 27th, 2024 at Minibar in Kansas City, MO
The Uncouth, River City Rejects, & The D-Fibs

Another day, another show where the particulars are drifting away. I should get some quick notes down before I forget it all.

The D-Fibs opened the night. There isn't a more entertaining punk band in town. The foursome is fronted by Tim Nord (ex-Main Street Saints). He's older, wiser, and older now. And that's much of the band's schtick. Songs are either about uncooperative middle-aged bodies or about being grumpy because things are unequivocally stupid. The band is rounded out by Paddy Sargent (guitar), Patrick Brown (bass), and Jon Cagle (drums). They're all seasoned players, greying, and eligible for AARP cards. The band opened its 30-minute set with "A Salt & Battery." It was a brutal attack of hardcore punk that set the tone. The set's thirteen songs included both fan favorites ("Old Man Strong") and new debuts ("Truck Stop Katana" about the bizarre items you can find at Love's Travel Stops). The Dead Kennedy's anthem repurposed to became "Too Full to F*ck" had the audience singing along. Throughout the set a small pit boiled. On the inside there was a handful of young moshers (one holding his phone the whole time), while the perimeters were patrolled by old guys attempting to keep the pit (and their own blood pressure) under control inside a very crowded, very hot, & very sweaty club. Both missions were accomplished.

Immediately after the finale, everyone poured out of the steamy club for the rainy sidewalk. There's nothing new about punks hanging out in front the club and missing the bands, but it wasn't good news for Omaha's River City Rejects. The punk trio lines up as Cody (vocals/guitar), Johnny (bass/vocals), & Tony (drums/backing vocals). Last names are (evidently) for cops. The band's sound drifted from hardcore to streetpunk, but it always prioritized speed and ruthless simplicity. And why wouldn't it – quick-shifting power chords, root notes on the bass, and drums that pound on the snare and the hi-hat are always a winning combination. I do love a bass intro though, and so did River City Rejects. Cody's vocals were gruff. Johnny's were even more so. He sounded like Lemmy. The two barked back and forth across the stage sharing lead responsibilities. Tony offered backing vocals when he wasn't too winded. The big skinhead looked exhausted, pounding out thirteen songs in 30 minutes just as the opener had.

Kansas City locals The Uncouth headlined the night. The quartet started with "Adam's Got a Box Knife." This blast of streetpunk aggression brought the still-damp audience back into the club. Throughout the set the moisten revelers shouted along to oi favorites like "Madness on the Streets", pumped their fists to time-tested covers like The 4 Skin's "Evil," and sung in solidarity with punk anthems such as "Same Old Story." Songs that were once mainstays such as "Living Wage" were omitted, making room for new ones like "Running Around in Circles" from a just-released four-way split LP. An enterprising punk in a studded battle vest started a circle pit for that song, much to the delight of lead guitarist/vocalist CJ Wilson. Throughout the rest of the set, a moderate push pit resulted a few spilt beers, but no blood.

Both the lights and the sound in Minibar were different from my last visit. New fairy lights illuminated the room, and the tech opted to keep the stage brighter as well. That's a plus if you're a photographer or merely play one on the Internet. Unfortunately, the tech's sound mix was a little suspect. Wilson's guitar was slighted, but that did open sonic headroom for the rhythm guitar of vocalist Cody Blanchard. I heard many of his smart additions for the first time. Happy accidents. Bassist Steve Gardels provided backing harmonies (occasionally in three parts) and most of the banter. Todd Rainey's drumming was snappy and tight, often landing somewhere between a military parade and a football terrace.

The band closed its eleven-song setlist with the aggro warning "Got Me Wrong." No fists were thrown. No teeth were lost. Without pause the band then continued into an undesignated encore of "KC Belongs to Me" (nee Cock Sparer's "England Belongs to Me"). Then everyone rushed down the stairs for a cool-air reprieve, ending the night.