Too Much Rock
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Thursday March 23rd, 2023 at miniBar in Kansas City, MO
Voice of Addiction, The Uncouth, Sidewalk Celebrity, & Blood Daubers

Too Much Rock is suffering from its namesake dilemma. I'm not sure I have a many more of these in me, so let's make this one quick to hold some energy in reserve.

The four-band bill began with Blood Daubers. The band is two masked dudes known only as Friend and Stranger. Friend plays guitar and does most of the singing. Stranger plays drums. It's rough. Drop D-styled rock & roll. All chords. No leads. A riff lifted from White Zombie, a lyric from Metallica, a vocal cue from Godsmack. I'm not feeling it – until things change. Now Stranger plays guitar while Friend plays baritone. Then it changes again so Stranger can sing. And again, when Stranger plays keyboards. Oddly ornate keyboards. Tom Waits or even Springsteen balladry. Unexpected. I can't keep up with the band, but the punks in the crowd hung with the duo through the tumultuous 30-minute opening set. Good for all involved.

Sidewalk Celebrity followed quickly, offering the club a one-note, pure punk rock palate cleanser. Plenty of songs about skateboards and weed. None with any subtext. The band is sloppy. They're always sloppy, and it's always fun. Guitarist Dave Barnes is a witty frontman and there's a constant give and take with bassist Ben Ginder and drummer Ryan Savage. Come for the banter, stay for the music. The trio played most of the old chestnuts as well as a couple of new songs during its 30-minute set. Then we hit a fork in the road. With three songs left on the set, and only time for two, the band let the audience pick a number. We picked wrong, and the band then played an uncharacteristically long meandering number that went nowhere. Luckily the final number returned to the quick NoFX-worshipping punch that the rest of the set was built upon.

Uncouth draws the same crowd every show. Or so I thought, because at 10:00 when the foursome took the stage, it was without the support of the normal crew of casuals and skinheads. The studded-vest punk battalion were underrepresented as well. Curious. No matter, the band hit the room hard with a strong set of gutsy numbers both new and old. Punk rock, pub rock, and oi oi oi. Gut punches right along with the harmonies. Guitarist/vocalists Cody Blanchard and CJ Wilson sounded good. New cut "Just Fine" sounded the best I'd heard it. Drummer Todd Rainey says it's faster than it used to be. Bassist Steve Gardels lead the audience interaction while Wilson lobbed out zingers from the wings. There were plenty of jovial responses from the peanut gallery. The band closed with "KC Belongs to Me." It's a cover of a cover, and normally is a cue to mob the mics, but the regulars weren't there to provide that energy. Uncouth didn't need it though, they powered through like a new band with a chip on its shoulder. Somehow KC got the away show experience in its own backyard.

Chicago's Voice of Addiction hit Kansas City early into a month-long tour, but it seemed to already have its routine in place. The trio was on a mission to introduce audiences to its latest album, playing song after song with few pauses and even less banter. The band is punk rock – less pop punk than Sidewalk Celebrity, less street punk than Uncouth, less rock than Blood Daubers, but there were elements of each in the band's sound. In the end, the threesome delivered something akin to Propaghandi – bold and urgent and with intent. The overlapping vocals of Ian Tomele (bass) and Tyler Miller (guitar) only added to that insistence. No one was coming up for air. Drummer Kevin Amaro amplified the chaos, with explosive and tight playing that moved from gallops to cacophonies of cymbals in the blink of an eye. Miller added his own flair with occasional finger tapping, and some quick darts about his side of the stage. But flash was rare in the band's yeoman performance – instead the audience got smacked for twelve-songs over thirty minutes, and then it was all over.