A Hot Night in KC Last week’s
The night began on a note of triumph.
It was last Thursday, around 8:30 p.m. at the Pitch Music Awards Showcase in Westport. I was huddled with about 25 other music fans outside the Westport Beach Club, where Best Avant/Experimental nominee act Namelessnumberheadman was kicking off that corner of the showcase.
Our tireless marketing pros had deftly arranged for the bands and DJs, who were scheduled to play the still-closed Hurricane, to move to the Beach Club and Karma. I thought the former would be an odd place to see a band, but the heat, the lack of four walls and giant rock-club sound system — not to mention the surreal sight of half-dressed sand volleyballers in the distance — didn¹t stop Nameless from easing through complex songs — songs that would send Death Cab for Cutie on a taxi ride home.
Call me a scene licker, accuse me of celebrating our own event, but the vibe at the beginning of the evening was palpably great. It could have been Sprint throwing the showcase — I just think people around here love gorging on a big, cheap local music buffet, especially when they have assurance that it¹s gonna taste good.
So with a nice big margarita swishing gleefully in my gut, I left the crowd of scenesters and regular Westport bourgeoisie (ah, diversity!) and snuck into the Beaumont, where Best Punk nominees the Shotgun Idols were trading funny stage banter and searingly fast, dirty garage punk.
I couldn¹t stay still, so I trekked to the Dark Horse, where it was packed wall-to-wall with people watching the shirtless, robot-headed duo Onemilliontinytinyjesuses (another Best Avant/Experimental nominee) cook up twisted beats reminiscent of a gentler, groovier Squarepusher.
Back at the Beach Club, notorious local film hyper Shawn Edwards had gotten ahold of the mic and was raving about how Snakes on a Plane was not only ³a nonstop thrill ride² but was also going to ³alter the course of human history forever!!² Kidding. Actually, he was helping us pimp out our awards show. (Which, by the way, is this Friday, August 11, at the Uptown Theater, where the dapper, talented and rather pervy Brodie Rush hosts. It¹s another entertainment steal at just $5.) Edwards was also introducing Lawrence-based Best Hip-Hop contenders Archetype, a duo consisting of rapper iD and rapper/producer Nezbeat plus — as of about a month ago — a live drummer and bass guitarist.
Though they¹d barely had time to lock things down with their new rhythm section, Archetype brought beats that N.E.R.D would wanna steal. All in all — as Shawn would say — ³****!²
Next I caught one of my new faves, punk nominees Super Black Market, tearing up the Beaumont like bad rich kids whose parents are on vacation and who forgot to lock the liquor cabinet. They were followed by one-man-band This Is My Condition (Avant/Experimental), who set up on the Beaumont floor and drew a rapt audience of people who, I¹m sure, had never seen anything so freakishly badass.
Then, a visit to Karma put me in the throes of a dark and dirty set from DJ Bill Pile. I expected something more traditionally house from Pile, but in Karma¹s dark, blood-colored confines, the 6-foot-plus DJ unleashed the kind of heavy, lusty beats that would make priests cross themselves.
I crossed to McCoy¹s, where the Bad Ideas were holding alt-country court. Led by sweaty, hairy Waylon Jennings look-alike John Stubblefield, these Best New Act nominees aren¹t the typical, whiskey-drinking, lame Uncle Tupelo copycats. The Bad Ideas rock like the Drive-By Truckers, and they have a frontman in Stubblefield who ain¹t a goddamn poser — that in itself is an achievement.
But it was at the Beaumont where the night came to a boil. I strode into the middle of the Roman Numerals¹ set and waded right in among the drunk kids down in front, where sweat and (in one observed case) saliva were being exchanged to the Numerals¹ dark wave pulse.
It set the scene perfectly for the Architects, who grabbed the crowd by the throat at the first downbeat. The mosh pit wasn¹t raging enough for my drunken stage dive to be successful, but at least a couple of dudes broke my fall as I rolled down to the muddy, beer-and-dirt-covered floor. I got right back up and continued thrashing on through the encores, surrounded joyously by girls and guys all lost in rock-and-roll abandon.