Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ice Age at the Jackpot in Lawrence: We Kick Back Against the Hype Machine / Funky Pick of the Day: Hearts of Darkness at Lawrence Public LIbrary

Readers, we make no secret that we don't "get" punk music, but we're as susceptible to the lure of a scene as the next scenester, so we decided to witness the spectacle of the young Danish punk band Ice Age at the Jackpot last night. Apparently the shocking amount of blogosphere buzz and praise for this band had not yet fully permeated Larryville, since the venue was only sparsely populated (much less crowded than last week's stellar Cowboy Indian Bear/Mammoth Life party).

In our entourage this evening to help us understand what we witnessed were King Tosser (noted punk scholar and guitar-slinger for The Leotards) and Stephanie Stix (all-around sassy chick and lead singer/moaner for The Leotards).

First up (and easily the best band of the evening) was Mouthbreathers. There's a solid melodic underpinning to their sonic assault, but said assault renders all vocals unintelligible (the only line we thought we made out during their set, and we were trying hard to hear the vocals, was "Too drunk to fuck."). Is this lack of vocal clarity the fault of the sound or simply the fault of our untrained ears?

King Tosser: "The sound."

Mouthbreathers is one of the 26 local projects that Zach Campbell is involved in (our favorite: Trailer Blazed).

Next was KC's Dark Ages. We were only inside for a bit during their set, but we gleaned that no song was longer than 1:30 and that there was some good old-fashioned pushin' and shovin' going on down front. Then we adjourned to the patio to rest our ears and talk recent rock and roll novels with an old friend (Egan's Visit from the Goon Squad and Spiotta's Stone Arabia). If we got paid (or even guest-listed) to cover such shenanigans, we'd feel bad about missing almost a band's entire set. But we don't. So we just enjoyed our patio chat.

And then the magic moment arrived. Looking like four chilly, brooding little Danish Biebers, Ice Age took the stage (with a howling and surely unintentional feedback squeal that lasted through the first four "songs"). They ripped through 15 or 20 minutes of what sounded to us like pretty standard hardcore punk (not so much as a single intelligible vocal from 20 feet back). Stix, ogling the young band, turned to us at one point and whispered that "their dicks are not yet fully formed." After the set, King Tosser launched into a 47 minute diatribe about how the band's sound (which he finds intriguing and intelligent on record) was sabotaged by "utter incompetence" from the sound guy and how the level of sound in Larryville over the years has declined to a point where it's impossible to truly appreciate what is (to him) one of the most glorious eras of Larryville garage and punk. As for us, we're not sure that even the most pristine sound could have convinced us that Ice Age is doing anything different from any number of countless young punk bands. Our theory: crowds across the country are showing up under the collective delusion that they are about to witness something "important" because the blogosphere told them that young Danish punks are so hip right now! And then they don't want to admit to getting suckered, so they join the hype-wagon and pass on the buzz. It's all sort of like The Royal Nonesuch in Huck Finn, for you literary types.

Luckily the evening was salvaged when we crossed over to the Replay and Stix met a woman with an amazing pair of breasts who (for some reason) allowed Stix to feel them and to balance a PBR can on them and place an Iphone in her cleavage. (sorry, we couldn't get a good picture, but Chip has added it to his list of Top 5 local erotic moments alongside the recent evening where he saw a woman bending over to cool off her cleavage in front of a giant fan at Jammin' For Joplin).

Here's some video of Ice Age that I Heart Local Music shot last night and you can see some Dark Ages video and Ice Age photos at their FB page .

And please read the Pitch piece from our Twitter-buddy @nuthousepunks for a balanced and nuanced report from someone who actually understands the punk scene.


By all accounts, KC Afro-beat collective Hearts of Darkness has had a very good week. First, they upstaged Snoop at the Crossroads in KC (according to the KC-Star: we believe it). Then they won a Saturday slot at this weekend's Kanrocksas. Late tonight they've got a gig with one of their favorite bands Hammerlord (worship their metal!) at the Record Bar.

But Larryvillers have a prime opportunity to see them this evening for free at the Lawrence Public Library's "Last Bash" (MC'd by the Not-So-Late-Show's Mike Anderson). It's not even that hot today, so you've got no excuses to skip this dance party. We may not understand punk, but we can FEEL the funk. Having seen Hearts of Darkness reduce even the most apathetic scenesters to dancing fools at the Replay earlier this summer, we can vouch that you WILL enjoy the party. And look for Chip shaking his ass with some sexy librarians (in banana suits?).

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