No Picnic

The Get Up Kids
Koo's Art Cafe
Wednesday, July 7

Listen to: The Get Up Kids
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Download the RealPlayer FREE! So Kansas City's Get Up Kids, one of the monster underground/indie bands of the moment, were all set to play a low-key, hush-hush, fake-name gig at Koo's Art Cafe on July 3, the day before their main-stage set at the Goldenvoice-sponsored This Ain't No Picnic fest. "Egad! In the name of God, you shan't do this!" the Goldenvoice peeps told the Kids, thinking that if their fawning fans went to the $5 show at Koo's, then they wouldn't necessarily be in the mood to blow $25 on a Picnic ticket the day after. So a week before, the Kids told Koo's that the super but-no-longer-very-secret Saturday show was off and asked if they could reschedule after the Picnic so everybody would be happy.

"Why, certainly!" responded Koo's. "Anything to accommodate your talents at our fine musical establishment!" But . . . too late! By this time, the rumors swirling around the super no-longer-very-secret Saturday show were out of control. Throngs made long, painstaking journeys to Koo's on Saturday, expecting to hear the Get Up Kids, only to be told—d'oh!—to come back on Wednesday instead. And they did. Mobbed? Koo's was so packed with bodies on Wednesday it would have maxed out the friggin' Galaxy Concert Theatre, or even the Glass House with a little advance publicity. Sights like these always give our intestines the warm fuzzies: when pretty much everything on the radio overwhelmingly blows, it's encouraging to know that the underground still kicks, that word-of-mouth still counts for something, and that not everybody is so eager to swallow whatever trend is force-fed them.

That said, how were the Get Up Kids? Ummm . . . well, when we weren't being distracted by the fascinating vision of the walls actually sweating, the Kids were all right, with more than a few hooks that sounded like a crossbreeding experiment between Teen Heroes and the Killingtons—melodic, powerful and VERY, VERY LOUD! But nothing really stayed with us. They weren't a bad band, but they weren't a great one, either, and they certainly didn't impress us enough to make us understand what all the commotion was about. Bottom line: sometimes they were really swell, a cavalcade of endless, grinding guitar riffage; but at other times, watching the windows slowly fog seemed vastly more entertaining. But the Kids may just be one of those bands that needs to grow on us. Maybe if we see them in a less claustrophobic setting, they will.

Jam at the Dam
Cacawates/Gibler/Nobody Cares/Rocket Science/High Jinks
Brea Dam Park
Saturday, July 10

We arrived too late to catch High Jinks, the eventual winner of this battle-of-the-bands-type thing, which served as a prelude to the Dial-7/ Jeffries Fan Club/ Stavesacre/Killingtons/Freakdaddy half, so we haven't the faintest what was so immensely cool about them to earn the $150 prize. But Rocket Science were fine and frisky, cursed as they were with a penchant for catchy melodies, which they peppered with not-terribly-creative-but-thanks-for-trying guitar screeches. They also did a song about being a stupid fuck and having to go out and get a job, which will garner them many letters of complaint from parents who brought their virgin-eared children to this city-sponsored free event. Nobody Cares had a reggae-rap-ska-punk thing going down. Why, yes, you have heard it all before (Note: "Pickituppickit uppickitup" is stale). They could stand a shot of originality in their booties. And their last song was a waste, a ridiculous Korn-with-horns thing, with rhymes about "bustin' caps" that should've been videotaped to show aspiring rap rockers how silly they look when they're trying to be street. Gibler had a singer who couldn't, but their music was pretty good, alternately moody, wispy and hazy. And we'll just say that one of our fellow critics put it best when he said that Cacawates sounded like "something out of an HB nightmare." They finished fifth in the contest. Out of five.

 
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