Show review: The Architects (with Radkey and Hipshot Killer) at recordBar, 8.10.12

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)

Life can be an asshole sometimes. It is without balance and as unstable as a drunken college girl with daddy issues. We’ve all been there. Everyone knows that girl. The date is going fine. She’s enjoying her dinner and talking about her cats when suddenly and without warning she’s crying about needing a hug. Her makeup streaks and the cheerleader you brought to Applebee's suddenly looks like Alice Cooper. Out of nowhere life and everything that exists within it takes a 90-degree turn and the relaxing evening you had planned melts into a shitmess. By the end of the night there is no room or need to question why cheerqueen’s dad never returned.

But what does this have to do with music you ask? Aren’t you reviewing The Architects?

Okay, okay. I’m getting there.

Much like the above scenario, music can be a fickle, fickle bitch.Take watching a show for example. On any given night, fans are making a 20-dollar commitment on a 50/50 bet. Generally speaking, catching a good show is nothing more than a coin flip. Any band, even ones commonly known for owning the stage could have an off night without warning. Because guitars sometimes untune, members sometimes get drunk, venues hire underqualified sound guys, and people have bad days, there is no getting around the fact that sometimes good bands are going to let you down. There is no exception to this rule.

Except that somehow The Architects DO seem to be the exception to that rule.

Plagued by sickness and nausea, Kansas City’s punk poets pushed through their return to the recordBar, pressing out one of the most full tilt takes on music that 2012 has presented to me. Drenched in sweat by the third cut, the brothers Phillips and guitarist Keenan Nichols put in more cardio on stage than most people do in a lifetime. Twitching, jerking and slamming around the room, every note becomes a point of exclamation. Not only are the guys not fucking around, they’re going to make damn sure you know that they know what they’re doing. Night in and night out, their blue-collar, punch-the-clock approach to their craft can be felt as fluently as the stand in front of you. They not only intend to bring the rock, they intend to slap you in the face with it.

Unlike all other measures of life however, that aggression is a commendable quality in music. Take, for example, the way the band approaches headcount. Lesser bands might raise a stink about playing a three-quarters full recordBar after adding tours with My Chemical Romance and Flogging Molly. However on this night, a casual observer would assume the band was playing Shea Stadium in front of a sold-out crowd. As every night is their Super Bowl, your cover charge is taken care of before the end of the first song. There is no room for disappointment, musically or visually.

Combining the pure elements of punk with their obvious 1990s influences, the diversity of the band is rather amazing. This isn’t your average three-chord punk band. With sounds dating back to their time as The Gadjits, elements of calendar days long gone bleed out of their set lists. Twitching from influences by The Clash to particles of a rockabilly sound to a “Banditos”-like The Refreshments sound, anyone who has liked music in the last 15 years can find something familiar about the band. Furthermore, even if you were born after the fall of flannel, watching the band flex its musical muscle is unquestionably for everyone. As Brandon leans from the mic and howls his message with sweat dripping down across his nose, it is impossible not to be touched a little by the passion of the group. But if that isn’t enough for you to be convinced, I’ve formed a small list to leave you. You can read it below:

The totally unbiased list of reasons why you should love The Architects:

1. No one in Kansas City drums harder than Adam Phillips.
2. The band not only still writes guitar solos, Keenan Nichols owns them.
3. Zach’s bass lines, combined with Adam’s drums, will make you shake your ass.
4. They’re the hardest working band in Kansas City.
5. Chances are they were making music when you were learning to color. They know more about music than you do.
6. It is better than dating a girl with daddy issues.

And with that, I’ve gone full circle.

For more photos from this show taken by the amazing Todd Zimmer, follow the link here.

 --Joshua Hammond

After stints drumming for both The Afternoons and Jenny Carr and the Waiting List in the Lawrence/Kansas City music scene, Joshua Hammond found his footing as a music journalist, launching the national publication Popwreckoning. After running the show as Editor in Chief for 6 years, Hammond stepped away from the reigns to freelance for other publications like Under The Gun Review and High Voltage Magazine. This shift allowed the adequate amount of time for him to write passionately, allow the Kansas City Royals to break his heart on a daily basis and spoon his cats just enough that they don't shred his vinyl. 

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