From what remains of the all-ages scene in Wichita, two badass punk bands, Kill Vargas and Slime Flower, have emerged to remind everyone that you don’t need to be old enough to get into a bar to rock and roll and melt peoples faces.
Kill Vargas is punk of the pop variety, but you can hear a wide range of influences driving the music that keep it from feeling prepackaged or fake. I saw them at the LuLu Temple of Doom last month with the Serpent Overlord, Bastard Glow, and the Earth Dies Screaming and they definitely held their own. The vocals, more often than not, owe an obvious debt to Billie Joe Armstrong, but can easily veer off into Sex Pistols territory and beyond. The drums and bass bring it hard, but with Nirvana-esque intensity/volume drops that lull you back into a song only to burst back with a primitive garage rock stomp or classic punk rhythm. Kill Vargas talk a lot about riffs, and interestingly, the bass seems to take the load of the riffage responsibilities in the band. The guitar is definitely a presence but is sometimes meandering and thin, filling in the top end of the bands sonic space but only occasionally shining through. The most important thing I can tell you about Kill Vargas is that these boys are in it 100%. There is hardly a moment in the show where the teenage energy isn’t coming through not only in the music but in the gyrating, head banging, and general punk-rock-style-body-moving (lol) that brings to mind the on stage antics of the Blind Shake. These dudes obviously care about their music – and the awesome songs they’re putting out make it easy to care right along with them. Should you go see Kill Vargas? Yes! Today at 5pm at ICT Fest!
Slime Flower, who played the opening night of ICT Fest, are more of a garage punk/shitgaze band. Not nearly as tightly honed as the pop-punk of Kill Vargas, Slime Flower’s more primal delivery manages to become the musical embodiment of the raging teenage hormones that punk aspires to. Probably because they aren’t trying for it, they’re just living it. The guitar is featured instrument in this band, from big chugging power chords while the bass is riffing, to crazy angular solos equal parts beautiful and dissonant. The bass playing is increasingly more solid with every performance and never fails to get the job done. Not every drum fill, at the moment, seems to start or end exactly as planned but that just makes it sound that much sweeter when they really nail it. In a genre where exactitude can threaten to kill the soul of the music, Slime Flower are riding the wave of imperfection into the hearts of everybody that sees them. Cath their awesome, perfect, and totally botched take on the Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Keep your eye out for show announcements from both bands and be sure to catch Kill Vargas today next to the the Skate Park at 5pm for ICT Fest!
For more info check: https://www.facebook.com/KillVargas and https://www.facebook.com/slimeflower