Local label THIS AIN’T HEAVEN RECORDING CONCERN, owned and operated by ICT FEST founder Daniel Davis, has surpassed 100 releases in the 2 1/2 years of the label’s existence. One of the things I love about my friend Dan is that he is always thinking, and always looking for real shit happening in ICT and around the world. The result of all those thoughts is that over the next year TAHRC will launch a publishing arm, and connected to that will be quarterly label showcases, featuring bands who have current and upcoming releases on the label, plus artists, writers, filmmakers, and anyone who is making something worth looking at.
I was honored when Dan asked me to curate the first event, and I’ve put together something I’m really proud of. In collaboration with TAHRC, we’re pleased to bring you LIVING GHOST, RAW SPACE (who will be on tour in support of a new cassette via TAHRC that will be announced in the next couple of weeks), DOMESTIC DRONE, FRANCIS MOSS and SLIME FLOWER. There will be artwork in the gallery from ARMANDO MINJAREZ, HUGO ZELADA-ROMERO and MEGAN ST. CLAIR, some films will be screened by the BLUME BROTHERS (Ian and Seth) and their SPAGHETTI PARTY film collective, and there will be some short literature readings by TROY JAMES WEAVER (the co-founder of the new publishing branch of the label, TAHPC) and DAVEY MCCLAIN.
SAT DEC 5
WALNUT ST. GALLERY 112 S. Walnut (One block south of Douglas in Delano)
ALL AGES // $5 // BRING YOUR FRIENDS
Here’s the FB event with details on the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1517409558552168/
Maybe it was always there right beneath the surface, maybe it was just disconnected, but the all ages scene in ICT is undoubtedly here, and what’s coming out of it completely rules. Last night the Walnut Street Gallery, hosted their first event in seven years. In 2007 the gallery / event space hosted both Murder By Death and Ian Mackaye’s The Evens. So what happened? Apparently, no one asked to do shows there in all that time. Everyone got comfortable doing shows at bars, and everyone under 21 during that time missed out on several hundred extraordinary and inspiring shows.
So here’s the thing. Music, like any art, suffers in a vacuum. If you haven’t stood toe-to-toe with your hero, seen her equipment, felt the vibration coming from the amps, witnessed the emotion in every cell of the band’s collective being while they play the song that means so much to YOU, and then talked to them after the show–you haven’t had the experience that drives so many of us into our basements and garages every night to obsessively do the work to find the sound that means so much to US. Put it this way–its super hard to make excellent music without first witnessing excellent music. And without a place to play your music in front of friends and strangers, the whole thing gets a different feel. And not a good one. Things fizzle out, fade. And thats what happened. Thats what shouldn’t happen in Wichita anymore.
Thanks to a grip of brave souls risking the wrath of cops and putting on house shows, to a handful of shops like The Donut Whole and R Coffee House allowing people to get in there and share what they have to share and experience the magic of live music, something is starting to happen. The groundswell is coming back. All ages means something in ICT. There are now a shitload of young bands that totally rip that you should go see. Does your band play exclusively bars? Change that! Find a band that can’t play a bar and ask them to play a show, and ask them where they want to do it. Teach them what you know about gear, promotion, making records. Invite them into your studio to record, collaborate with them. This is a community, embrace it. Watch it grow. Have fun.
See you at the show.
The Donut Whole
Rock Island Live
WSU Shift Space Gallery
Walnut Street Gallery
R Coffee House
South Lulu Temple of Doom
Lime Green Scream
Tomb of Toons
Did I miss one? Let me know-leave it in the comments below!
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