Brunch drunk lust
Seattle’s The Redwood Plan marched into Kirby’s Beer Store on Saturday night and wasted no time in launching into a set that brimmed with energy and motion. Vocalist Lesli Wood barely took time to breathe during the band’s fast-paced set. The quartet worked its way, run and gun style, through a series of tunes that leaned heavily on its current release Green Light Go, slamming the crowd’s collective face full force into good vibes and rock ‘n’ roll electricity.
Wood bounced around the room, tore down the fourth wall and spit shards of it into the night air while drummer Betty ST, bassist Larry Brady and guitarist Sydney Stolfus held down the stage. It may have been a little jarring for some to watch the band play a room as small as Kirby’s in the dying days of winter. This is music that belongs in the open air, meant to be heard on hot afternoons when one can dance freely without fear of breaking too much of a sweat in one’s parka.
There are some who complain that rock bands lack in showmanship these days and while there’s some merit to that claim let it be known that The Redwood Plan is an act bent on entertaining. With showmanship, catchy pop/dance tunes galore, and an infectious positive spirit all on its side this collective promises to at the very least leave you eager for more.
Closing out the night was Wichita’s own Japanese Game Show. Bassist/keyboardist/ vocalist Caleb Drummond, drummer Eric Price and guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Jesse Yaeger locked in early with the righteous “Roy Orbison” and ended somewhere around an hour later when Yaeger ripped the strings off his guitar, signaling that there would be no encore.
Didn’t matter. The enthusiastic crowd could go home happy, having been in the presence of the sound lords.
What’s remarkable about this trio is not only the level of musicianship — scary high, by the way — but also how it moves seamlessly, effortlessly from style to style, sometimes in a matter of measures. The band might move from New Wave-y goodness set to a disco-esque beat to a Nirvana-style freak out with little or no warning. Sometimes Price will unleash a Keith Moon-ish bout of fury from behind the drums, sending a song to its seeming breaking point before reigning the whole damn thing back in. He and Drummond create a fine rhythm section while Yaeger whips out consistently interesting guitar parts that are as integral to the songs as anything his mates deliver.
And maybe that’s Japanese Game Show’s greatest trick — and maybe the trick of the whole night: as much as you want to single out one player for high achievement you find yourself realizing and believing in the full power of the whole ensemble. Drummond, Yaeger and Price didn’t bring fan kicks to the stage nor did they twirl around happily, endlessly upon the stage like children in field of kittens and poppies, but they did entertain — in particular Drummond’s teasing that the audience was brunch drunk — and provide a fine reminder of the power of rock ‘n’ roll.