Odds Against bring mayhem in tight form
Stadium Sports Bar is a surprisingly good sounding room.
I arrived shortly after Gulch got its start and Stadium Sports Bar was about a third full. I was shocked by a lack of a cover charge and a very enthusiastic crowd.
The sound was surprisingly tight and growling. Deane Book, pulling faces I thought only Heath Ledger as the Joker was capable of, led Gulch with his brother Duane on drums. This duo knows how to churn out a good metal riff or several dozen. With Chris McNutt on guitar almost throwing flames with his leads, all were in sonic competition with the hounding bottom end Todd Rubenich (filling Chad Normans shoes) was churning on his Rickenbacker bass. Normally this would be a strike against the band, except that the sound produced what I would liken to a five engine locomotive churning through ash covered, blood soaked, soil. Still clear and enunciated, the sound was menacing and dark.
Lacking a proper stage, the band set up in a corner lined with a 20 foot mirror opposite the bar, lit solely by neons advertising domestic brews. Announcing from the mic, Book said, "We are going to do a slow one. Feel free to sit here and listen." Pausing to jokingly say to the band, "I forgot it, dude." The band launched into "Enemy of Me," a haunting song that closed its bridge with a drum build up that could be compared to Danny Carey of Tool.
Playing for close to an hour, Gulch gave up the stage, prepping the crowd for Odds Against, despite many requests for an encore. Not wanting to step on the headliner's toes, Gulch hustled their gear offstage and helped Odds Against set up.
Odds Against, a powerhouse quintet, four of which are large intimidating dudes, burned through song after song after the only skinny guy, vocalist Matt McBee, announced before starting the set, "We decided to play Christmas songs tonight."
Laughing at this farce, the crowd was excited for Odds Against's blasting sound, often chanting along to gang vocals supported by guitarists Andy Olson and Greg Garcia. Keeping the rhythm pumping, John Pryor on drums and Toby Olson on bass kept the tempo up and slamming.
Odds Against, known for quick, nimble jaunts spanning the punk/hardcore pantheon with razor sharp songs paired down to only the most necessary riffs, expressed the urgency of the moment in its barest form. Though there were very few breakdowns, the earliest visited in the second song and stopped everything, causing McBee to lament, "I showered for this?"
Needing a shower myself after getting worked up, I split after the first set realizing my ears, near bleeding, needed a quick rinse with the rest of my sweat-drenched frame. My heart racing after an intense show, it's easy to understand why Stadium Sports Bar hosted two hard-hitting Wichita bands taking live music to the Nth degree.