By Kyle Schmitt
The Architects - This band of brothers brought their Kansas City classic rock to the Black Cat’s backstage. Singer/guitarist Brandon Phillips has a fine ear for vocal melodies; his timely pauses and phrasing bring to mind The Crystals as much as any hard-rock group. His sibling rhythm section (bassist Zachary and drummer Adam) added some thrash to The Architects’ sound, which would’ve been just at home in the late 1970s. A cover of AC/DC’s “Sin City” fit tightly into their set, while the group’s own “Daddy Wore Black” was damn near anthemic. “Cadillac” brought some impressive swagger to a set that had already featured Brandon presenting his pick to the heavens in delayed, sweaty anticipation of another guitar-based attack. Bonus points for the band’s Tumblr account, which features copious entries in a Rachel Maddow fan fiction anthology.
Agent Orange - Singer/guitarist Mike Palm knows where he’s from and why he’s here. His band played most of their debut album Living in Darkness, the SoCal classic that helped establish west coast punk, while Palm offered a tribute to Z-Boy skating legend Jay Adams. Palm also paid tribute to DC, claiming he was sick of getting sent out to Springfield for gigs. He estimated that the band hadn’t played the Black Cat since it left its original location (many crowd members looked as if they’d probably attended the show in question). Old favorites “Everything Turns Grey”, “I Kill Spies”, and “Bloodstains” provoked dancing from the old-school audience, as did a crowd-pleasing cover of the Dead Kennedys’ “Police Truck”. Palm even displayed his chivalrous side when he honored a bride-to-be by engineering a “ladies only” mosh pit and serenading the dancers with Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love”. The group showcased their renowned surf-rock chops by bookending their set with genre classics “Miserlou” and “Pipeline”. Although “The Last Goodbye” helped round out the show, Agent Orange gave reason to believe that 35 years in the business weren’t enough for this proud DIY outfit.
Quote of the Night: “Can you imagine if your job not only allowed you to drink at work, but supplied the alcohol?” - Mike Palm upon recommending the bar at Black Cat.