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Words and Photos: Big Water / Valta / Sarin Reaper / BigSpin at AV Club

Valta at AV Club. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
Date: July 4, 2021

AV Club - Kansas City, Missouri


You could say that punk returned to Kansas City when The Bad Ideas and others played at Penn Valley Skate Park last month. You could say that hardcore returned to Kansas City when Side Eye and Lowest Life played a house show a couple weeks ago. But, I am willing to claim this past Sunday's gig as hardcore punk's post-pandemic return in Kansas City.

I don't mean to boast, but it was pretty much an all-around blast (yes, that's a fireworks pun; eat me). At its peak, roughly 200 rock fans had congregated on this empty West Bottoms block and got to slam dance just like the good old days. Valta -- a new band made up of scene vets Frank Peters, Jake Young, and Igz Audely -- happened to be playing its first live set at this peak moment, around 10 P.M., and cranked out the tightest d-beat the city has heard since the demise of AGENT. The rhythm was frenzied and so was the crowd's reaction, packed in closer to the stage than at any other point in the night.

Though some of the crowd had called it a night by the time Big Water hit the stage for the final set of the evening, their playing was just as tight as Valta's. The music of Big Water isn't quite as conducive to moshing as the other bands on the bill, but one life-affirming moment came in the form of over half a dozen fans throwing their arms over each others' shoulders and headbanging in unison. The moment felt right considering the band's sense of humor; no Larry David samples could be placed on their new LP that was available for sale at this show, but you can't stop them from playing those samples on the PA at gigs -- and that they did. Big Water's songs pull parts from both noise rock (not unlike that of drummer/vocalist Matt Perrin's other band Bummer) and post-hardcore/screamo/emo (please nobody yell at me for not knowing exactly which era served as inspiration here), so given the slightly calmer audience mood duringthe set, the quieter emo transitional moments sounded particularly pleasant reverberating through the otherwise-still Bottoms after dark.

Sarin Reaper's set was the second of the evening. Originally set to be their first show, the band ended up playing the previous night in Columbia, Missouri. Though the band's blackened crust/d-beat was not played with quite as much precision as on the demo, this was made up for in stage presence. Two of the band's members played shirtless, one with corpse paint and a large chain draped across their torso. One of the two contributing vocalists (I can't recall which) also just screamed profanities and ranted about the plight of humanity at the top of their lungs between songs, which was truly a joy to witness.


BigSpin opened the evening's gig promptly, just after 8 P.M., before the sun had set. The performance was largely the same as the night before, but likely caught the ears of several new hardcore fans.

[This show was booked and presented by Shuttlecock.]


Click here for the full photo gallery.

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