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Words and Photos: Perfume / BigSpin / Altered State at 7th Heaven

Jamie Woodard of Perfume. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
Date: July 3, 2021

7th Heaven - Kansas City, Missouri

Perhaps emboldened by video clips of shows happening on the coasts, the slowly rising vaccination rates, and the fact that every other scene in town is now or has been hosting shows, this past week marked the return to live music for Kansas City's hardcore scene. Following what I'm told was a rowdy house show back on June 25, Saturday's early evening gig was the first show back for many and perhaps a first DIY show ever for many of the teenagers in attendance (I'd estimate, band members included, there were about 100 people in the record store's basement).


The show served as both a live debut and an EP release for Kansas City alt-rockers Perfume, whose headlining set began with a blast of confetti -- a move I have not seen before in a DIY setting; a fun touch -- and ended with an instrumental Deftones cover that vocalist/guitarist Jamie Woodard claimed to be a "mosh anthem." Not much moshing took place and it was a bit of an awkward way to end a set, but the preceding half hour of chorus pedal bliss and distorted guitar rage allowed them some leeway. The only other element of the set worth critique was Woodard's vocal delivery, which he himself admitted to be pitchy after one song. The pitchness is more of an issue on record than live though since the amps and drums often overpowered the vocals, as is the case at many DIY shows. Considering that Woodard is always dressed in '90s band merch, has his walls plastered with those bands' posters, and posts about them frequently on his Instagram, I don't think he'll be at all offended when I say that if you enjoy either Deftones or The Smashing Pumpkins, you should be interested in catching Perfume next time they play.

The second set of the evening came from BigSpin, a band that vocalist Isaac Kopp introduced as "five queers from Kansas City and Lawrence." It was the band's second performance, having played the aforementioned house show the previous week. Kopp had previously fronted the band Makarah, which over the course of its lifespan morphed from metalcore with EDM drops to more standard heavy hardcore. BigSpin, more or less, has picked up where Makarah left off, though most notably, some of Kopp's moments of heart-on-sleeve catharsis that were a focal point in Makarah have been traded for pure, fun-loving mosh pit fodder. If you didn't care to hear Kopp speak about their work at an animal shelter and the horrors they've witnessed there, their speech was over with before long and you could again watch their friends hardcore dancing, high-kicking, and mosh clapping to their hearts' content. The construction of each song was fairly boilerplate, but like Perfume, they were more enjoyable in the  live setting and it's still early in the band's run with plenty of time to finesse things.

Altered State opened the show just after 6 P.M. The group's songs oscillated between shoegaze-for-hardcore-kids, melodic hardcore angst, and China-assisted breakdowns, none of which, despite the band's gusto, were executed in a particularly novel or agreeable manner. Nonetheless, the band was received with great applause by the young crowd and certainly made some new fans.

Click here for the full photo gallery.

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