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Words and Photos: Liquids / Sarin Reaper / D.Y.E. / Piss Kinks at Pussy Palace

Liquids at Pussy Palace. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
Date: December 16, 2021

Pussy Palace - Kansas City, MO


Ten days prior to this show occurring, I was contacted by Liquids drummer Max Bottner about booking the band in Kansas City. They were set to drive home to Indiana from Dallas and didn't realize what a trek that would be, so I was tasked with putting this together in just over a week's time. After the first venue fell through, a member of the opening band Piss Kinks kindly offered to host us in their basement. Thus, the first ever Liquids show in Kansas City was set.


Fellow Northwest Indiana punk bands Ooze, Big Zit, and The Coneheads established the area as a destination for fast and jittery hardcore punk in the early '10s, so by the time Liquids released its first tapes in 2015, Midwest punks (and some on the coasts) were ready to snatch up any new offering from the scene. For whatever reason, Liquids rarely left Indiana besides the occasional fest spot. This weeklong tour they had embarked on on, six years after the band's inception (after all of their contemporaries had broken up), was the longest run they've ever put together.


The band played a 20-minute set that included several songs from their latest full-length Life Is Pain Idiot. Though Liquids might qualify to some as hardcore punk, it's only due to their often relentless tempo. Otherwise, the band channels most of its energy from the melodic punk of the late '70s, garage rock, and early rock-n-roll riffs. Easier to discern than many punk vocalists, singer-guitarist Mat Williams had the help of a whole row or two of fans crowding around the mic stand while shouting snotty, sardonic bops like "When You Were Born (You Should've Died)" and "Dumb As Fuck." It seemed as though not a single limb in the basement (filled with roughly 75 teens and young-ish adults) could keep still for the majority of the set. 

 

Bottner (who rockers may remember from the Chicago band Side Action) kept the beat with ease and bassist Jade Baisa (also known for their solo project Abi Ooze) grooved along with attitude and shouted along to several songs off mic. The set felt like an early Christmas (or late Hanukkah) present that I didn't even consider might be under the tree (or, uh, menorah). Williams even remarked that this was his favorite set of the tour since they finally got to play in a basement (basements are less abundant in the South I am told).


Sarin Reaper preceded Liquids with a performance on par (or perhaps surpassing) other recent sets I've caught from them. They had played at both 22/32 and 7th Heaven while I was out of town, so all three times I had seen them previously had been outside. While those three outdoor gigs were special in their own rights, the immediacy of the set (vocalist Luke Illif and bassist Solomon Sharbono were both screaming and shouting inches away from the front row) was a blast to witness.


I've yet to see a D.Y.E. set that I didn't enjoy. This one was no different. Vocalist Austin Fetterolf even rocked a beret for the occasion and even honored a handful of fans' requests for an encore performance of the band's substance abuse anthem "If You Got It."


The gig was opened by Kansas City's newest, youngest punk band Piss Kinks. I was yet to formally meet any members of the band beyond making small talk while running the door at other recent shows, so after quizzing one member I learned they were all in their teens (with maybe one or two members in their early 20s, don't quote me) originally from Shawnee Mission and other area suburbs. Better yet, their guitarist Harrison was turning 15 years old that night and his friends brought him a small cake which they all smashed in each others' faces after the set.


Piss Kinks rocked. Their influences seemed to stretch across several scenes and eras including d-beat and crust, anarcho punk, '80s USHC, and maybe even a bit of heavy hardcore (there was a china cymbal in use on one or two songs). That all may sound like a mess, but this hybrid was surprisingly cohesive and every member carried their own weight. The vocalist, Reece, brooded and paced through the crowd, shoving random bystanders and performing with the confidence of an accomplished frontperson many years his elder.

 

[This show was booked and presented by Shuttlecock.]


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