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Words and Photos: Show Me The Body / Soul Glo / WiFiGawd / Ebony Tusks / Piss Kinks at recordBar

Show Me The Body. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
Date: July 13, 2022

recordBar - Kansas City, MO


Show Me The Body is a New York hardcore band that has built a rabid following over the last several years. The main attractions include their tough, groove-heavy playing style, a gnarled set of textures crafted by bassist/noise master Harlan Steed, singer Julian Cashwan Pratt's distinctive, distorted banjo, and their in-your-face New York attitude (even more apparent in their live shows). The band's headlining show at recordBar earlier this month included all of these elements and more. It was also likely the most anarchic evening the room has seen all year.

The stage was lit by one or two warm-colored lamps, the wall behind the curtains adorned by the group's iconic coffins logo. For a band that plays as loud as they do, Show Me The Body understands that less is often more. What there was not less of, however, was moshing and stage diving. Crowd participation was at 100 percent from the moment the creaking industrial intro of "Body War" rang out from the PA.

The set pulled heavily from the band's 2019 LP Dog Whistle, including its opening track "Camp Orchestra" (inspired by the band's visit to a WWII concentration camp), the intensely cathartic "Madonna Rocket" (mortality is a central theme on this record), and the goosebumps-inducing "USA Lullaby." The 2017 single "K-9" has been a crowd favorite since its release and this show was no exception; its vivid lyricism of dogged localism and community perseverance in combination with a composition that's arguably the band's meanest inspired countless bodies to fly off the stage and around the dance floor. I'd wager not a single person emerged from the room without some sweat on them. (A fun Easter egg: if you didn't notice, Militarie Gun and Regional Justice Center's Ian Shelton was filling in on drums for this date and a handful of others).


Philadelphia punks Soul Glo preceded Show Me The Body with a set that very nearly evoked the same feverish levels of energy as their New York friends. If you could catch your breath at all during their highly frenetic and passionate performance, you could start dissecting the bits and pieces of hardcore, melodic punk, screamo, and hip-hop the band is constantly shifting between -- but it's much more fun to simply give in and let the sounds wash over you, or better yet, attempt your first stage dive (like more than a couple young fans did; salute). Between blasts of breakneck punk rock, swells of melodic hardcore (see "Gold Chain Punk (whogonbeatmyass?)," and celebratory airhorn samples between songs, there is no other conclusion to draw than that Soul Glo is among the most thrilling punk bands active in 2022.

D.C. rapper WiFiGawd took the stage before Soul Glo and while his percussive beat selections and confident stage presence occasionally got the crowd buzzing, the set never quite matched the amount of energy attendees gave to the rest of the performers this night.

Area experimental rap trio Ebony Tusks opened for Show Me The Body at The Bottleneck in Lawrence in September 2016. Both trios still played their hearts out at that show to 50-ish people, but fast-forwarding nearly six years to see them performing some of the same songs to nearly 400 people may have felt like a told-you-so, I-know-we-had-it-right kind of moment for those involved.


It was unclear to me whether Ebony played a shorter than average set by choice or due to the lengthy changeover beforehand, but it ended up working to their advantage. Coaxing a hardcore crowd to shout along to songs they don't know is often a fruitless activity, but this band features three veteran performers who could do just that. Their traditional "I say Ebony, you say Tusks" chant rang out and so proceeded a flurry of powerful, visceral, hyperlocal storytelling, delivered with sobering clarity and unshakeable conviction.

The early start time of 7:40 P.M. (the show's start time was originally billed as 8 P.M.) may have deprived some technically on-time attendees of catching the last performance from Piss Kinks. Regardless, the Kansas City punk band that played its first show only seven months previous picked up their instruments to play a swan song on a proper venue stage (a first, following a dozen or two shows at DIY spots). Young fans in the know (and those who happened to arrive early enough) witnessed a gripping performance. 


Vocalist Reece Jackson never had this much space to move about as he screamed into the mic, the cord wrapped once or twice around his throat. More than once he forfeited this new territory to leap onto the floor and get personal with the audience. Guitarist Harrison Hawkins was a statue for most of the set, but bassist Judah Relly made the most of the occasion, quickly losing his shirt and leaping into the air whenever given an opportunity. While many basement-friendly bands fall flat when given a setup like this, I think it's fair to say that the band conquered the recordBar stage. As is the norm at the end of a Piss Kinks set, drum equipment was thrown prior to a final, run-it-back breakdown. By 8 P.M., Kansas City had seen the last of one of the year's most killer bands.


[Shuttlecock was a media partner on this show.]


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