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Words and Photos: Dead Heat / Prevention / Doldrums / Midwestern / Dorian DeBose at 22/32

Dead Heat at 22/32. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
Date: November 11, 2021

22/32 - Kansas City, MO

I was wiped the fuck out after this gig, but man was it worth it. Oxnard, California crossover thrash band Dead Heat contacted me after this show had already been announced with a four act lineup, but I'd have been a fool to turn them down. The band needed a Kansas City date (their first to my knowledge) to play on their way to Louisville where the next day they would be joining up with sludge metal legends Crowbar and beloved thrash band Municipal Waste for nearly two weeks of gigs together.

The basement was densely populated (not overflowing like it was at Militarie Gun, but not too far from it) with hyped-up hardcore kids (the band's most recent LP was released by Triple B Records), curious punk rockers, and various other bystanders. Since I was unfortunately out of town for the recent 200 Stab Wounds and Enforced gigs I helped book, this was my first taste of touring metal in a DIY setting since Red Death and Enforced played Parker 2 before the pandemic. Dead Heat's set was one of the explosive I've witnessed all year. Hardcore kids kicked, threw elbows, and two-stepped, punks slammed, metalheads formed a circle pit around a structural beam, and a small push pit of teenagers formed near the back -- some of these things occurred simultaneously. Vocalist Chris Ramos seemed content to soak in the sea of swarming rockers standing inches away from him. As cool as it is opening for Crowbar and Municipal Waste, you don't get a crowd this intimate at those shows, nor one as animated given that they're not headliners like they were on this night. Ramos shot finger guns, hit a spin or two, and wailed away with his band for somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes. Few attendees walked back up the stairs without a smile on their faces. You kind of just had to see it to believe it.

Springfield, Illinois straight edge band Prevention, for whom the gig was originally booked, followed Dead Heat's set since the band had arrived late due to transportation issues. The band could've been critiqued during the era surrounding its debut EP for playing a style of youth crew hardcore that borrowed too heavily from the bands that came before them, but with the release of their sophomore effort, What Do You Say No To?, and this second Kansas City outing, Prevention had clearly upped the ante, crafting songs as emotionally and musically impactful as they were mosh-friendly. Some metalheads dipped before Prevention could play, but they missed Kansas City's second great straight edge performance of 2021.

Doldrums primed the crowd before Dead Heat played, jamming a tried-and-true style of mainly mid-paced, but occasionally-speedy hardcore punk.


The night was closed out by local experimental hip-hop group Midwestern. Originally scheduled to play earlier in the evening, the group had to run back home to grab additional gear since their initial setup was not working with the PA. Sadly, only a dozen or so stuck around to watch, but several of those that did left raving -- one resident of the house said it was the best set they had hosted yet. The (sometimes screamed) raps of Charmaine Ejelonu and R.W. and the drumming of their friend Titus were dialed in perfectly. Just as you would start to wonder if they'd strayed from the song's structure, the beat would come back in, right on time. Though Charmaine ended one song by crawling, howling on the floor, R.W.'s parkour-style jumps off the basement walls and occasional shadowboxing moves frightened a few who watched, but those same wide-eye stares would almost always turn into smiles as Ejelonu or R.W. would move out of striking distance. (The punks will have their next confrontation with Midwestern on New Year's Day at Farewell Transmission.)

The night began with a first. It was the first time I had ever booked or witnessed a stand-up comedian at a house show. I called on Olathe's very own Dorian DeBose to see if he was game after watching some clips online and seeing him open for Sam Morril at The Comedy Club Of Kansas City earlier this year. For whatever reason, I was worried I'd be the only one laughing, but fortunately, the rockers on this night had a sense of humor. Not everyone standing in the backyard came in, but those that did engage were quickly charmed by DeBose and laughing along with me. Catch a set by Dorian to learn about his experiences playing Gay Chicken, interacting with his mother's 20-something year-old boyfriend, and the clashes between his blackness and his suburban Johnson County upbringing.


[This show was booked and presented by Shuttlecock.]

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