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Words and Photos: Sidestep / Abandoncy / Guest Service at Farewell

Sidestep at Farewell. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
Date: January 30, 2022

Farewell - Kansas City, MO

Sidestep's primary songwriter/singer-guitarist Neriah Romero is from Louisville, Kentucky, but just hours after the Chiefs lost the AFC Championship, he extended his empathy to the Kansas Citians he was performing for. Though he lamented how the loss may impact turnout and joked that all of the banter he'd prepared for a Chiefs win was nullified, by the end of the set, Romero was thanking the crowd for what he said was one of his favorite shows the band has played. There were only about 25 heads in the room (it's hard to say if the football letdown or the light rain had an effect on attendance), but everyone seemed to dig the band's dreamy, angsty, emo-adjacent shoegaze. Romero noted that the band's ability to use Abandoncy's muscular backline was part of what made the set pop. I wouldn't be surprised to spot Sidestep on the roster of Run For Cover or a similar label in the near future.

Lawrence trio Guest Service was tasked with kicking things off just after 8 P.M. Though the band is technically proficient (Cole Billings and Zach Cunningham also play in Flooding), their loud and murky melding of noise rock, alt-rock, and other sounds was not able to be executed as planned due to some technical issues involving their amplifiers.

Kansas City's Abandoncy closed out the evening following Sidestep's compact 15-minute set. A feedback issue also plagued the band for at least one song, but this annoyance was outweighed by the band's impressive, math-y precision. Few local acts I've witnessed in the last decade have possessed simultaneously songwriting this compelling and breakdowns this devastating. Local screamo, emo, and post-hardcore hit an undeniable lull after the infamous Kansas City 4-Way Split (released ten years ago), but Abandoncy and a small handful of other bands seem to be ringing in an exciting, new golden age.

[This show was booked and presented by Shuttlecock.]

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