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Words and Photos: The Greeting Committee / Raffaella at Uptown Theater

The Greeting Committee. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
Date: April 9, 2022

Uptown Theater - Kansas City, MO

In The Greeting Committee's appearance on our Record Shopping with Shuttlecock video series, touring guitarist Noah Spencer referred to the record he picked out (Ahmad Jamal At The Pershing) as a "room controller." At this hometown headlining show, the Kansas City indie pop outfit showed that they know a thing or two about controlling a room themselves. The theater wasn't quite sold out, but there seemed to be roughly 1,000 teens and young adults giddy to sing and clap along with their favorite band.

The group spent roughly 80 minutes on stage at this Saturday night show that came five weeks after the conclusion of their month-long tour supporting their sophomore LP, Dandelion, released last year. An overwhelming majority of that time was used churning out infectious, danceable pop songs and vulnerable ballads about love and heartbreak. Lead guitarist Brandon Yangmi gave a dynamic performance, balancing moments of catchy riffing with ones of impressive, all-out shredding that ones doesn't often witness at a radio-friendly rock show in 2022. Touring drummer Micah Ritchie and Spencer played in an admirable fashion, as did bassist Pierce Turcotte, though from where I was standing, Turcotte's synthesizer was mixed in a way that made it into a rumbling wall of sound, emitting no discernible melody. And impressive as his saxophone skills are, busting it out on more than one song felt a bit like overkill.

Singer and de facto bandleader Addie Sartino, 24 years old now (23 when this show occurred), is already a master frontperson. I didn't detect a single vocal misstep throughout the set and her ability to interface with an audience was impeccable. Within the first handful of songs, Sartino had departed the stage to stand on the floor and hop along with the crowd -- the microphone picked up some fans singing along and you could hear the joy in their voices.

One of Sartino's actions as bandleader was an executive decision to stop mid-song when she spotted a fan who seemed to have passed out. She sent out members of the staff to check on them and just as they arrived, another fan experiencing health problems was spotted. This led to a break that stretched roughly five minutes, during which the band offered fans water as well as gum and soda for blood sugar and inhalers for asthma. Sartino also highlighted the band's zero tolerance policy for harassment at their shows and made note of the flyers hung around the building with a text hotline where fans could reach the staff to report such incidents.

Whether it was the extended break or the overall strain of a long, high-energy performance, the band's momentum seemed to have been drained a bit on "Make Out," one of the bounciest and most cathartic songs in their catalog. This rut didn't last long, however, as the band and crowd both roared back to life during "So It Must Be True." An instrumental break near the song's end was euphoric. After a brief encore that included Sartino's brother joining in on guitar and the singer crowdsurfing away in the show's final moments, it could be confirmed that the band remains Kansas City's unchallenged indie pop monarchs.

New York singer-songwriter and Mom+Pop signee Raffaella opened the show with a 35-minute set that consisted largely of listless indie pop sprinkled with a few fleeting moments of dreamy payoff. Though it's not unusual for an opening act to feel less inspired than a headliner, Raffaella didn't do much to help her own case, forgetting lyrics to one song, bumping her microphone and interrupting a quiet moment of another, and offering a vocal performance more shaky and powerless than any touring act should. A portion of the crowd chatted through these songs and Raffaella exited the stage without a word.

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