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Words and Photos: Strange Joy / Laaee Uzumak! / Joust at Kessler Park

Strange Joy. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
Date: September 9, 2022

Kessler Park - Kansas City, MO

Is Kessler Park a beautiful place to see live music? Yes. Was this show worth it? Certainly. Am I ever personally booking a show here again? Probably not -- hauling gear down into the reservoir is a true pain in the ass. Houston, Texas punks Strange Joy had made their first visit to Kansas City on a weekend run that also included ICT Fest in Wichita, Kansas the following day. The guys were gracious despite the small crowd and jammed the shit out of their 15 or 20 minute set that included their debut EP and another track or two. The sun had gone down and the only thing illuminating singer Jonah Castillo and his band was a lone blue lamp. It seemed that most attendees weren't too familiar with the songs, but by halfway through the set, a handful elected to begin slamming through the darkness. Castillo and the band's muscular performance and precise approach to melody proved to reach even the unknowing. In between songs, one fan jokingly shouted "Ted Cruz!" to which Castillo responded by berating the senator and, while he was at it, Governor Greg Abbott. He also asked if we liked Missouri, was mostly met with shouts of "hell no," but told us that being called the Show Me State was pretty sick. The band hopes to return in 2023.

Despite several minutes of technical difficulties and restarts (it's very hard to set up a hip-hop set on a punk show PA, as hard as we tried), Laaee Uzumak!'s ability to command a microphone and charm a crowd was still apparent in her four song appearance (she asked if we wanted one more after each song, always receiving a yes).

The show was opened as the sun still hung in the sky by new local punk quartet Joust (which features two members of Nightosphere, plus veteran DIY drummer Brad Highnam and vocalist/guitarist Kat). The band's songs often contain two or three distinct parts, one being a fuzzy, melodic punk rock with shouted vocals, but then more complex post-hardcore rhythms. It should be interesting to see how the group evolves and sounds on recording.


[This show was booked and presented by Shuttlecock.]

Click here to view the full photo gallery.

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