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March 08


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The Brew – The Kansas City Jam Band
A Soul Full of Hope
Box of Chalk, www.KansasCityMusic.com

Sunday night can suck, especially if you’re alone and in need of a music buzz to face the coming week. But since 1994, there’s been relief.

The Brew Jam Band at 75th Street Brewery in Waldo brings on the warmth, and this once-a-week band’s newest release, A Soul Full of Hope, like the six, seven or eight or whatever number of earlier releases recorded at the brewery, slow cooks then releases the good vibes, all wrapped in familiar tunes that ‘60s, ‘70s and other hip types can groove to.

The four guys that play, joke and relate each Sunday in front of a sometimes rambunctious and always appreciative crowd rank as Kansas City best frontline musicians — Mark Valentine, guitar, Andy DeWitt, bass, Greg Camp, guitar and Ray DeMarchi, percussion.

There’s no real leader here, just artistic chemistry and a want and need to communicate an energy that reaches back into a deep songbook. This disc opens with the Brewer & Shipley tune written by Jim Pepper, “Wichi-Tai-To.” Camp is superb and self-revelatory in his singing the song’s opening lyrics:

Water spirits springin’ ringin’ around my head
Making me feel glad I’m not dead

The Brew Jam Band also brings home tunes from America, Buffalo Springfield, Sting, Donovan, The Byrds and others. But this ain’t cover-band duplication. It’s an ongoing connection thing, man…can you dig? — Bruce Rodgers (posted 03/28/08)

Simpler Machine


There’s something to be said about a band that uses the “F” word in no less than four song titles (“Let’s Fuck in the Van,” “She Likes to Fuck A Lot,” “5 Minute Fuck” and, of course, who can forget “Ratfuck”).

In fact the five mutants who make up California’s own metal monstrosity known as Simpler Machine belt out so many no-stop metal assaults on their newest album 2013 (don’t know what that means either) they seem to be out-“Dethkloking” every other metal band in the room.

Just a side thought here: what does it say when a parody band on a fifteen minute show on the Cartoon Network is better than most “real” bands? Hmmm…

Thankfully Jon Nicholson sticks to the Iggy Pop/Rob Halford (Hey, maybe someday Jon will get to sing in court!) school of vocals (No f*#@ing Scremo here!). Dave Issac’s riffs are straight out of the last level of “Guitar Hero” while drummer J. Brunk (yeah, right, that’s a real name) triple-riffs a machine gun beat like a f%#$ing Jackhammer on speed. Tracks like “Local Iron Worker’s Blues” and “Monkeytrap” (what, no “F”?) could have been burned straight from a Judas Priest album…if, of course, you like the Priest.

At thirteen tracks, this is probably a bit more metal than most might like, but then if you pick up this CD expecting to hear the next Clay Atkins you f*%#ing can’t read, moron.

Frankly, its f@#*ing nice to listen to some solid f&%#ing retro-f#$@ing unpretentious f%$#ing metal, and the f$%#ing simpler this f&%$ing machine keeps it, the f%@#ing better. F%$#.

(The alternative, more family friendly review)

Jon Nicholson's Iggy Pop/Bowie/R. Plant stage presence and tweaking vocals constantly keep audiences off balance and entertained. Visionary guitarist, Dave Isaacs melodic and constantly odd guitar "interpretations" add to the enormous mass of sound established by fellow guitarist Joey Sanchez, whose metal marshal riffs fuel the engine. Bass player Anoush, who's stage presence equals being in the room with the Undertaker, handles business seamlessly...he isn't scared to play guitar either.;) and he's funny!... Drummer J. Brunk, rounds out the five-some with steady blasting barrages and plans on bringing “fliggidas” back to the forefront of American rock. The band will take you on an acid trip of sorts. Catch the next show! —Brandon Whitehead (posted 03/14/08)

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