Wednesday, May 07, 2008
American Music Club and Olympic Size At the Record Bar
It was a night of not-so-quiet desperation.
Almost twenty years have passed since I first saw American Music Club perform in Kansas City. The memory of Mark Eitzel hurling himself into the floor of Harling's in 1989 continues to disturb me.
The 49-year-old Eitzel no longer no attempts to break his bones during his performances, but his self-loathing and bleak world view remain intact. Part poet and part rocker, Eitzel bridges the gap between Charles Bukowski and John Fogerty. He's a classic embittered idealist.
His wry wit was in fine form Monday night at the Record Bar. Complimented by a remarkable onslaught of noise by guitarist Vudi, Eitzel's 70-minute performance was predictably devastating.
Like Eitzel, the members of Olympic Size are no strangers to disappointment. A few of them were in bands that came tantalizingly close to achieving mainstream success.
Olympic Size's hazy narcotic drone completely mesmerized me. Their melancholy gloom evokes the weariness that strikes just before dawn. The best example is "Friends", one of my favorite songs to come of Kansas City in recent years.
Particularly noteworthy was the enchanting vocal interplay between Kirsten Paluden and Billy Smith, while the trombone of ex-Doris Henson member Mike Walker added unexpected ambience. A whopping five additional musicians crowded onto the stage.
"I thought Olympic Size was a great band," Eitzel later joked. "But they need another member. I want to be the middle-aged guy dancing shirtless."
Kansas City Click: Try the UMKC jazz happy hour this afternoon at Mike's Tavern.
(Original image by There Stands the Glass. The MP3 was obtained from Present Magazine. )