Friday, January 04, 2013

Review: Bill Goffrier at the RecordBar

I usually enjoy listening to Robert Moore's Sonic Spectrum broadcast as I head to shows on Saturday nights.  That wasn't the case last weekend.  Hearing a 1986-themed mix featuring Husker Dü, Concrete Blonde and Peter Murphy just made me feel even more sheepish about my insistence on attending a performance by Bill Goffrier.

Doubling down on the '80s is against my nature.  I don't judge other people's nostalgia but I loathe it in myself.  I've always been more interested in today and tomorrow than in yesterday.  I'm not ashamed of my thirty-year admiration of Goffrier's band The Embarrassment.  Yet I sensed that I would be dissatisfied by Goffrier's matinee show.  I was right.

I paid $10 to join about three dozen Goffrier fans- mostly people in their forties and their children- for the 7 p.m. set.  I was ten minutes late and Goffrier was playing a solo rendition of the classic Embarrassment song "Patio Set" as I found a seat.  It was followed by the equally important "Elizabeth Montgomery's Face".  I was transported to new wave heaven.

I first read about the Wichita-based band in regional fanzines and in national publications while I was in high school and was thrilled to discover that the music was every bit as good as the prominent reviews suggested.  Goffrier subsequently formed Big Dipper.  "Faith Healer" was the band's biggest college radio hit.

Crashes On the Platinum Planet, Big Dipper's 2012 album, is loaded with great songs.  I love the bittersweet tribute to "Robert Pollard".  My favorite, not surprisingly, is "Hurricane Bill".  Its internal gags caused me to laugh at loud on Saturday.

Goffrier was joined by current collaborator Karlee Deen on songs that offered additional evidence that Goffrier hasn't lost his knack for crafting impeccably nerdy material.  I'm not enamored of this unfortunate arrangement of "Wandering Eye", but there's a great song underneath the clutter.  ("You've got some optic nerve!")  The same goes for "Electricity Man"

Even so, I was rudely reminded that the Embarrassment is known among its fans as "the best band you never heard of."   The RecordBar grew increasingly crowded with people pre-gaming for the 10 p.m. show headlined by Kansas City up-and-comers Antennas Up during Goffrier's performance.  Most newcomers seemed mystified by the fifty-something guy in an argyle sweater vest on the stage.  "I don't get it," one young musician told his bandmates.

Only my reluctance to contribute to the shockingly inconsiderate noise prevented me from asking the kid if he'd ever perform anything a tenth as revolutionary or influential as "I'm a Don Juan" and "Sex Drive".  I left when Goffrier's set became completely overwhelmed by barroom chatter.

Eddie Saunders has died.

KCUR compiled a remembrance of Marva Whitney.  My notes about her passing are here.

Patti Page has died.

To be fair to the guy who cut DJ Shadow's set short for being "too future," the brilliant turntablist certainly wasn't about to spin the latest Ellie Goulding single.  Here's the mix in question.  For the record, the future sounds pretty great.

Here's a video of Brandon Draper performing "Dangerous".

There Stands the Glass reader Gary recently shared a version of "Linus and Lucy" that's ostensibly "600% slower."  It's amazing. 

globalFEST is one-night affair?

Kansas City Click: At the Left Hand of God headlines the Riot Room on Friday.

Linda Shell & the Blues Thang appear at BB's Lawnside BBQ on Saturday.

The monthly gig at the RecordBar by the People's Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City is Sunday.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

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