10/02/2010 Show – Kent, Ohio @ Checkers and Trophies (352 W. Elm Street)

It’s been a hell of a long time since I wrote up a show review, so I have to apologize if this is particularly garish. Anyways, Checkers and Trophies is a bar stuck in the middle of residential Kent, and is one of those locations that I have actually never attended before tonight. Learning earlier this week that there was a show at the bar (and a $2 cover at that), Danica and I had to hit up the bar.

While obviously not a band, Checkers and Trophies was a hit. The bar itself just screamed neighborhood establishment, with a well-stocked bar (both booze and beer) with prices that pretty much anyone could afford. Domestics were $2, mixed drinks (such as E&J and Coke) were $3.50, and they even busted out 23-ounce Samuel Smith bottles for under $6. Turnout for the show was slightly on the light side, but that could be due to the rain that had been falling all night. Regardless, the crowd was supportive and into pretty much everything that was played. While the initial jukebox music was a little on the goofy side (Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” and Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”), the bands quickly took the stage and melted face.

Knuckles and Nipples – It has been a few years since we had a chance to review Knuckles and Nipples, and our last time seeing them was marred by firecrackers and injuries. Saying that, they played a tremendously tight set that deftly blended thrash, crust, and straight-forward metal. Two minor things took away from what was a great (but short) set; this was the first act that the microphone’s fussy nature showed up for, and the guitar work seemed a little sloppy towards the end. The latter point is definitely up for discussion, as Danica felt that the riffs were the strongest point in the band’s performance.

Tay-Sachs – While I knew two of the individuals in the band beforehand, I must say that I do not ever recall actually seeing the band. Luckily, we snuck in as the band was really kicking into high gear. Their intense punk style took everything that was great about the genre and its offshoots and put it into an ass-kickingly fun romp. Whether it be Freeman-esque basslines, NYHC guitars and vocals, or spastic drum solos, Tay-Sachs may just have been the best part of the night. A quick jump (but not a cover) into Iron Maiden set the stage for a controlled anarchy that lead into the guitars and vocals changing place, random (semi)-nudity, and a shift into the rap side of things.

MC Homeless – Homeless was immediately hindered by not having the instrumentals that ey needed, but was able to drum up some quick replacements. Performing a number of tracks from eir new album, “27” (which is available for purchase as we speak), Homeless bounced between decently-fitting replacement beats and a capella renditions of newer and older tracks. Audience participation increased exponentially as ey jumped back into older material, but with nary a dud, MC Homeless showed further evolution of eir rap style and overall stage presence. I personally would have liked to hear the tracks performed live as they were originally intended, but may just have to wait until Homeless plays Kent again (for those that can make it up, ey is playing the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland in October 7th).

Baker – Those that were already at the show were familiar with Baker’s work as lead singer of Tay Sachs, but this showcased a more free-form style from the artist. This time out, Baker wowed the crowd with eir own rap, which moved from instrumentals to The Clash and all points inbetween. Where a number of rappers are more than content to come forward with one specific style and ride that out to the end of their set, Baker beat feet through a number of distinct flows and feels to eir output. Keeping the audience for a good half-hour, Baker’s set seemed like a great way for the night to end (even if that wasn’t ultimately the case).

So, for contact information:

MC Homeless – http://www.myspace.com/mchomeless

Tay-Sachs – http://www.myspace.com/QueefStephens

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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