Friday, May 8, 2015

Ghost in Light w/The Floating City, Kelpie, and Ricky Fitts Hi-Pointe, January 8, 2005

No wasted words or superfluous descriptions. Here’s the setup: it was Saturday and it was cold.

Up first came the spazzy, manic Ricky Fitts. Featuring two vocalists, one with a rather high, screechy yelp in guitarist Matthew Wiseman and the other with a deeper bark in bassist Dan D., Ricky Fitts were a solid combination of At the Drive-In, Blood Brothers, and other manic apeshit post-punk outfits. Ricky Fitts were a fistful of energy, spazzing around the stage while Wiseman sang into a mike that looked to be a couple of feet too low for him. All the while he had a frozen, mile-wide smile on his face. Without a doubt, it was the best thing I’ve seen out of Wichita since my last trip to White Castle.

From Lawrence, Kan., Kelpie was evidence of that town’s continuing tradition of pumping out infectious indie pop. Surrounded by a jangly sound heightened by vocalist Casey Burge’s high-end falsetto, I wasn’t too keen on them at the start of the set, but they grew on me as their set wound down. After checking out their 2003 LP One, I will be keeping my eyes open for the next time they roll into town.

Deploying a post-punk art school sound, St. Louis’s Floating City has a sound that doesn’t sit still for more than a couple of songs at a time. Songs changed from intricate math rock at one point to slower keyboard-driven pieces the next. Floating City is a popular band around these parts, which shows that this shifting of tempos and mood has a devoted audience. However, in my opinion, when vocalist Gareth Schumacher abandoned the guitar and sat behind his keyboards, the results were not up to par to those songs with faster tempos and harder sounds.

From the first time I saw Pave the Rocket with a handful of people in Lawrence’s Bottleneck in 1990-something or other, I could tell that Jason House was a passionate guy when it comes to music. Where some bands take a “shit happens” mindset to their live performances, House takes his music far more seriously. He’s concerned with how the band sounded through the club’s PA. If he thinks he didn’t play well, he’ll say it. Once he even apologized for the price of a CD that was dictated by Pave the Rocket’s record label. Now in 2005, House fronts the Railers of Kiev. Playing muscular post-punk, Railers are not far from what House has done in the past. Yet that is not his only creative vehicle. House describes his new side project Ghosts in Light as having a mighty different sound. “Comfortable” is the word he uses. It was. All seated in chairs, the set had a more acoustic feel, even though the trio had enough hertz flowing from their instruments to cook enough Angus beef to bury Morrissey up to his forehead. Difficult to describe, Ghosts in Light played relaxed, mellow rock with a pleasant strum. In a very short span of time, Ghosts have grown from just being a musical outfit, with no other intentions but to play music, to a band that is currently prepping their debut CD for your approval. If the material they played live is any indicator, may Ghosts in Light prep it sooner rather than later.

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