A sweaty salutation to all my sirs and sisters alike! Your fearless photographer Josh, with his wacky writer sidekick, took to Kansas City’s own Record Bar for some classic grunge rock. This was certainly a loud fun time to get our long Memorial Day weekend started. With Poison playing just two blocks down the road, downtown was rowdy, and ready to party!
All Souls and the Melvins graced Kansas City with their presence at the intimate Record Bar. It was no surprise that this show would be big, but when I arrived, not a single ticket remained unsold. A combination of a smaller venue, paired with legends like the Melvins will typically generate one hell of a crowd.
The Record Bar graciously let us in from the hear a little before 8 o’clock. Lines to get drinks filled up fast. On stage were four instruments that would soon be filling our ears with some righteous rock and roll: A Rickenbacker, Gibson, Fender, and Ludwig drum set.
All Souls hails from Southern California, and have been active since 2016. Don’t let the year fool you – this fabulous four-piece has been in the grunge and rock scene for quite some time. Guitarist Erik Trammell is associated with Black Elk and Brothers Collateral, while drummer Tony Tornay has history with Fatso Jetson. Vocalist and guitarist Antonio Aguilar, as well as bass player Meg Castellanos, both spent time with Totimoshi and Alma Sangre (and they brought their adorable pug with them!!) The second All Souls hit the stage, you could really hear that they have been in the industry for years. The band itself has been years in the making, with all the members having been introduced to each other since the 90s. Their nearly hour-long setl was fast and energetic, with all members vibing off each other for a nostalgic sounding, riff-heavy set.
After All Souls treated out earholes to some deliciously dark rock, the outside of the venue was still marching in fans to get a taste of grunge grand-daddies, the Melvins
The Melvins were formed in the early 80s in Montesano, Washington. Vocalist and guitarist Buzz Osborn (King Buzzo) and drummer Dave Crover have been constant members of the band since 1984, while bassist Steven McDonald(of Redd Kross) has been part of the Melvins since 2015. Jeff Pinkus of the Butthole Surfers also joined The Melvins on-stage and has been a part of the band since 2013. Not many bands have had such a tremendous legacy as the Melvins: King Buzzo himself is said to have introduced a young Dave Grohl to Kurt Cobain – a pairing that would give us the Nirvana we all grew up on. Outside setting the stage for musical movement, bands such as Tool, Helmet, Slipknot, and Mastodon have all sited the Melvins as a source of inspiration.
The Melvins aren’t ones to really play towards nostalgia or catchy singles (although Honey Bucket was played mid set) but instead peppered their eighteen song setlist with a mix of deep cut from the Melvins past and present, as well as songs from their bass players bands (Moving to Florida from Butthole Surfers, and What They Say from Redd Kross) A few other covers were sprinkled into the mix, and the entire set consisted of face-melting rock and roll. The roles of 2 bass players was not lost on the crowd or the Record Bar’s sound system and ended up far exceeding any expectation I may have had about a band performing with 2 bass players.
All things said, this crowd certainly got their money’s worth. Bands usually seem to piddle out towards the end of their tour, which is where All Souls and Melvins were at – but these bands proved they were here for the crowd and not the dollar signs. The Melvins are an absolute blast to see perform live, and if you have the chance, run out and buy the ticket immediately. Same goes for All Souls, and I hope to see continued success and tour dates in their future. Complete setlist for the Melvins below:
- Sesame Street Meat
- At a Crawl
- The Kicking Machine
- Saviour Machine (David Bowie cover)
- What They Say (Redd Kross cover)
- Stop (James Gang cover)
- Moving to Florida (Butthole Surfers cover)
- Edgar the Elephant
- Sway (The Rolling Stones cover)
- Let It All Be
- Honey Bucket
- The Bit
- Don’t Forget to Breathe
- Onions Make the Milk Taste Bad
- The Talking Horse
- Evil New War God
- Eye Flys
Photos by Josh Chaikin
Words by Dallas Hessel