First up was my favourite Trapped In Kansas song to date. They kicked in with a big intro which eventually dissipated into the sublime riff of ‘Antlers’. It sounded amazing live, but seeing it had even more of an impact on me. I’ve played the guitar for a long time, but the type of fret work here is way beyond me and had me transfixed on the guitarists hands.
If this type of rock is math then Trapped In Kansas should be seriously high ranking members of Mensa. You are unlikely to see a band on the unsigned gig circuit anywhere display better musicianship, and would probably have to be watching This Town Needs Guns to see a signed band with such a deft touch at tech guitar playing that melds into equally stunning songwriting. For me such tech guitar work can often detract from the songs on display and be only for the purist, but not with this band where it emphasises and caresses the heartfelt vocals. ‘Carpathia’ continued the finger tapping prowess, and gave the best example yet of the searing, emphatic chorus action the band can provide, slipping seamlessly from light to heavy with aplomb. The highlight of their set came in the form of ‘Tower Block’, partly as it’s a new song to me, and partly because it showed a different side to the band. The chorus was anthemic, with the chanted vocals of ‘Slow down sad clown, your legs are broken, so long I’m lost, windows are open’ (or something near that) getting more potent as the song continued, until the final burst came with the music dimming, allowing it to resonate and wash over the crowd. I really hope this song is on their upcoming EP as it completely grabbed me and I could see it appealing to the masses. Trapped In Kansas finished off with ‘Wake Me When It Thunders’, definitely on the EP according to the band, which was a great summary of what they have to offer: guitars that are intricate and awe-inspiring to hear and see, contrasting tumultuous and driving sections, and lyrics that hit you like a friendly brick. Their set really did blow by and it was a shame when they were finished as every song was a gem. I absolutely love this band, they’re one of the best unsigned acts out there, though they do make listening to the likes of Foals and Minus The Bear afterwards seem a tad dull and unrewarding.
photograph by Levi Bunyan http://www.flickr.com/photos/aekido/