Here we are at the third and final part of our Best Of Springfield Music 2015 series- and that is the part where go over your favorite shows of 2015. These of course are not limited to just Black Sheep shows, they could be any show that happened in Springfield this year. Once again we have different members of the music community doing write-ups for each favorite.
10. Black Sheep Band Lotto Round 2 (11-21-15)
No matter how good other shows may be, there is always something irreplaceable about seeing a new, homegrown band making its first, historical act. That there were six groups of randomly organized community members doing their first acts in one show was what you got in this year’s band lotto. For opening we had Band #2, consisted of musicians of Panzys and Bad Banshee (Kyle Gietl, Tyler Nelson, and BJ Pearce) who ditched their panziness and badness in pursuit of this passionate thrashcore-like act fronted by Tesla Hudgeons, whose black robe preacher image, solitary notebook, and powerful verbal delivery quickly turned a number of engrossed audience into Band #2 believers. The next act by Band #1 featured Kinze Rae on vocal and spoken words, Clare Franchey on drums, and John Phillips on [[bass/guitar]]. Phillips’ crazy guitar skills and pedal works went out of control when he started to play the [[bass/guitar]] like a fiddle. Everyone has gotten stares; but if you have not already I am sure you would have, without blinking of an eye, paid to experience Franchey’s special, 10-minute stares that helped to channel the melodic drum beats and poetry into your own retinas. Something more theatrical followed. To enact Band #4’s performance, Kyler [Rich // Bandifoot?]] successfully conveyed his energy coming from a state of extreme mental uncertainty. At the edge of the stage he made a series of instinctual sounds, ranging from pleasing woooooos to finally sustained painful screams—the primal language that we understand. In the same interval of time, Bobby William of TANG, apparently amused, in good measure used both his bass guitar and secret instrument to push his co-performer to his final limit. Band #5 was headed by Brandon Carnes, who grouped together acting phenomenon BJ Pearce, good friend Danny Kerwin, and BXS 5-star chef Apryl Kay Mayes to perform a short play. Those who know Carnes from his million projects may be dazzled by his talents and “multiple selves.” But could this play—about a small studio owner futilely trying to form a rock band—possibly be a repressed memory of an inner struggle with his past band and the true reason to the development of the song “My Name Kyle”? We do not know. An epic act was carried out by Band #6. Devon Fluelen articulated encrypted messages in increasing volume, as avid skateboarder Nighthawk switched from clear-minded guitar playing to mad-and-confused drumming and then to a state of trancing. Apparently crippled for unknown reasons, Nighthawk crawled toward the Black Sheep entrance that, symbolically speaking, no one has managed to escape unscathed by the life-changing underground scene experience upon initial entrance. Mike Tirehaus of King Worm’s bass notes and intense outcry might have subtly directed these actions. In the closing act by Band #8, Haleigh Parks (drums), Tony Calantino (guitar), Brian Galecki (bass), Kristin Walker (vocal) walked the disoriented audience from the dark to a lighter spot of the tunnel through easier beats that suggested happiness, flirtation, and potential beginning. In all, the night’s sanity was restored and good mood ensued.
10. Hank & The Cupcakes, The Luzhin Defense @ Bar None 7/1/2015
Hank and Cupcakes are one of the best live bands out there right now!!!
Originally hailing from Tel Aviv, Israel the duo relocated to the art filled streets of Brooklyn, New York where they developed a huge sound that defies categorization. They are rock… without guitars. They are dance… without synthesizers. They are pop… with substance. Listening to their records will bring you joy and make you feel; but, they are clearly at home in the live environment. These two exude chemistry, love, passion and sexuality. Experiencing them live is contagious and cannot be overstated.
This show took place on a Wednesday but, ANY day with Hank and Cupcakes feels like a weekend. The band had just played a packed PrideFest in St Louis and they brought the Pride energy along with them to Springfield. They danced, they grooved and they got everyone in the room joining in. At one point Sagit stood on her bass drum to lead the crowd in an acapella sing-a-long of a brand new track. This may not have worked for any other band but… Hank and Cupcakes are definitely not any other band.
-John Phillips (The Complaint Line)
9. Los Kung Fu Monkeys, The Complaint Line, Yogi Beara@ Bar None
It was only by unfortunate happenstance that this show happened at all. Los Kung-Fu Monkeys (great, high-energy ska punk from Mexico and Canada) had some major van trouble and needed some last minute shows around our neck of the woods to get fixed up and back on the road. Luky for them- and us – someone was able to get them a last minute gig at Bar None with local pop/rock group the Complaint Line and bluesy garage rock duo Yogi Beara. They also had to play without their horn ensemble, as several of their members had to leave back to Mexico. But they managed to improvise, filling in the missing brass with an extra guitar and some accordion action (that’s right, accordion), and put on a killer set. The crowd wasn’t big, as can be expected for a Sunday evening in Springfield at a show announced only a few days prior, but the vibes were positive, the bands sounded great and the folks that managed to come out didn’t leave disappointed. From what I understand, the Monkeys were able to get back on the road and get home safely. Hopefully, they’ll be returning back through these parts again soon.
8. ACxDC, Sunlight’s Bane, Lowered A.D., Table Drama, GUSH @ Black Sheep 12-9-15
One of the shows at Black Sheep that really stuck out to me in 2015 as being one of the most rockin’ gigs would definately be the ACxDX/Sunlights Bane/Table Drama/Lowered A.D./Gush show. It isn’t as common for a good “metal” show to grace the stage of Black Sheep, but for any person who grew up appreciating the heavier side of music this show was undeniably STACKED. And getting to play two out of the five sets that night had me beyond stoked that night! Gush opened up with our less than 10 minute fastcore bro-worship set. Lowered A.D., the crushing Entombedcore powerhouse from southern Illinois, could have practically beat the life outta ya. Following, Springfield’s very own infamous wrestling-themed grind bunch Table Drama returned to the stage to ruin everybody’s night. (But c’mon, ya’ll know ya can’t stand up to the Pukester. Plebs.) Sunlights Bane, a band I admittedly had never heard til the show, KILLED IT with their nihilistic hardcore/grind fusion tunes. AND FINALLY ACxDC (also known as Antichrist Demoncore) brought the house down! Hailing from Los Angeles, California, this powerviolence materpiece that started in ’03 was long overdue to come play at the Sheep. I was blown away at how much this band brought it. They told us they were gonna play more songs than their were minutes in their set, and by golly they did that. 10/10. \m/
-Kylie McCowen (GUSH, Table Drama)
7. Black Sheep 10-Year Anniversary Show @ Black Sheep 9-16-15
The ten year anniversary show was a fitting capstone and celebration of the first decade of bxs. I think it is safe to say no one thought ten years ago that we would reach this milestone. Jeff’s drone project opened the show. It is fitting Jeff was the first act on the bill, Jeff was one of the few still around that was at the very first show we had. Jeff was probably 16. Soap Scum played next. I’m probably a little biased but I thought this set was really fun! People went nuts. This kind of energy and chaos is still one of things I still love about hardcore and punk music. The venue was founded on this kind of stuff. If people aren’t flying around on their friends and having fun it isn’t worth it. Our Lady followed suit with a heart felt and atmospheric set. As far as I remember Our Lady formed in 2010. I think it’s cool Tim, Molly, and the dudes have played bxs through half of its existence. It was BJ’s first bxs show with them as well. These guys always slay. Then came the SKA! This unholy conglomerate merged what I refer to as “The Big Three”: Don’t Mess With Winkie, Donner Party of 5, and Bastognes Best. These three bands defined the early bxs years. Those shows also were the first to draw more than 100 kids. The experience of seeing those songs revisited along with a few Bad Banshee’s and even one by Jim’s old band was great to see. Adam killed it too! It was good to see everybody’s favorite dude go nuts on the mic! Looming ended the night. It was cool seeing all four of those people in that band (who all uniformly grew up with the venue) play such a killer set. I’ve seen them all develop into talented people and write some great songs along the way. Earlier that week people were sharing memories of their time and experience with bxs. I was thinking throughout the course of the night how many people have come through that door. All the stories, all those years. This show was a fitting tribute to all of those pictures in the mind’s eye and the future ones to come.
-Kevin Bradford (Black Sheep, Soap Scum, WARRS)
6. Downhome Music Festival @ Downtown August 7th+8th, 2015
The fifth annual Downhome Music, Beer and Art Festival this past August was a truly eclectic affair, with artists ranging from rhythmically ambitious prog by Dog of Panic to the traditional
bluegrass of the River Ramblers. Nowhere on the Downhome schedule was this variety in styles more apparent than on Saturday night when a typically (but not quite literally) balls-out set by The Timmys was scheduled as a lead-in for the harmonious, gentle singer-songwriter sounds of The Deep Hollow. But wait! Apparently this musical moodswing wasn’t considered wide enough because after The Timmys finished and before Deep Hollow went on, a previously low-key side stage was stormed by none other than Diaper Rash. It’s reasonable to assume that most people reading this already have some idea what the Diaper Rash experience entails. Part precision thrash, part performance art and part stand-up comedy, Diaper Rash is perhaps both the most aggro and the most hilarious band in town. That is, if you are in on the joke. However – any audience members who might be (1) unaccustomed to thrash sounds in the first place; (2) unprepared to process the sight of mysterious frontperson Big Baby in all of his diapered glory; or (3) irony-impaired enough to take the words of a dude wearing nothing but a diaper at face value – may not have such an easy time when confronted with Diaper Rash. And judging from the looks on the faces of onlookers during their Downhome set, all three of the above-listed categories were amply represented. For the rest of us, seeing Big Baby stalking the stage like a caged animal, spitting absurd insults at other local musicians (by name), roaring maniacally through the DR catalog and preaching to a crowd of the clearly non- converted was a truly singular experience. Elsewhere, organizers Josh Catalano and Shane Turnidge kept things lively with a fair number of Black Sheep-affiliated bands, including a blistering afternoon set from Our Lady, not to mention the Dumb Records kiosk doing brisk(ish) business all day and night right there on the thoroughfare. My own band, Epsom, stepped in to the opening slot on Saturday to fill a sudden gap in the schedule and played what was probably our best-sounding set of the year at 2 p.m. to an audience made up mainly of people walking in and out of the Hilton hotel. Now that’s rock and roll.
-Scott Faingold (Epsom, The Scene on WUIS)
5. Looming (album release), Park, The Choir Vandals, and Hidden Hospitals @ Black Sheep 8-14-15
Looming’s Album release show for their full length recording, Nailbiter, was my favorite of the year. BXS was packed, awesome bands opened for Looming, and the collective vibe was magical. Some of you may know me by name, others may know me as the old guy that is at shows every once in a while. I’ll simply say that BXS is an all ages venue wink emoticon. I loved the fact that Park played just before Looming took the stage. Years earlier, probably late 1990s or early 2000s I had an intern that worked for me and he asked if I wanted to attend a show with him to hear a great local band. I agreed. I think the show was at the space that was located about where the CVS just off of Wabash is today. The band was Park and they were amazing. Over the years I’ve seen them a time or two since. Always great. So cool that Looming drummer Brandon Carnes debuted as Park’s bass player that night too. We old shits are often looking for connections, for links between the present and past ….. Park delivered!
In my mind the coolest aspect of show was that Looming had been doing shows since 2013 or so. So, in the months leading up to Nailbiter’s release, many of us had heard many of the songs either at BXS shows, or downtown at the 2015 Pridefest celebration, or at bar gigs Looming played. As a result, the crowd was singing along on every tune and that was, well, electric.. Looming played the album from opening instrumental, in order, to the last song on the album/CD ( Nailbiter). The crowd and the band had a blast. To top it all off, Brian Galecki of Dumb Records, asked all there to be part of the shop’s famed ‘Record of the Day’ snapshot. That picture says it all, you can see and feel the love, the joy, the excitement of the evening in that picture.
-Joe Coffey …. sometime old fucker at BXS Shows 😉
4. G.L.O.S.S., Asthma, Garter, GUSH @ Black Sheep 9-7-15
G.L.O.S.S/Asthma/Garter/Gush – September 7 2015 The show began with Gush. I like to think of this band as Garter’s angry, in-your-face sister. Garter played, and I was so excited to be at this all queer band show. It was amazing playing in a band with three of the most talented musicians I know (Brian, Nighthawk and Nick Murphy) and having one of my role models, Sadie, watch our entire set and actually compliment us! Wow. Total dream come true. Asthma played. I think this was one of their last sets. It was hard and heavy, as usual. Jess, Drew and Nick were what made this band so freaking good. They persevered through the bullshit and Springfield should be proud to have people like them making bands and doing amazing shit. Blacksheep was humbled to have G.L.O.S.S. come to Springfield. Vocalist, Sadie, began their set with the refreshing the request of “girls to the front.” Sadie captured the audience between songs, taking time to explain what each was about. The crowd was all smiles. It was a great day to be queer.
– Cassie Crawford (Garter)
3. Dumb Fest 3-D @ Black Sheep + Skank Skates June 13th+14th
My summer of seven local music festivals began at the second day of Dumb Fest 3D on June 13th. Hanging out in the DIY music community in St. Louis, I had heard of the alternative reality of the Springfield scene, but this was my first attempt to take the 2-hour drive to Springfield to see a show. The music looked totally worth the drive. The day promised Springfield bands that I had liked when they came through St. Louis (like King Worm and SAP), touring bands that always put on a good show (like Pregnancy Test and Tenement), and a couple of STL favorites (Cal & the Calories and Animal Teeth). Still, I arrived with some slight trepidation about meeting a whole new group of people. There was no reason for anxiety, the Black Seep community was extremely friendly and welcoming. With performances alternating between the skate park and Black Sheep Café itself, there was plenty of chance to talk with folks and meet new people as we walked back and forth between the performances. A mud-covered Diaper Rash opened the day by terrorizing the skate park. The enthusiastic response from the early arrivers set the bar high and the rest of the day did not disappoint. For my first performance inside Black Sheep itself, I was treated to Nectar from Champaign and given hope that the day would not be all guys screaming. (Not that there is anything wrong with screaming guys, but it is nice to see some of the other genders represented as well.) The alternating between the heat of the skate park and the air conditioning of the café made the long day easier to bear physically. However, when the crowd embraced the mosh, the heat in the café climbed as well. The audience was engaged with all the musicians, but big props to Big Zit and King Worm who each induced the crowd to the most raucous moshing of the day. Suzy Vogenthol’s beautiful, rambling introductions to The Wrong’s songs also deserves a special mention as well. It was a great day of music with more than 25 bands each delivering strong performances, and as I drove home tired and sweaty, I was really glad I made the journey to Springfield. One programming note, did Bugg, Slugbug, The Bug really have to be scheduled one after another? This old brain had a hard time keeping their pictures and videos properly labeled.
-Stephen Houldsworth (St. Louis)
2. Screaming Females, Shellshag, Kowabunga! Kid, Looming @ Black Sheep 3-25-15
When I walked into Black Sheep on the night of the show, Screaming Females singer/guitarist Marissa Paternoster was sprawled out on the lap of Shellshag’s lady member. Looking all miserable and brooding. But also like she was having fun being that way. Paternoster is a BA for lots of reasons, but here are a few: At the age of 29 she has been living the touring musician life with the same band for a DECADE. She covered her band van in pictures of Korn. She toured while sick with mononucleosis. I mean even that disease sounds cool … but it is definitely not. She played shows while dealing with severe chronic pain. She wears the best vintage dresses when performing. Her band now is the same trio who met during her college days. They came up in the DIY scene of New Brunswick, New Jersey. They played all-ages basement shows instead of getting into the bar scene.
From what I have heard, Black Sheep – which consistently knows exactly what is up, had been trying to book indie/rock/punk group Screaming Females for a while. They had pitched the band to play Dumb Fest, which hadn’t panned out. When word got back to the band how awesome Springfield’s scene was though – they agreed to do their own show. And thank goddess. The band released Rose Mountain in 2015 – their sixth full-length album which lyrically dealt much with Paternoster’s sickness (literal) and made plenty of room for her sick (not-literal) guitar solos. Paternoster is a musician who elicits statements like, “Whoa bro. I didn’t know a chick could shred like that.” Well she can. And everyone at the show that night got to behold it IRL – along with her powerful, ultra-vibratoed voice. How lucky we were.
King Mike on bass, and Jarrett Dougherty on drums, held it down as well. Screaming Females shared the stage with their supporting/touring act – the aforementioned Shellshag, a punk duo reminiscent of Moldy Peaches and also on Don Giovanni records. Local darlings Looming were openers, along with “pop black metal” group Kowabunga! Kid from Champaign. Screaming Females seemed to enjoy their time in town. They posed for a picture on the Dumb Records couch holding a Nas album, after all. They are living embodiment of the DIY attitude and aesthetic, and Paternoster is keeping the riot grrrl vibes of her foremothers alive and fresh, with her own individual stamp. Fingers crossed we’ll be seeing them again in Springfield. We deserve each other.
You can check out an interview I did with Paternoster to preview the show, here: http://wuis.org/post/screaming-females-will-rock-springfield#stream/0
-Rachel Otwell (The Scene on WUIS)
1. The Coneheads, King Worm, Cal & The Cruisers, Wolf Luv @ Rock N Roll Hardees 10-3-15
To be honest I thought it be crazy to have a show at rock and roll hardies but it actually turn out to be an amazing show. There was a lot of awesome people there and friends to be around with all the time and especially the crazy moshing. The Coneheads was really good and had a pretty awesome set. Hopefully they have another rock and roll hardies show next year but more crazy 😊
– Devon Fluelen (Pineapple Boys)
Brian is standing right behind me as I type this. I can feel his mustache grazing the back of my ear. “Write about the Rock n Roll Hardee’s shoooow..”, he’s whispering, hot breath on my neck. “O-o-okay, Brian”, I manage to sweat out.
I guess my story starts a while back when me, “Long Tall” Brian Galaxy (nee Galecki), and Clare Freakay were driving to the college campus to give uninterested scholars some flyers for an upcoming Black Sheep Show. It was either a bee-yew-tiful spring day or a slightly chilled (brr brr), maybe-a-windbreaker-and-turtleneck autumn day (I can’t remember) and we all hopped into Brain’s big, smooth Oldie. THAT THING! THAT THING looked like a tank but floated on air. Man, I miss that wagon.
Anyway… we’re all coasting happily along, singin’ songs, gettin’ happy when Big Bad B turns around and yells (you know the yell) “WHERE DO YOU GUYS WANNA EAT?!”. Now, I don’t know why but for years and years my immediate, gut reaction to that question has been to barf out the words ROCKUNRULLHARDEE and this time was no exception. I think I caught my car-mates’ attention with that one and without a second thought Beautiful Boy spun the big wheel on his mystery ship and we were headed in the direction of the promised land.
So, by now you all know the location, you were there, you bought the fries.ROCK AND ROLL HARDEES. Slow down, it wasn’t always the most punk place in town. Oh ho no no no.
We (“we” being myself, Clearly Friendly, and Bashful Bri) pulled up on this seemingly normal Hardee’s completely unaware that this particular burger house was THE site of an annual Mid-western tradition. JESUS FEST 3 MF’ERS
Holy cow, hoooooo-leeeee cow. We had made it. We saw the top of the mountain. Now, let me paint you a picture: (is that how you do that?) A buncha people sittin’ on a buncha tushies, facing a little band shell or whatever-you-call-it clapping politely at a band finishing up an apparently delightful set of ?Christmas? songs? (whatever they sing at the church), weird enough but not mind-blowing. This is getting boring to type, I can’t even imagine reading it. But hang on, cuz you’re in store for a treat.
Some “props” are brought out by an average-looking man while me and my amigos scratch our heads and have a little giggle at the absurdity of the whole experience. A phonebook here, a wooden baseball bat there, some cinder blocks for good measure. Intrigued yet? Hmm? I was.
The sun was high in the sky when a mountain of a boy stepped in to cover us in shadow and , unbeknownst to us, shed some LordLight at the same time. Enter Tyler, stage (band shell, parking lot) right. This was going to be good.
All my memories of it are a blur of shredded phonebooks, broken bats, and busted cinder blocks. This boy (angel) was channeling the strength of the Lord and who was I (or anyone) to stop him? Gosh dang, what a good day. Little did I know, that day would light an unquenchable fire in the breast of “Our Pal” Brian Galecki.
Jump ahead, like, a few months and Spaghetti Man Galecki informs me that he’s in talks with the PRESIDENT OF ROCK AND ROLL HARDEES to put on a live punk rock show at our town’s most venerable institution. I just shook my head and laughed, what could I do? When Banana Boat gets an idea in his mop-top head, we all just kind of have to go along with it. Fearless Leader and all that. Over the course of the next few weeks or whatever, this scheme became more and more a reality.
It was cool to watch it all kind of coalesce, because everyone was stoked to be playing/attending/experiencing this show at a Milkshake Mansion. It was hard not to be swept up in the magic. The line-up, if you fools don’t remember, was…legendary.
WOLF LUV ripped a fast, short and furry whirlwind of a set that got everybody riled up and rearin’ for more.
CAL AND THE CRUISERS brought the wackness and had everybody drooling on their French fries.
I remember telling my very quiet friend, Mark Lee, that this next band was going to be the wildest, weirdest set of the night and the one most likely to have the mothers and fathers of Springfield wagging their fingers at the collective of freaks, mutants, skaters, long-hairs (Nick DeMarco), and ne’er-do-wells gathered in the parking lot,
KING WORM was loud, unhinged and rowdy. I like to think some of that LordLight was shining on “Springfield” Mike and his boys that night (thanks, Ty). Love ‘em.
Next, was THE BAND. THE BAND whose name was on EVERYBODY’S TONGUES and LIPS. THE BAND THAT TOOK THE WORLD BY STORM. And the reason for all the excitement.
We were all snortin’ and kickin’ and hee-hawin’ for this band of mysterious alien-men to start playing and when they did? Hoo boy, everybody pogoed and danced and did other punk movements. By the end of the set, they were off the stage (band shell) and everybody was freakin and jiving and everything was sloppy. BUT, we were all communed in the parking lot of a HARDEE’S and everybody was laughing and drinking milkshakes and eating French fries and looking at each other like “What the HELL was that?” and “We GOTTA do that AGAIN”.
Peace, Al. (SAP, War Magic)