Smile Politely

Here’s looking at you, Kowabunga! Kid

On any given Saturday night, Urbana is brimming with college students looking for a party. On a typical one of those nights, they end up at a house with sticky floors drinking Keystone out of a keg—but not last Saturday night. Last Saturday night they treated themselves to a punk show.

The Dingbat Dungeon was jam-packed when I got there, and not just with college kids but also with people of all ages and shapes and sizes and backgrounds. Bullnettle had just started playing, and although I couldn’t see them, I sure could hear them. They had a great old-school Chicago punk sound, though they were one of the local bands that played. Not that it matters—the show was a night of Urbana-Chicago punk unity, to be sure.

Military police played second. They share a couple members with Broken Prayer, the other Chicago band on the bill that would play next, but I wasn’t really sure what to expect after they set up two synthesizers, a bass and a guitar. Playing a punk show with a drum machine can be risky business. But they aced it. The medium of dual synths has such unharnessed potential. Melodies complimented by a steady baseline or strategic guitar shred work well together. I’m excited to see where these guys take their music. Shoegaze? Pop? Shoepop? There are so many directions this could go. Their brief set left me craving more.

When Broken Prayer started playing everyone in basement, still packed, went nuts. They had to! The energy was damn near overwhelming. This band is all over the place in the best way possible, and this was the best I’ve ever seen them (and the best setting in which I’ve ever seen them). I hate to say this but I can barely do them justice by writing about them. Hopefully they’ll play here again soon after their new album comes out so YOU chumps can try and remember not to miss them again.

Kowabunga! Kid don’t play a lot since the departure of drummer John Menchaca, but it was good to see C-U’s most beloved punk band headline the Dungeon. I was especially stoked to hear them play “One Foot In The Grave” off of their latest flexi release. That song introduced a much different sound to their recorded repertoire, but live, it fit right in with the rest of their pogo-inducing set.

After all was through, I thought I remembered hearing the words, “local music history in the making” uttered….did I? If not, I’ll utter it once more: this is local music history in the making. It’s local music in the now.

[gallery military_police_broken_prayer_kowabunga_kid]

 Photos courtesy of Maddie Rehayem

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