My hand has a stamp of Harry Truman’s face on it. Such is my life after having attended a concert at one of the newer concert venues in Kansas City, The Truman. It’s really a glorified warehouse, a big open concrete room with a bar in the front and a bar in the back and a stage that doesn’t offer much line of sight unless you’re standing in the front. Or, if like me and my concert pal, you find some bar stools and a cocktail table. From there, perched uncomfortably on metal stools, I could sort of make out the head and shoulders and the occasional peek of a drums and a guitar or two of the two bands we went to see Tuesday night: Night Beats, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
Really, we went for BRMC. As one might expect if you’re at all familiar with the band. They’re a rock/rockabilly kind of band complete with heavy drums and the intermittent use of a harmonica. I was somehow, through the musical browsing I often do, introduced to BRMC by their song “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo”. Which at the time became an anthem of sorts for a Dragon Age story I was writing with a good friend of mine.
War is Never Cheap Here is a post-Origins Dragon Age story about the disgraced war hero, Cauthrien and the distrusted Bann, Teagan Guerrin. I couldn’t get enough of that song when we were writing it and as the title might give away, we leaned in heavy to the theme and lyrics. In fact the whole playlist was pretty thematically monarchist and war heavy. Rightfully so. It’s still one of my favorite stories. We wrote more after that, but even many, many years later, I’m still very proud of that one.
So that was my introduction to them years ago and since then, while I’ve put that song in a pretty regular rotation along with a few others from that album, Beat the Devil’s Tattoo, I don’t listen to much of the rest of their catalog on a regular basis. But, I’m a fan of concerts and this seemed like such a good opportunity to hear one of my favorite songs in a new way.
I’ll say this, most of the shows I got to are metal or goth concerts. Occasionally, I’ll stray outside those genres for a show, but the vast majority are one of those two. BRMC isn’t far off, but it’s just enough off that the crowd for this show was different. Older, for one. Quieter, for another. They weren’t as rowdy a crowd as I’d expect from a rock concert, nor did many people seem to be singing/shouting along as I’d expect.
The song I came to see was the third song in, which surprised me a great deal, given it’s popularity. But it became quickly apparent that this band was in it for the long haul. They went from fast to slow, from old to new, and there was very little talking between. This is a group of musicians that are just up there to play, and the audience was really just along for the ride. I appreciate that.
We had to cut out a little early because it was a week night, but man, after two full hours they seemed to only just be getting their second wind. If I had to rate The Truman, they’re a solid 2/5 out of all the venues I’ve seen concerts at. But BRMC was amazing and totally worth the discomfort of concrete floors and metal stools. If they come back, I’ll see them again — hopefully they’ll show up a different venue if there’s a next time.