Monday night at Slowdown, the post-show ear-ringing arrived prematurely, courtesy of Columbus, Ohio’s The Sidekicks.
Through the night, singer Steve Ciolek’s strumming pace accelerated as he grew nearly hysterical, screaming into the microphone with guitarist Toby Reif. Drummer Matt Climer provided pounding percussion.
The punk band brought nearly a decade’s worth of material ranging from their grittier So Long, Soggy Dog to their indie-pop-produced Runners in the Nerved World.
Slowdown’s front room cultivated a powerhouse sound for The Sidekicks. It was heavy — sound-heavy, distortion-heavy, and it often didn’t sound like its new album, Runners in the Nerved World, for which the band has received attention and acclaim this year. Released in January, it plays back like a more rock ‘n’ roll The Shins record, with Ciolek’s pop vocals as shiny as James Mercer’s over-bright alt-rock.
Earlier, Philadelphia’s Cayetana sailed on steady, cymbal-heavy percussion, counterbalancing the lofty weight of the layering instrumentals. Augusta Koch’s cerulean hair gleamed under blue stage lights, as she bobbed around, smiling at the audience. Koch’s vocals were clean and polite against her rough chords and the constant crashing of cymbals behind her. Drummer Kelly Olsen rarely switched up her pace, giving Koch and bassist Allegra Anka a solid foundation to build full power chords and groovy bass lines.
Omaha’s Super Ghost was returning from latent period at this show, introducing its three new members with founding member Jake Newbold, who also plays in Lot Walks.
Once just a duo, the recent addition of Obi Maina on guitar added more developed melodic distinctions, as he and Newbold traded off intricate riffs and power chords. Jon Banker filled a vital role on bass while Patrick Stutzman of the Decaturs kept up with rolling drums.
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