Review: Get Up Kids

(Above: The Get Up Kids perform “Martyr Me” at the second show of their two-night stand at the Record Bar in Kansas City, Mo.)

By Joel Francis
The Kansas City Star

Nearly a year to the date after reuniting, the Kids are still alright.

Homegrown heroes the Get Up Kids capped off a two-month tour opened their dual-night stand at the Record Bar Friday night in front of an energetic crowd. Both shows benefit the family of the late Recycled Sounds owner Anne Winter.

No one in the band mentioned Winter during their 80 minute set. Instead they dashed through 20 songs that encompassed their decade of glory, inspirations and a couple new numbers.

The night started with a frenetic, nonstop explosion through “Holiday,” “I’m a Loner Dottie, A Rebel” and “The One You Want.” After slowing things down with “Valentine,” the Kids kicked into a new number.

“Your Petty Pretty Things” doesn’t deviate from the sounds and themes that made the hometown band famous around the world, but has enough wiggle room in its three and a half minutes for the band to kick it into high gear during the outro and ride the riff together before abruptly wrapping up. That energy was channeled into a powerful reading of “Come Clean.”

The band was lined up four across with the drums in the back of the corner stage. Keyboard player James Dewees was pushed so far to stage left that it seemed like he faced out the windows and into the parking lot more often than into the crowd.

As usual, Dewees was the band’s not-so-secret weapon. He shined an acoustic duet of “Campfire Kansas” with guitarist Jim Suptic on lead vocals, but Dewees’ most interesting contribution came on “Keith Case.” The second new song of the night, “Case” appeared out of a left turn from “No Love.” Driven by Rob Pope’s fuzz bass, Dewees applied a shimmering sci-fi synth line that makes the sound stand out in Kids’ catalog. Later, Dewees’ classic piano riff formed the bridge from “Holy Roman” into “Mass Pike.”

Although the Record Bar was full, there was still plenty of elbow room. The faithful throng delighted in throwing back frontman Matt Pryor’s words with same energy they were delivered. “Act and Action” erupted into one of the biggest sing-alongs of the night until “Don’t Hate Me.” The atmospheric “Walking on a Wire” kept slowly building layer by layer until both the crowd and the band took it through the roof.

In lieu of an encore, the band went straight into their cover of “Close To Me.” The Cure’s  1985 hit was obviously a big influence on the band, but the Kids nearly manage to one-up their heroes with Ryan Pope’s buoyant drum line propelling the song.

The set ended at midnight with the final words to “Ten Minutes” ringing out: “Everything will work out fine.” So far, it has.

Setlist: Holiday; I’m A Loner Dottie, A Rebel; The One You Want; Valentine; Your Petty Pretty Things (new song); Coming Clean; Woodson; Out of Reach; No Love; Keith Case (new song); Red Letter Day; Campfire Kansas; Holy Roman; Mass Pike; Act and Action; Walking on a Wire; Close To Me; Beer For Breakfast; Don’t Hate Me; Ten Minutes