Kansas City has seen its fair share of youthfully exuberant bands. The obvious ones that come to mind are The Get-Up Kids and The Gadjits. While The Kids are now only young at heart (one would hope) and the Gadjits are now professional Architects, both groups once displayed the innocence and resilience that few can duplicate outside of their teens or 20s. Others may strive for overly complicated arrangements and attempt to impress you with their precociousness, but these sorts of bands get by on their dedication and idealism.
The newest entry to this club is Dojo For Crooks. While the combined ages of all three members of DFC is less than Ashton Kutcher’s next wife, they sound like a band well seasoned beyond their 18 to 19 years. Their sound is post-punk energy with a healthy dose of melodic pop. Fans of Tokyo Police Club, Thunderbirds are Now! or even French Kicks could probably tell that that’s what these guys aspire to. I was lucky enough to see their opening slot at Czar Bar last week and witness their cathartic live show in person.
The trio powered through a thirty minute set with the abandon of a group that had everything on the line. My inner Holden Caulfield couldn’t help but identify with the gutsy, unchecked enthusiasm and wide-eyed idealism that lead singer Braden Anderson displays on each song. Equal to the task are the speedy drummer Jesse Howe, and multi-instrumentalist Andy Thies, who really set the pace of each song and control the direction with expert timing. The melodies and tempo are the key to this band, and each member does his best to keep both at the forefront.
This is music for people who still believe that youth and perseverance can change the world. For about thirty minutes last week I was transported back to a time when I lived in my mom’s basement, played in a garage band and decorated the walls with pictures from Rolling Stone. Granted, a grown man with a vintage In Utero poster above his bed probably hasn’t changed that much, but it’s encouraging to be reminded that the apathy of Gen-X hasn’t necessarily affected the Millennials.
(Below are two tracks from Dojo For Crooks demo CD, “Bastille.”)