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Shiner and Hollis - Davey's Uptown
Author: Mark Cuthbertson (The Zone)
Date: February 25, 2000

Former members of Sacrifice Isaac opened for Shiner in a showcase of the Kansas City Sound. Hollis could almost be mistaken for SI, though I didn?t recognize any SI material throughout the set. The overall focus on riff-based, rhythmically complex, and edgy songwriting is very much the same as SI. The Hollis songs I heard tonight were possibly less dissonant and more balanced than those featured on SI?s Migraine, however.

Shiner followed with one of their strongest performances of the many I?ve seen. That?s really impressive considering Shiner?s long track record as a respected and imitated veteran group. After several recent changes in personnel, the current line-up has finally matched or surpassed the solidarity of the old ones. I?d once thought Tim Dow was irreplaceable as Shiner?s drummer, but Jason Gerken as really settled into the role beyond my expectations (and I liked him in Molly McGuire/Gunfighter, so it was never about doubting his ability to play). In fact, the entire group was tighter and more energetic than I can recall any previous lineup being. Paul Malinowski?s vocals were audible for only the second or third time in my memory, and they were right on and with confidence. Josh Newton seemed to play as though he?d always been a member of Shiner. And Allen Epley turned in a solid night of fronting the band. He sang and played with passion throughout the set and even set up climaxes of a couple of songs with humorous bits like, ?Hammer time!? just before adding a sonic exclamation mark to some of the most original and intense rock to shake the walls of Davey?s Uptown Rambler?s Club.

All but five of Shiner?s songs were new since Lula Divinia, and most or all are presumably soon to be heard on a new release, Starless. ?Giant?s Chair? and ?Semper Fi? are two of my newer favorites. As a general rule, the newer songs are thicker, meatier, and sweeter with less dissonance and more vocal hooks. One of them is slower and quieter in places ? reminiscent of ?Fetch a Switch? (from Splay), but smoother, more cohesive, and more melodic. I?m certainly looking forward to getting my hands on a copy as soon as possible.

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