It was a chilled night in Wichita, Kansas on Monday night when the Eagles Lodge opened its door to fans of pop-punk, indie, and acoustic groups as well as fans of long-time heartthrob Ryan Cabrera. Performing in the humble venue was Upon Yesterday, Faux Reality, Kiros, Jerad Finck, and the star himself.
For a group still clearly in its infancy, Upon Yesterday were quite the crowd pleasers as they started the evening off with an acoustic set of original tracks mixed with a few well-chosen covers. Led by female vocalist Drew Lipscomb, they chose tracks that would best fit their strengths which centered largely on her ability to hit those high notes and powerful melodies that are common in groups such as these. As expected, halfway through the set was the commonplace cover of Adele which has become quite the popular choice when it comes to female vocalists which Lipscomb performed adequately. Despite a few timing issues and a clear lack of group synergy, they performed modestly and gave the crowd a passionate performance.
Up next on the agenda for the evening was Faux Reality, an up and coming pop-punk group with indie influences hailing from El Dorado. With their hometown’s fairly dry music scene, they have taken the reins and represent the city with fantastic performances nearly every month. They began the show with “Motionless” from their debut EP, an energetic and gradually building song that began their set with an excellent crescendo to spark life into the fairly miniscule crowd. The highlight of the night was easily the group’s cover of Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy” that had the entirety of the house on their feet as lead guitarist Thomas Hays gave a performance that gives the original a run for its money.
With the stage set and the crowd itching for the next rousing performance, in came Kiros with an explosive (literally) introduction with abrasive guitar thrashing and a sonic assault from the drums. Lead guitarist Ryan Guerra took advantage of every inch of the stage with his spontaneous flailing and jumping, while lead vocalist Barry MacKichan inspired the crowd to sing along with their catchy hooks and powerful choruses. With a Coheed and Cambria-like musical style and an energy rarely matched in small shows such as these, Kiros gave a memorable performance to perfectly follow Faux Reality.
After the crowd had their socks thoroughly knocked off, Jerad Finck graced the stage to give them another unique spectacle. The group, led by Finck and backed by a group of experienced musicians, has a fairly generic musical style but still gave a crowd-pleasing performance. However, had it not been Kevin Wolfe on tambourine, saxophone, and bongo drums, Finck would not be nearly as entertaining. That man had the energy and charisma of all the previous acts combined and could have played solo and rocked the house.
The headlining act of the night, arriving just before he was required to come on stage, was Ryan Cabrera. He took the stage and wasted no time on introductions. A long set of acoustic songs that all sloppily ran together as the show ran on and a little small talk sprinkled in between songs was about all he gave the Eagles Lodge for his debut show in Wichita. To call it underwhelming is a bit gracious, but the few fans of his that arrived for his performance were certainly pleased as he played his hit “On the Way Down.”
For a Monday night in a small venue in the less-than-energetic section of Wichita, the Eagles Lodge had quite a bite to it. All the groups, with one minor exception, were gracious and talented, with Kiros and Faux Reality giving the highlight performances of the night. The environment was lively and entertaining, and the venue gave each group special attention to ensure excellent sound quality. If ever there is an opportunity to hit up the Lodge for a local show, don’t second guess the decision to hit it up – there might just be a surprising amount of talent waiting to be discovered.