Concert Reviews

Over The Weekend: Calhoun, Radiant and Menkena at the Kessler Theater

Calhoun, Radiant and Menkena
Kessler Theater
June 10, 2011

Better than:
crossing the river to do anything else Dallas.

Midway through Calhoun's loose, rollicking set at the Kessler Theater on Friday night, frontman Tim Locke addressed the crowd.

"It's kind of casual tonight," he said. "So, we're gonna be, you know..."

OK, so, its been a few months since the release of the Fort Worth band's latest recording, Heavy Sugar, and almost two years since they called it quits only to re-group a couple of months later.

And yet, despite all that, the timing was right for this show, which also featured Dallas' Radiant and Menkena, and was billed as the official Dallas release party for Heavy Sugar.

The crowd was frisky along with the band, yelling out in response to intra-band banter and somehow producing wild variety of cameras to record the evening's event (a seemingly random phenomenon that made the evening slightly bizarre in the face of what could have been a "by the numbers" event). The night was simply a love-fest supreme -- between the band and a dedicated bunch of fans -- it just felt like a special night.

Radiant, in the middle slot, seemed to pull a large crowd, and wooed them with their swirling anthemic rock tunes. Not bad for just their second show in six months. Clearly, they've been missed.

Indeed, the very live space at the Kessler Theater was at times nearly overwhelmed by the dreamy, echoing guitar stylings utilized by all three bands. Don't get me wrong: The Kessler is a great venue -- just one that doesn't tend to deal with louder, dense music like this. And the acoustics suffered slightly as a result. A few more bodies in the room would have absorbed some of the sound and let the dynamics utilized by all three bands breathe a bit more.

Still, it was a clear and loud night. And, as should be expected now, neither Calhoun nor their support acts let it affect their play.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I have to fess up that The Kessler is about the only venue I seem to go to these days. It's just down the street and all from where I live. But my daughter also takes piano lessons there during the week and I attend a weekly "church" there on Sunday mornings.

Random Note: My wife loved the story I told her about how a "Copperphone" microphone made by Mark Pirro (of Tripping Daisy, Polyphonic Spree and last night, Menkena) was mistaken as a pipe bomb at DFW airport a few years back. I got it completely wrong, sure. But it's still a great story. Actually, no, I liked my version better.

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Paul Semrad