Ladyfinger (ne), Back When, Maps for Travelers, and Everyday/Everynight at the Riot Room, KC MO, 19 January

The reliable Riot Room hosted a good show last Saturday night, featuring a band I’ve wanted to see for a long time; Ladyfinger (ne), whose third record, Errant Forms, is coming out in a few weeks. The sound was outstanding (clear and loud, but not uncomfortable), the stage changes were fast, and I enjoyed a Firestone Wookie Jack black IPA and a Boulevard Rye on Rye from their excellent beer selection. It only occurs to me as I type this, but I think the Riot Room has become my favorite club in town.

Ladyfinger hit pretty hard, mostly with new jams from Errant Forms. Being a long-time fan seeing them for the first time, the two older songs (“Over and Over,” “Little Things,” from Dusk) were my highlights, but the new record should be another great one, and more consistent with their previous work than the leaked “Dark Horse” indicates.

Chris’ vocals are more raw and punk live than on the albums, which revealed the band’s sonic roots in DC hardcore, which I hadn’t noticed before but are clear in retrospect. Pat’s drumming, on the other hand, is exactly as precise and hard-hitting in person as it is on their studio work. I’d see Ladyfinger (ne) again, any time.

All the way back at the beginning of the night, Back When, also from Omaha, opened the proceedings with a lead-heavy vibe that allowed melodic fragments to cut through only periodically. They’re in their second incarnation (the first was as a crushingly loud, slightly blackened doom band), which operates with more conventional tempos and arrangements than before, but is still plenty weird. Bass chords all over, on a Rickenbacker; that’s a win. I haven’t found Champion Hologram, which most of the set was pulled from, to be necessary listening, but I’d be happy to see them on another bill.

The second act, locals Everyday/Everynight, are still working through their influences (The Shins, The Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie). They had some nice vocal harmonies and played solid background-level indie music, but were a strange pick for a Ladyfinger show; lots of extended slow songs, and a overly long set for an opener.

Maps for Travelers played to the biggest crowd of the night. They’re fantastic at what they do, which is a strain of early-aughts emo-core. Enviously tight, great guitar tone (cleaner than you’d imagine, but it summed to a beautiful roar), big energy; the downside, for me, was that only one riff really transcended genre. Your mileage may vary.