Five local bands rock benefit show for burned-down restaurant


Tanat Maichan

Carson Schneider is the singer of Kiss 2.

It’s impossible to attend a Wichita concert without feeling a deep sense of community. Band members, who often play for multiple acts, are in constant flow, helping other musicians before and during set while also interacting with the audience.

The strength of this community was manifested in concrete fashion on Saturday night. At the Oasis Space, a secular community center above The Orpheum, four groups came together to give back to Wichita in the face of tragedy.

Petra Restaurant, a well-loved Mediterranean venue in Northeast Wichita, was subject to arson last November. Several Wichita institutions, including Emprise Bank and Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, have already reached out to support the rebuilding effort, but the endeavor is an expensive one.

The benefit concert at Oasis Space demonstrated the community’s continued will to help. Refreshingly, it was an effort powered mostly by young people eager to invest their time and effort for others. If Saturday made anything clear, it’s that Wichita has a solid foundation for a music scene that will continue to do good through its art in the future.

Though the fluorescent white lights and beige walls of Oasis Space recall a Sunday school more than a concert hall, the musicians were quick to fill the venue with energy. Kiss 2 was first out of the gate with chugging, math-y punk. With a nasty rhythm section and relentless screamed vocals, Kiss 2 was able to ignite the crowd to mosh by the end of their set. Their greatest trick lies within their burst-y, dynamic song structures which barrel between pounding, rhythmic instrumental sections and fiery vocal peaks.

Second on stage was Honeyblush, a band that exudes as much fashion sense as guitar feedback. The noisy, Sonic Youth-esque wall of sound that the generate gives weight to strong, yet catchy, vocal melodies underneath. Colorful guitar riffs and memorable drum lines anchor each track. Honeyblush is a group that can have you bopping around while drowning in waves of sound, and that’s a special kind of joy indeed.

The energy of the room started to noticeably build when Valleyview began their set. With driving, post-punk alt-rock, the band used an airtight rhythm section to get the crowd moving and didn’t let up until they left the stage. Their complex song structures oscillated from instrumental grooves to passionate choruses while maintaining a stranglehold on the beat. By the end of the set, the crowd was completely revved up and ready to dive into the last acts of the night.

Tideway took the stage with command. With three members, it appeared they might be a little undermanned compared to the rest of the acts, but nothing could be further from the truth. Tideway’s locked-in, propulsive brand of alt-rock creates tenuous earworms out of low-end amp riffage. The set was simultaneously bluesy, melodic and accessible while teetering on the edge of a metallic shred-fest. Musicianship oozed from the stage during what was the most technically thrilling performance of the night.

Finally, The Cavves ascended the stage armed to the teeth with flawless guitar-driven pop songs. Their clean, practiced set allowed their songwriting to shine, granting plenty space for each casually infectious guitar line and sing-along chorus. By the third song, I was wondering if The Cavves was some big shot indie-rock band from another town that had stopped by to support the cause — more than any other group of the night, they sounded like a group who had “made it.”

Sure enough, the group has recently released a stellar record titled “Learn to Swim” which you can catch on Spotify and SoundCloud. The warmth and beauty found on that record was tangible during the band’s closing set.

Not only was the entire show full of exquisite, local music, but the comradery of supporting another local endeavor made for a fantastic evening.