How can I pick just one show out of more than a decade’s worth of Replay shows? I can’t, so I’m going to fudge a bit and pick three:
1) Favorite “I saw them before they were huge” show: Black Keys, 2003
It seems like everyone has a tale about seeing a band just before they hit it big…and many of those tales may well involve the Replay. Mine is The Black Keys in 2003. Yep, that’s right. For $3 bucks (maybe $2, way back then) I stood right in front of one of the most scorching garage blues acts you will ever see. If you closed your eyes, it was easy enough to imagine yourself in a sweaty Deep South juke joint (until you opened them and remembered that the music was being played–and listened to–by scrawny white dudes). The interweb claims that LFK’s The Hefners opened the show. I don’t remember that part (though I do remember The Hefners a bit), but I still remember that dirty, greasy early-Black Keys sound: “Come on, baby, let’s do the rump, do the rump, till the broad daylight.” (Chip: “I’m guessing more people than usual got laid after leaving the Replay that night.”).
2) Favorite local show: The Hardaways play Abbey Road, 2003
2003 must have been a hell of a year in LFK, because that’s also when The Hardaways decided to play the entire Abbey Road album at the Replay. The band did a great job building interest in the gig, even recreating the famous Abbey Road album cover on Mass. Street, and the local media promoted the hell out of the show (this was back in those glorious days when the LJ-World and Lawrence.com offered a significant amount of local band coverage). By the time the evening rolled around I was so hyped I might as well have been seeing the actual Beatles! I remember that a group of us spent the evening of the show drinking beer and listening to records at a friend’s house (I don’t think she had any Beatles on vinyl, but I seem to recall a little Simon and Garfunkle!) and still arriving at the Replay extra-early, where a major crowd assembled and jam-packed the room to hear what I recall as an almost frighteningly perfect re-creation of the album. There were no long lulls between songs (as so often happens at this kind of tribute event) and no distancing irony between the band and their subject matter. Just a room full of locals listening to a local band they loved re-creating an iconic rock album.
3) Favorite patio show: The Meat Purveyors, 2008
Too many scenesters turn up their noses at early Replay matinees for various reasons (they start before 11:00 pm, they often feature bluegrass, etc). But some of my greatest Replay experiences have been early patio shows. I’ve seen the Wilders absolutely tear it up out there on numerous occasions. I saw Kirk Rundstrom reuniting Scroatbelly for a scorching gig (in cold weather) before he passed away. But for my favorite I’m going with Austin’s (now sadly defunct) Meat Purveyors. I think the last time I saw them at the Replay was 2008. What I remember most was the entire area in front of the patio bouncing up and down during the Meat Purveyors’ lightning-fast Madonna mash-up of “Like a Virgin” and “Lucky Star.” I can assure you that such a level of energy (from either band or crowd) is rarely matched at any indie/garage rock show happening inside the Replay at 1:00 in the morning.
-by Richard (and Chip)