On and off stage, Mess (@heartswitholes) is a well-hydrated group of sweethearts who are here to make you smile. Though their music often stirs a mix of emotions in the listener, addressing concepts like struggling to find peace in toxic relationships and constructing identity on the verge of adulthood, it's hard to feel anything other than elated when watching the four-piece on stage. Last Saturday, the group played a rare KC show following the release of their single, "Cave," the first track off their upcoming debut LP, slated for a fall release.
It's a mix of their dry humor (like when guitarist Kevin Briody sound checks with a guitar-hero controller immediately before their set) and watching four people truly in their best element that brings joy to the crowd at Mess shows. Likewise, there's something cathartic in watching a band play songs that explore things like anxiety and discord and finding solace in knowing that those experiences are shared by others. To watch a group of people take otherwise negative feelings and turn them into enjoyable and accessible art in front of you is both powerful and soothing.
On stage, the band vacillates between buoyant energy and visceral stillness. One song will find Briody bouncing and laughing, while the next will leave him quietly kneeling and out of the audience's eye line. Allison Gliesman, the band's primary singer and lyricist, pours emotional rhetoric softly over the crowd while guitarist Tanner Pinkerton and drummer Evan Velasquez punctuate their sentiments with biting melodies and rhythms. When the set ends, the band is engulfed in cheers and hugs as they step offstage, greeted by fans and friends alike.
If you haven't had the chance to catch Mess play a show just yet, you'll have a couple opportunities this spring and summer. You can find them in Lawrence on May 13th accompanying Pianos Become The Teeth and The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die at The Bottleneck. In June they'll be playing at Middle of the Map Festival for the second consecutive year in Kansas City.