It was another electric night in Old Town on Saturday night when Mead’s Corner hosted a handful of local performers to strut their stuff for the coffee shop community. It is no simple task performing for an apathetic group of hipsters with varying degrees of odd haircuts and thick rimmed glasses that would make Rivers Cuomo embarrassed to see. Perhaps that is a plausible excuse as to why each group, leading up to headliners Faux Reality, had a nervous twitch in their smile as they took the momentary attention of the room atop the brightly lit stage in the musty establishment. There was a rich scent of coffee and egotism as sound checks occurred and equipment was prepared for the night. As the crowd began to shuffle their Vans and Converse into the room and down into their respective seats, the first act took stage for what was inevitably going to be a memorable night, for good or for worse.
Beginning the evening with a thunderous murmur was Candice and the Business Casual, a cover band. With emphasis on the casual, they played a set that was as thrilling as their bassist was enthusiastic as he sat in his corner with a brooding expression. Candice, lead vocalist, led the group’s acoustic tracks with a grandiose voice that made up for the rather drab presentation of the rest of her posse. Much akin to Candice, up next Jayden Cornejo with an equally gorgeous voice, but with a presentation a step below a cover group – karaoke. She sang pop hits of present and past with a fiery passion, making her a memorable and enjoyable portion of the night, but the crowd was yet to be blown away.
The passive group of onlookers was waiting for something worth batting an eye for, or at least something that could inspire a few foot taps. With a promising youthful whimsy to fuel the crowd came the next act, One Time Deal. As their name suggests, they had all the appeal of a wedding singer or a middle-aged DJ at a middle school dance. A great portion of their material was cover songs beginning predictably with Queen’s “We Will Rock You”. Not all hope was lost, however, as they pulled out their secret weapon – original songs! “Original”, however, not suggesting that the songs were unique or innovative, but rather that the group made the tunes themselves. Credit where credit is due however, they were able to stir up the crowd at the end of the set with a lovely dance song that would have been a bit more appropriate at a low budget prom.
By this point in the night, there seemed to be no spark of hope for a rousing performance. But, like a shooting star through a stagnant sky came Faux Reality. With equipment taller than half of One Time Deal, they had the coffeehouse booming with electric riffs and passionate drumming. This abrasive but eloquent musicianship paired with a stage presence that makes Freddie Mercury look like a sedated alcoholic, had the entire establishment’s attention in seconds. James Hays, on bass, utilized every inch of that small stage to its fullest as he played with more energy than the previous acts combined. His brother, Thomas, on guitar laid down guitar licks that melted the hearts of every female in a forty mile radius while Garret Armstrong, on drums, played with a force that could snap the spine of an Olympic lifter. They played tracks from their fabled self-titled EP as well as a tremendous new song that looks to be a stunner.
Faux (pronounced f-oh) Reality was easily the most memorable and talented act of the night, making Mead’s Corner the place to be on this chilled night in late September. For long time fans of the local pop-punk heroes, this was the performance to see. They will be performing with Ryan Cabrera in just under a month on October 24th at the Sceneary in Wichita, where they will undoubtedly put on another fantastic show.