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State of Shock

The Static Bar's move to KC from Topeka gives local metalheads a new place to bang.


Topeka's Static Bar always seemed more like a Kansas City outpost than a fixture in its host city, so the venue's relocation to 423 Southwest Boulevard (most recently home to the Great Spot) feels like it was inevitable. The uprooted club becomes an immediate player in the hard-rock/metal scene, and its opening-night bill this Wednesday features extreme bands Ion Dissonance, Through the Eyes of the Dead and Beneath the Massacre.

"We just outgrew Topeka," Static co-owner Joey Pintozzi says. (Static apparently outgrew the "Bar" half of its name as well, given its newly abridged moniker.) "We wanted to do bigger, better shows, and the move made sense because 85 percent of our ticket sales for national events were being sold in Kansas City."

"It never seemed like Topeka really got it," says God Project vocalist Jeremy Gaston, who bartended, booked shows, ran sound and set up lights at the venue on nights his band wasn't occupying the stage. "The KC kids always brought a little more heart."

Static originated in April 2005 as a 75-person capacity club in Topeka's College Hill neighborhood, near Washburn University. "It was a dirty little rock bar," Pintozzi says. "We'd let people graffiti the walls." A few months later, when Topeka targeted College Hill for renovation projects, Static relocated to 5243 Southwest 28th Court, replacing, Pintozzi says, "an old dance club with a really bad reputation." (Shootings, including a fatality, occurred at that address during its earlier incarnations as RP's High Energy Nightclub and Area 51.)

Pintozzi and volunteers gutted the club in preparation for a sold-out Drowning Pool show booked, with reckless ambition, for a date just a week after Static moved in.

"We built this massive stage, and we got it done the day before Drowning Pool got there," Pintozzi says. "They kept blowing a breaker because there was way too much ampage, but the guitarist and drummer told me it was the best set they'd played in years."

Static lured other Ozzfest-tested heavy groups such as Nile and Mushroomhead. "I like to take big bands and put them in a small room and have that kind of old-school personal show where the band's right there in front of you," Pintozzi says. "You're not packed in, standing 200 people back."

At Static's new Kansas City home, Pintozzi has the option to host larger performances, due to an outdoor-event-zoned lot that boosts capacity from 450 to 2,200. Conversely, curtaining off certain sections can make Static seem more intimate, like a 200-seater.

"We want to stay small enough where we can do homegrown stuff," Pintozzi says. That's welcome news for a local metal scene that has seen havens such as Niener's and the Bunker disappear in the past five years. Static's upcoming concert calendar includes several locals-only dates, such as a September 28 CD-release show for the Dollhouse Rumor and a September 29 bill including Sicadis and Moiré.

"We can't say how happy we are that Static is here now," Moiré vocalist Paul Kelley says. "It's always been a KC club in my opinion."

In terms of national attractions, Static has booked 27 touring bands since announcing the Kansas City move a month ago. The fall calendar includes Prong, Powerman 5000, God Forbid, Chimaira and Bury Your Dead — bands that Pintozzi has been trying to get his hands on for a while.

With plans well laid for the near future, Pintozzi says Static's biggest obstacle is expectations.

"We've built such a great relationship with Kansas City fans, and I think they're expecting even more now that we're here," he says. "I just hope I can re-create what's in my head."

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