KCUR's Band Of The Week: Roman Numerals

Oct 18, 2017

One of the region’s most notable indie-rock bands a decade ago, Roman Numerals were Ryan Shank on drums, Shawn Sherrill on keyboards and bass, Billy Smith on guitars and vocals, and Steve Tulipana on bass, guitars and vocals.

Tulipana and Sherrill went on to open the highly successful RecordBar in Westport. Their band's last recent performance was the penultimate show at the venue's original site on January 1, 2016. RecordBar has since re-opened at 1520 Grand Boulevard, which is where Roman Numerals reunite on Saturday.

Roman Numerals peaked at a time when like-minded bands including Interpol were also mining the new wave and post-punk sounds of the 1980s. The revivalist aesthetic was an appealing exercise in wistfulness when its self-titled album was released in 2006, a conceit that makes Saturday’s reunion a double-dip of nostalgia.

The band describes its approach as a “high-powered hybrid” that “forms a sturdy bridge between indie-rock's angular approach and the underground club scene's throbbing tempos.” A good example is “Rule of Five,” a gloom-laden blend of synth-pop and post-punk from that 2006 record:

"'Rule of Five' was recorded in Chicago the week we signed our lease on the original RecordBar via fax-machine," Tulipana says. "We somehow managed to get the club open and do several U.S. tours that same year of 2005. We like to get together every year or so these days to revisit these old songs to help inspire us on the other newer projects we stay involved with."

Roman Numerals, 9:30 p.m. Saturday, October 21 at RecordBar, 1520 Grand Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri, 64108; 816-753-5207. Olympic Size, another Kansas City rock band with a loyal following during the last decade, also reunites for the show.

KCUR contributor Bill Brownlee blogs about Kansas City's jazz scene at Plastic Sax.