The clown prince of pop-punk and emo-rock, and the pride of Liberty, Missouri, James Dewees is the founder and primary artistic force in Reggie and the Full Effect.
Dewees began drumming for the seminal Kansas City punk band Coalesce in the 1990s; at the end of that decade, he joined the beloved Kansas City emo-rock band the Get Up Kids. He's also been hired as a ringer by prominent bands including My Chemical Romance.
Reggie and the Full Effect began as an elaborate gag before evolving into a viable entity. Having just released its seventh album, "41," the band is on a five-week tour with Senses Fail. They make a stop at the Granada in Lawrence on Thursday.
The band's album titles and cover art are one reflection of Dewees' sense of humor: the 1999 debut album is titled "Greatest Hits 1984-1987." A record about a bitter divorce, "Songs Not to Get Married To," is emblazoned with the image of a house on fire. And the cover of "41" is a parody of Adele's 2011 album "21."
But like the adage about the tears of a clown, Dewees uses sarcasm to mask emotional distress. Amusingly titled tracks on "41," such as "Karate School," "Channing Tatum Space Rollerblading Montage Music" and "Trap(ing) Music," offset the pain expressed on songs like "All Alone." From its initial synthetic pattern through the forlorn howling at its cathartic apex, "Alone Again" exemplifies Dewees' distinctive post-punk sound.
Senses Fail, with Reggie and the Full Effect, Have Mercy and Household, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 22, at The Granada, 1020 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, Kansas, 66044; 785-842-1390.
KCUR contributor Bill Brownlee blogs about Kansas City's jazz scene at Plastic Sax.