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Bent Left 

Chain Whipped Unsigned Band Contest Awards Show, with Nice Device, Loadsock, and Big Ass Bus Driver. Wednesday, January 10, at the Grog Shop.

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Bent Left's liberal-leaning moniker seems apt, given the group's self-proclaimed goal of "doing our best to change the world." But the Kansas City quintet grew into its name's political implications. Formed in 2002, when its members were still in their early teens, Bent Left originally offered a sophomoric explanation. "When we were in high school, slanted penises were really funny," bassist William Malott sheepishly explains.

However, Bent Left's travels, booking treks to Alaska and Japan, and college classes have informed such recent discs as 2004's Steal Back the Government and 2005's Skeletons in Your Closet. The band's sound has evolved as well: Initially as happy and hook-driven as fellow phallus obsessives Blink-182, Bent Left has gotten grittier, with rugged street-punk vocals and rowdy "whoa-oh" sing-alongs. Then again, its stage banter showcases a goofy sense of humor -- intact from those formative years -- that keeps its concerts free from tough-guy posturing and stuffy speechifying.

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