I Love KC Music – Inauguration Day Benefit Concerts

On Inauguration Day musicians played at two different benefit shows in Kansas City.  At Mills Record Company, a benefit show (Rock the Twat) was played for Rose Brooks Center.  Rock the Twat was a feminine product drive to help those at the Center.   The center provides refuge for domestic violence victims. They raised money and collected pads and tampons at the show.  The local bands Katy Guillen and the Girls, Members from Bohemian Cult Revival, and Sister Mary Rotten Crotch played.

Katy Guillen and the Girls started out the night with some killer blues.  Below are a few photos there set.  You can see the whole album from the show HERE.

After Katy Guillen and the Girls played, members of The Bohemian Cult revival sang and did a little burlesque.

Sister Mary Rotten Crotch closed out the night with some rebellious punk.

Here’s a video Too Much Rock took of Sister Mary Rotten Crotch’s song, “Jaded.”

Over at the recordBar, musicians took the stage to raise money for KC for Refugees.  The show, Musicians Get Loud for Active Justice was played by (the)Medicine Theory, Hipshot Killer,  Emmaline Twist and  Cantankerous with Ernie Locke and the Karmic Hillbillies (not pictured).

(the)Medicine Theory, started off the night with some edgy post-punk rock.  Check out the whole album HERE.

Hipshot Killer followed (the)Medicine Theory with some high energy pop punk.

Emmaline Twist followed Hipshot killer with some incredible shoegaze post punk music!

It was an awesome night of music and social justice.

 

 

I Love KC Music – Blackbird Revue Farewell Show

The Blackbird Revue (Kansas City, for now) is moving soon and had their farewell show. It was a sweet and intimate show. They started out with a duet on stage and moved down onto the floor right around the crowd where Calvin Arsenia joined them with the hard for a few songs. The Blackbird Revue has this pretty folk sound.  Danielle’s voice is beautiful and the harmonies are amazing.  They ended the night with a full band giving them a more indie rock sound.  There was even a cute moment where we wished Jacob’s mom a happy birthday with a phone call from on stage. The bar was filled with friends and long time fans you could feel the love and positive energy in the room.

Blackbird Revue,good luck in L.A.!
January 19, 2017 at the recordBar.

Check out the whole album HERE.

 

Rockabilly, Surf and Garage: Rockin’ at the Holy Cow Market

Friend of Kansas City music Rich had a birthday get together at the Holy Cow Market last month featuring a lineup diverse lineup of early rock genres.  We caught the sets for SUNDOG, Pop Skull Rebels, and the Quivers.  Check them out below:

SUNDOG Surf

 

 

Click for more SUNDOG Surf

Pop Skull Rebels

 

 

Click for more Pop Skull Rebels

The Quivers

AUDIO: The Quivers’ Set

 

 

Click for more of the Quivers

 

Until We Meet Again: Farewell to the Record Bar

Saturday, January 2, 2016 marked the final show at the Record Bar as we currently know it.  On this night the honors of sending her off two local groups: Your Friend, Making Movies.  It was a sold out show with every inch of the bar filled to the gills with fans and patrons from over the years having one last go in the venue.

Record Bar has a special place for me because I had a lot of firsts there.  It was the first place we played our Morphine cover set with Found a Job when it was still Molly Picture Club.  RB was where we saw the Members of Morphine bring those same songs back to life and carry on the spirit of Mark Sandman.

The Record Bar was where we stood in the freezing cold on a Wednesday night to see Daptone artists the Budos Band blow the doors off with two hours of incredible funk/afro-beat.  We made so many friends, met so many musicians and forged many bonds. We saw quite literally hundreds of local artists grace the stage to share their talents with us.

It’s hard to think the place is gone at least in its current form.  For years it served as a hub for us.  The staff treated us generously and always friendly.

We were recently at the Holy Cow Market for a party and there leaned against a wall was “the sign”.  It was dirty and faded, parts of the mounting hardware lay nearby.  You could see the faded paint underneath where the original logo had been.  Standing there, looking at it was like staring at a ghost.  You knew what you were looking at, but you didn’t couldn’t equate it in your brain.  It was surreal.  People passed by and looked at it like they were at a memorial service, quietly whispering to one another.

Leaving the market that night, looking at the sign one last time, was difficult to put into words.  I had the feeling that I don’t get often.  It was a feeling I’d rather not have.

The Record Bar is gone, hopefully just for now.  But it will always represent a community of people that we hope to call life-long friends.  Until we meet again, farewell Record Bar.

Your Friend

 

 

Click for more of Your Friend

Making Movies

AUDIO from Making Movies’ set

 

 

 

 

 

Click for more of Making Movies

Angel Olsen Live at the Riot Room

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Angel Olsen’s set at Kansas City’s Riot Room in Westport was one of blissful contradictions. Before the show even began, Olsen asked for “a little more vocals,” as if her spring-loaded cannon of a voice needs extra amplification. In between tales of lost time and vacant lovers, she warmly asked for a beer with an “appreciate ya” attached to the end. Fuzzed-out brawlers and barely strummed wailers managed to coexist in the same intimate space. Similar to her terrific second LP Burn Your Fire For No Witness, Olsen’s set was both bristly and tender.

It was the tenderness that captivated the crowd first. Soft splashes of tambourine accompanied opener “Free”, which found Olsen keep her fingers tightly crossed for “pure love.” While “Hi-Five”‘s rural trod picked up a few paces, Olsen continued to ruminate on making a lasting connection. “All I ever need is someone out there to believe,” she lonesomely sang as the tightly packed crowd nodded along. Whatever dark alley she wandered down, the audience was eager to follow. And few roads were as pitch-black or rocky early on as “Drunk And With Dreams.” Olsen nearly shred her voice to promise “I’ll be the one, I’ll be the one,” each facial shiver making the promise seem more real.

For someone so frequently guarded in song, Olsen’s on-stage presence was remarkably candid. She gave tips on fiscal beer drinking: the higher the alcohol content the less you have to drink and offered Duchess Sour is “how I feel about myself some time.” As the night continued, that openness spilled over into the band’s songs. Rather than whisper what song should come next, Olsen half-yelled “you wanna do “Forgiven/Forgotten”?” to her guitarist. Even with the cat out of the bag, the Burn Your Fire For No Witness-highlight still bulldozed the enthusiastic crowd and wracked Olsen’s voice as she screamed “I don’t know anything, but I love you.”

Such transparency is what allows for a song like “Miranda” to exist. Whether or not it’s an autobiographical tale is irrelevant, constructing a song around a partner’s knowledge their other half is with another is devastating enough. Throughout the course of the entire night, the 2012 track came closest to pure country. When Olsen asks “what lover is waiting up for you tonight,” the question keeps up the embattled tradition of Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn. Further clawing, she slowly realizes every nice thing that was said may have been a white lie.

Songs such as foot-stamper “High And Wild” and “Sweet Dreams” helped to temporarily ease these sobering realizations. The latter stole into a world of reverie, a world where warped, flanging guitar was more mushroom-fed than whiskey gulping. In “Tiniest Seed”, brushed drums painted Olsen’s tortured references to time in a warmer light.

But some things can only be avoided for so long and by the time her band left her alone on the dark stage, it was becoming clear which half of the contradiction had won out. Save for one lone wolf, everyone in the audience looked dead ahead as Olsen delivered an astounding version of “Unf***theworld”. When she warbles “I wanted nothing but for this to be the end,” it’s one of the most arresting musical moments of the year. An old manner insists “begging is undignified,” though Olsen imbues the indignity with tremendous courage. In that instance, the breathless crowd wasn’t intently focused on Olsen because she was the last one standing. Like Olsen, they were praying for peace of mind.

Arcade Fire Live at the Starlight Theatre

(Arcadefire.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One word that springs up whenever Arcade Fire is discussed is the word “communal”. A word hinging on the idea that their heartfelt, headstrong music provides a place for those on a similar wavelength to get together and feel safe. Each rallying chorus or pointed line doesn’t simply sound good; they throw a life-preserver out to those drowning. Even in Arcade Fire’s darkest hours, a strange hopefulness pervades. You can find inspiration in the mere fact that through such horror they’re still able to stand on two feet. More than indie rock or chamber pop, what the Montreal-group trades in is: survival music. And that survivalist-mentality was on full display at Kansas City’s Starlight Theatre last night.

With the stage bathed in purple lights, a brash clip of “Who’s the F***ing DJ?” blared over the speakers; assuring the crowd the party they’d been promised was soon to follow. Scrawling electric guitars slowly contorted into opener “Here Comes the Night Time”, which had been revamped with squiggly synthesizer movements. The track began the search for community; taking the party to the streets once heaven is found to be at max-capacity. Whatever dancing the opener offered, became a lurch for the paranoiac “Flashbulb Eyes”. Before the song lead-singer Win Butler enjoined the crowd of nearly 8000 to “dance in the aisles,” though few could dance to such a skin-crawling number.

Frantically strummed, Funeral‘s “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” sought a flicker of light in the crisp night air. Though with the bright glockenspiel of the album-cut obliterated, the task became impossible. Three songs in and any chance at community-building had shattered like glass. Thankfully penultimate Funeral track “Rebellion (Lies)” swiftly followed to provide catharsis for weary onlookers. As Régine Chassagne giddily bashed away on piano, the crowd willingly obliged every chant of “lies lies.” Any condemnation of citizen-malaise fell away, leaving behind a muscular pop song for the masses.

From that point forward, no matter the subject matter Arcade Fire connected with the crowd. Spoon-fed by a mourning piano, “The Suburbs” left both Butler and the audience yearning to turn back to a time when things came easier. “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”‘ lithe disco-step and glowing neon lights had Régine Chassagne imagining a bright utopia buried under urban chaos. By the time the crystalline electronics came out for a final time, it was clear Chassagne found her paradise; a place where ribbon-dancing isn’t met with even the slightest guffaw.

While “Sprawl II”‘s disco bubbled beneath the surface, “We Exist”  came strutting onto land. Spiked with guitars, “We Exist”‘s relatability comes in its anxiety. Few things are as miserable as being forgotten, something the song struggles to prevent. While you can take attention-seeking too far, another person’s simple assurance is our lifeblood. It relaxes us. It bonds us when we feel like we’re separate from everyone else.

Sometimes those connections can become strained. Leaping out of the gate like Usain Bolt, “Ready to Start” openly considered upsides to “being alone.” Anchored by Jeremy Gara’s in-the-pocket drum part, Win Butler summoned the strength to ask “can we still be friends?” a question most never pose when they hit a wall. Riding a magnificent glam-rock bassline, “Joan of Arc” heads toward disaster by promising “I’ll follow you,” but stops just short of stalking. “It’s Never Over (Orpheus)” picked up the fraying thread and stretches it to its thinnest point. The line “I will sing your name until you’re sick of me” delivered by Butler (Orpheus) to Chassagne (Eurydice), who was out in the concrete aisles, is at once knowing and foreboding. Imbued with a knowledge the end is nigh, Orpheus continues to insist “it’s never over” as if repetition of the phrase can stave off the inevitable. In that way, he’s no different than anyone who’s struggled to find the words to change course.

The heartrending “Afterlife” acted as the epilogue to this great tragedy. All of the love once shared vanished and left Butler wondering “when love is gone, where does it go?” It’s a question that’s impossible not to ponder. There’s no real magic in the world so every disappearing act can be explained. Love begins in the heart and mind, but where does it end? Butler posits the afterlife as an answer though he seems unsatisfied. Our idealized afterlife is too perfect of a place to let love die. However perfection can be a burden. Love is so blissful in this physical realm because it’s imperfect. It can wither away. Relationships can dissolve into screaming and shouting. Sure we agonize over it, but that agony can be overcome and turn into joy.

For the encore, which came after the confetti cannons of “Reflektor”, the band finally conquered these universal trials. Arriving “all the way from the Internet”, Arcade Fire’s “The Reflektors” persona came to play a seemingly off-the-cuff version of Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind”, a trick they’ve been pulling quite often on tour. Soon enough, a high-spirited Butler interrupted the mask-wearing imposters to inform them “that’s a Kansas song and we’re in f***ing Missouri,” an admonishment that elicited an enthusiastic roar from the revitalized Starlight crowd. And after “Normal Person”‘s faux rockabilly and Win Butler’s affable “how to do you do’s” to those in the first few rows, that enthusiasm crested on the wave of Funeral‘s tour-de-force “Wake Up”. Other songs in their oeuvre have had greater chart success, but “Wake Up” has cemented itself as a de facto fan-favorite. Between Tim Kingsbury’s Telecaster strum at the start and the sanguine violin near the end, there was room for the sold-out crowd to chant the mesmerizingly simplistic chorus. If the entire night could be seen in the frame of a party, “Wake Up” was the next morning. Instead of waking up with a headache, you wake up with hope. You want to venture back out into the world because it has so much to offer. Cutting back through the grass parking lot after the show, that’s all I could think. Whatever happened from there didn’t matter because I’d found my connection; I wasn’t alone.

Concert Revue- Neko Case at Liberty Hall

Photo April Fleming/The Pitch

Neko Case’s latest album The Worse Things Get The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You found the “part-time” New Pornographers member doggedly chasing her muse to all four corners, searching for: love, confidence, and parental guidance. Opening with penultimate The Worse Things Get… track “Where Did I Leave That Fire” was an act of supreme confidence, a bellowing submarine sound issued a false-start to an audience that was ready to run. Follow-up “This Tornado Loves You” with John Rauhouse’s consciously strummed banjo allowed Case the chance for her first vocal volleys. Her voice can be a rafter shaking entity and when it broke lose I half expected her band to stop dead in their tracks.

The band did steady for Fox Confessor Brings the Flood cut “Lion’s Jaws”, slipping into slow dance territory. Here Case’s sighing incantations sound-tracked another turn, as the clock ticked closer to midnight. “Teenage Feeling” stole further into the past, transported by Rauhouse’s rollicking banjo and Case’s yearning voice. The song was one of the night’s many fighters, refusing to throw in the towel and firmly committed to “holding on to that teenage feeling.”

2000’s “Set Out Running” possesses a similar longing to shake off the weight of the past and start anew. “I just can’t shake this feeling that I’m nothing in your eyes” Case sang from the precipice, pushed to the edge by twanging guitar and mourning pedal steel. Soon only her desolate yawp remained, echoing out of every dark cavern. Muted trombone in “Calling Cards” cast a ghostly pallor, giving the final shot “I’ve got calling cards from twenty years ago” a greater wallop than the studio version could ever pack.

The entire night wasn’t a funeral procession however. Case and vocal-collaborator/comedic foil Kelly Hogan kept up an impeccable rapport that deterred some of the deathly musings suggesting “a banjo is a guitar that wants to show you a dead body.” “City Swans” ascent was steady, taking off with Case’s fluttering vocals and a trotting guitar part. By the time chorus came, Case disappeared into a blustery cloud and her unease “I can’t look at you straight on” seemed self-confident.  Whether between banter or in the midst of the maelstrom, Case has an incredible ability to mask any doubt.

If one song projected an unshakable certainty, it was “Man”. An assault of self-assurance and gender reversals, The Worse Things Get… highlight shone on stage offering the authoritative version. Case’s dirtkicking choked out the audience and the band hightailed it to the nearest exit.

Coming back out to rapturous applause, the band provided the ultimate study in contrast to “Man” with “Nearly Midnight Honolulu”. Clapping died when the acapella number began as a hush fell over Liberty Hall. During a showstopper of any set, there’s occasional seat fidgeting or hushed murmuring. Not in this instance. It was quiet enough to hear the audience’s collective heartbeat, if a pulse remained at all. I can’t recall breathing once, each inhalation was stolen by Case to capture the abusive parent tale. Case and company continued for four more songs, but “Nearly Midnight Honolulu” became the night’s unquestionable apotheosis.

Reviewing The Worse Things Get… I wrote “confidence can’t come overnight.” That said, the night’s starkest moments still contained an overwhelming courage to display such unadorned emotion. If last night’s set at Liberty Hall proved anything it’s that Case has never let the reins of her driving confidence go.

Setlist:
1. “Where Did I Leave That Fire?”
2. “This Tornado Loves You”
3. “Bracing for Sunday”
4. “Lion’s Jaws”
5. “People Got A Lotta Nerve”
6. “That Teenage Feeling”
7. “Set Out Running”
8. “The Pharaohs”
9. “City Swans”
10. “Maybe Sparrow”
11. “Red Tide”
12. “Wild Creatures”
13. “Calling Cards”
14. “Deep Red Bells”
15. “Hold On, Hold On”
16. “Night Still Comes”
17. “Man”

18. “Nearly Midnight Honolulu”
19. “Local Girl”
20. “Ragtime”

21. ” I Wish I Was The Moon”
22. “Margaret vs. Pauline”

In the body above I mentioned Case and Kelly Hogan’s “impeccable rapport”, past being an austere musical performance the show was packed with quotacular moments, a few of which I’ve provided below:

“A banjo is a guitar that wants to show you a dead body.”

“That guitar is a d***.”- Said by Case after dropping her weathered acoustic guitar.

“This is more like 5th base. 5th base is when you let me drive your truck and you’re not in it…6th base is you go to the store and pick up tampons for me.”- Case assuming the role of baseball commentator after someone yelled out “2nd base” when she suggested the next song would be taking the audience out to “dinner and a movie.”

“All the bosoms laid out before me, were I a poor man t’would have been a feast.”- Case picking up an English brogue to lampoon Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee.