About a week and a half ago, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings stopped into to Kansas City as part of a co-headlining tour with Trombone Shorty. The show, at Crossroads behind Grinders featured an excellent crowd which had to be near capacity and beautiful weather. The tunes were jumping and the crowd was dancing for a great show.
Day 2 of the Middle of the Map Festival this year was even better than the night before. We caught a number of acts with lots of pictures and audio for your eyes and ears. Rather than get into the weeds on details, check out the show!
This year’s Middle of the Map Fest (MOTM) underwent several substantial changes. Gone are the days of the fest taking place exclusively in Westport. This year the open two nights were held in Westport while the latter two days were held in the Crossroads and Midland Theater. It created a very intimate feeling for the first two nights and more of a big time festival for the finale. Also this year, the Record Bar had a sneak peek with pop-up shows at their new digs on Grand across from the Cigar Box. Overall, the changes were definitely for the better. Without further ado, here is night one:
Back on the first Friday of March, the Quivers released their long-awaited follow-up to 2014’s “Hot Young Mess” with “Sugar Tease”. The show took place at the midtown swap shop Holy Cow Market. The Thunderclaps opened with a great set of surf-tinged tunes from the KC-based duo.
It’s a great collection of tunes written primarily by Terra Skaggs and Todd Grantham. This time around, they added a horn section with the help of Kyle Dahlquist and Jesse Howes. “Sugar Tease” has a the classic Quivers sound with plenty of 60’s soul and early garage rock.
Really, it’s a solid album. It’s been two years since they released their previous effort and maybe the long time between releases was a good thing. The songs had time to mature, get played up at gigs, tweaked and finally laid-down. Check it out here. You can also hit the link in the photo section to hear the entire live set.
Had a bit of a crazy week during the Folk Alliance so unfortunately, I wasn’t able to spend as much time down there as I had hoped. But I did make it down on Saturday evening and caught a bunch of great bands from all over the country.
It was more of a listening experience than a photographic one. I mean there are only so many ways to make musicians in hotel rooms that all look the exact same interesting. Also, there’s that whole difficult to get good shots when there is a bed and dozen chairs in the way thing.
Despite all those things, one thing it didn’t take away from was the quality of the sound. It was a great time just strolling up and down the halls popping your head in, picking up swag and hearing some fresh jams.
The whole conference is a bit of a crazy thing. The civilized more traditional conference-like activities take place during the day time. Then, each night around 6 PM, the “official showcases” start up in the main ballrooms and conference halls until around 10 PM. At 10 or so, that’s when the madness begins upstairs. Dozens of rooms and hallways are filled to capacity with hundreds of musicians and industry folks checking out the sights and sounds. You basically just wander around and stick your head in anywhere that sounds interesting.
Dead Ven one of the proprietors of local label, Money Wolf Music hosted a house show featuring: Micah Schnabel, and Slow Motion Commotion with Ven performing a short opening set. The unplugged show was set in the dining room with 15-20 odd individuals gathered around.
Dead Ven opened the evening with a set of blue collar folk, heavy on working class issues of unemployment, death, loss and life. Following Ven, Slow Motion Commotion performed heavily bluegrass and roots infused tunes. Micah Schnabel of Two Cow Garage ended the evening with songs featuring heavy themes of incarceration, mental health, and loss that put a poignant end to a great night of music.