Middle of the Map Fest: Day 1

The first day of Middle of the Map Fest (MOTM) featured a number of showcases around the heart of Westport.  We bounced back and forth between the Californo’s patio and the Westport Saloon.  The evening started off with the Uncouth, then Hipshot Killer, the Architects and finally, Wick & the Tricks.

The Uncouth:

 

 

 

More of the Uncouth

Hipshot Killer:

 

 

 

More Hipshot Killer

The Architects:

 

 

More Architects

Wick & the Tricks:

 

 

 

More of Wick & the Tricks
 See more over at KC Live Music Blog

Middle of the Map Festival Day 2, The 2016 Edition

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!

 

Shadow Rabbits

 

 

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Lauren Anderson

Audio from Lauren Anderson’s set

 

 

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Amy Farrand and the Like

 

 

 

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Chris Meck and the Guilty Birds

Audio from Chris Meck’s set

 

 

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The Philistines

 

 

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San Fermin

 

 

 

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Various Blonde

Audio from Various Blonde’s set

 

 

 

 

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Ford Theatre Reunion

Audio from Ford Theatre Reunion

 

 

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Middle of the Map Festival Day 1, The 2016 Edition

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:

Jorge Arana Trio

 

 

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Nicholas St James

Audio of Nicholas St James’ set

 

 

LA Witch

 

 

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Cowgirl’s Train Set

Audio from Cowgirl’s Train Set’s set

 

 

 

Julian Davis & the Hayburners

Audio from Julian Davis’ set

 

 

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Sharks in the Deep End

 

 

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Middle of the Map ‘Memz’ by Hilary Rambeau

“MIDDLE OF THE MAP MEMZ” by Hilary Rambeau

motm hilary rambeau

For 10 days each year, The Middle of the Map Festival allows the center of the country to be recognized for more than just a region of wheat and never ending plains. This year marked The Middle of the Map’s 6th Annual Anniversary, and from May 27-April 7 the festival, once again, brought the breadbasket of the country to light as a cultural hub for “music”, “film” and “ideas” of every kind. While those of us here in Kansas City are already aware of our highly underrated artistic epicenter, the festival attracted visitors from all over the country to experience the KC magic for themselves.

Our crew danced the days away to several of the headlining bands’ crushing performances. Zhu, Vince Staples, and Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires to mention a few! Although, one of the true beauties of growing festivals like Middle of The Map, is the treasure hunt for the diamonds in the rough. Local and national bands alike travel near and far to simply jam out to the art they have spent countless hours creating. As a festival goer, you are able to experience the passion within just a few feet of their performance. There’s an unprecedented feeling of festival fortune when you leave a small show that delivered a vibe and tune that rang in sync with your own heart’s beat, and you had only arrived there “on accident”.

For those of you who missed out, fear not, next year will surely hold a promising lineup yet again, AND we only have 4 months until we can all put our dancing shoes back on for the Crossroads Music Fest in September. Until then, take a listen to our “MOTM Memz” playlist for a short, eclectic mix of groovy #MOTMfest highlights to get your day going while offering you a tiny taste of the tunes that had the feet of Kansas City tapping this past week.

“MOTM MEMZ”

CLICK to view in Spotify

By Hilary Rambeau, Trailside RV and Route 66 RV Network Content Developer

Wed., May 4 @ 11:30PM. Westport Saloon. Roosevelt Dime – Oh to Be

Thurs., May 5 @ 12:00AM. Ernie Biggs. Big Black Delta– Money Rain Down

Fri., May 6 @ 12:00AM. Ernie Biggs. The Besnard Lakes – Pressure of Our Plans

Fri., May 6 @ 8:00PM. The Midland. Gallant – Weight in Gold

Fri., May 6 @ 9:15PM. CrossroadsKC. The Struts – Kiss This

Fri., May 6 @ 10:30PM. The Midland. Zhu – Automatic

Fri., May 6 @ 10:30PM. CrossroadsKC. Cold War Kids – We Used to Vacation

Sat., May 7 @ 12:00AM. Ernie Biggs. The Grisly Hand – Baby Talk

Sat. May 7 @ 8:00PM. The Midland. Son Little – Lay Down

Sat., May 7 @ 9:15PM. The Midland. Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires – Ain’t It a Sin

Sat., May 7 @ 10:45PM. The Record Bar Pop-Up. Com Truise – Subsonic

Sat., May 7 @ 12:45AM. Tank Room. Ggoolldd – Boyz

Sun., May 8 @ 12:15AM. The Record Bar Pop-Up. STRFKR – Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second

Middle of the Map Fest – Day #3

Middle of the Map Fest Day #3 featured another great lineup especially in the Kansas City music department.  The night started off with a bang at Riot Room on the patio where the Jorge Arana Trio was playing one of the loudest jazzy sets in recent memory.  Their music is fairly complex but still very accessible to the average music fan.  It’s great to listen to how their songs progress from one place to the next.  Where the end up is often light years away from where they started.  It’s a really refreshing sound.

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Listen to the Jorge Arana Trio on the Riot Room Patio

Inside the Riot Room, the Phantastics led by Kemet Coleman were tearing the roof off with a heavily 70’s funk and soul inspired sound that had quite a crowd and dancing aplenty.  Coleman’s presence on the mic and dance moves kept the crowd going while the band laid down solid funky sounds.

Click for more of the Phantastics

After the Phantastics finished up, we hiked over to the Westport Saloon to catch Lauren Anderson.  Lauren Anderson and her band are a Chicago-based bluesy 4-piece outfit featuring Lauren on guitar on vocals.  The soulful tunes with a solid rhythm section and great guitar work make for a really balanced, well-executed set.

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Listen to Lauren Anderson performing “Shame”

Back over to the Riot Room, we caught Various Blonde.  The Joshua Allen led group features funk, rock, and dance tunes.  A couple times Joshua Allen joined the crowd while singing setting the stage perfectly for the next group, St Louis’ Illphonics.

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Listen to a clip of Various Blonde at the Riot Room

The Illphonics are pretty easy to draw comparison’s to early Roots albums but the band executes the hip-hop with a backing band very well. Socially conscious lyrics and neo-soul sounds create a show that’s virtually impossible to stand still for.  But while it may be neo-soul inspired, the Illphonics are clearly their own band with something to say.

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Listen to a track from the Illphonics set

Finishing up our night at the Westport Saloon, we caught Katy Guillen and the Girls playing a blues inspired set that is decidedly rocked out. All the members of the group have a great level of musicianship and instinct that allows them to really lock in a put on a show.  At this point in the night, the bar was packed, the crowd was moving and it the perfect time for an act like KG and the Girls.

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Listen to Katy & the Girls performing “I Can’t Live Here Anymore” and “Quiver

Then there was the final day/night…check back for more on that later this week.

Middle of the Map Festival 2015, Night Two at the Uptown Theater

The theme for night two of Middle of the Map was folk.  Sean Rowe opened up the evening with a great set of baritone vocals and guitar.  You could hear a pin drop during his set as his voice boomed through the Uptown Theater for the early crowd.

Following Rowe was Kansas City’s own Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear.  MW & MB have added drums and bass to the lineup to fill out the sound a bit and it’s really great.  The core of the duets that garnered their initial success still maintain their character with a bit more bottom.  For the larger venue like the Uptown it really helps.  They’ve got a new album coming out in May that we’re really looking forward to.
Click for more of Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear

AUDIO: Madisen Ward and Mama Bear performing “Silent Movies”

 

After Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear, Philadelphia folk rockers Strand of Oaks.  Strand of Oaks is a project put together by Indiana native Timothy Showalter.  He’s really released a pretty significant amount of material in just the last five years.  Somehow we’re just now finding out about him.  We dug it.
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AUDIO: Hear Strand of Oaks here

 

Closing the night and clearly the main attraction, Iron and Wine.
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Check back for more Middle of the Map coverage!

Head over to KC Live Music Blog for this and other great local music coverage!