Friday, December 18, 2015

industrial assault trip

It seemed that folks were ready to get out and dance in January 2003.  I am not sure what it was, but the whole month leaned that way.  Maybe the holidays had been particularly good or bad to them.  It didn’t matter in the end, as the kids lost themselves in the music all night long.

Probably the best example of this in January 2003 was a show put on by Phuk Bed Entertainment in cooperation with Suburban Loops, featuring DJ Assault and his own particular brand of “Accelerated Funk.”  Whatever it was, the whole house was grooving.  Everyone had arrived early and were dancing through the supporting cast of locals early on all the way through DJ Sage, Assault, and on through the night.  It was an awesome night that seemed to be made for dancing.

The only other event to come close to Invasion was the Project Groove One-Year Anniversary Party in Lawrence.  Their little celebration featured a 5-hour tag team set with two of the most fantastic turntablist, DeeJay P and Z-Trip.  I have not seen someone go through so many records in one set than I did that night.  Indeed the number of records just one of them went through in 15 minutes was astounding; not many folks that can pull that off well.  These two DJS kept a solid groove, swapping tracks in and out, playing to what the crowd is feeling, and inspiring it as well.  Everyone was dancing.  If you were not dancing, you were dead or in the restroom.

The month had a decided dark twist too, as I covered more events from the Gothic / Industrial side of the world.   It all started at the El Torreon ballroom with a little “Dark Underground Musik” that included a live performance by Imperative Reaction.  I do not recall a lot about the band, and did not know a lot then, but I do remember that it was a good gig.  There was not a particularly large crowd, but those that were there were having a great time.

There were other gigs along those lines throughout the month, as well.   I stopped in on Dark Diva’s night at Bender’s, which was a lot of fun, as well as the regular weekly, Evolution at Davey’s.  Imperative Reaction stayed over to play to small crowd of fans one of those Monday nights; of course, the regular performance art show at the end of the month topped things off.

Spliced in between these events, local talent RJ Bass hosted his own little Birthday Bash at The Empire Room, with Steve Thorell, True and Rob Lee holding down the beats. It was a good night of fun complete with chocolate martinis.  On a whim, I ran up to Omaha to check out a show featuring area local Sydeburnz aka Jack Napier, along with local DJs James Deep and Wizzo, all playing some good tunes to a good crowd.  Later in the month, I also got a chance to have a good night playing out with DJ Synnister and Tony Markham, kicking off the first of their Monday nights at the Westport Garage.

Access to photos from these events is now available through the story archive, which is really the only access point for the photos at this time.  I am closing down the off-site archive, but I am bringing back the “collections” in their larger format.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

the force needs more sleep

Inside the Glenwood Theater
A long time ago, in a theater on the other side of town, I had the opportunity to attend the opening night of a relatively unknown feature film at the Glenwood Theater in Overland Park.  It was the only place in town showing the movie.  Star Wars was an incredible journey through space, time, and fantasy in worlds light years away.

We knew very little about this movie, excepting the hype my uncle had put into describing it.  He insisted we go, guaranteeing we would enjoy every minute of it.  He was right.  Indeed, I sat through the movie nailed to my seat.  The special effects were amazing for the time, and captured the imagination.  In spite of what many say recently about the movie, it did not really introduce anything new or unexpected that most science fiction fans were not already well acquainted with.  It did not inspire me to go out and build a rocket, robot, to become an astronaut, or a coder.  Tom Swift Jr. had already done that; yet another situation introduced by the same Uncle.

The movie brought together two of my favorite subjects, Science Fiction and Revolution, into one amazing story that was completely believable.  I had read quite a bit of both topics by that time and very much perceived the movie an immediate reflection of the continuing struggle throughout the history of humankind, between those greedy for absolute power and total domination of those who simply will not be dominated.  For me, the movie validated that rebellion was not only necessary at times, but often was an imperative in the universe.  It also spoke to another subject lurking in the back of my mind; organized religion, God, and all that moves us.  The Force was as good of a name for all of that as any, and brought everything into perspective without even trying or creating animosity; well, except in the worlds introduced by this saga.

Fast forward to today.  I am not one that is particular interested in seeing sequels, usually do not go see a movie more than once, and do not generally go out of my way to go see an updated movie either.  They are all tend to be seriously lacking, in one way or another, so I was a little hesitant to bother with latest rendition.  Offered the chance to catch this opening act though, I decided since I had been to the first, I might as well go and see what all the fuss is about.

We arrived a couple of hours early to avoid the crowds, which turned out a great idea.  The closer movie time came, the more chaos ensued in the lobby, compounded by folks in costume for the event, and an R2D2 drifting about the lobby.  Later Storm Troopers and the royal family joined the fun, with folks swarming around to get a photo with any or all of the characters.  We had plenty of opportunity for that early on, even though it was only with the R2D2.

The movie was good, but not groundbreaking, and nothing to write home about.  The special effects were equivalent to anything out right now, and not particularly innovative.  The acting was generally good, but the characters lacked any depth at all, excepting those from the first film making extended cameo appearances.  The story was generally disappointing, and nearly plagiarism.  The writers should be ashamed of themselves and George Lucas, embarrassed.  I really expected more than just a re-write of the first movie.  How cheap and unimaginative.  While it was probably inspiring to the younger folks, it generally lacked the depth and purpose of the original feature, and there was a point or two that really did not resonate well.

The character Kylo Ren, son of Han Solo, and grandson of the infamous Darth Vader came off as a whiny little brat that needed a good thrashing.  Although, perhaps that was the intent; or the writers just did not know how to create that perfect villain, or maybe Adam Driver is just a bad actor.  It is hard to know, and only future editions will establish certainty on either point.  The character was not dark, foreboding and oppressive, except in costume; even then, not so much.  It was simply a typical angst riddled adolescent, with no apparent cause for discontent, who murders his father.  Yes, he murders his father. I would say by treacherous and deceitful means, but I think everyone say it coming from the sniveling little pestilence.  He pretends to “see the light,” asks for help, and then stabs his father through the heart.  It did disturb everyone in the audience, likely only because somebody had the audacity to kill Han Solo.  I was only surprised that Disney would seriously go down that path.  Regardless of the morality of the issue, is that really a lesson Disney really wants to embed in the minds of those still forming opinions on the appropriate course of action for their grievances?

As mentioned previously, the story pretty much followed that of the original, with very little variation.  A lonely Skywalker descendant leaves a desert-like planet with a robot on a mission to deliver a message stored in the robot.  They meet other people that help them and are reunited with long lost family.  They learn of a weapon similar to the Death Star, but now planet-sized.  The Rebels blow it up.  Just about the time you thought it was over though, the story whiplashes disjointedly to a sub-story and the discovery of the lost Luke Skywalker.  The End.  The underlying story of revolution?  Marginalized.  It seems that after multiple generations of war, the Rebellion is still a scattered minority with no hope of winning anything more than the occasional battle.  It seems the Force needs a bit more sleep

Although, do not mistake my grievances for dismissal or distaste of the feature.  It was a pretty good adventure movie with a generally good story and relatively good acting.  It was a Disney movie.  If I had never seen any of the Star Wars saga, I might have had a much higher opinion of the situation.   It just failed to meet my expectations and all of the hype surrounding it.  Is anyone else sick of Star Wars merchandising and commercialism yet?

Friday, December 04, 2015

the mongrels ep release party

The Anonymous Poet, Martian Face, Brother Bagman, and Supermassive Black Holes joined up with The Mongrels to celebrate the release of a debut EP by the latter.  Davey’s Uptown Ramblers Club has always been the go-to spot for good local Rock-n-Roll talent, and a few YouTube from Brother Bagman sold us on the notion though. We were open to most anything anyway, but you never know what you might get, and sometimes, a few things are just not on the list.  

Indeed, the primary goal for the evening was some good music that we did not have to stay up all night for.  We were ditching another show because of that second point.  For some reason, a lot of event coordinators in KC believe that a good night of music cannot start before 10 pm; as well, any headliner should not play before Midnight.  That makes for a long night, especially on a Friday. Whatever happened to being able to go out for a little dinner and dancing?  In Kansas City that only seems possible if you are prepared to eat at 10 pm, and are willing to stay up all night.  It would be great to see a venue hosting some early evening House music. 

Davey's is dedicated to Rock & Roll though, and always serves it up early through the late hours. This event was slated to start up at 830 pm, with a few short sets by the locals, and longer sets from the headliners and those for whom the EP release party was being held.  As things always seem to go in show biz, the sets started late.  They were only an hour behind, and it was no big deal.  We were a half-hour behind anyway, and arrived just in time for the final sound check. 

A duo called The Anonymous Poet kicked things off with a solid performance of some of their work.  With one on acoustic guitar and another on a Cajon, we enjoyed listening to them trade off a couple of times, while providing some interesting Spoken Word sort of lyricism.  At the end of their set, several others joined on stage.  We really were not sure who they were, but got the impression it might have been The Mongrels.

Martian Face was next on the line-up, and included one of the duo from The Anonymous Poet on percussion.  The six member troupe, led by a bearded mountain on acoustic guitar, hammered through about 5 really good tunes that left us wishing they could play a bit longer.  While similar in style to the previous band, the additional members ramped up the energy and got a few folks on their feet and dancing.

Sometime around 11 pm when Brother Bagman took the stage.  The four-piece group changed the pace and style slightly.  There was no Spoken Word now, only a Jam Band somewhat crossed between the Dead and a little Southern Fried Rock.  The first half of the set was good, and we were a little disappointed to have to leave, but the length of the day was starting to wear on us a bit.  Someone mentioned that the band comes to Kansas City every so often, so we will have to keep an eye for the next show.  

There were no photos from the night; only the YouTube below.  Obsession with testing out video on the new phone took precedence, as did the Warp filter in post-processing.  I think I need to put my thumb over that mic though.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

a full year

The first anniversary of the beginning of this adventure came along , but there was no big celebration, party or otherwise.  I had not even noticed that it had been a year, until that very day.  It had been a wild ride across the scenery of underground dance, music, and performance in Kansas City.  I pondered whether to continue to or not, briefly.  There were so many good events on the horizon, and everyone seemed to enjoy the site, the photos, and what I was looking to accomplish.  Turns out, I was documenting a strange sort of history that nobody else knew about, outside of these circles.  Nothing else like this existed like this at the time in the Midwest.

With these thoughts swirling around my head that I headed out the door to Lawrence, on the night of this first anniversary.  I was going to check out Something Cosmic at The Pool Room.  I can’t really recall who it was that was playing, even after looking through the photos, but they were significant, and I remember that it was one hell of a set.  If anyone remembers, post a comment!

The second year began with a fantastic performance at Davey’s Uptown by a newly formed electronic duo calling themselves ebon.  That was just a warm-up for their Live PA performance later in the week at The Hurricane (now the Riot Room).  These two spots found their way on the agenda several times during the month.  Indeed, the day after the first ebon show found me back at Davey’s for the gothic band, Bella Morte.  They played a good show to a small crowd at Davey’s, hammering out tune after tune incorporating various elements of metal and synthpop.  The day after that Liquid Buzz hosted Rick West down at the Hurricane.

Likely one of the most significant events of the month was the re-opening of the basement at the relatively new Kabal Restaurant & Nightclub.  They invited me down to check out the place and take a few photos.  I was quite amazed at what they had planned and after some discussion, looked forward to being a part of their future.  This is the only club I fully documented from beginning to the bitter end, but as with everyone else, enjoyed every moment of it.

There was a return to Davey's for another show by the local performance troupe that hosted Submission.  Hosting their first x-mas special, a near full hose witnessed various fire-swallowing, oiled and bound escapades.

The month ended on a chill note, with a little New Year’s Eve house party in Topeka, hosted by 666 ZipCode Town Rekkids.  Invited to join them and play a Living Room set, I hesitated at first. I had not played any sort of records in quite a while, and lacked anything relatively new.  They were undeterred though, and it out to be a lot of fun as I loaded up an  eclectic mix of downtempo tracks from the 80s and 90s.

There is so much more I could say about these events, and will definitely return to their individual postings to elaborate there more, over time.  For now, all of the photos from these events are restored now, and accessible under December 2002 in the Story Archive.  Various notes that I had taken during that time show up there too.  If you have any thoughts towards any of these events, it would be good to hear your thoughts, if you were at any of these events.  Post a comment here, on the event, or get in touch if you would like to write about something in particular, more in depth... past ... present ... or even future.  Share your experience.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

kill devil shades of jade

Stopping in a relatively new spot, we were hoping to catch an early performance from a band we had not heard in quite a while; instead, we got something completely different.  It was not bad, but not exactly what we were looking for. 

The Kansas City Power & Light District, the Kill Devil Club, and many other establishments really should make a greater effort to ensure that the information on their web site is correct.   The flyer had been sitting on my desktop for several months, and we confirmed the date on their respective web sites that day. 

The band, Grand Marquis was nowhere to be found though.  Another local group called Shades of Jade was setting up to play instead.  We were only out for a late evening drink and a couple of tunes anyhow, and we decided to give them a chance. 

The Kill Devil Club is not all that new of a spot, but it was the first time we had been there.  It turned out to be a nice.  Dimly lit, it was not so dark that you could not see around a room darkly decorated in blacks and reds.  There is plenty of seating throughout the place at small two and four-person tables, along with lots of cozy lounge-type seating around the perimeter of the room.  The service was good, and generally friendly, but terribly slow.  The food seemed a bit over-priced, and drinks about the same as you might expect anywhere else in the District.

Shades of Jade played well, after they found their groove.  The female vocalist had a sweet voice that carried nicely over the apparent rift between the drummer and the keyboardist, smoothing the situation out.  The latter seemed to be battling each other for control of the tempo throughout the first few songs; either that, or the songs themselves demanded that sort of activity, but it did not really seem so at the time.

I think it likely had more to do with the how they had arranged themselves, which really said a lot about whom thought who was in charge of tempo.  The keyboard player positioned himself in the back center, where a drummer usually sits; the drummer was off to the side.  They should probably reconsider this arrangement.  The battle seemed to sort itself out by third song though.  It is hard to tell, since the first set was really only 4 songs.

We headed out after that, so have no idea how well the rest of the night went.  Folks were starting to arrive, and the place was slowly but deliberately filling up.  We plan to make another trip to the Kill Devil Club and have a listen to Grand Marquis, and maybe Levee Town too.  Looking over their flyer of upcoming events, they seem to have a good line-up of local talent; of course, that is, if the calendar can be trusted.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

footloose hyper house

Returning from a nice long Halloween break in New Orleans that lasted the better part of that month, there was not too much going on during the month of November 2002.  There was a House Party nearly every weekend, and really only one event featuring anything beyond local talent.

After playing as the opening act for the Delta Heavy Tour earlier in the year, DJ Hyper was passing back through on his own Bedrock CD/Record Release Tour, and stopped in for night.  While there was not a huge turnout, it was a Wednesday night in Kansas City after all.  Anyone lucky enough to be out got a real treat, and a flashback to the show early in the year.

A completely random event popped into the picture too this month too.  A local high school put on a performance of the infamous "Footloose," and having my camera along, I could not resist snapping a few shots of the show, since it was somewhat of a contrast with the underground music subculture and its sometimes rocky relationship with the community.

In an odd sort of reflection, as mentioned, the House Party dominated the scen during the month.  A small gathering under the banner of Maintenance, by Broklyn Squad Productions went down out south.  DJ cQuence hosted a birthday party for herself and another in the middle of the month, and Phukbed Productions pumped up the volume in MidTown to a full house, at their house.  THe last of the month, 604 Paramore Sessions was likely the best of all though, when 666 ZipCode Town Rekkids hosted a small personal gathering at their place in Topeka.

Those photos have now been restored for November 2002.  There is more to the story for this month, I am sure.  The details escape me at this time, and I have begun to add minor, more specific writings to the events themselves.  When you look through the Story Archive, you might stumble across some of these notes related to the events photographed.  It would be good to hear your thoughts, if you were at any any of these events.  Post a comment here, on the event, or get in touch if you would like to write about something in particular, more in depth... past ... present ... or even future.  Share your experience.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

tonelli american duo

We stopped in at The American Restaurant for a little chill jazz session with the Tonelli Duo.  This was one of the first official gigs in town for guitarist Mark Tonelli, after bidding farewell to regular duties with the Jazz Knights ensemble.

After spending 10 years with that group, he decided it was time for a change, and came to Kansas City to soak in the thick tradition of Jazz the town holds close.  Playing alongside a bassist, the two provided some light, enjoyable, and unobtrusive music for the early evening hours, enabling good conversation with those who had joined us.

Arriving before they started, we enjoyed a few appetizers and cocktails from the Lounge.  This was our first trip to this location, and we were happy to discover they supported numerous local Jazz musicians, hosting small ensembles regularly every week from Wednesday.

It runs through Saturday in the Lounge, playing mostly sounds of the Contemporary sort.  Situated as it is with a view of downtown, it is a nice little spot to unwind to some chill sounds, while watching night fall over the city.

there are no more photos from this event

Friday, October 09, 2015

kraftwerk 3dkc

What would you say if I told you that you could drive a car across Germany all by yourself, without ever leaving the room?  I still remember my uncle asking something along those lines, and my 8-year-old mind was immediately fascinated with the idea.

Removing a brand new album, decorated with the image of a highway, he explained that he had some new music that could make that happen.  It was only music, but it was magic too, and had the power to transport me across the ocean, into a car and across Germany in special sort of road trip.  I would only need to close my eyes and pay very special attention to the music though.  There would be words that I would not understand, but it did not matter; if I listened closely, I would understand everything.

He placed the enormous headphones over my ears, and gently placed the needle on the record.  I heard the car start and back out of the driveway.  A horn honked and in no time, I was speeding down a highway.  Cars and trucks passed in different directions, some honking their horns.

Soon, rain fell and the car splashed through the puddles.  Eventually the night came, and I began to get sleep.  I could not though.  I had to keep driving, but the record was over.  The experience was every bit as real as my mind enabled it.  My uncle flipped the record and I slipped into the passenger seat to close my eyes for a while longer to the sounds of the Kometenmelodie until Mitternacht.  Somewhere along the way, I drifted off on a Morgenspaziergang.

My introduction to Kraftwerk and the Autobahn was my first memory of electronic music; perhaps, there were others before that, but this is the most vivid.  I followed them off and on for years, always amazed out the latest thing they had krafted, but never got an opportunity to witness a performance.  I finally got that chance though, and was pleased beyond words.

The Kraftwerk 3d performance in Kansas City was Atomic and amazing, on both an auditory and visual level.  There seemed to be a greater intensity in their live performance that just cannot be matched in the studio.  I expected a sterile studio copy and I received much more.

The visuals were fantastic, and easily recognizable from many of the videos I had seen, but 3d added a whole new flavor to the mix.  The full house that had waited 40 years on their return was not disappointed.

The lack of dance floor was likely the only downside to the show.  I thought it numerous times, and those I had come with, thought the same.  It did not deter those insistent on getting their groove on though.  Several times, I looked back to the bar to see folks at the bar dancing.  Everyone really seemed to enjoy the show.  I did not hear a single word of disappointment; that is excepting the 40-year wait.  Hopefully, the next intermission is not that long.

view more photos from this event

Friday, October 02, 2015

a night at the kcjo cotton club

The Cotton Club was at the epicenter of jazz creativity and fame during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and ‘30s.  It produced some of the greatest names in music and show business, legends such as Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson, Cab Calloway, Fletcher Henderson and scores of others.

The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra opened their season with a tribute to this era, and a sold-out house in Helzberg Hall of Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The 17-piece orchestra presented “A Night at the Cotton Club,” with classic swing arrangements and a few variations of tunes like “Rockin In Rhythm,” “Stormy Weather,” “Echoes Of Harlem,” “Stardust.” “Minnie The Moocher,” “Creole Love Call,” and many others.

A backdrop displayed various images from the era, and a few different guests shared the stage.  Local educator Herman Mehari sat in as a guest trumpet, blasting out some good solo runs on a song or two.  

Showing off dance moves of days past, the 627 Dancers had an incredible amount of energy, twirling around the stage.  They were a lot of fun to watch, and it is too bad that the show was not in a real dance hall.  I suspect there would have been a lot of folks up moving and grooving.

All in all, it was great way to kick off the opening season for The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, and we look forward to their upcoming events.  There is really only the one photograph of the night, and of course the little collage of video snippets on the YouTube.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

fire spinning submission

Since last we spoke, I have managed to restore October 2002.  I did not have a chance to say much about August and September when those were posted back to back last month.  They were no less interesting than the previous months.

August kicked off with a new monthly at Balanca's Pyro Room featuring local talent from the Techno Justice League.  There was another House Party, a BBQ and a trip to the Empire Room for a peek in on DJ Mike Scott's night.  A couple of big events went off in Lawrence, courtesy of Project Groove and then a little backstreet boogie to send DJ Booth & DJ Nitro on their way to St Louis. The event of the month was Prodo-1 put on at a dirty little spot on Guinotte by Cosmic Space Entertainment and XL KlubKnights; aside from the DJ talent, the feature of the night being a Live Firedancer performance by Wildfire Entertainment Chicago.

September started with an awesome little Labor Day party at The Empire Room.  A few folks celebrated their birthdays along the way; DJ Sydeburnz of Syde-Sho fame and bPostive, columnist for this site and for a physical street publication of her own that ran before all the interweb business became all the rage.  I dropped in on Wednesday Perk for a little midweek chill session, and there was a Monday back at Club Evos for an event re-titled to "Universal Love Underground."  The highlight of the month was a little gig out at a new spot, the Jackson County Conference Center. DownPlay International and Project Groove brought Shiva to Endless Summer:02.

The month ended with the introduction of a new element to the photographic lineup, Submission.  The series is a portrait of a completely different sort of underground lifestyle and performance art within Kansas City over the next two years.  It was a good lead in for October and a month of costumed affairs in honor of Halloween.

A little birthday event in Lawrence got October off to a bangin start, I dropped in on Davey's Uptown for a couple of different Industrial Area band events, their Monday night Evolution and met up with the Dark Diva at her Halloween Party down at Bender's. We dropped in on a Grand Opening event at the Red Room on the Plaza, and later in the week, Jilly's on Broadway for some House music.  Grab Recordings hosted a record release party featuring Tim Harper out of Chicago and Daddy aka Jazmin from Chicago.

Halloween exploded at Phreakz!, which featured Josh "The Funky 1" and Ugly Bill aka Peacemaker.  It was a full on costume rave, back out at the Conference Center.  It was a night to remember, all night long.  Fortunately, it was early enough in the month, since I spent Halloween in New Orleans.  I lucky enough to catch a rare performance by the Creatures of Habit before the city descended too much farther into the chaos of Halloween.  It is not quite so much so as Mardi Gras, but a close third.  While wandering the streets of the French Quarter photographing does not really qualify as an "event."  Halloween in New Orleans is an even unto itself.  The evening included a stop in at an event at the State Palace Theater entitled The Dark Coalition:  The Grand Gala of the Nocturnal By Nature.  I dropped in early to check out Myself, whom I had heard previously and talked to a bit online.  They put on quite a good performance of mixing and live brass.

November 2002 is coming soon.  Search or visit the Story Archive to access photos and/or video of events through October 2002 and 2013 through current.  Stay tuned for future updates.  You can always check the site tag for the latest information on changes to the site, or the backstory tag for previous commentary.

Did you photograph prior to December 2001?  Are you interesting in sharing your photos and thoughts about those times.  Get in touch.  Leave a Reply.  We want your stories...

Sunday, September 13, 2015

kc chalk and walk festival 2015

We took a walk down to KC Chalk and Walk Festival at Crown Center, hoping to see the promised focus on 3-D images. Sixteen blocks later Saturday, we discovered they were incomplete; that is, for the featured work.  A few of the other displays were complete; most of them were still in progress. The central theme appeared to be video games.

Houston-based muralist and chalk artist Anat Ronen was among the featured guests, along with 100 other artists showcased in the area around the Crown Square Fountain. Hundreds of kids and adults also left their mark on the event in a massive free-draw area.  A couple of food trucks kept everyone fed, and both days were perfect for those participating and viewing.

Returning Sunday near the end of the day, the featured works were complete.  I even found one that kind of looked like local House Music legend DJ Pat Nice.  I asked the artist about the similarity, but she pointed me to another guy that was the model for the painting.  He didn't look much like Pat.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

sounds of summer tour 2015 kc

The Sounds of Summer Tour, featuring platinum selling country music singer and songwriter Dierks Bentley, stopped in on Kansas City in support of his latest full-length album.  The North American tour opened in North Carolina in January with a supporting cast of up-and-coming talent Kip Moore, Maddie & Tae, and Canaan Smith.  Bentley said that these three acts "are three of the hottest rising artists out there right now" and he feels "fortunate to be spending the summer with them."

The Kansas City show was a near sell-out, with most folks having purchased tickets to the event in January as part of the Live Nation's Country Megaticket.  A few expressed disappointment in this particular event, citing a generally drunken and rowdy sort of crowd, with beer showers for the unsuspecting. ~ photos & video by sherri


view more photos from this event
photos & video by sherri

Saturday, September 05, 2015

imagine that band

While on a fishing expedition in Arkansas, a friend and I wandered across this random event.  Actually, to be perfectly honest, it was somewhat planned.  We had been at Mack's Fish House the night before, and a few of the members of the band were putting on a little show.  The guitarist was on point, and the vocalist had a very fine voice indeed.  There were a couple of other vocalists that sat in too, and they were good, almost the same quality.   After one of their sets, they indicated that they were playing down at the park amphitheater the next night.  We knew of it and planned to drop by anyway, but this little show convinced us to stop in for a moment.

That was about as long as we stayed though.  We had been out kayaking and fishing all day and exhaustion got the better of us.  We dropped in for about three or four tunes, which were mostly covers of 80s pop rock tunes.  It likely turned into a good crowd.  Another girl out of Nashville was going on at 830 pm, and folks were continuing to show up as we were leaving.

The Spring Park Amphitheater is a nice little spot too.  Right in the middle of town, it seats a few hundred, and the surrounding hillside terraced three or four times over.  Folks can sit little bit of everywhere.  You could probably squeeze a couple of thousand around the area easily. Inside the amphitheater seemed louder, with the rock wall at the back reflecting a lot of the sound.  It is very likely that the more folks packed inside, the better the sound.

... only took a few photos that night and then there is the video found from YouTube ...

Saturday, August 22, 2015

36th annual ethnic enrichment festival

After spending the afternoon watching the Blue Angels perform for the Kansas City Aviation Expo, we headed out to Swope Park to taste the cuisine offered at the 36th annual Ethnic Enrichment Festival.   We had not been since the 25th and were quite anxious to see how much the annual affair had grown, and what new things there were to see.

The situation had expanded quite significantly since our last visit, which became very apparent as we approached the gates on 63rd Street.  Traffic was backed up for about a half mile, but we progressed quickly.  It was still at the pavilion near Starlight Theater, and we easily maneuvered our way to a parking spot on the lawn surrounding the festivities.

The festival was no longer free, but who could complain about that.  It was somewhat expected after all that time.  Three dollars is not too bad for a day of music and dance performances from just about nearly every ethnic group in the world.  Additionally, food tents surrounded the pavilion offering a variety of treats for every pallet, at a reasonable price.  The food tents only covered a small portion of the area on our last visit, but now encircled the pavilion, and then some.  It was a welcome sight, but a little disappointing at the same time.

We might have missed it, since we were only there for a couple of hours, but there seemed to be a general lack of display of ethnic custom that had been readily apparent on my last visit.  Open-air discussions about culture, customs, and identity could be found anywhere.  It was lacking on this round, replaced by trinket tents.  It would be good to see a return to more of that.

A world of flavors were available for the sampling though.  We started with a sampling of German food, and then over to the beer tent to wash it down.  After that, we grabbed a sweet treat from the Norwegian tent, as well as sampling a little Kenyan goat and rice mixture.  Every tent had patrons, but some were simply impossible, due to the length of the line.  It is funny how folks can get Asian food anywhere in our City and will still wish for nothing more than a little fried rice.   Had they been serving true Asian cuisine, I doubt there would have been quite as many visitors.

The performances were not very accessible, and the logistics of the situation tends to force people away, rather than bring them together. Situated on top of a small rise, the pavilion is a fantastic spot for dance and music performances, when the crowd is small, as had been the case years ago.  So many people attempt to crowd into the covered space, that it is impossible to stand away from the masses and enjoy the performances.  Twenty yards or so away, and one could barely hear the music.  Viewing the performance was out of the question, more often than not.  The organizers really should consider a small valley that is only a hundred yards away next year.   It would be much better suited to this scenario, and act as more of a theater. It would most certainly demand more attention of the patrons, enabling everyone to enjoy all of the performances.

We did enjoy our brief time at this truly unique Kansas City experience though.  A friend of a friend from Boston that went along with indicated he wished that they did something like this in his town.  Apparently, they have a variety of ethnic festivals, but none that try to bring everyone together like this.  That is the whole point too, to bring all ethnic groups together, share a little food, fun, and celebrate the things we hold in common.

blue angels at kc aviation expo

It was downtown to the rooftops again for a look at the performance of the United States Navy Blue Angels, during the Kansas City Aviation Expo.

It is always good to have a friend with the right view, when something like this is going on; lacking that, all it takes is a little resourcefulness and an understanding of Google Maps. There are several good spots to view, without burning twenty dollars to get a ground level view of the situation.

We arrived later in the afternoon than originally intended, but apparently had not missed a thing; that is, excepting an earlier performance by the Blue Angels.  I was surprised to hear that.

Usually there are all sorts of things flying about at these events.  It did make me a bit curious as to what exactly the Expo was all about; still, not curious enough to park 5 miles away, ride a bus with a bunch of other sweaty tourists, compete with those same masses for a good spot, and make an equally competitive return trip.

The view from the rooftops was fantastic though, and worth the twenty dollars we did not pay.  Indeed, I would have gladly paid the money to our friend for that experience.

We enjoyed our own refreshments, were not accosted by security needing to assure we were not terrorists, and those other terrorists with strollers were utterly absent.  It was a good day indeed.  The Blue Angles put on a great show, and passed amazing closely on a few occasions.

view more photos from this event

Friday, August 21, 2015

wheels up tour kc

The girls were out for yet another event last Saturday, featuring Lady Antebellum as part of the Wheels Up Tour.  Hunter Hayes and Sam Hunt joined the party, during this fall half of a tour that began on May 1 in Lubbock, TX.   The first half kicked off in Oslo, Norway with a few other stops in the rest of Europe and Australia in this yearlong tour.

“The magic of being with fans from all over the country is really why we’re ultimately all here,” said Lady A’s Charles Kelley. “Being able to play off each other on that stage is honestly where we have the most fun, and I have a feeling the crowd will already be on their feet when we get out there after starting the night with Hunter and Sam!"

The trio’s “warranted leap to stardom” (Dallas Morning News) and undeniable chemistry has continuously commanded the attention of critics who continue to praise their “effortless harmonies and raw emotion” (The Washington Post) and “top-notch, high energy” performances (The Boston Herald). ~ photos & video by sherri

view more photos from this event
photos & video by sherri

Saturday, August 15, 2015

under the sun tour kc

After a full and fun day in the sun, you would think there would not be much energy left over for a show.

However, if you leave immediately after you get home, you have no time to think about the comfort of the sofa.  A little disappointed that we had almost certainly already missed Uncle Cracker and Sugar Ray, that is exactly what we did, and arrived just before Better Than Ezra took the stage.  The Power & Light District was full, but we were still able to take up our usual post behind the soundboard.

It had been a hot day, but there was a good breeze moving through the venue, keeping things relatively cool.  The band came on just a few minutes after our arrival, and immediately launched into one of their big hits, and then another, before jumping off on a wild tangent, performing several cover songs.

Time catches up with us all eventually, and we forget more than we learned; but surely, not your own tunes.  The crowd did not seem to know how to handle this change, at first.  As is customary in Kansas City, everyone just went along with it though, and they were soon rewarded with a stage full of dancing girls.  The distraction had the desired effect, and most of us completely forgot that Better Than Ezra was not really living up to their name.

The band eventually passed into another of their recognizable tunes, and maybe even perhaps one more, and then they were done.  I did not know many of their songs in the first place.  They were just another of the one-hit-wonder sort, to me.  They did play very well, and everyone seemed to have a good time.  There was no encore though, and nobody really even tried.  It was probably for the best.  Having played everything that anyone would have recognized, they would have had to return to cover songs.

Friday, August 07, 2015

trombone shorty kc

A great night of music, straight out of New Orleans, descended on Kansas City at the free KC Live! show at the Kansas City Power & Light District.  The show featured some of the finest brass band music and talent, playing an array of traditional rhythms mixed with current themes.

New Breed Brass Band came on just a bit after I arrived, and wound the crowd up.  Folks were already getting the grove on, when Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue took over and cranked out some of the hottest tunes this side of Big Easy.

I only had my phone along to this one, after the fiasco last week.  It was too hot to be walking back to the car again, and I was more interested in participating in the experience.  I did take a couple of shots, and of course there is a little collage of video clips on the YouTube.