Friday, November 21, 2014

Noir City Nightclub

Last weekend at the Alamo Drafthouse, the first annual Noir City KC film festival took place.  The event featured a set of classic film noir flicks, entertainers, musicians and cinema noir stars like Peggy Cummins. She is most well known for her performance in Gun Crazy.  The musical entertainment for the evening featured the Laura Ellis, the Latenight Callers and burlesque performer Evie Novelle.

Here's some images from the nightclub event at the Chesterfield:

Click for more Latenight Callers

Click for more Evie Lovelle

The entire Noir City group. Click for more.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Penicillin Baby at Riot Room

After night one of Apocalypse Meow concluded, we headed over to Riot Room to catch Nashville based hard-rockin' psych-tinged act Penicillin Baby.  Featuring drummer Wes Mitchell of sludge duo Megajoos, the band charged through a quick 35 minute set of rockin' tunes.  It was a great way to end the night.

Click to see more Penicillin Baby

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Apocalypse Meow Night One in Review

We headed out to the Record Bar for the first night of the seventh annual Apocalypse Meow.  Meow is a fundraiser for the Midwest Music Foundation to provide assistance to local musicians in need of healthcare.  Besides being a great organization with a noble cause, they also put on great shows. If you're a musician or fan of local music, you should really consider supporting MMF.  Maybe gift a membership to your favorite music fan? It's only $25 and comes with some great benefits including free entry to select MMF events and discounted food and beverages at venues around town.

The groups on tap for the evening included Katy Guillen and the Girls, Chris Meck and the Guilty Birds.  Katy Guillen opened the show up with a blistering set of hard-rockin' blues tunes.  While the excellent play of each member on their is to be noted, something I think that is overlooked are the vocal harmonies between bassist Claire Adams and Katy Guillen.  It really adds a nice contrast to the otherwise high energy uptempo tunes.

Click for more of Katy Guillen and the Girls

Chris Meck and the Guilty Birds closed the evening out with a more straight-ahead rockin' set. In addition to tunes that have become staples of the band over the last 1 1/2 years, they threw great covers of Tom Petty's "Honey Bee" and the Rolling Stones' "Shine A Light".  For "Shine A Light", Cody Wyoming joined the band to sing vocals on the chorus.  It's a particularly touching song for Meck and many musicians who were close with Abby Henderson.  She was one of the primary founders and driving force behind MMF and Apocalypse Meow over the years until she lost her battle with cancer in 2013. The song served as a nice tribute and reminder of why Apocalypse Meow is so important in KC.

Click to see more of Meck and the Guilty Birds
Gear news: This was the first night I got to break out the fancy new camera rig. I recently upgraded to a D7000.  It's a pretty dramatic improvement over the truly entry-level D3100 I was using the first few years of the blog.  The extra dynamic range really helps in the low-light situations I so often find myself in especially because my budget prevents me from having the fastest glass. It's really a nice upgrade that makes it easier to focus on taking pictures and less on missing shots due to jacking with inadequate gear.

One last note, we've got lots of shows coming up in the future posts.  Currently, I've got about five shows backed up so check back because we've got lots of new content coming your way.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Halloween at Westport Saloon: Hellfire Hoedown

On Halloween, we headed out to the Hellfire Hoedown at Westport Saloon.  The acts featured ranged from rockabilly and hard rock to bluegrass and blues.  We caught the sets from Stay Sick: A Tribute to the Cramps, Electric Lungs, Freight Train Rabbit Killer, and Them Damned Young Livers.

There was an additional stage set up in the parking lot just north of Westport Saloon which featured more of the heavier acts.  It also featured cash only bars serving Busch and bourbon.  The bourbon proved to be the ticket for taking the edge off the chilly evening.

The first act we caught was a local group performing a tribute to the garage rock icon's the Cramps.  They played an incredibly high-energy set hitting on many of the Cramps' most popular tunes including: "New Kind of Kick","I Was a Teenage Werewolf","Bikini Girls with Machine Guns" amongst others.  It was highly entertaing complete with a pole dancer.

Click for more of Stay Sick
The following act was the Electric Lungs who play a no nonsense style of uptempo  hard rock n roll.  Singer Tripp Kirby screams songs of angst, anger and frustration with a backing band on top of the beat and helping to lead the charge. Time seems to always fly during Electric Lungs sets.  Just as the first song begins the last one ends and 45 minutes has gone by.

Click for more Electric Lungs

After the Lungs' set, we headed inside for Freight Train Rabbit Killer the brainchild of Kris Bruders and Mark Smeltzer.  It's a slide guitar fueled, outlaw duo with very dark bent.  It's heavy on blues and twang with a solid beat that chugs along just like a well, train.

Click for more Freight Train Rabbit Killer

Outside in the tent, things were getting what some might call slightly rock n roll.  Them Damned Young Livers were on the stage and it was getting wild.  The bourbon and Busch was treating the crowd and the band well because the Livers' played a hard charging rowdy set as they always do. The entire band completely decked out in drag wrecked the stage, smashed a bass guitar, knocked down light stands, fell off the stage and sent the drums into the energetic crowd.  It was a sight to see.

Click for more of Them Damned Young Livers

Friday, November 7, 2014

Coda: Peculiar Pretzelmen, Love Tusk and Wink Burcham

Recently Coda hosted a fine night of music featuring the Peculiar Pretzelmen out of LA, Love Tusk from KC and Wink Burcham up from Oklahoma. Burcham is a country singer-songwriter who was accompanied by slide guitar and electric guitar. He opened the show with a low key set of somber country tunes and a soulful croon. Following Burcham, was the featured act of the evening the Peculiar Pretzelmen. I describe the Pretzelmen as Tom Waits on acid driving a speeding train. It's a cacophonous sound complete with improvised percussion of every variety and lots of DIY guitars. Lead singer Kevin Incroyable utilizes every sound you can imagine from bullhorns to pots and pans, to film can guitars. It's something you have to see to believe but this duo puts on great show. Rounding out the evening was KC's own Love Tusk. The rock and roll sound lead by Tommy Donoho played a set of tunes about Robot love, Meryl Streep and other assorted topics. Check out the images:
Click to see more of Wink Burcham

Click to see more Peculiar Pretzelmen

Click to see more Love Tusk

Monday, October 27, 2014

Felabration at Record Bar

Saturday, Oct 18th marked the official celebration of the birthday of musician and activist Fela Kuti across the country known as "Felabration".  The Kansas City edition at Record Bar, featured local afro-beat group Hearts of Darkness and Cincinnati, Ohio's Baoku and the Image Afrobeat Band.  Hearts of Darkness opened the show with a set of original tunes with a couple of Fela Kuti covers including: "Zombie", and "Water" among others.  For the performance of "Water" Baoku Moses and Image Afrobeat joined HOD on stage for a collaboration.  The energy was incredible and the lively crowd danced and shook to the music.

Baoku Moses, the Image Afrobeat band leader, hails from Kuti's home country of Nigeria.  On this evening he stated it was the first time in over 15 years studying and performing afrobeat music that he performed a Kuti number live out of respect for the musician.   It was an excellent rendition of "Water" one of Kuti's more recognizable pieces.

For the Image Afrobeat set, the band was on point.  The horns were incredibly crisp with a rhythm section that was absolutely locked in.  Moses primarily plays a collection of hand drums with large mallets set up near the front of the stage and sings.  For other numbers he plays various cowbells, shakere and sings.  Moses' incredible energy and enthusiasm is infectious and really makes for a great performance.  We hope to see them again in the near future.

Here's some images from the show:

Click to start Hearts of Darkness slideshow

This set features images from the performance of Kuti's "Water" featuring both HOD and Baoku and Image Afrobeat. Click to start slideshow

Click to start Baoku and Image Afrobeat slideshow

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Dr. John at the Crossroads

Back on Friday, September 26, Mac Rebennack aka Dr. John filled the crossroads air with the sounds of New Orleans soul.  Conjuring up the ghosts of Professor Longhair, Louis Armstrong and others, Dr. John drew from his extensive catalog of over forty years of music.  Backed by a four-piece band his 1 1/2 hour set featured many of the classics Dr. John has grown to be known for as well as New Orleans standards.

Opening support was provided by locals Blue Orleans, and Louisiana natives the Honey Island Swamp band.

Click to see more Honey Island Swamp Band

Click for more Dr. John and the Night Trippers

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Filthy 13 at Coda

About a week and a half ago, we caught local blues act the Filthy 13 over at Coda.  The Filthy 13 is a 4 piece outfit features Amaretto Slim on guitar and vocals backed up by bass, drums and harp.  The sound is very fuzz heavy deep blues sound.  Slim's voice is dark and gravely reminiscent of Howlin' Wolf.  His guitar style is part delta, part Texas.

Generally wielding any number of Stratocasters, he keeps things lively with his macabre humor and banter.  The rest of the band fills out the tunes with great energy and crisp punchy sound.  These guys should be on your short list of blues acts around KC to catch.

Click to see more Filthy 13

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Magnetics at the Levee

After the Plaza Art Fair closed down for the evening, we headed over to the Levee to see what was shaking.  The Magnetics, the cover band alter-ego of Antennas Up +1, was on the stage playing top 40 hits from the 60's through now.  Their sets hit country, hip-hop, funk, soul, rock, grunge, pop and anything else you can imagine.  Here's a few images: