milky chance enliven the crowd on an unseasonably temperate night in kansas city

milky chance enliven the crowd on an unseasonably temperate night in kansas city

There were warnings of storms looming all day on Saturday, July 1st in Kansas City, Missouri. At any moment, a pop-up shower could leave any part of the metropolitan area drenched. And it did. Multiple times.

But not that night.

Not that evening when German rock band – and Midwest fav – Milky Chance opened for Young The Giant at the gorgeous Starlight Theatre. They dazzled the crowd with eye-catching style, serotonin-boosting tunes, and envious hair (according to pretty much everyone there). Here are some beautiful moments from the opening of the show.

teddy swims entertains a “sold out af” crowd in kansas city

teddy swims entertains a “sold out af” crowd in kansas city

This weekend was one for the books. A massive crowd gathered at The Truman in Kansas City, Missouri to enjoy a sold-out show featuring CVBZ and Teddy Swims. We happened upon the artist and his band during their Bonnaroo set this summer, and have been singing their praises ever since. His powerhouse vocals and humble nature, and everyone’s massive musical talent, are endearing as hell.

The band walked in at the start, followed by the charming lead singer. He was propped on two crutches, with two bare feet wrapped in athletic tape. You could tell the crowd was confused, but everyone’s attention was immediately drawn to the energy of the band.

After singing a bit, he addressed his bare feet, the clear elephant in the room. He told us that he sustained an injury while on a tour stop in Las Vegas. Instead of getting his ankle checked out, he chose to favor his leg and limp in the coming days. Today, however, a trip to urgent care revealed that, because he did not seek medical care for this first injury, he now had two sprained ankles. While he spent a few songs on his feet, there was a loveseat conveniently located by the microphone and a pile of water bottles for him to enjoy as he entertained the crowd.

His set included a few lively covers, “Broke,” the sultry “Two Moods” and crowd favorites “Simple Things” and “Bed on Fire.”

Sleep is Exhausting is out November 4th.

after postponement, the goo goo dolls reinvigorate their kansas city fans

after postponement, the goo goo dolls reinvigorate their kansas city fans

On a mid-summer night at the beginning August of 2022, The Goo Goo Dolls took the stage to an (almost) sold-out crowd at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri. A show that had been postponed from a previously scheduled date, there was heightened energy around the event.

The Goo Goo Dolls riveted the audience with a 23-song setlist. They brought the heat starting with the first lines of opener “Yeah, I Like You,” an effervescent track from this year’s self-reflective Chaos in Bloom. Along with their new work, they played the audience through a multitude of hits and favorites. “Slide,” “Here Is Gone,” “Black Balloon,” and “Lucky Star” were all performed within the first ten songs. And there was no room for slowing down there.

Bassist/vocalist Robby Takac brought his quintessential “ball of fun” energy to the stage all night long–this time around, notably wearing shoes, which isn’t necessarily his MO–dazzling the crowd with some deep-cut tracks in moments you can only classify as magic. As many post-pandemic shows have gone along to prove, The Goo Goo Dolls’ influence spans generations, as people of all ages and demographics came out to enjoy the show despite the blistering midwest heat. (I wore a neck fan I borrowed from my parents, and have no shame around that fact.)

As someone who has had the honor of seeing this storied band perform live multiple times during their time in the limelight, I can firmly say that their performance felt different this time around. Though there were kaleidoscope lighting features and the same level of excitement coming from the band members as in previous shows, there was an extra layer of sheer joy emanating from the stage. You could sense Johnny Rzeznik’s (guitarist, vocalist) weightlessness as he beamed at the audience, appreciating the moment much more, perhaps, than anyone could have pre-pandemic.

If you stayed through to the end, you had the benefit of singing along to “Name,” “Broadway,” “Iris,” and more, and may have even had the privilege of singing along to a beautiful, showstopping cover of Petty‘s “Runnin’ Down a Dream.” It felt like glitter was falling over the crowd if you took the chance to gaze up at the starry night sky at that moment.

Until you remembered that, with the end of the show comes the end of the beautiful distraction. And you’re actually outside. Sweating from every pore. And the band is gone.

But–if you’re one of the lucky few–the black balloons that were passed around the audience might not be gone. (And we treasure a show souvenir.)

**words + photos by meredith schneider

bishop briggs + anna hamilton move mountains with vocal abilities as openers for dermot kennedy in kansas city

bishop briggs + anna hamilton move mountains with vocal abilities as openers for dermot kennedy in kansas city

Anna Hamilton was the newcomer most hadn’t been acquainted with, winning a contest to open for Dermot Kennedy as a local act. A Kansas native and one of 12 children in her family, Anna’s music dripped with bits of nostalgia and hopeful thoughts for the future. It was also an insanely beautiful experience, her sweet-as-honey vocals accompanied only by a guitar. It was mesmerizing.

By her third song, we caught a glimpse at specificity in a track about a boy that left her for a city – “Me For Barcelona.” The song had never been played in front of a live audience before and is not currently available, but is open for preorder via her link in bio at clever Instagram handle @a.ham.sandwich. Her fourth trach was about leaving Kansas to pursue her singing career in Tennessee, something so many artists struggle with. She has clearly found a safe haven and inspirational options in her relocation, as her last track – “Self Help” – was realized so early on. Of the track, she admitted that it was about taking care of yourself before allowing others to benefit from you. “You need to be 100% before your cup overflows and they can receive it.”

Bishop Briggs emerged, energetic as ever and donning a leather jacket on a pretty balmy night in the midwest. It was shed quickly, to reveal skeleton-printed fingerless gloves and delicate tattoos dancing across both forearms. The first time this town got acquainted with Bishop, she had barely edged into the world of tattoos. Now, you find yourself mesmerized by them as she jumps across the stage with every robust, belted line.

An artist that truly allows you to feel the songs with her, Bishop has cultivated a fandom that spans generations, cultures, and ideals. Perhaps the show’s littlest attendant – a young man no older than 10 or 11 – could be found belting out lyrics and clapping in time with his family during the intense track “Hi-Lo (Hollow)”. Her set included “Someone Else,” “Darkside,” and her most recognizable hit, “River”, among others.

dermot kennedy enchants kansas city crowd during “better days” tour at uptown theater

dermot kennedy enchants kansas city crowd during “better days” tour at uptown theater

August 7, 2021 was my first show back. Back, from where? Who even knows? While the pandemic rages on, I wonder, more often than not, if leaving my house is even worth it. But I’ve been enjoying – and producing – livestreams and digital concert experiences since COVID-19 took SXSW 2020 from us all, and I knew the joy that came from that massively sustained me over the last 17 months.

The first time I saw Dermot Kennedy was in a church off 6th Street in Austin, Texas during SXSW 2018. I chose to spend the evening with a handful of friends from my hometown, wandering into shows and experiencing new acts to write about and photograph for the (still new) site. But something about Kennedy’s vocal delivery – the vulnerability and intensity with which he delivered some of the most emotionally charged lyrics I’d ever heard – made me forget I was trying to compile content for the site at all. A handful of distanced, “between tall guys’ bobbing heads” photos happened, but the music was so compelling that I spent an embarrassing amount of the set with my eyes closed, or staring up at the vaulted ceilings, marveling at the magic that music creates, and the magic from which it is derived.

When SXSW 2020 was canceled, I decided to make the quick, 4-hour jaunt to St. Louis to see Kennedy. Within a couple of days, the tour was indefinitely postponed. COVID-19 set in, and March saw stages around the world shutter. Deafening silence. And while artists tried to keep the spark alive with their multi-dimensional at-home creations, new directions, and interactive experiences, there was just something missing. That spark that live music incites, the way it can make an entire room feel like it’s on fire, hearts dancing in unison. As someone who once took for granted a 2-5 concert per week schedule, I began to feel lost in a sea of digital analysis and curation. I am humbled by the art that has come from our time locked away, but it never had the energy of a live show.

By the time I realized live music was coming back, Kennedy had sold out his St. Louis reschedule. And his Red Rocks performance. I spoke with a friend who was going to work with me on getting tickets in Wisconsin, which would be my saving grace for his tour since Kennedy was no longer appearing on the postponed Bonnaroo lineup (because of touring conflicts). But my sister happening upon a radio tour announcement a couple of weeks before her big move to Los Angeles and a random discussion that occurred a half-hour before tickets went on sale for the Kansas City stop made it all possible. Me – the woman who often feels jaded by the industry, especially for how little people truly rallied for the arts through this dark time -, I allowed myself to finally get excited about an event. I had something to look forward to that I knew could help me heal.

And still, I wondered, could I possibly stand in a crowded venue again? Could I find joy in the music – the one thing that makes me feel like I have my head screwed on straight on a daily basis – amidst a crowd of maybe-vaxxers from the midwest? (That wild, wild midwest that we have come to know as a largely “denying science” crowd.) I spent days before this show panicking about everything. Would there be space to spread out? The show wasn’t entirely sold out, the venue was more intimate, it couldn’t be too insane. Right? Would I melt in my mask? Would my friends be comfortable?

I almost had no words to explain how it all felt. Sure, I annoyed my +1 (Hi, mom!) and a couple of friends (I see you Anjelica and Kevin!) with some fears about everything. But, I was mostly entirely back in my element. As an observer, an enjoyer. I ensured we got pretty good spots to watch the show, over by the rail on the right side next to the stage. Dermot Kennedy’s Kansas City (Missouri) leg of his Better Days tour was officially sold out at the Uptown Theater, however, there was substantial space on the sides of the stage to ensure that we felt comfortable. I did some people watching like I used to. (I’d like to think that people couldn’t handle their liquor because they hadn’t imbibed at that level in a while, but who knows?) And, truly, I spent the majority of the evening belting out lyrics behind my mask, staring up at the shadows dancing on the ceiling, really indulging in the collective atmosphere of it all.

Set List:
Power Over Me
All My Friends
An Evening I Will Not Forget
The Corner
For Island Fires and Family
Better Days
Moments Passed
After Rain
Without Fear

Thank you to Anna Hamilton, Bishop Briggs, and Dermot Kennedy for “an evening I will not forget.” (I know I’m the first one to use that reference, of course.) I can only say that it helped to inflate my sad, darkened, emo heart. So perhaps I’ll Grinch less for a while. ūüėČ

Anna Hamilton and Bishop Briggs thoughts + photos to come.

andrew w.k. talks empathy, excitement to bring “you are not alone” tour to kansas city

andrew w.k. talks empathy, excitement to bring “you are not alone” tour to kansas city

It’s not very often that you end an interview feeling elated, energy coursing through your veins like you are an unstoppable force. It can be difficult to find that depth, honestly, more often than not. That wasn’t the case on a warm summer’s day in August, when I stepped off the deck and into the air conditioning after getting off the phone with Andrew W.K. After all, this is a man who has been working tirelessly for decades to bring his brand of party to the world – a man whose music has brought fans of all ages and demographics to his shows, just to let loose and let go of their every day lives for a couple of hours.

But perhaps what’s so unique about Andrew is his level of empathy. It’s something that is palpable in his music, as he urges people to feel good constantly, both with the energy and tempo of the instrumentals, the very specific party-inducing lyrics, and his own brand of infectious stage presence. His show at recordBar in Kansas City, MO last year brought a handful of excitable fans up on stage to dance, sing, and stage dive into a room packed tight with sweat and happiness.

There is something about Andrew W.K.’s level of empathy, however, that makes the man stick out like a single glitter crayon mixed in with normal colors. Speaking to us about his first record purchase, he admits that USA for Africa’s “We Are The World” – released in 1985 – was the first song he ever expressed an interest in owning as a child. Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie with arrangements by John Barnes and conducted by Quincy Jones, the track features over 40 well-known singers (i.e. Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Kenny Loggins, Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, etc.) and an additional several phenomenal instrumentalists.

Andrew’s reasoning for being so attracted to this song in particular? “So many great musicians had gathered into one space to work on something that benefitted other people. That type of thing hadn’t been done before, and hasn’t really been done at that capacity since.¬†It was eye opening, and the song was really good.”

Even without “We Are The World” as an all-inclusive, empathic track, Andrew W.K. tells us that his sense of empathy is something he believes he has always had.

I think we’re all born with some level of empathy. But it can take a lot to keep it close to your heart. A lot of bad things can happen, and it can really close you off to the world. But music is such a big thing and I want to use what I create to help people keep that part of themselves open and partying.

Part of the party includes Andrew’s all white performance attire, which he has become known for over the years. When asked about the specific detergent he uses to keep his completely white stage ensemble white during tour, he admits:

I don’t really pay attention to that. I just wash them, but when they start collecting stains and different markings I just kind of let it happen. It’s like a scrapbook of tour. There are sweat stains, markings, sometimes holes. Sometimes my outfits start to smell really bad too, and I feel bad for the people who have to be around me a lot but you get used to it. I always have a backup white t-shirt and pants just in case the ones I’m wearing see their last day.

At the time of our interview, in fact, he had been going strong in the same pair of Levi’s and same shirt on tour for over a year. “I normally go through my outfits faster. I don’t know why, but this specific pair of Levi’s is stitched together really well in sensitive areas, so I haven’t split my pants or gotten a rip or a hole anywhere where it matters yet.”

We respect his approach to fashion while on the road, as we’re all about keeping things around that remind us of adventures we’ve been on. Why be any different with your clothing, especially when your white on white is so well known after 22 years of performing your optimistic messages around the world?

When we asked him about how he keeps his mind focused on the positive when the world around us is filled with so many mixed messages, especially now, he admits that there isn’t just one thing he does.

I don’t really have a pre-show ritual or anything to get my head in the game. I tried to do that for a while but each show and each day on tour is so different. Sometimes I get pumped up by doing warmups with the band, but sometimes we don’t even see each other that much before a performance. Sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes I meditate. I can’t rely on any one thing because it’s always changing. So I guess the music itself and being on stage is really the way I get excited about the show.

This news isn’t exactly surprising, since Andrew’s music has that therapeutic facet to it that we touched on earlier. 2018’s You’re Not Alone boasts 17 tracks, including gems like “The Power of Partying”, “Music Is Worth Living For”, “The Feeling of Being Alive” (spoken word), “Keep on Going”, “In Your Darkest Moments” (spoken word), and “You’re Not Alone”, among others. The lyrical content blends seamlessly with his overall message, and is the way he reaches out to heal the world. The vulnerability in the lyrics – and in his self-help and spoken word work – is some of the most cathartic we’ve witnessed, something of clear note especially during Suicide Prevention Month.

Lucky for us, Andrew W.K. is out on the road all month. As someone who spent the majority of his formative years in the midwest – Andrew Fetterly Wilkes-Krier was born in Stanford, but raised in Michigan, where he developed his songwriting and performing talents with several bands before heading to New York to pursue his career under the Andrew W.K. moniker – Andrew admits that he looks forward to coming back when his schedule allows, whether it’s on tour or not. In fact, over the years, Kansas City has begun to hold a soft spot in his heart specifically.

Getting off the bus at the venue last year, the food we’ve had in Kansas City in the past, the barbecue, memories of trees that I’ve seen and streets that I’ve been on. Kansas City does that for me. There are so many good memories there, and it’s the friendly people and the great shows we’ve had that keep us coming back!

Andrew and the rest of his band of talent will get their next shot at creating those memories when they bring their “You’re Not Alone” tour to Kansas City next Wednesday, September 19th, at recordBar. The show starts at 8pm, with a special performance by Drop a Grand before Andrew W.K. takes the stage. Tickets start at $18 and are available here. We can’t guarantee he won’t sell out, so make sure to nab them quickly!

Keep up with Andrew W.K. and his shenanigans – and message of peace, really, – here!

juice set to entrance knuckleheads saloon in kansas city on september 12th

juice set to entrance knuckleheads saloon in kansas city on september 12th

2018 has been a pretty big year for genre-bending collective Juice, made up of¬†Ben Stevens (vocals), Kamau Burton (acoustic guitar/vocals),¬†Christian Rose (violin/vocals),¬†Dan Moss (guitar),¬†Miles Clyatt (drums), and¬†Rami El-Abidin (bass), and¬†Michael Ricciardulli (guitar). In June, they brought us their 4 track EP Workin’ on Lovin‘. As impressed by their talent as we’ve been, we have yet to see them live. But that all changes in September as they head out for several amazing shows. They’ll bring their own brand of magic to Kansas City on September 12th as they perform at Knuckleheads Saloon. Good news is that they released a music video for their track “Sugar” this past spring, and it gives us a glimpse into their live performance tactics… though we’re certain that they’re going to bring it all up a notch for an amazing evening out. Check them out, listen to their EP below, and then grab your tickets and hang with us on the 12th!

Make sure to catch them at Knuckleheads, and keep up with Juice here.

carry illinois talks new ep work in progress and wonder woman ahead of kansas city appearance

carry illinois talks new ep work in progress and wonder woman ahead of kansas city appearance

On July 12th, Austin-based indie pop act Carry Illinois Рcomprised of Lizzy Lehman (Lead Singer/ Rhythm Guitar), Andrew Pressman (Bass), Rudy Villarreal (Drums), Darwin Smith (Guitar), and Benjamin Rowe Violet (Keys) Рwill make a much anticipated appearance The Rino in Kansas City, MO. But before we head out to celebrate the summertime with this impressive quintet, we wanted to ask brainchild and front woman Lizzy Lehman some questions. Below, she delves into her inspiration and the development of the band.

What was your first musical memory? Do you think that memory has any bearing on how you create music now?
My first musical memories are of watching The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” and Maurice Sendak’s cartoon musical “Really Rosie” (with music sung by Carole King).¬† Hearing the music from both artists absolutely inspired my love of singing and a deep desire to create truthful, emotional, and relatable music that reflects the journey of navigating the challenges and triumphs of life.
What unique flare do you think performing and creating in Austin, TX has given to your music?

Austin is a very accepting and supportive city where it is ok, and even encouraged, to be different and loud and proud about being yourself. Performing and creating here has made it possible for my music to fully represent my awkward, wonderful, painful, scary, and hopeful personal experience without fear of being judged.

Music lovers in Austin want to see artists expressing themselves in the most authentic way possible. My music has been embraced by people from all walks of life, even by those I would never expect to connect to it, and that is truly rewarding and validating.

What’s the story of how the musical project started and expanded? Was it a meet cute?
After the break up of a previous band, I knew I did not want to go back to playing solo. I had grown to love the power that comes with having a full band behind me. I set to work recruiting some of my favorite musicians- some old friends, and some new friends of friends. Darwin and Rudy have been with me from the beginning, through all the experiments, and the ups and downs. I am so grateful for their love and support. Following the painful loss of our bass player and dear friend John, we brought on Andrew, who has been a good friend and part of my chosen family for a long time. We lost our former keys player to the domestic life, but it made us think more about the sounds we want to hear, and we were very lucky to find Benjamin. He has added depth and sparkle to our sound in all the right places, with his array of synths and keys. We’ve made some changes to our sound over the years, with me “going electric” and accepting my love of pop and rock music. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive and creative group of guys. It wasn’t exactly a meet cute but the love is strong!
Your new EP Work in Progress is so vulnerable and honestly provides such a kaleidoscope soundscape. What was it like, making that EP? 
Making the new EP was a highly creative, visceral, and fully collaborative experience. It was amazing to have several days to build up the instrumentation, allow my band members to flex their creative muscles by experimenting with different sounds, and then record my vocals with a fully realized and rich musical context already in place. I was able to engage my emotions in a much deeper and connected manner while recording this EP because I was singing my most revealing and brutally honest lyrics to date.
How do you feel your music has progressed since you started? 
My music has become much more personal, honest, and revealing. It has also gone from having a very rootsy/folk feel to fully embracing my unabashed love for pop music. While the subject matter of the songs has become more earnest, the music itself has gained a more driving, catchy, and relatable feel. I have gone from making up songs about things I have never experienced, to confronting my most painful insecurities and challenging life experiences. I have become a truth-teller who is no longer afraid to tell my story.
What is your favorite part about live performance?
I love getting to belt my heart out, and in doing so I am able to share my true voice with the audience. Singing is my first instrument and my greatest musical passion. When I sing live I feel alive, and it is extremely fulfilling to see people engage in both the intimate and dramatic moments throughout our set.
What do you hope people take away from your music, and from seeing you live?
I want people to know that we are all connected by a need for love, support, and understanding. I want them to know that it is ok to feel their feelings and process their own pain. I hope that they feel comfortable enough to come up to me and let me know that they share a common experience, and that my music helps them to not feel alone in the struggle for self-acceptance.
If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?
I would be Wonder Woman because she is strong, powerful, confident, and can face any challenge that comes her way! I would love to be able to stand tall even when I am having a difficult time maintaining stamina to get through my toughest moments.
Anything else?
I’m looking forward to meeting you in Kansas City! Please come say hello!
Keep up with Carry Illinois here.
atmosphere returns to kansas city

atmosphere returns to kansas city

Hip-hop duo Atmosphere returned to Kansas City on Saturday, the 24th at the Voodoo Lounge.¬† Atmosphere was previously in Kansas City three years ago and was thrilled about their return.¬† The duo performed songs from albums such as¬†Fishing Blues,¬†God Loves Ugly,¬†and¬†Lucy Ford.¬†Atmosphere did not have a problem with keeping the crowd hyped, commanding us to “Put your hands up Kansas City.”

The show was so wild, that at one point in the night, an edible was thrown onstage. It was acknowledged, but fittingly thrown back into the audience.  Atmosphere even noted that they were working on a new album, and previewed a new song.  It was a night filled with energy and excitement, and if you have the chance, catch Atmosphere on tour.

You can find tour dates and more info here.