Of the multitudes of sessions we could have attended at 2:30 on a Thursday during SXSW, we chose this one. Why? Well, with a description asking questions like: But what about our personal identity and our own long-term goals? Aren’t we more than just the companies we tag in our Instagram bios and the artists we work for? Is it even possible to separate our panelists from their music business identities?
We knew this was the session for us.
And so did, apparently, everyone else. This was a PACKED room of folks in the industry, industry-adjacent, and even students who are considering “what’s next?” The panel was made up of 4 folks who have worked in multiple roles throughout the music industry. Maria Gironias (Reddit), Sydney Lopes (Spotify), Brandon Holman (UnitedMasters), and Nick Maiale (jump.global). All of the panelists have had realizations (whether forced through layoffs, or on their own through self-reflection) that their personhood does not = their job. This goes hand-in-hand, however, with the realization that many times it’s the job title that gets you the calls, the invitations, and the clout within the industry.
If you choose this industry, then it is yours – Maria
A couple of the panelists recalled being removed from their position, and hearing crickets instead of responses/outreach from people they thought were their friends in the industry.
FOMO became a large part of the conversation at this point, because – with the detachment of a job title from your name – people stop calling, inviting you to industry events and collaborative projects. This is because there is a perceived notion that you can no longer do things for them because you are no longer [insert position here] at [insert company here].
It’s the type of “contacts-solely-for-personal-gain” nonsense that has kept me out of traditional networking spaces for the majority of my adult life. I don’t have time for that nonsense – and no one else should be making time for it either.
But, with a creative industry that has been built upon/with titles and clout, it was very refreshing to listen to these folks talk about their experiences, lessons learned, and even air their grievances. As Maria indicated, you need to allow yourself joy and reprieve from your work as well. “Eating three meals a day,” she listed as one of her big MUSTS. “Making sure I call my parents more. Not skipping out on that meal with a friend.” It was a very down-to-earth conversation, and by the end – even in a crowded room – I felt like it was a chat between friends. Myself included.
Some lessons straight from the panelists’ mouths:
“Your network is your net worth” is garbage. – Nick
Just because you have a lot of [followers, likes, etc], doesn’t mean you can get people in the room – Sydney
I AM meditation you stop identifying with your name and gender and all the things around you. I AM. you are relinquishing stories and programming. You are something so much more powerful than any of these boxes. (Deepak Chopra) – Brandon
You are not a shitty artist if you don’t have a billboard in Times Square. – Brandon
Your career is nonlinear and just because something doesn’t last forever doesn’t mean it wasn’t great – Maria
And I’m glad I didn’t. While I do not suggest going in blind to every movie or television series, this one is one to make an exception for. So, if you’d prefer to be surprised and haven’t yet seen I Love My Dad, stop reading and twiddle your thumbs until there is a wider release.
First of all, this film got rave reviews and awards from SXSW. It brought home the Narrative Feature Competition jury prize AND audience choice award, so the crowds went wild for it. There is no doubt in my mind that there will be a wide release in the coming months. If you’ve seen it – or like some spoilers like my mom does – come sit a moment!
I Love My Dad is based on a true story about a dad who catfishes his son in order to have a closer relationship with him. Yes, it’s as oddball/creepy/sweet as it sounds. And it feels just as oddball/creepy/sweet throughout the entirety of the movie, because the actors bring a really nuanced and realistic script and story to life.
But, of course they do! With the writer-director, James Morosini, also starring in the film (alongside Patton Oswalt, who plays his father), the “based on a true story” hits extremely close to home — as it is based on HIS true story! While this fact does make the viewer empathic toward Morosini – especially during a handful of crucial points in the movie – you can’t help but be grateful for what transpired in his life, because it makes for incredible material for his art.
Don’t worry. It’s not sexual or scary, this picture they paint of an estranged-ish father rekindling his father-son relationship with the son he fathered. You will laugh. You might cry. You can watch it, comfortably, with your parents OR your kids. And Oswalt’s performance? *chef’s kiss*
But, as relatable and quick as it is, it’s also cringey pretty consistently throughout. Just like real life. Only, you’ll be glad it’s based on James Morosini’s true story instead of your own.
We’ll report back on updated release information when it becomes available!
SXSW 2022 – as we have established – was such a welcoming and wonderful experience. With 2020 being canceled and 2021 being an all-digital event, coming back into a hybrid in-person/digital setting was everything we could have hoped for. This year, the film/television panels and events were spread out further into the week than years past, and we were thrilled at the thought of trying to get a glimpse of Donald Glover and the Atlanta team on the red carpet on Saturday, March 19th, at the Paramount. Not expecting to get a chance to actually step foot into the theater, we were shocked when we got into the premiere with no issue as secondary music badge holders. Viewers were promised the first episode followed by an extended Q&A. We got that PLUS the second episode!
“We like to under promise and over deliver.” – Show creator, Donald Glover.
If you love Atlanta already? You will be pleased right out the gate. If you didn’t love Atlanta already? It’s absolutely time to give it a try!
Without any big spoilers: The first episode is a reimagining of real events. Because there are plenty of things that happen in this real world – in our individual lives – where you just think: that could have happened differently. One of the things the cast revealed in the Q&A was that, in putting together these final two seasons of Atlanta – If you didn’t know, now you know. Seasons 3 and 4 have been filmed, and they will be the show’s last – they spent a lot of time watching other amazing shows like Succession while asking themselves: What is something these shows CAN’T do that we can?
And with the preview of just the first two episodes? This team can do a LOT that others can’t!
During the first season, the writers and cast genuinely felt like they were trying too hard – and, upon reflection, they can still feel it in the work itself. During season 2, they were trying hard to prove that season one wasn’t a fluke. They earned that success, and they did a brilliant job. In these final two seasons? They’ve grown up, survived 2 years of a pandemic, some even have growing families that they didn’t have before. Admits Donald of how he writes post-children: “Kids make you soft as butt.”
The consensus this time around? “We’re just trying to have fun.”
And, when the Q&A host asked if some of the subject matters in the first two episodes were based in truth (including instances of black face and euthanasia), show writer (and show creator Donald Glover’s brother) Stephen Glover said: “That shit is just funny”.
“We’re just fucked up people,” Donald added. “It came from us.” He went on to explain the correlation between fear and comedy, which are both massively present in Atlanta. “Fear and comedy are closely related, they’re always touching each other. They’re very connected. That’s why we’re trying to do that.”
From a viewing perspective? This show has always hit the tough, societal, human notes right alongside the wacky, weird, hilarious, bizarre WTF moments.
The panelists revealed that their writer’s room has been a physical location – but also a group text thread filled with memes and videos. Which, in hindsight, is made crystal clear in season 2, episode 6 with the character of Teddy Perkins (IYKYK). Donald Glover revealed that the character and episode were inspired by a photo of Michael Jackson ducking and covering, and the follow-up question: “What if you were being chased by that version of Michael?”
After this theatre viewing, we can admit it’s OUTSTANDING to watch alongside other fans, but just as hilarious, poignant, and effective when watching alone. Starting this season, you can watch it on Hulu the day after the episode airs on FX. And if the rest of the series continues with the cadence of the first two episodes of the 3rd season? You will not want to miss a single second.
The insight during the panel revealed self-awareness and an all-encompassing relatability to the content. With everything I learned about the creative process behind Atlanta, with its text thread writer’s room, I am feeling inspired to start my own writer’s room text thread. Because, my friends and I are SURELY clever enough to create our own epic, highly anticipated show, right?
On second thought, I think I’ll leave it to the pros. I already miss you, Atlanta crew!
Episode 1 of the 3rd season drops tomorrow, March 24th on FX. (Available on Hulu starting March 25th!) Keep up with our continuing coverage of SXSW here.
“Ah, another virtual event that I will RSVP to and not at ALL want to attend most of,” I thought, as the first electronic communications regarding SXSW 2021 came through to my device.
And, as we got closer to the start date, I thought more and more about the piles of work and other obligations that I could not take a vacation from in order to attend – like I would in a non-pandemic year where I would be physically changing locations and turning on my out-of-office messages.
But, of all the virtual events I’ve attended – and chosen not to attend – during the COVID-19 pandemic, this one was by far the most beneficial for me to attend.
And, it’s not because there were speakers/talent who looked/were like me (a white, cishet, straight female), but because there were speakers/talent who looked
NOTHING. LIKE. ME.
Sure, there were some missteps. Namely:
1. Mark Cuban – not only is he the whitest dude, but he offers no additional perspective he hasn’t already spewed across all digital/media channels 2. MOST of the speakers were pre-recorded – so, couldn’t you pre-screen some of the talks to ensure that those catchy titles that were submitted in the panel picker process actually lived up to their name? (i.e. – anything that started with “How To” should have been some sort of how to…not just “I am so successful, here is how I am so successful”. See: Every white man – including Mark Cuban). 3. Allowing ANY talks with a white man – or a group of white men – by himself. Panels, groups discussions, or fireside chats with all types of people that include a white man? SURE! But our lives have been so saturated with mediocre white dudes on a podium talking down to us for LITERALLY OUR ENTIRE LIVES that we just don’t need one more talk by a solo white guy.
And, I’m not saying that was all that was there – but, constructive criticism is important. We’ve all got to keep organizers on their toes. Because, yes, there were plenty of talks that were out-of-the-box and from traditionally marginalized speakers. There were tracks on cannabis and living outside of the gender binary and women in [insert career here]. This was, in fact, the event with the widest array of representation I have attended yet.
AND it can’t stop here.
This can’t be the “diversity year” – one and done. I hope this year’s SXSW sets the tone for pushing boundaries and innovating and leading the charge in representation across ALL events, multimedia, etc. I hope it continues into the next in-person conference – and I am not left sitting in a cold conference room staring 10 feet up at a million Seth Rogens all week. (As delightful as one Seth Rogen can be).
I am delighted that I “left” SXSW having heard about subjects that move me from the people who are on the ground, doing the work. Feeling full. Feeling rejuvenated. Feeling hopeful about things to come.
I didn’t leave thinking: so what? I left thinking: what now?
We celebrated the end of St. Patrick’s Day with the SXSW Digital Love Showcase. Curated by Tavia MD, this show featured the talents of Dallas Pyron, Kissie Lee, Hylan Starr, Tokyo Jetz, Dash Flash, Akeem Ali, Renni Rucci, BigBankBandz, and Hype. The performances started at 8pm CST and dazzled us into the night. Check out some highlights below, captured by Erin P.S. Zimmerman!
What to do when you find out your favorite musician is Racist and/or Sexist and/or Homophobic and/or Transphobic and/or COVID-denying and/or A general piece of garbage…
You know that band/musician you loved growing up? The one that speaks to you at any age. The one you’ve seen in concert 10+ times? You’ve gone to festivals for them, you’ve had their posters since you were 8, their music got you through the good AND bad times – including moving to a new city as a kid. You requested a song of theirs and dedicated it to your twin sister at your wedding reception…
If you can’t tell, I have a band that fits this bill. And last week, it came to my attention that at least two of their members have revealed themselves as garbage.
And, I’m not kidding when I say that I have supported them, purchased their music and trivia books and even had lunch with them in high school. #BigFan
But, as of last week, that is no more. And, on top of that, I felt a strong urge to take a few more steps. So, if you are devastated and angry at a revelation that a musician that has had a strong impact in your life up to this point is actually COVID-denier – and more – and you aren’t sure what to do with that rage? How do you reconcile with the fact that you supported that trash for so long? Here’s what I’m doing:
Sit with the fact that you wish they wouldn’t have said anything at all. It’s there. It’s real. AND it’s a red flag of privilege – that ignorance-is-bliss mentality COULD be easier at times, but isn’t something that many humans can afford, nor is it something to seek out. Easier does NOT equal better – at least in this case. Their saying something out loud may feel like a curse. It’s really a blessing. Because, once you know better, you do better, right?
In your mind/journal, thank them for everything they brought/were to you/did for you in the before times. Maybe vent into a voice message. Scream into a pillow. All good things must come to an end. Now, get to work.
Cut ‘em off. All social media follows and purchases.
Call ‘em out. It’s not enough just to unfollow. Let people know the type of folks they are supporting/following. And, if all you can think with this step is, “WOW, another person promoting cancel culture and trying to silence someone”…read up on what cancel culture really is/means (and, this Times article is from 2019…still very much stands)
Stop streaming. Even though it’s just pennies per stream – they are benefitting monetarily from you still tuning into their music.
Count up how much money you’ve paid them over the years – posters, albums, concert tickets, merch, etc. – and demand they pay that in donations/reparations. Not sure what reparations are? Nicole Cardoza of Anti-Racism Daily (subscribe to the daily newsletter AND support their work monetarily), shared the following in the February 1, 2021 version of the newsletter:
“Reparations are necessary for achieving racial equity (Brookings). On an individual level, pay it forward to creators you learn from on social media or organizers in your community. On a local level, find the local or state initiative advocating for reparations and support for their work. In addition, I recommend completing the Reparations Now Tool Kit created by the Movement for Black Lives to create a comprehensive plan.”
That last ask feel like a bit of a stretch? That’s OK. If you have the means, pay those reparations/donations yourself. Installments are fine. Refer to my last point in where to contribute, if you can’t think of anything. (For example: I am contributing to KC Tenants – a multiracial group in my hometown that organizes to ensure everyone has a safe, accessible, and affordable home. I also contribute to Gift KC on a monthly recurring basis).
Feel like there is a hole in your heart where that music lived? Find some new music – you are in the right place to find independent artists here at imperfect Fifth), and accept that this – like many things and all of 2020 – is a grieving process. You won’t “just get over it”.
Just know that not taking action shows lack of care, and even – dare I say it – complicity?
The world won’t change unless we each take steps – individually and collectively – towards the world we want.
wondering what former favorite band of mine I might be referring to? Hanson. It’s Hanson (find out what led me to this action and rant, here and here). ALSO? Brian Littrell. Fuck em.
Erin P.S. Zimmerman has not only the memory of an elephant and the rhythm of one of Destiny’s children, but she’s the twin sister of our Editor, so she’s an absolute magnet for pop culture. She took a side road and grabbed us a large quantity of songs for a playlist that easily covers the entire decade. We’re sure it was inspired by her Spotify plays, as well as a deep dive into each year and her own iTunes library. But this girl’s got some gems. So read em, listen to em, and celebrate 2020 with the sounds of the past!
Dick in a Box – Lonely Island ft Justin Timberlake One of the first times I realized that my mom has a wicked dirty sense of humor. In 2011, we requested this one at a piano bar “for our mom”. They pulled her on stage to sing and dance…and boy, did she!
I’m on a Boat – The Lonely Island Everyone seemed to know this one, and it brought us all togethe
Water Landing – Third Eye Blind Favorite TEB song. My new bf at the time – now my husband – made me a mix CD when we started dating, and this was the first song.
Boom Boom Pow – The Black Eyed Peas “You’re so two thousand and LATE!” – Also, my sorority formal date’s “THIS IS MY JAM!”
Gives You Hell – The All-American Rejects Our anthem for all the bullshit left behind in high school.
Use Somebody – Kings of Leon Favorite moment of my study abroad trip to London: a packed room at a bar singing this to a live band playing a cover.
Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus There is no physical possibility she could walk off the plane at LAX, hop in her cab and look to the right to see the Hollywood sign.
Battlefield – Jordin Sparks Why DOES love always feel like a battlefield?
Fireflies – Owl City Why did we like this one so much??
I Love College – Asher Roth This is the given on the soundtrack of someone who was in college in 2009 or any year after.
Breakeven – The Script This introduced me to The Script. Which became part of the soundtrack to my summer.
Lines, Vines, and Trying Times – Jonas Brothers YES, this is the whole album. Because I loved about 4/5ths of it. And it was the magical soundtrack to exploring London and Los Angeles.
Cooler Than Me – Mike Posner Someone told me they thought of me every time they hear this song because I probably think I’m cooler than them. I am.
Billionaire – Travie McCoy ft Bruno Mars Heard this one for the first time driving around Los Angeles with some friends. And I could picture myself as a billionaire VERY clearly – and still do every time I hear it!
Club Can’t Handle Me – Flo Rida ft. David Guetta Always blasted in my dorm with my roommates. Always never at the club…because it can’t handle me right now.
Whataya Want from Me – Adam Lambert I felt like I had his vocal range. Spoiler alert: I didn’t. Also: what I sang in my head every time someone from high school reached out to me…
If I Die Young – The Band Perry My co-worker’s young daughter loved this song. And creepily sang every word as she stared deep into my eyes. I lived to tell the tale.
Shout It Out – Hanson Yes, it’s another boy band album. I truly love all of the upbeat music on this, and it’s great for running through the sprinklers and then enjoying a bomb pop on a summer day (or upbeat music for your NYE)!
Under the Mistletoe – Justin Bieber My sister received a video invitation to a Christmas party in Manhattan, New York that featured this song. And it was original and funny and I can’t help but love the song now.
Rolling in the Deep – Adele Power ballad and my introduction to Adele [insert heart eyes]
Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO My little bro learned the dance. We made the gold box head from the video for him. This was his anthem.
Raise Your Glass – P!nk Underdogs. Weirdos. Dirty little freaks. I’ve never felt so seen…
F**kin’ Perfect – P!nk NOW I feel seen.
Look At Me Now – Chris Brown ft Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes I spent an entire week vacationing in San Diego practicing rapping to Busta’s verse. I got most of it, performed it at my 21st birthday party, and retired from the rap game.
Good Life – OneRepublic Upbeat. Meaningful. Nostalgic. Perfect for a party!
Pretty Girl Rock – Keri Hilson Because, of course.
Jessie J’s entire album: Who You Are Spent the summer – and fall and winter and spring – driving around with my twin sis rockin’ out to this one! Daddio’s favorite is Price Tag
Threw it on the Ground – The Lonely Island Makes me giggle. Referenced often to this day.
Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye Just one of those songs from 2012 that defined the year…because it was played non-stop on every radio station. So, everyone knows it.
We Are Young – Fun Another one of those anthems for people of all ages about going out and painting the town red – or setting it on fire, whatever
Ni**as in Paris – Jay Z and Kanye West A fun one that made at least SOMETHING in Blades of Glory funny.
Birthday Cake – Rihanna ft Chris Brown Super weird collaboration following his assaulting her and the romantic breakup that followed 3 years prior…but a super catchy – albeit sometimes annoying – track.
Thrift Shop – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Who didn’t love this song, and then become a complete thrift shop junkie? It took me years to get back to thrifting and getting anything good!
Flawless – Beyonce Empowerment anthem OF THE DECADE. And, most days? I DID wake up like this.
Mirrors – Justin Timberlake Cried. Sang it with the windows down driving up the 101. Made my bridal party do a dance to it. There is video evidence.
Royals – Lorde I had somehow forgotten this song. It played in perpetuity from 2013-the KC Royals 2015 World Series Championship. Now I can’t get it out of my head…
Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus An ode to Miley’s breakup, breakdown and ripping off the bandaid that was her Disney persona. And you, too, can get a skin for your MacBook that turns your Apple logo into the wrecking ball in question.
Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys ANOTHER empowerment anthem? We will take all of them we can get!
You and I – John Legend Hell, really I just mean all of the album “Love in the Future”. Best of 2013.
Happy – Pharrell Williams Who doesn’t want a feel-good song to take you from down in the dumps, to dancing on the hood of your car? Or the bar? Or the table or the street?
All of Me – John Legend Bawled. Became first dance at wedding. Years later, I told John Legend to his face that he only makes music to purposefully make me cry. And he guaranteed tears at his concert. And he delivered. Damn him.
Turn Down for What – DJ Snake and Lil Jon Only video I took at my wedding: Dance off in the foreground between 5 VERY white boys to this song. In the background? Family friend Russian kicking my 9-year-old niece into 2016.
Chandelier – Sia I DO want to swing from the chandeli-here!
The Man – Aloe Blacc Best basketball warm up song. Best slideshow music for the graduating seniors of the St. Pius X high school basketball team.
Partition – Beyonce This one just has me feelin’ myself, no matter what mood I was in before! In fact, I’m going to go listen to it, now!
See You Again – Wiz Khalifa ft Charlie Puth First death of a friend my age. This played on a slideshow. He’s all I think of when I hear it and I cry. Which means I cried while watching Fast and the Furious. But not because of Fast and the Furious.
Take Me to Church – Hozier The year I really STOPPED going to church. But his voice more than made up for it!
Elastic Heart – Sia Two words: Shia. Labeouf.
Outlaws – Alessia Cara I felt like this was the anthem for myself and my fellow entrepreneurs as we retreated in the mountains and built our businesses and white-water rafted and had a jolly ole time.
House Party – Sam Hunt How the twin and I have always lived our lives: entertaining from the comfort of our own homes.
Love Yourself – Justin Bieber
Sorry – Justin Bieber OK, let’s be honest. The whole damn album. I’m not embarrassed. I danced my way through 2016 to JB.
Work from Home – Fifth Harmony I had just started working from home as a full-time freelancer when this one came out. So, it was constantly in my head – and is a fun one to dance to, as well!
Just Like Fire – P!nk Apparently, I am drawn to fire. I believe it’s the Aries in me…
One Call Away – Charlie Puth Sister broke up with her boyfriend. I rallied the troops and had friends and family from across the US lip sync on video and put it together as a breakup gift. And a perpetual reminder.
Sit Still, Look Pretty – Daya Calling society in to question. While being catchy and easy to dance to? Yes, please and thank you! Because smashing the patriarchy can and should feel a hell of a lot more fun!
Lost Boy – Ruth B Haunting, gender-bending, put into question how we see ourselves vs. how we are seen.
I know, deep, right?
HUMBLE – Kendrick Lamar I saw this one as a challenge for me to be less humble and take up space, while also singing along loudly in the direction of folx who need to sit the f*** down, shut up and listen.
Say You Won’t Let Go – James Arthur Does anyone else see Jane and Rafael from Jane the Virgin when they listen to this song? No? Just me?
Redbone – Childish Gambino A range and style no one expected, but everyone needed.
Slow Hands – Niall Horan Sexy from a former One Directioner…I should have seen it coming.
Sorry Not Sorry – Demi Lovato Hate the saying. LOVE the song.
DNA – Kendrick Lamar The BEST song to lift heavy weights and smash a bag around to! TRY to tell me differently!
Better Life – P!nk Sad and beautiful. It helps me to stop and take inventory and answer P!nk’s question for myself.
Younger Now – Miley Cyrus How I feel with each passing year…
Bastards – Kesha First song on her 2017 album. “Don’t let the bastards get you down” (America’s official slogan since, what, 2016?)
Everybody Lost Somebody – Bleachers Bleachers makes depression fun by helping folx find commonalities in one another. YOU are not alone!
Finesse – Bruno Mars and Cardi B LOVE the throwback late 80s/early 90s sound. MORE PLEASE!
All The Stars – Kendrick Lamar & SZA Black Panther. Entire Marvel/Disney soundtrack produced by Kendrick Lamar. My mom is friends with SZA’s mom.
This is America – Childish Gambino Calling us out. Poignant. This IS America. Always and still.
God is a Woman – Ariana Grande Finally. Someone got it right.
Shape of You – Ed Sheeran I’m still trying to hate it. But every time it comes on – and it still does a LOT – my foot just gets a’tappin’!
Thank U, Next – Ariana Grande I find myself singing this at my husband of 5+ years. Gotta keep um on their toes!
Hey Look Ma, I Made It – Pan!c at the Disco Haven’t heard much from Pan!c since the mid 2000s…and now they are back and better than ever! In fact: theirs was my favorite show of 2019 (and Elizabeth’s! Check out her review here: http://imperfectfifth.com/elizabeths-favorite-shows-of-2019-dont-threaten-me-with-a-good-time/)
7 Rings – Ariana Grande Sound of Music is my favorite. And so are my bitches (though, I don’t have 6 of them…probably)
Old Town Road – Lil Nas X ft Billy Ray Cyrus Lil Nas X became a role model, THEN came out (and became an even BIGGER role model), all while trolling us with this annoyingly catchy – but really bad – anthem of 2019.
Bad Guy – Billie Eilish Hate to say it…I love it. Because, well, I don’t always want to be the nice guy!
I Don’t Care – Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber This is literally how I feel about everyone and everything. Except for my family. Sometimes. Other times, it’s exactly how I feel about all humans except myself.
Homecoming: The Live Album – Beyonce Watching it live. Listening to it in its entirety. Tears to my eyes and over a decade of music and emotions.
The end of October brought with it more than just a weather cool-down. As we started to bundle up for the winter ahead, we took time to pause on a breezy Autumn evening to celebrate the last 2 years of accomplishments with Imperfect Fifth. We were lucky enough to partner with Do Good Co., an incredible company on 38th Street in Kansas City, MO, who was also celebrating their 2nd birthday that evening. Together, we brought in vendors (Sugar Buffet KC, Scorpio Rising Botanicals, Crystal Ramirez Jewelry) and unique shopping opportunities with an evening of music and fun. Guitarist James Schneider opened the evening, followed by the talents of Danza Special and Fathers. We captured some photographs, caught up with friends, and were able to celebrate some incredible people locally, to boost our change globally.
Check our merch shop all week for discounts! Sales end at midnight, 11.11!
**photos by Erin P.S. Zimmerman, Elizabeth Schneider, and Meredith Schneider
Judah & the Lion…what can I say? They are a band that I have seen multiple times, and that I will probably continue to see. My first encounter, admittedly, was a personal tour with the guys around the Kansas City Zoo as they were just gaining traction with “Take It All Back”, and they were such a joy to speak with and to capture (with the lions, no less!). They put on such an undeniably powerful, upbeat, and fun show, and consistently! Everywhere from a packed old theater to an intimate set in a bar, they know how to make you FEEL with their lyrics AND music.
Th latest venue when they passed through Kansas City on August 10th? The gorgeous outdoor stage at Starlight Theater. (Yup. Home to bats and big ass fans.) Aside from the wicked humidity that evening, I think it was my favorite show from them yet, which is a tall order! It truly felt like I was invited to a party as one of the band’s closest friends as I witnessed their talent beneath the summertime sky.
Prior to releasing their album Pep Talks in May, I don’t think I would have felt like they were speaking directly to me. But the lyrics are made up of stories that are trauma-informed and emotional, like the band has cracked themselves open to being completely honest and transparent to anyone that will listen. Their Nashville-infused folk-pop mixed with some clearly Blink 182-style beats – well informed influence, as they’ve been covering a Blink favorite on this tour – this whole concert felt like a nod to early 2000s teen flick house parties (you know, with the live punk band playing in the backyard by the pool a la “Scotty Doesn’t Know”?).
Judah and The Lion’s energy is undeniable. The dropping of a curtain makes me want to listen more. And share more and connect more with other humans. And it had a greater impact on me as I listened Saturday night.
They opened with “Pep Talk” (the first song on their new album of the same name) as the last glow of the evening sun disappeared over the horizon and brought the heat as the weather cooled (to a chill 76 degrees). They played their entire new album and mixed in some fan favorites along the way – including a Blink 182 cover! And, even though I love the new stuff, my ears perked up and my tail started wagging when “Suit and Jacket” started up a few songs in.
They sing. They dance. They play the banjo. They tell enveloping stories while running around the stage and tiring you out just watching them. But, most of all, they inspire you to live in the moment, dance like no one is watching, and remind you that you are never alone.
I attended the Judah & the Lion concert by myself on Saturday night. But, as I walked to my car during the encore of “Take It All Back”, I realized I was really in my own backyard, connecting through song and movement with 5,000 of mine and the band’s closest friends.
Kansas City setlist:
1. Pep Talk
2. Quarter-Life Crisis
3. Over My Head
4. i’m ok.
6. Suit and Jacket
8. All the Small Things (blink‐182 cover)
9. Queen Songs / human.
10. Don’t Mess With My Mama
13. Going to Mars
15. Rich Kids
16. Dance With Ya
18. Family / Best Is Yet to Come
20. Alright (frick it!)
21. Why Did You Run?
22. Take It All Back