Tuesday night was one for the ages at Starlight Theater in Kansas City, MO. In an unexpectedly beautiful way, 3 Doors Down helped us celebrate the end of summer with a full rendition of their 2003 debut album The Better Life, as well as other favorites. 20 years of pure joy filled the outdoor venue, coupled with stunning light design and a refreshing breeze that made everything feel like an actual dream.
Since 1990 – give or take a few years here and there – Candlebox (updated lineup: Kevin Martin, Adam Kury, Brian Quinn, Island Styles, BJ Kerwin) has been lighting the stage with its endearing (and enduring) brand of Pacific Northwest grunge rock. Consistently, they’ve brought heavy-hitting sets to dedicated crowds with hints of glam metal and blues in tow.
What the band has not always conveyed in their performance, is a sense of nostalgia or wide-spanning appreciation. Citing the pandemic – and other circumstances over the years – lead singer Kevin Martin took things a little slower, leaving space for reflection during their set at Starlight Theater in Kansas City, MO on Wednesday, September 6.
Martin told us about his flawed and wonderful immigrant grandmother and his incredible parents – including a wonderful anecdote about a cradle-robbing father. He later took time to appreciate the people he – and we all – have lost too soon. Grief is a tricky bitch, and we have all been touched by it over the years. A sense of true empathy fell like a blanket over the Theater, on what was – admittedly – one of the most temperate and enjoyable evenings of the summer. (Despite the additional quilt of smog over us, brought down from the fires in Canada. Oops.)
He Calls Home
With COVID cases on the rise (despite what your local news might omit from its reports), photographers were not allowed a wide variety of angles to shoot from. However, the energy and the wild abandon are palpable through our Candlebox highlights, below.
If you have yet to happen upon the immense talents of Connor McLaren, now is your chance. The Indianapolis-based musician just released his first full-length with the indelible Ben Kweller’s label The Noise Company. Today, we get to peep the music video for the single “Candy Rain.”
A casual, meandering pace opens the track as we delve into the love story that is “Candy Rain.” While his romantic interest is metaphorically compared to this tasty concept, momentum builds and instrumentals are layered. The song becomes more of a quintessential rock ballad than originally expected, with a hint of grunge/surf rock influence in the whirring guitars. McLaren’s voice has the same appeal as your favorite 90’s crooners, giving all of his music what seems to be an unintentional – but completely genuine – layer of added nostalgia.
By the song alone, it is quite obvious that McLaren’s musicianship and professionalism far surpass the expectations normally associated with his ripe age of 21. But diving into the music video is a whole other treat. (See what we did there?)
The artist takes an artful approach to this visual release, with isolated color palettes dancing around his shadow profile in some frames, playing with natural elements like the textures in mother nature and the sun in others. Shots of the curly-haired crooner performing in earnest, surrounded by bubbles. Then covered in paint. Then avoiding a literal candy downpour under an umbrella.
The video is a kaleidoscope dream you won’t soon forget.
UPCOMING TOUR DATES:
August 17 – New York, NY – The Footlight
August 26 – Normal, IL – House Show
August 31 – Bloomington, IN – The Atrium
September 2 – Cleveland, OH – Mahall’s Apartment
September 9 – West Lafayette, IN – House Show
September 12 – Nashville, TN – The Basement East
September 14 – Boone, NC – TApp Room
September 21 – Chicago, IL – Bookclub
October 14 – Charleston, SC – House Show
November 10 – Appleton, WI – Appleton Beer Factory
December 22 – Indianapolis, IN – HiFi **Homecoming show – TICKETS
Lead Vocals – Connor McLaren
Acoustic and Electric Guitar – Alec McLaren
Bass and Drums – Ben Kweller
Backing Vocals – Connor McLaren and Ben Kweller
**Written by Connor McLaren, Alec McLaren, and Benjamin Kweller and published by Weed Funded Songs (ASCAP), Charity Chase Songs (ASCAP) and Twelve Sided Die (ASCAP)
Rachel Burns knows passion. She knows intensity, appreciation, humor, and life. Her music has reached a unicorn “pop-soul-cabaret” genre-bending classification, relatably inspired by her everyday life. As a mother of two and cancer survivor, she could just as easily sing the blues — and most likely very beautifully. Instead, she takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to her art, the culmination of which comes to a head with her new EP release, What a Nasty Woman.
From the very first staccato notes of “Mansplainin'” – which any female-identifying human can probably identify with – through the weight of “Triple D’s” (pun intended), and through to the fade-out of wild-west inspired “Sundown Of The Macho Man,” you are in for a damn treat. Burns has brought just as much sass to her sound as she has talent, and these songs will have you revving up for the weekend the right way. (HELLO to her amped-up version of “All Shook Up”!)
“I like to empower people to empower other people. I’d like to uplift us all with this project,” Burns shares. “When I would dress up as Wonder Woman, I held up a giant sign that said, ‘Time to bust out the golden lasso of truth’ in glitter. Wonder Woman’s superpower was telling the truth. The truth is really powerful; it can break down all kinds of barriers, and I think that’s the kernel of a lot of my music: Truth telling. We’re going to laugh, dance, and be real – and not pussyfoot around anything!”
And pussyfoot she does not. Double entendres like the reference to fingers as “flacid, flimsy” and “soft, limp” in “Tiny Hands” and the entirety of “Triple D’s” are scattered across the 6-track EP, adding just as much joy and giggle to the aftermath of your listen as inspiration and empowerment. Her impressive vocal range is displayed to perfection on What a Nasty Woman, from the soft disposition of “Pollyanna’s Lament” to the deep, guttural performance of “Tiny Hands” and beyond. With nostalgic instrumentation that sets the stage for her theatrical, all-encompassing songs, you may just find yourself with an earworm or two.
WHAT A NASTY WOMAN TRACKLISTING
- All Shook Up
- Triple D’s
- Pollyanna’s Lament
- Tiny Hands
- Sundown Of The Macho Man
Brooklyn’s newest breakout alternative act is Sunshine Convention, led by brainchild and industry veteran Jake Whitener. And it is the most exciting thing we have on our radar right now. After whirlwind inspiration in his home in the last 3 years, Whitener wrote over 300 songs. He was then tasked at whittling down his ideas to just one full-length collection to introduce the music concept. Its first two single releases have more than piqued our interest.
A nostalgic, 60s and 70s psychedelic rock encases your headspace as soon as you press “play” on a Sunshine Convention song. Moments of lazy surf rock and whirring guitar really make both singles have widespread appeal, from the realistic (and often sarcastic) burnouts to the hopeful idealists and everyone in between. With the release of the project’s second official single – “The Spark” – and its accompanying psychedelic music video, our excitement increases tenfold for the full-length, due out this summer. (July 21st, to be exact. Mark your calendars!)
The full-length is being given a super limited first run on CD, with matte Digipak case and two bonus songs. Pre-orders are open now.
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.
K.Flay is one of our favorite live performers here at Imperfect Fifth. This is because, not only is this human a quirky and fun one, but K.Flay is also a highly energetic human that creates an entire party on stage with dance, song, and massive amounts of attitude. Lucky for us, she and her touring partner grandson made a pit stop in Kansas City to help headline Day 2 at Boulevardia 2023.
As crowds began to increase with the ending of the beer tasting at Taps & Tastes and the breeze that settled in at dusk, the attention started to turn more to the main stage. A big crowd gathered over the course of the set, marveling at how much dancing could happen after a day in the heat of a concrete jungle.
Here are some photos to prove we just couldn’t keep up with her talent and charisma.
At 9:30pm on Friday, June 16th, Jason Isbell took the stage to headline Day 1 of Boulevardia in Kansas City, Missouri. The festival focuses on the vibrant beer-centric culture in the Kansas City metropolitan area. It brings hops from all over, as well as music, vendors of all kinds, and interactive experiences you can’t find anywhere else. Find Boulevardia in Kansas City every Father’s Day weekend. (aka quite often the hottest weekend of the summertime.)
The Grammy award-winning act took the main stage overlooking Crown Center. Here, the bustling center in the heart of the Crossroads District now plays home to the annual fest. Surrounded by smoke – and an incredibly talented band – Jason Isbell entertained the masses who had gathered in the street to get a glimpse of the Americana crooner.
With the lights of the city behind him, Isbell set the tone for the rest of the (sweaty) beautiful event.
Day 2 of Boulevardia was a hot one. Per usual, the annual festival occurs on just about the hottest weekend of the year, Father’s Day in downtown Kansas City. Day 1 featured many favorite local acts, an array of vendors (some of which provided a reprieve from the heat), and a metric ton of photo opportunities. Day 2 brought much of the same, with an earlier start time that easily drained the battery on many of us throughout the day.
But at 5:05 pm, the legendary Big Freedia took the main stage. If ever there were someone to reignite the flame on a fiery – yet sweaty – festival, she is that person. Her catalog of high-energy music brought the whole crowd to their feet, encouraging people of all ages to dance. (In fact, I witnessed many employing her twerking tactics throughout the evening as we got deeper and deeper into our alcohol consumption.) The show was an absolute work of art
Big Freedia brought beauty to the beginning of the evening on stage. She continued to bring good energy in her kindness to those who approached her after her performance as she roamed the festival grounds with her friends.
**Big Freedia was introduced by Kansas City’s current mayor in what many are considering to be a performative move. While he is championing legislation to make our city a safe haven for trans people, he is fighting against affordable housing for tenants and has voted down vital mental health, housing, and arts funding for the city. He has also pumped more money back into policing in Kansas City while defunding public health resources, a controversial and uneven approach.