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.
If you have yet to hear of Jensen McRae, then you are in for a treat. You have been missing out on one of the most brilliant new talents to grace the clubs and venues of her home of Southern California. The 25-year-old pop singer-songwriter had the opportunity of a lifetime to open for an international touring sensation. McRae was hand-picked by Dermot Kennedy and his team to be added to Kennedy’s regular lineup for their stop in Los Angeles. (A show that normally consists of the Irish crooner and musician Kevin Garrett.) The Youtube Theater was in for quite the treat.
As the first line of lyrics came through McRae’s lips, an actual gasp went out across the Theater. The audience was spellbound by her warm vocals and the depth of emotion in her voice. We were particularly big fans of the goth feel of her collared, striped, and moody ensemble. Check out our (unedited) selects below.
On 4/20, Kansas City, Missouri hosted its inaugural cannabis and music festival experience on the grounds at the future home of the Smokey River Entertainment District. The venue, which is located just off 291 Highway in River Bend, Missouri, built a mecca for cannabis, its fans, and supporters to celebrate the yearly event. Berner is the infamous owner of the cannabis brand Cookies, so he was especially excited to help celebrate legalization in Missouri. In fact, he stopped to tell the crowd how incredible it was multiple times.
A particularly wonderful moment for me was when he included “Pass Me the Green” in his setlist. This feels like a no-brainer, based on the subject matter, but it still wasn’t an expectation. In the song, he rhymes:
Hopped out the game for a minute But I’m back now My bitch take trips out of state She from Sac Town
Directly following Berner was the indelible Joey Bada$$, who came out and immediately said he was happy to be in Missouri. The crowd lost their minds completely when he correctly identified the state, because that is a very rare thing. The name “Kansas City” leads many performers to believe that they are in Kansas. Bada$$ earned any respect he was lacking in that moment, and the crowd settled in to an absolutely phenomenal performance as he built the energy for the king himself, Wiz Khalifa.
And this crowd? Beautiful, calm, happy. All set with food trucks surrounding the stage space, and a cannabis village accessible to 21+ attendees. What a beautiful experience for the city, and a great way to kick off legalization in Missouri.