Who was a band or artist you played on repeat in your adolescence? Were you band or genre-loyal in your teens? Did you cling to lyrics, composition, or a specific type of energy to help inspire you and get you through the insanity of high school? Chances are, many millennials are getting into their feels thinking about emo and emo-adjacent music right now. A genre known for hosting nasally voices, lyrics that utilize a person’s entire vocabulary, titles that are longer than most novels, and theatrics that harkened a bit of darkness. While Panic! at The Disco absolutely belongs in this genre, lead singer (and now solo artist) Brendon Urie’s voice didn’t quite belong in the “nasally” category, as was the case for a handful of others who dominated the genre in the aughts.
2006 brought us “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” an edgy track that immediately caught my attention, with a music video that utilized more stage makeup than a three-ring circus. In the words of Blades of Glory’s Chazz Michael Michaels, “it’s provocative.” Emo kids rejoiced as they saw themselves–their hair, at the very least–in the music videos and performances that ensued over the years from Panic. Even with the band’s evolution – from a band to a (mostly) solo act, with phenomenal cohorts, session musicians, and tour players, and as they’ve dipped their toes into different genres and sounds – their fanbase has held strong.
February of 2019 was the last time Urie made an appearance in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Aside from a less crowded atmosphere on the evening of September 13th, the crowd was no less invigorated and was loud enough to cause a visceral reaction from the entertainer multiple times. He looked shocked, he noted that he was impressed, and the pure joy on his face could be felt all the way “in the back back back back.”
Panic! at The Disco has always done its best to incorporate a wide range of tracks from various titles in every single one of their shows. While the Viva Las Vengeance tour was pretty meticulously planned – from pyrotechnics to sound effects, lighting and confetti – there is still wiggle room for a variety of songs to be interspersed depending on the date. Our stop seemed particularly magical, as the crowd sang along to the following tracks.
The tour itself – as high energy and incredible as the performance has been – has experienced some setbacks over the first few weeks. As most may know by now, two dates were postponed because of Covid, and the night after they were in Kansas City, there was a small fire incident on stage in Minnesota. And still, Brendon moves on with the energy and enthusiasm that we have come to know and love him for.
August 13th was a Saturday night unlike any I have seen in a very long time. Approaching the outside of T-Mobile Center Arena in Kansas City, MO, you would have no idea by the soothing, music-filled area outside the gates that you were entering an almost-sold-out show in a multi-thousand-seat arena. an enigmatic atmosphere. Those in attendance had been waiting to see The Lumineers since the show was announced prior to the pandemic setting in.
The 25-song set included crowd favorites like “Ho Hey,” “Dead Sea,” “Ophelia,” and “Stubborn Love.” Their spin on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” masterfully blended original track “Leader of the Landslide” into an easily digestible and beautiful new work of art. One of the most notable tracks, however, was their Petty cover “Walls (Circus)”, which was performed with their openers, Gregory Alan Isakov and Daniel Rodriguez.
Much as their name suggests, The Lumineers’ set design left the crowd ensconced in the warm glow of the lights. Their multi-runway stage gave the show a dynamic we have not had the privilege of seeing in the past. While each member of the band is a multi-instrumentalist and talented as all get out, we are more familiar with a stage presence that keeps them all solitary, in a straight line with equal lighting for the audience to enjoy. For this show, we witnessed climbing on pianos, jumping from one part of the stage to the next, and dancing under the most magical disco ball the crowd has ever seen. Add the flurry of confetti mid-show to the mix and you’ve got yourself a kaleidoscope snow globe experience.
Before the pandemic, it truly was all about the music. Now, it seems to be about creating a joyful atmosphere. Sure, the music holds as the firm base and is what gets the audience in the doors. But this band has taken their set design to a level that makes everyone — whether you are in the VIP pit or in the nosebleeds — feel as though they are snuggled with a blanket under starry skies as summer fades.
Their energy burns so bright that not only are they the most electrifying performance on a hot summer’s day (and we mean hot), but if you blink… you might miss them. Gracing the stage around sunset on Day 1 of Boulevardia 2022, BLACKSTARKIDS brought an array of fans out to party. Eye-catching hair, intense vocals, and a stage presence like no other make them some of our favorite when it comes to live performance these days. Come to dance, stay to feel hints of nostalgia and a genre-bending experience you just won’t regret.
As much as we love covering music on an international scale, we see the value in (and need for) local artist spotlights. Since Imperfect Fifth is based in Kansas City, we have teamed up with the Kansas City Women’s Music Network to bring you artist highlights about twice per month.
About Alisa Jefferson: Alisa has always been very passionate about music and the songs she delivers as a singer/songwriter. She grew up in the Kansas City area with influences from ’70s Motown to mostly ’80s and ’90s rock/pop. She played viola in orchestra before she received her first acoustic guitar at age 13 and she hasn’t looked back since.
Currently, Alisa is writing, recording, and planning to release a 10+ track LP this summer. She has released four singles from this new LP to most major music platforms.
As much as we love covering music on an international scale, we see the value in (and need for) local artist spotlights. Since Imperfect Fifth is based in Kansas City, we have teamed up with the Kansas City Women’s Music Network to bring you artist highlights about twice per month. Our Member Spotlight today is Alison Hawkins of True Lions!
About Alison: Alison Hawkins is a writer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and music teacher. They are an organizer for Bandwaggn KC, a music camp for girls/trans/gender-expansive youth in Kansas City. Alison dropped out of music school and dedicated their life to intersectional activism. In 2018, they created the keytar pop band True Lions, releasing two EPs in 2019 and a full-length album in 2021.
A Kansas City-based “flosspunk” alt-pop supergroup led by Alison Hawkins, True Lions meshes the band members’ backgrounds in classical, punk, jazz, folk, and blues, ultimately creating a well-rounded, unique pop sound. The band’s revolving lineup includes Elizabeth Kosko, Teri Quinn, Claire Adams, Adee Rocket Dancy, Aryana Nemati, KuJo, Iona DeWalt, and Miki P. While they’re a gender-diverse collective of women/nonbinary/trans/boi/vegan multi-instrumentalists and genre-flirts, the focus of this project is not their genders or dietary restrictions, but rather, their attitudes, imaginations, and the group’s inspiring ability to empower and celebrate one another through the refuge they create within their music. They emphasize friendships with bandmates over conventional instrumentation, and prioritize character and integrity over musical perfectionism. Combining flossy harmonies, clever metaphors, and solid hooks, True Lions confronts serious subject matter with a light and often silly approach. They maintain an anti-patriarchal agenda while still having a fun party time, calling it “carbonated honesty.” They’re known for collaborations with artists such as Calvin Arsenia, Fritz Hutchison, and The Swallowtails, and cite influences like Cibo Matto, The Go-Go’s, Sleater-Kinney, The Raincoats, and Fanny. Their debut album, The Fempire Strikes Back, releases April 9, 2021 via Manor Records.
As much as we love covering music on an international scale, we see the value in (and need for) local artist spotlights. Since Imperfect Fifth is based in Kansas City, we have teamed up with the Kansas City Women’s Music Network to bring you artist highlights about twice per month. Jillian Riscoe – an Imperfect Fifth favorite – is this week’s Member Spotlight!
About Jillian: Any performance singer/songwriter Jillian Riscoe puts on showcases a depth of soulfulness and emotion. Performing as a solo artist, in a rock band, and with various cover groups of all genres through her years of actively performing live, she is as well versed and dynamic as it gets.
Singing and performing since the age of 7, Jillian has had her share of success. The Kansas City native has toured and performed across the United States, including the NAMM show, major sporting events, the Grammy Museum Music Revolution Project, and the CDBaby DIY Musician’s Conference. She has received regional music awards, secured national radio airplay, and opened up for artists like Pat Benatar, Rick Springfield, Lisa Loeb, Everclear, Tantric, Stabbing Westward.
Keeping busy as always, Jillian performs on a regular basis including acoustic sets and shows with the KC based cover group The Wannabes, is a music instructor of various private music lessons and classes and as of late, collaborating with Avenue Record Company, releasing original solo material exploring topics such as resilience, courage and finding our place in the world. Her latest single “People in the Real World” can be found on all digital music platforms.
Pop-rock talent Jillian Riscoe was gracious enough to share her new track “People in The Real World” with us to premiere during our Women’s Month Instagram Live series this week. A songstress out of Kansas City, Riscoe has found a way to balance the fine line between intense ballad and soulful anthem, while bringing in futuristic sounds to really play with our ability to classify it. Endearing work, to say the least, and the track is available to enjoy now!
From Kansas City comes pop-punk outfit The Way Way Back, and from them comes their album, Baggage or You’re Never Going to Leave it All Behind. This is a monumental expression of pain and bravery packed into seven tracks. “Baggage” may come without lyrics, but acts as a brilliant introduction to the saga. Opening with a shuffling of people in a crowded place before venturing into just the right punk melody at just the right time, the track welcomes you to the beautiful chaos. This transitions directly into the second track, “I Am Not Afraid to Walk This World Alone”, a heavy rocker dedicated to a former flame, perhaps from a place of discontent or even anger. The more stripped back “Kintsugi” has the acoustic guitar to thank for the perfect runaway song, which happens to be the subject of this ballad. The band keeps it relatively slow for “Bad Star”, the story of someone who is down in their luck and unable to get out of a dark place. The final track is “Waste Away”, which one could consider the optimistic song of the album. This is where we are asked what we’ll do with ourselves as life moves so fast. Perhaps, we don’t have an answer.
The Way Way Back may have included many elements of pain with this release, but what stands out more is the overwhelming elements of wonder and hope that are buried within each song.
The Lone Bellow returned to Kansas City on March 2nd to sold out crowd at Knuckleheads. The large crowd comprised young and old fans alike, and everyone knew the lyrics. Known for their energetic live shows, The Lone Bellow did not disappoint. The set list ranged from new tracks like “Count On Me” from their recently released album “Half Moon Light” to old favorites such as “You Never Need Nobody”, and even included a Boyz II Men cover. After almost a decade as a band, and 5 full-length albums, The Lone Bellow continues to prove they are one of the best live acts in the business today.