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.
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.
On September 23rd, Lizzy McAlpine and Carol Ades took the stage at the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia. Photographer Jay Lindblad was on-hand to experience the magic of the evening. He was enamored by the vocal nuances of each artist, who displayed live performance tactics that would indicate music industry experience far beyond their years. The mood of the evening was blissful despite the “sad girl” ambiance, and we got some snapshots to prove it.
It was between panels on Friday, March 18th, that we had the unique pleasure of meeting self-proclaimed “indie americana disco mama” Van Plating. She had taken over our Instagram account earlier in the week, and had done a phenomenal job connecting with our community. An incredible songstress and performer, she showed up outside of the convention center with a brand new hat that she acquired in Austin, and a gorgeous skirt that coincidentally coordinated with the mural we had planned to photograph her in front of.
We saw some incredible acts on St. Patrick’s Day at SXSW, as we do every year we get to participate in this expansive convention/festival hybrid. The International Day Stage at Brush Square Park was one of our favorite stages to hit up during the day, to experience a host of international acts and really get to know some new sounds. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Cardiff-based 4-piece rock band – shredded on stage, and captivated us with their rich sound while we were passing through at 5pm. Take a listen here.
Haven’t seen Idles live yet? You’re missing out on… an entire experience. Luckily, the insanely talented Anthony Mulcahy shared some photos from his recent night out to see the band at Terminal 5. You can almost taste the sweat.
On Friday night (3.19) we hung out at the Park The Van Records showcase. Everyone’s own unique ambiance added to the intimate nature of each incredible performance. Johnny Aries kicked it off strong with a track and our first parking cone of the night.
Sacramento’s own Best Move followed mellowing the mood out a bit more. Their debut LP is due later this year.
Brighton-based talent Steven Bamidele came third, with a traffic cone in his own recording space. His was our favorite performance of the evening.
Fan favorite Mae Powell followed, adding back in some moody lighting to reflect the Friday night mood.
Neighbor Lady‘s set came from a very open and beautifully lit space, taking advantage of the most gorgeous natural light. The warm tones enhanced the warmth and energy of the tracks, and we found ourselves grooving during this set.
BOYO brought intrigue to the space, rounding out the evening with Park The Van Records. We are big-time fans of their energy, and looking forward to more from this project.
Murder by Death returned to Lawrence, KS, on March 7 for a show at historic Liberty Hall. The group is mid-way through their current tour celebrating 20 years as a band. The crowd was so happy to welcome them back to Lawrence. The night included a great moment when lead singer, Adam Turla, acknowledged their love and long history with the town, from playing house parties in the early 00’s, to Liberty hall on Saturday. The group was energetic and cohesive – you could tell they’ve been performing together for 20 years.
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.