simple plan proves they can still “jump” at uptown theater in kcmo | may 18, 2022

simple plan proves they can still “jump” at uptown theater in kcmo | may 18, 2022

Simple Plan headlined The Blame Canada Tour at Uptown Theater on Wednesday, May 18th, 2022. Along with Set It Off and Sum 41, they lit up the stage with their intense and joyous energy. Yes, despite the most gut-wrenching emo lyrics, these guys couldn’t help but lift the entire audience up with their stage presence.

Touring in support of their new album Harder Than It Looks, they pulled an array of crowd favorites out for our nostalgic enjoyment, as well as some great new tracks. The most relatable moment, however, happened toward the beginning of the set, when Pierre encouraged everyone to stretch before the ever-enjoyable “Jump”.

dermot kennedy enchants kansas city crowd during “better days” tour at uptown theater

dermot kennedy enchants kansas city crowd during “better days” tour at uptown theater

August 7, 2021 was my first show back. Back, from where? Who even knows? While the pandemic rages on, I wonder, more often than not, if leaving my house is even worth it. But I’ve been enjoying – and producing – livestreams and digital concert experiences since COVID-19 took SXSW 2020 from us all, and I knew the joy that came from that massively sustained me over the last 17 months.

The first time I saw Dermot Kennedy was in a church off 6th Street in Austin, Texas during SXSW 2018. I chose to spend the evening with a handful of friends from my hometown, wandering into shows and experiencing new acts to write about and photograph for the (still new) site. But something about Kennedy’s vocal delivery – the vulnerability and intensity with which he delivered some of the most emotionally charged lyrics I’d ever heard – made me forget I was trying to compile content for the site at all. A handful of distanced, “between tall guys’ bobbing heads” photos happened, but the music was so compelling that I spent an embarrassing amount of the set with my eyes closed, or staring up at the vaulted ceilings, marveling at the magic that music creates, and the magic from which it is derived.

When SXSW 2020 was canceled, I decided to make the quick, 4-hour jaunt to St. Louis to see Kennedy. Within a couple of days, the tour was indefinitely postponed. COVID-19 set in, and March saw stages around the world shutter. Deafening silence. And while artists tried to keep the spark alive with their multi-dimensional at-home creations, new directions, and interactive experiences, there was just something missing. That spark that live music incites, the way it can make an entire room feel like it’s on fire, hearts dancing in unison. As someone who once took for granted a 2-5 concert per week schedule, I began to feel lost in a sea of digital analysis and curation. I am humbled by the art that has come from our time locked away, but it never had the energy of a live show.

By the time I realized live music was coming back, Kennedy had sold out his St. Louis reschedule. And his Red Rocks performance. I spoke with a friend who was going to work with me on getting tickets in Wisconsin, which would be my saving grace for his tour since Kennedy was no longer appearing on the postponed Bonnaroo lineup (because of touring conflicts). But my sister happening upon a radio tour announcement a couple of weeks before her big move to Los Angeles and a random discussion that occurred a half-hour before tickets went on sale for the Kansas City stop made it all possible. Me – the woman who often feels jaded by the industry, especially for how little people truly rallied for the arts through this dark time -, I allowed myself to finally get excited about an event. I had something to look forward to that I knew could help me heal.

And still, I wondered, could I possibly stand in a crowded venue again? Could I find joy in the music – the one thing that makes me feel like I have my head screwed on straight on a daily basis – amidst a crowd of maybe-vaxxers from the midwest? (That wild, wild midwest that we have come to know as a largely “denying science” crowd.) I spent days before this show panicking about everything. Would there be space to spread out? The show wasn’t entirely sold out, the venue was more intimate, it couldn’t be too insane. Right? Would I melt in my mask? Would my friends be comfortable?

I almost had no words to explain how it all felt. Sure, I annoyed my +1 (Hi, mom!) and a couple of friends (I see you Anjelica and Kevin!) with some fears about everything. But, I was mostly entirely back in my element. As an observer, an enjoyer. I ensured we got pretty good spots to watch the show, over by the rail on the right side next to the stage. Dermot Kennedy’s Kansas City (Missouri) leg of his Better Days tour was officially sold out at the Uptown Theater, however, there was substantial space on the sides of the stage to ensure that we felt comfortable. I did some people watching like I used to. (I’d like to think that people couldn’t handle their liquor because they hadn’t imbibed at that level in a while, but who knows?) And, truly, I spent the majority of the evening belting out lyrics behind my mask, staring up at the shadows dancing on the ceiling, really indulging in the collective atmosphere of it all.

Set List:
Lost
Power Over Me
All My Friends
An Evening I Will Not Forget
Outgrown
The Corner
Rome
For Island Fires and Family
Outnumbered
Better Days
Moments Passed
Glory
Giants
Encore:
After Rain
Without Fear

Thank you to Anna Hamilton, Bishop Briggs, and Dermot Kennedy for “an evening I will not forget.” (I know I’m the first one to use that reference, of course.) I can only say that it helped to inflate my sad, darkened, emo heart. So perhaps I’ll Grinch less for a while. 😉

Anna Hamilton and Bishop Briggs thoughts + photos to come.

the greeting committee @ uptown theater

the greeting committee @ uptown theater

Not even freezing temperatures and icy roads could stop Kansas City from showing up for their favorite hometown act last Saturday as indie-pop band The Greeting Committee returned home and took the stage for a sold-out crowd at Uptown Theater. The energy in the theater was absolutely electric as fans packed into the venue, eager for an escape from the cold and snowy night. It was delivered.
Addie Sartino, the band’s frontwoman and charismatic shining star, was, as expected by the eager crowd, a force to be reckoned with. It was a constant stream of highs as Sartino led the audience through a whirlwind of emotions throughout the night. The group played fan favorites like “Don’t Go”, “Pull It Together”, and “You’ve Got Me” as an ecstatic crowd danced and sang along with Sartino. She flawlessly demonstrated her talents on every one, not missing a beat and thriving throughout the spirited set.
A notable moment came fairly early on as a nostalgia-inducing “salute to our youth” saw the band bring on stage a large group of local Kansas City musicians for a cover of Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” that bordered on spiritual. But the homegrown band was just getting started.
About halfway through the show, Sartino asked the audience to respect her request “human being to human being” as she asked that everyone be completely silent while she performed “Call in the Morning”, a somber track that deals with tragedy off of the band’s new EP. Complete and total silence blanketed Uptown as Sartino traded her typical high-energy performance style for vulnerability and a powerful stillness as she stood center-stage while singing the track. Even in her stillness, her ability to connect to her material shone through. A completely mesmerized crowd couldn’t peel their eyes away from the frontwoman, who encapsulated what it means to put yourself into a performance. Sartino’s demanor shifted as she made it to the song’s spoken word portion, and she frantically ran around the stage as the lights went blue and she yelled out the monologue to a sea of teary faces. “Call the police, drain the bathtub, hide the bleach, call ‘em quick love. I think we’ve lost it” she screamed. “I cannot find another you”.
Sartino threw herself to the floor and pounded her fists along with the heartbeat-like drums as she screamed “Call the police!” over and over again. The song appeared to be pure catharsis for the young performer. The theater went dark as “1-800-273-8255” and “If you’re looking for a sign to stay alive, this is it” appeared on the screen and remained there as the band played the ending to the song softly in the background. 2,000 fans stood unmoving and silent, and many faces were streaked with tears as the audience stared at the dark stage, completely overcome by the power of the moment that they had just witnessed. Uptown was momentarily still as the crowd stood frozen, unsure of how or if the silence should be broken.
But just like that, Sartino was back on stage and better than ever, and the crowd rallied along with their fearless leader. The band took what could easily have been a hard moment to recover from and kept the wonderful moments coming, and it was impossible not to latch on to their infectious energy. The crowd’s spirits climbed through the roof as the show continued to escalate. The back half of the night included a mosh pit during fan-favorite “Hands Down”, and crowd-surfing by literally everyone in the band. The final song of the night, “Gold Star”, got intimate as the band got off stage and played amongst the very crowd that helped them make their largest show to date possible before exiting (while still playing of course) out the front door. It was a full-circle kind of night for the band and fans alike, and, in the words of the guy in front of me who couldn’t stop crying, “That was just special”.
___

article by: madi toman

neko case @ uptown theater

neko case @ uptown theater

On Friday, May 10th, the legendary Neko Case made a fiery appearance at The Uptown Theater in Kansas City, MO. Taking the stage very casually, she wore pants with a skeleton frame on them and slowly introduced us to her set with “Pitch or Honey”. She then launched into “Bad Luck”, which had the majority of the lower level seated section on their feet for a good portion of the track. The lights glowed warmly behind Case, making it look as though she had a true halo around her head. Her on stage cohorts – all basked in a warm glow – seemed to be no less than thrilled to be performing with her, and we can’t say we’re surprised.

After experiencing Case for the first time at 2018’s Sasquatch Music Festival – I know, where have I been? -, I was concerned that the performance might not ignite the level of magic that seemed to seep up from the canyon at the venue in Washington last year. But Case has an aura about her that far exceeds the surrounding environment. And – in any case (no pun intended, truly) – The Uptown Theater provides an ambiance that feels unique to Case’s brand of performance style. It was a night made in heaven.

Our hearts melted the moment the first chords of seventh song of the evening – “Maybe Sparrow” – hit the air. That song and the accompanying level of shaken you feel after experiencing it live truly attest to Case’s magnetic nature. And, of course, nothing left the room more energized than when she pulled “Train From Kansas City” out of her back pocket as the second of three encore tracks. If nothing else, this city is known for its appreciation of the wealth of music and culture it inspires and is mentioned in. Forever, we will appreciate her for that nod to what was once a flyover city.

Case’s sound can only be categorized as the perfect blend of nature and otherworldly, enigmatic energy. To have the pleasure of enjoying it live will leave a mark on your soul, no matter the night of the week. Though it DOES help that it was a Friday night experience, as we had the remainder of the weekend to really digest it all.

Keep up with Neko Case here.

judah & the lion @ uptown theater

judah & the lion @ uptown theater

On Saturday, February 24th, Judah & The Lion made a notable, sold out appearance at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City. The theater was packed from wall to wall, with people standing behind pillars just to be able to hear the entire set while catching a glimpse every once in a while. It was the most packed we have ever witnessed that venue.

Photographer Meredith Schneider got some photos. Here are her favorites.

the used take uptown theater on halloween night 2017

the used take uptown theater on halloween night 2017

On Tuesday, October 31st, The Used took on the Uptown Theater in midtown Kansas City, Missouri to party it up on the most spooktacular evening of the year with help from post-hardcore favorite Glassjaw.

Members of the audience moved about the theater dressed as Clint Eastwood, Batman and Wayne Campbell of Wayne’s World. Not to be outdone, lead vocalist Bert McCracken debuted his look as the Pope as he twirled his garments and hat through “Take It Away” and “The Bird and the Worm.” Bandmates Jeph Howard, Justin Shekoski and Dan Whitesides also dressed for the occasion as a banana, the grim reaper and the Kool Aid Man respectively. McCracken’s ferocious vocals and the eerie Art Deco architecture adorning the venue’s walls added to the sinister night.

The band is touring in support of their just-released seventh studio album, The Canyon. The 17-track analog record stretches 80 minutes and is the first in which Shekoski stepped in for former guitarist Quinn Allman. It is also written as McCracken recovered from the sudden loss of childhood friend Tregen Lewis. Songs featured during the show included the Kurt Cobain-inspired anthem “Over and Over Again” and the live debut of the self-aware galvanizing chorus that is “The Nexus.”

Inspired by Michael Jackson to dance at the age of eight, McCracken refrained from performing his version of the Thriller dance. Though he spoke to the healing abilities of music and power of expression. “Try not to escape your problems but face your fears and maybe you’ll walk out (of it) feeling better,” he said.

Photographer Ashleigh Lee nabbed some stills for us, and you can check them out below!

Keep up with The Used here!

**Copy by Chris Ruder.
**Photos by Ashleigh Lee.