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.
When we heard Yellowcard was bringing in the big guns for their Pier 17 show in New York City, we knew we had to be a part of it. After six years away from touring, the east coast got to celebrate with the band as they honored 20 years of Ocean Avenue — a street many Brooklynites are familiar with. (Yes, we know many places have streets called “Ocean Avenue,” but we choose to claim it when we can.)
Joined by pop punk heavyweights Mayday Parade and Story of the Year, Yellowcard captivated the city crowd with their talent on stage all evening, as the lights slowly dimmed over the city. Their musicianship re-ignited a purity and interest – a spark – in music that had been feeling a little murky lately.
What an unbelievable experience, what a beautiful night.
Lights and Sounds
Rough Landing, Holly
Five Becomes Four
Holly Wood Died
One Year, Six Months
Hang You Up (with Derek Sanders)
Light Up the Sky
With You Around
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
Experience the electrifying sound of Divine Sweater, a boundary-pushing alternative rock band that captivates audiences with its distinctive style. Their latest release, “In the Comedown,” takes listeners on a journey of introspection and self-discovery through haunting melodies, powerful vocals, and a pulsating rhythm section. With a seamless blend of atmospheric textures and explosive energy, Divine Sweater’s raw emotion and thought-provoking lyrics create a musical landscape that leaves a lasting impact.
Step into a mesmerizing visual realm as Divine Sweater’s music video for “In the Comedown” transports you through a kaleidoscope of captivating imagery and evocative storytelling. It starts off with a blue girl holding a plant. She sees a button that asks if she needs help, and she presses it. Nearby, four individuals riding scooters in suits make their debut. As soon as they pass, the whole she knows crumbles into oblivion…and an ape appears. They board a submarine together and escape that world and into the ocean, signifying a journey or escape from the previous world. The transition into the ocean can symbolize the depths of the unknown or a dive into the subconscious. Overall, this sequence in the music video portrays a surreal and transformative experience, where the protagonist undergoes a significant change and embarks on a new adventure with unexpected companions.
The sea depicted in the video is described as a colorfully biodiverse environment, suggesting a sense of wonder and awe. The stunning graphics further enhance the visual experience. However, the presence of the scooter-riding individuals casts a shadow on the vibrant surroundings, enveloping them in darkness. This contrast may symbolize the intrusion of external influences or negative forces that threaten to overshadow the protagonist’s newfound adventure and exploration. It could represent the struggle to maintain positivity and overcome obstacles on the transformative journey. The juxtaposition of the beautiful sea and the encroaching darkness adds depth and complexity to the video’s narrative, highlighting the challenges and conflicts faced by the protagonist.
The girl’s weariness after a game of checkers with the ape suggests a sense of exhaustion or perhaps a realization of a temporary respite from the challenges she has faced. As the submarine emerges from the depths of the waters, they return to dry land, marking a transition back to the familiar world. However, the ape finds his family, leaving the girl alone without companionship. This turn of events highlights a sense of isolation or a loss of the bond that had been formed. In close proximity, the presence of the “Need Help?” button reappears, prompting the girl to realize that it wasn’t her who the ape was helping all along. This revelation introduces a sense of ambiguity and raises questions about the true nature of the connections and support she encountered throughout her journey.
As the girl finds herself alone after the departure of the ape and the realization that the help she sought was not meant for her, there is a sense of introspection and solitude. It reminds us that personal growth and understanding often come with unexpected twists and turns, where we may find ourselves seeking solace and connection, only to discover that our path is unique and intertwined with the experiences of others. The video’s evocative imagery and symbolic elements invite viewers to reflect on the complexities of relationships, self-discovery, and the profound impact of companionship and support. Ultimately, “In the Comedown” leaves us with a lingering sense of wonder and a reminder that our individual narratives are both interconnected and deeply personal, shaping our experiences and the meaning we derive from them.
…and we loved it.
It had, admittedly, been years since we had had the privilege of witnessing Young the Giant live and in person. Even as such, it was normally in a festival setting, so the set was a bit different than the headlining tours offered.
I have the honor of speaking to a couple who spoke about how they have followed Young the Giant on tour, witnessing their growth as they travel and experience different landscapes alongside their favorite band. As worrisome as a follower might otherwise seem, this couple seemed genuinely inspired by the music, and were truly living their best lives in love.
And if I didn’t understand the allure of Young the Giant before, I certainly do now. The colorful set was full of some of the most incredible textures, patterns, and colors you have ever seen on stage. Fringe surrounded a disco ball, warm and cool colors collided in carefully curated layers to bring the music to life in a way I have never seen – nor felt – before. Instant goosebumps were felt, and maintained throughout the set while memories associated with deep cuts flooded my mind.
Smoke danced around us – hence the “smoke show” – and magic filled the air. The crowd absolutely erupted when “Something to Believe in” began, and continued at that heightened energy throughout “Cough Syrup”. And that was just four tracks into their 17-track lap around the city. (From the confines of the Starlight Theater stage, of course.) The gorgeous instrumentals and beautifully woven lyrics that we have come to expect from this band continued into the night, on one of the most unseasonably cool evenings Kansas City has had yet to see this year.
Our favorite moments are below.
Something to Believe In
The Walk Home
Cult of Personality
Heat of the Summer
Dancing In The Rain
Mind Over Matter