I am listening to Steve Kraske's show on 89.3 KCUR. He's summoned Sonic Spectrum host Robert Moore and KC Star music critic Tim Finn to talk about the best new musical releases of the year. Both guys have come with songs to play and incredibly generic and less-than-insightful things to say about them. I like Robert a helluvalot, but Up to Date's forum is not kind to him.
Maybe I'm just jealous. I am totally willing to admit that as a possibility. Back when I had no life, I listened to KCUR all the time. Hell, I even gave the station money once. So I'm a little sore they never ask me, because I KNOW EVERYTHING. I'd probably freak out on air, though, and start making weird grunting sounds when I didn't know what to say or accidentally cuss. But if not me, they could at least get someone to bring some edge to the discussion. That episode was so boring it was like the three of them were getting their hair done, flipping through women's magazines while carrying on a nominal conversation.
The first song they played when I tuned in was "World Wide Suicide" by Pearl Jam. It was a Tim pick, and all I have to say is "way to go." You just got a public radio show to play a song that's on commercial radio eight million times a day.
Next, a guy calls in and asks Tim & Rob about the Raconteurs. He's just discovered the White Stripes http://www.whitestripes.com/ and has heard about the other band and wants, like, information and stuff you can't get just by Googling. "Yeah, I think that's just a great rock and roll record," says Robert. "Yeah, there's a lot of '70s stuff going on there," says Tim. Wow. Helpful. They go on to mention that it doesn't sound like the White Stripes and they tell the dude he'll probably like it, and then he thanked them and hung up, probably feeling stupid for asking. They could've mentioned Brendan Benson's being in the band, maybe? What about what city they're from (Detroit) and the scene there, or that they'll be playing in Denver in a couple weeks if you have vacation time to use. Also, Brendan's aunt and uncle live here. I met them at the White Stripes show at the Starlight. I mean, what you do when you get on radio is just fucking talk and be interesting. It's a talk show for Chrissakes. Kraske knows that and is good at it, but he's no record store junkie.
Then again, the people who listen to Kraske and Walt Bodine and actually call in seem anesthetized most of the time, so the only things callers wanted to talk about this hour were Bruce Springsteen and roots music. I bet by the time you're reading this, half of Kraske's listeners are already in bed. At least Tim picked a couple of local bands, even though one of them was the New Amsterdams. But you know, I do think KCUR listeners would like to hear some knowledgeable talk about the local scene from people who go out into it all the time and write stories about it and so forth. I guess I'll have to start my own podcast.
Meanwhile, thank God for Charles Ferruzza. His show, "Anything Goes," is on KKFI right after Kraske (which is at 11), and even though I don't know what the hell they're talking about right now because it's something to do with local history, Charles is witty and full of stories and opinions, plus he writes for the Pitch, plus he's got someone called the Garage Sale Queen as a guest -- and, best of all, people are talking.
Here's a dispatch from Nadia Pflaum, frequent HH&HW-goer and discerning hip-hop critic.
With all apologies to AJ, the originator and booker of Hip-Hop and Hot Wings every Sunday at the Peanut: Last Sunday's special guest performer, Louis Logic from New York, was SOFA KING WE TODD DID. This nancy shows up with his receding hairline-Afro, in a professor jacket and jeans, grabs a mic and starts cleverly dropping names ("I dedicate this to all those Charles Bukowski fans out there") and reciting a soul-searching monologue straight out of a Friends script about the wacky world of picking up girls in the big city. Imagine every theater geek you ever knew in high school who left for New York City to "make it big" and you've got this guy pretty much figured out.
Here's a little more Louis Logic, as told by Louis Logic, thanks to his masturbatory MySpace page bio:LL's a dork, even on the subway.
"I'll begin by saying that I grew up in suburban Long Island, a mixed kid (Black, Puerto Rican, who knows what?) adopted by a white NYPD cop and a feisty Italian woman from Queens. To put a musical face on this picture, the hallways in my house echoed with Frank Sinatra, not the soulful Motown hits so often associated with the beginnings of a rap career. Suburban white kids in the 80's were just as enraptured by black culture as they are today, and since that was true in my neighborhood too, it wasn't long before I was break-dancing to U.T.F.O. records with the same kids who once mocked my parted, Frederick Douglas looking Afro. "
End quote. Fucking retch. [Links added by editor; Frederick Douglass' name misspelled by Louis Dipshit Logic.]
I don't know how to adequately explain how sorry like Atari this dude was. As he rapped over shitty beats and then sat in front of a Casio keyboard to demonstrate his ability to accompany himself, Stevie Wonder-style, I felt like I should maybe avert my eyes, like at any minute Louis was going to whip out his blankie and start singing softly to himself in a mirror and undressing, like maybe he forgot and thought he was all alone in the bedroom of his moody Brooklyn flat and not performing for 150 people at a downtown KC bar.
Anyway, if Sprite wants to retire that plastic action-figure guy from the �hood that they use as a spokesperson and replace him with Louis Logic, it would be a perfect fit. He was a bat-shit sundae topped with smegma sprinkles. Louis Logic was the Grand Master of Supreme Wackness. Afterward, AJ of the Peanut posed for grinning, arms-over-shoulders pictures with Mr. Logic. I feel really bad about bursting AJ's bubble, but Louis Logic needs to be smotherfucked by Rosie O'Donnell with a yeast infection. The end.
I was piddling around the house (read: cooking up meth in the bathtub) Saturday night, when a colleague texted me to inform me that it was "the last night of the Hurricane as we know it" [witness the for-sale domain]. So, once my batch of crank was done, I headed down around 11:30 and entered the club, packed inside and on the deck for the latest installment of the Donkey Show (number XIII), which was appropriately themed "Rock Your Face Off."
A band had just finished playing, and Nightlife Jones was hyping the crowd. NJ's a rather new face on the scene. He's a near-albino looking guy who dresses all '70s-old-man, always wears shades, and is notorious for being kinky as hell. Apparently, performance art is also part of his repetoire, because for tonight's fete, he had safety pinned 100 $1 bills to his body, on his arms, stomach, back and thighs. He appeared on stage in his trademark hat and sunglasses, wearing only briefs down below. Two boxes of latex gloves were duct taped to the central column. His plan was to convince the crowd they could get their admission money back by snatching the bills off his body. He'd done it in other cities before and described the experience as "like getting attacked by a flock of chickens." He hopped off the stage and into the fray, which relieved him of every single dollar from his pasty flesh in about two seconds. Friends of mine walked away with upwards of $12. I got nada because I wasn't fast enough. Later, we did shots with him at the bar. We probably shouldn't have ordered tequila shots, though, because NJ, the proud sicko, rubbed the salt and lime into his fresh safety pin wounds, lifting his shirt and painting his body with the lime slice. Kinda hurts to think about, doesn't it?
It would also hurt to think about the Hurricane's resident middle-aged sprite Ricardo Mejia not having a place to dance with himself. But I'm happy to report that Rick will be taking his show to the Record Bar, which is appropriate because RB owner Steve Tulipana used to bartend at the Hurricane. Don't say KC doesn't take care of its own.
It's Over followed Nightlife Jones, bashing out their highly original brand of groovy pop. I've said it before, but they're one of the best new acts in town. Next, one of the best older and repeatedly overlooked local bands, Be/Non, hit the stage in a cloud of smoke, decked in wigs and shirtless with black and silver grease smeared on their chests (their bodies were supposed to spell BENON, but they didn't use sweatproof markers, evidently). The crowd had thinned, but the band put on a killer show, sending riffs and yowls into the outer atmosphere, and the people who had stayed and become drunk (self included) rocked out, many of us ending up onstage, in various stages of undress, slapping cymbols and dancing like fools. (Full disclosure: OK, there were just three of us making right brilliant arses of ourselves: me, Donkey Show kingpin Bill "Roach" Sundahl and his lovely wife Wendy. But who gives a fuck? It was the Slurricane's last night, damnit!)
After the show clattered to a finale, the room's focus centered on club manager of 20 years, Stan Henry. A speech was demanded, and space was given to Stan on the dancefloor. Rather anticlimactically, the tubby candidate said something to the effect of "All the friends I've made in 20 years are going to stay my friends the rest of my life." And that was it. Still, it did not stem the swelling of sentimentality, as people began to look around for things to loot. I thought it would be fun to demolish the joint because the new owners are going to redecorate anyway when they turn it into a snooty Plaza bar, but all I managed to do was pull three flyers off the wall and throw them in the trash.
Outside, I met an iguana named Jeff. It was surreal. Some guy had a big-ass iguana on his shoulder with a three-foot tail. And its name was Jeff. Even though iguana bites transmit salmonella, I nonetheless proffered my finger, which Jeff declined to chomp off. The rest of the sidewalk people began leaving for an afterparty at Brodie's, shouting things like "I'm gonna make out with a boy!" and flashing breasts and looking for drugs. I forgot to mention the recent product from my home methlab, so I went home alone and cuddled up to my big chunk of bluish-gray crank like a teddy bear and slept like the naked dead.
May you too rest in peace, Hurricane.
(Dear cops, I don't really have a meth lab. Please do not invade my house; you might accidentally let out the cat.)
Last night at the Pistol was the sexiest show of the summer so far.
All it took was one listen to one song and a look at a photo or two of the lead singer (hot-cha!) and I knew I had to see Glass Candy play the Pistol Social Club last night. (Thank you, Myspace.) The Portland, Oregon, band had played here three or four times before — luckily, to good crowds, hence their return — but I hadn't been in on the secret those times. Or I had ignored it. Or the planets hadn't been in the proper alignment. This time they were, and as I write this now, ten hours and a night's fitful sleep since the show, I'm still reeling.
I got to the Pistol around 9:45 and found an unusually large contingent of people on the sidewalk in front. The second-story West Bottoms loft, which makes a comfortable, romantic venue in cooler weather, turns into a sweatlodge in the summertime. As a result, they aren't booking any more shows until things cool off. The Pistol's proprietor, Laura Frank, was passing out Japanese fans with admission, which I thought was a very nice touch.
When the first band, local art-punk outfit the Ssion (pronounced "shun"), started gearing up, the kids who had been outside began filing in, resplendent in their hipster pageantry of teased hair, tightly layered torn clothes, cool/uncool shoes, faces shining with sweat. The Ssion evidently lost a couple of members because the guitarist was playing bass and someone different was on drums and no one was on guitar. Singer Cody Cricheloe was in fine form, looking like a Depression-era hustler in a greasy straw fedora and Fu Manchu mustache, and co-singer Frank did her part, but it was mostly a slow, draggy performance that chose to play to the heat rather than fight it with sweat and hustle. It was OK, but definitely not the best Ssion show I've seen.
It seemed about an hour while the next band set up, which gave me and my running buddies -- whose true identities I will protect by naming them after the Nintendo Pro Wrestling characters Fighter Hayabusa and King Slender -- time to run to the well-stocked West Bottoms Chevron for a 12-pack of High Life cans. (The clerk was going to overcharge us, so Hayabusa straightened him out with a Back Brain Kick�.) When we got back, people were still outside, and we got heckled by some particularly trashy-looking hipsters walking across the street. One of them said something about Gangs of New York and asked why the King's teeth weren't filed. He responded with a resounding Back Breaker� that sent aftershocks all the way to Springfield. (OK, I'm getting carried away with the wrestler thing, but we did get made fun of for real.) Then, we were all summoned inside by a megaphone-wielding guy to hear the next band.
The Chromatics are fellow Portland(ers?)(ians?) and long-time road pals with Glass Candy. In addition to both being electroclashy and signed to Troubleman, the bands also share similar tastes in fashion, which seem to be based off disco album covers from the 1970s — Saturday Night Fever and the Bee Gees re-appropriated, toned down and sexed up for the coastal cool kids. Or maybe just Blondie. Also, both bands have hot female vocalists. The Chromatics brought a dark, epic, almost psychedelic sound into the Pistol that got some people dancing, some watching wide-eyed and me staring at the hot-as-demon-shit combo of brunette frontwoman Chelsea standing up and shaking and playing drums and guitarist and singer Kin Corn Carn (OK, I don't know his name, so I'm pulling the Pro Wrestling shit again) rocking the floor in chest-hair-exposing shirt and gold medallion. The show peaked out with some extended instrumental jams, climaxing with a buzzing, prurient cover of "Now I Wanna Be Your Dog," which always goes over well in Kansas City.
Then, it was Glass Candy's turn. I had worked up the courage to chat with lead singer Ida No at the merch table, which afforded me the opportunity to be a complete dork and her the chance to be really cool and super beautiful. My heart wouldn't slow down and I had some dancing to take care of, so me and King and Hayabusa weaved into the sweaty throng, the front line of which absolutely refused to give the band any space up front, which was great, considering all the shows you see week in, week out, where there's a virtual moat between band and audience. Ida arrived barefoot and began dancing waifishly as she belted out party calls in her low, smoky alto.
Then, she disappeared. The band continued playing, and she continued singing, and I continued dancing, but I couldn't figure out where she'd gone. Suddenly, a slender, bare leg, eye level and parallel to the floor, appeared in my peripheral vision. I looked, and there was Ida, traveling the hands of the crowd on her back, mic in hand and voice strong. I lifted my hands and passed her along in gentlemanly fashion — thigh, back, no touching of the inviolable regions — but afterwards, when she'd traveled on and returned to her feet, her halter-topped dress back in order, I felt like fainting. I was like the gap-toothed imbecile holding one side of the trampoline in The Big Lebowski, watching in boundless glee as he vaulted the topless woman into space off the surface of the mat (unfortunately, that scene's not on YouTube, so you'll have to watch the movie again). Craziest of all, Ida's like 35. You'd never think it. Did Madonna crowd surf at that age — hell, did she ever crowd surf? Fuck no. Hail, Ida.
The dance party that followed that opening orgasmic fluorish was the best I've been to ever with a live band. The crowd was so keyed in that, between songs, so much as an accidental cymbal tap from drummer Dusty Sparkles could get them to move in unison. (I should also give a shout-out to guitarist/keyboardist/producer Johnny Jewel who held things down and really made the music happen.) I moved to a spot behind, where there was an uncrowded expanse of floor between the band's setup and the back wall, and I danced with people I did not know, watching Chelsea hype the crowd, and it was beautiful. Ida went into the crowd once again, and I moved to help, sustaining a good portion of her weight on my forearm like the arm of a chair, and the show ended with her on the floor at our feet (or knees, as many of us dropped down), curled on her side, helpless and cut off from her band.
Ida got up without any help, smiled, and went to the merch table to begin selling records to her sweaty fans.
I don't often comment on the actions of our cross-Crossroads rivals at the Kansas City Star because I have little reason to. "Pop critic" Tim Finn does a good job bringing national music to his readers, and he and his freelancers often help boost awareness of some local goings-on. I mean, it's nowhere near as comprehensive, in-depth or dead-sexy as our music section at the Pitch, but I gotta give Finn & co. props for catching onto good things now and then. Hell, he even started a blog. Good for him — I mean, I wouldn't want to be in the guy's shoes, getting schooled by us now in two arenas. But it's not Finn I'm worried about.
You see, it seems the Star has lost its only local hip-hop writer. Now that she has to maintain a bi-weekly FYI column in addition to her "Scenario" column in the Preview section, Jenee Osterheldt surely has no time to write about her favorite segment of the KC-Lawrence music scene. Since late April, she's written only two columns that are at all hip-hop related, and both were on DJ club events (here and here). It's not that she ever really wrote that regularly about hip-hop, but considering her involvement in the scene, I would hope the Star would allow her to remain an advocate for coverage of it.
But the Star seems to feel it's more important for Jenee to be writing VAPID and INANE columns about her own life. Her most recent column, for example, is nothing but a lame rumination on all the places she might like to go for vacation this summer. I swear to God, as I read it, my brain cells died horrible, wailing deaths. I became a complete, drooling moron for fifteen minutes, during which my managing editor tossed a beach ball back and forth with me so I wouldn't run around rubbing my poo on the wall. It's not just that she's a mediocre writer, it's that her columns, when they're like this one, don't give a single shred of information useful to anyone on the planet, much less in Kansas City. I hate to say such things about someone I've met — someone who is a very, very nice person who has always been very, very nice to me and everyone I know. But damn it, her columns suck! Make them stop!
I can't figure out why the Star thinks it's so worthwhile to encourage Jenee to talk about taking her dog to training school and suggesting places to neck with somebody. I have no doubt there are some people in this city who enjoy that cutesy Sex-and-the-City-lite bullshit, but let's get serious. To make ideas like that into entertaining reading, you've got to be an entertaining writer, and that, Jenee is not. It's clear that the Star is using her image — that of a young, beautiful, African-American woman — to make the paper itself look younger and sexier (cf. the print version's overhaul). It's a hollow pursuit.
If I were that paper's editor and felt that the Star absolutely had to have a lovelorn Carrie Bradshaw, then I'd find someone who could pull it off. Then, I'd put Jenee in charge of local hip-hop coverage. And if her articles weren't up to snuff, I'd find somebody else to fill the position -- for which, by the way, good looks would not be a prerequisite.
This came in today from Pitch contributor Alan Scherstuhl, fresh from answering a survey from the Rev. Al:
Here's a long-winded summation of our fun at the Rhythm & Ribs Fest, located right there behind that museum I'd call the 18th & Vine Jazz Mausoleum if it didn't looks so much like a suburban library.
We felt real excitement in the crowd as we bussed over from Union Station at around 6:30, and then even more as we queued up for the $20 tickets, and even more as the sixteen-year-old ticket taker shouted at us to "Go drink all you want!"
Excitement ebbed a little once we were inside. The woman dispensing wrist bands to drinkers wasn't really carding anybody, explaining "Kids don't like rhythm and ribs." Approaching the smaller stage — the "Blue Cross Blue Shield Pavilion," for anyone out there who bases insurance choices upon what naming rights providers have managed to secure — I was pleased to hear Kansas City mainstay Angela Hagenbach, looking trim and lovely, bringing heart and heat to a couple standards. The crowd — a respectful, older bunch, black and white and all making more money than I am — never looked to into it, but they clapped politely.
After a couple songs, Hagenbach introduced a number that translates from the Portugese as "Heart of Brazil." As this one involved her making lots of jungle and monkey noises, we pushed on to catch Kevin Mahogany at the Sprint Stage.
Mahogany was, as always, a treat: that voice is so thick and rich that it always makes me think of the creamy nougat being poured out in candybar commercials. The big fella (suited in cream and a jaunty hat) purred through "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," and then introduced the fine Kathy Cousins, who sang a long piece built upon that "Ricky Don't Lose That Number" bass line Horace Silver came up with for "Song for My Father" like forty years ago. Saxman Red Holloway took over for a while, blowing tastefully through "The Way You Look Tonight", and then Mahogany was back, digging into the Johnny Hartman songbook with "Kiss and Run" and "If I'm Lucky," ballads he perked up with his signature swoops and scoops. By the time he closed, with a take on "Kansas City," slower even than the one spun at the K when the Royals lose, the sun was all melty behind downtown to the west, and the crowd, for the first time since we'd arrived, seemed a little melty, too.
Back at the small stage: Aladeen & Group 21, a quartet with that exploratory sixties vibe, blowing instrumental jazz just diffuse enough not to be labeled trad. Still, the first thing we caught from them was a Monk song we'd all heard a thousand times before, and we — like lots of folks, seemingly — nodded along politely. A little later, a song called "Race" woke us up: a good drum solo, some spirited ensemble playing, and then a lyric, searching lead line from saxman Ahmed Aladeen, laced with real feeling, and a grand solo from pianist Oscar Williams, who seemed to be feeling all sides of every idea that came from him.
For a moment it felt like we weren't all here celebrating something dead. Jazz might feel more vital to people if it weren't always so steeped in the past. Has any other artform ever spent so much time celebrating its own history? Aladeen killed with fresh material and bored with the rote and reverential; Mahogany's a talent the size of Macy's parade float, so why's he required to so endlessly trumpet older singers' glories? It's no wonder that decades old catalog releases outsell contemporary jazz by such a margin: even today's performers are constantly reminding us how much better the music used to be,
None of this mattered as nine o'clock came around, and we were all relieved of paying tribute to the ancestors. An actual great was among us: Al Green, who has nothing to do with jazz but still has loads to do with lovin', no matter what he insists. Tuxed-out and bulbous bellied, the Rev took the stage dispensing roses, smiling wildly, and asking both KCK and KCMO if we'd come to have a good time.
Then he asked again.
The he asked KCK how they were feeling.
Then he asked KCMO.The Rev.
Then we as a crowd got together, chose a stenographer, held a quorum, certified the results, and let him know officially that we were doing fine and that he could start the damn show.
Which he did, with "I Can't Stop" off a recent release, and an hour-long run of classics: "Let's Get Married," "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart," "Here I Am," "Love and Happiness," "Tired of Being Alone," "Let's Stay Together," and the sublime "Simply Beautiful," off I'm Still in Love With You, a song that, almost thirty years after he recorded it still sounds light as angel food.
The band was tight, with the organ player warranting special recognition both for the general warmth he frequently summoned but also for bringing some of that percussive "Love Ritual"-style funk to the wildest of the instrumental passages. A pair of skinny dancers flanked Green, running simultaneously through routines that seemed to loop over and over, resembling nothing so much as thirty second .gif files. As for the Rev: he can't do all that he used to, and not just because the good Lord forbids it. He's growly these days, spending much more time in a lower register, and he left too many of the choruses for the crowd to sing, but when inclined he can peel off a falsetto thrill just like in '72. A total pleasure, all the way through. Even the crowd dug in, standing up, shouting along, often dancing. Here we were paying tribute to something still living.
Shuttle bus service coming back was a clusterfuck, but that's no surprise. Everything else ran smoothly, save the endless rib lines. Beer was 4 or 5 bucks; water a dollar, evidence that the people running this must be good hearted.
Not going back, though. Tonight's the kings of fusion or some damn thing.
If you're in the mood for live music this weekend, here are some gigs to consider getting your ass to.
Ghost in Light, the Stella Link and This Alibi at the Record Bar
Sorry, other bars in the area. I really don't love the Record Bar more than anyone else (except my own grandmother); I just wanted to relay some infopinionage from my pal in St. Louis, Riverfront Times music editor Annie Zaleski, on the band Ghost in Light. Here's what ol' Annie says:
Ghost in Light
The deal: An indie quartet that crafts soothing, mid-tempo tunes for overcast fall days and rainy afternoons spent curled up on the couch. Driven by vocalist Jason House's delicate-as-lace crooning, Ghost in Light's woozy guitars conjure the floating, eerie calm of outer space or march along like ants on a mission on the full-length Dead Eyes and a Traveling Mind; a stripped-back Idaho or a less-rustic Red House Painters are atmospheric touchstones.
Worth checking out? Definitely. Rare is the band that can make slowcore tunes not function like a dose of Tylenol PM -- and sustain emotional gravitas all the while.
Since this is This Alibi's CD release party, you'll want to stick around for them, too. They're a local trio that crafts dramatic, instrumental music along the lines of Godspeed! You Black Emperor and the Antarcticans http://www.theantarcticans.com/. Sounds like the Stella Link will be the most straight-ahead group on the bill, for a change.
Superstars of Jazz Fusion at Rhythm and Ribs
The deal: Roy Ayers, Jean Carne, Ronnie Laws, Bobbi Humphrey, Wayne Henderson, John Lucien and Lonnie Liston Smith. And who the fuck are they, you ask? Well, to be honest, I only recognize a couple names, but there's been a lot of buzz about this show among younger people I know who listen to jazz, so I assume it'll be one of those gigs that's actually pretty incredible to witness, especially if you make like the musicians and get high before the show.
Worth checking out? Only if you think watching some really amazing jazz being spontaneously created by insanely talented musicians will do your soul good.
Icon the Mic King, Dos Noun, EMC, DJ Aether, and DJ Konsept at the Gaslight Tavern in Lawrence
So I got this email from .downplay productions, the Lawrence promotions company that's been going forever, helmed by Edwin Morales (who is really...dunh duhn daaa! DJ Konsept!) and Alison Olewnik (who is really...Shanna the She-Devil!), and they really didn't tell me anything about it. In fact, I could totally pimpslap .downplay for having no Internet presence to speak of and for not keeping me in the loop, but they do manage to bring good hip-hop and DJ shows to town, so I'll let them alone this time. This show tonight is part of the Fish Can't Carry Guns Tour, headlined by Icon, a sharp-tongued Philadelphia MC who takes his words and DIY ethics seriously. Don't expect booty or gangsta music, but do expect to get down.
For other shows this weekend, ask the Sad Dog.
To learn about elephants, go here.
After posting Wednesday's blog, I figured it would be a good service to go out and see if Wednesday really was the new Friday in Westport.
It is...almost. OK, it's not the new Friday, but it's a damn good night to go out. I started at the Westport Beach Club, where I've never gone before on purpose, and was pleased to discover giant $4 margaritas and the musical stylings of bros. Oz and Joe McGuire. Actually, I should mention something about the margaritas, and it's that they didn't have salt, and a margarita without salt is like a breast without a nipple. But if it's big enough, bigger than the palm of your hand, say, and full of love, well, then it can still provide the needed comfort. Anyway, at the Beach Club, volleyball games were in full swing, and only a few people lingered on the deck near the DJ table, PA and bar. To be honest, the music wasn't that interesting at first. It was kind of jammy-sounding, and I felt like going up and demanding they stop playing "fucking Santana," which would have been akin to slamming my palm on a spinning record and spitting in their faces. Also, I'm of the mindset that if you respect the DJ, then you gotta trust him -- shut up and listen, you know? Sure enough, the grooves turned from lead into gold when the brothers began laying down Afrobeat records and working in samples from a laptop and keyboard. A group of two guys and two girls led by a Jamaican dude came in and immediately began dancing Salsa-like to the beats, absolutely revelling in being able to hear music like that in the Midwest. I stuck around for another margarita and split.
It was about 11:30 when I got to Karma, where DJ Robert Moore was in charge. There were maybe a dozen people in the (excessively, I think) red-lit bar that used to be home to Stanford & Son, then Johnny Dare's then American Chrome. Word on the streets is Karma's become the 3 a.m. bar that the Record Bar crowd hits after that place shuts down at 1:30, but Karma's not unknown to the usual maddening Westport weekend crowd, either. But let's not split hairs. Robert Moore was there, which means we got to hear some XTC and Television Personalities alongside Pantera and AC/DC. I sat at the copper-covered bar and ordered G&Ts served up by a bartender with a really long ponytail and more energy than a Yngwie guitar solo, who would toss lime slices from behind his back and catch them in your drink. After two such acrobatically served concoctions, I departed.
Last stop: Buzzard Beach. (Yes, by the way, I really do go on pub crawls all by myself. I even wear a custom printed T-shirt and wristband, which I have a hard time getting bar owners to recognize and give me free pitchers for having "purchased," the charity-hating Scrooges.) Many people don't like Buzzard, and it's easy to see why -- it's a filthy, smoky playground for people who like bars full of out-of-control drunk people, most of whom are in their 20s and don't know how to behave whether drunk or sober. Damn, I wish I had a younger brother I could take there. Usual Wednesday nighters Metal Mark and Steve Tulipana were spinning, this week holding off on the crowd-pleasing tracks until around 2 a.m., when the room got too wild for the DJs to refuse placating the masses with some classic Jacko.
I ran into Jon Yeager, who spilled the beans on a new record label that tattooed Buzzard bartender and ex-Frogpond member Megan Hamilton and the very same Robert Moore are starting. Megan said it's going to be called Oxblood Records. (You heard it here first, bitches!) If any bands were mentioned as being on the Oxblood launchpad, I've forgotten — it's not like it's my job to keep up with these things.
Looks like I have some congrats to give to the owners of the Beaumont, Karma, Westport Beach Club and Grand Emporium. They've hired someone who's actually cool and in touch with the local scene. Her name: Cat Simpson. I run into her several times a week out and about, and so I personally know how super neato she is. Witness this posting from the Myspace she set up for her clubs:
This week I started my new gig doing a variety of jobs for the 4 clubs featured on this page, Beaumont, Beach Club, Grand Emporium, and Karma.
I am currently working on taking over booking duties for Grand Emporium, so feel free to contact me via myspace or send a press pack to the address on the main page under "who I want to meet". I am really looking forward to incorporating the eclectic KC music scene into a such a great venue.........stay tuned for exciting changes to the GE schedule.
Also, KARMA. This place is brand new and ready to get a little dirty! You probably don't know it, but they serve GOOD food til 11 (i think) and there is a great drink selection served by the hottest ladies in town. Right now we have some great local DJs (Rico, Metal Mark, Thorell, and Cyan) spinning regular weekly gigs (check the calendar on the main page!!), but look for some other xxxciting additions to the weekly roster......coming soon!
AND......if you're looking for something different to do in KC on a balmy summer night, hit up the Beach Club. It's a welcome change of pace to do some outdoor drinking with more local DJs spinning the tunes and hard bodies playing sand volleyball (again, check the schedule).
Did you catch that? "I am really looking forward to incorporating the eclectic KC music scene into a such a great venue." Um, fuck yeah, Cat!
Tonight brings Sonic Spectrum host Robert Moore, spinning eclectic beats at Karma, while Se�or Oz builds his exotic, Afro-Latin-funk-framed sonic tent over the Beach Club. And while you're out, drop by Buzzard Beach for the crazy-ass dance party they got going on there after midnight.
Having fun in Westport on a Wednesday night -- who would've thought it possible. Here's to you, Cat!
Here it is folks, the complete list of all the bands, artists and entertainers who received at least one nominating vote in the first round of voting for the Pitch Music Awards. Scan the list — you may be surprised. And if you want to search for your faves (or yourself), I recommend hitting Ctrl+F (or Command+F on a Mac) and typing in the name you want to look for.
Why am I doing this, you ask? For several reasons. First, this is a staggeringly good list of most of the music that's going on in the area. Not all of these acts could get on the final ballot you see printed in the Pitch -- only the ones who received the most votes from our panel of 30+ nominators got that honor. But each of the acts below deserves an honorable mention nonetheless because, well, they got noticed. Good for them. I hope this serves as an ego boost to them all.
Also, though I'm proud of how big this list is, I know at the same time that it's not quite comprehensive. There's still more music to be discovered out there; this is just a sampling taken by a few dozen local observers. But it's a good portrait of our scene as it is right now — and also an affirmation of its strength.
Third, it's just plain interesting reading. Some of these names I'd never seen before the nominating ballots started coming in. And many I would have never thought of as even being in some of the categories in which they were nominated. That alone teaches us a lot about how people in this city relate to the different genres of music that are active here.
So once you've read this over, feel free to vote for the finalists online or by filling in the ballot we'll be running every week until the music showcase on August 3.
Without further ado:
Onemilliontinytinyjesuses, Weights & Measures, Malachy Papers, Water Moccasin, Namelessnumberheadman, Howard Iceberg, Black Christmas, Mr. Marco's V7, This is My Condition, Pewep in the Formats, Anvil Chorus, TJ Dovebelly, Least-Photographed Object, Hearers, Be/Non, I Don't Do Gentlemen, Sperm, Snuff Jazz, Ad Astra Per Aspera, Free All Beats, Alacartoona, Minds Under Cover, Sugar Puppy & Lovely Dumplings, Bacon Shoe, Capsules, Superargo, American Catastrophe, Blackout Gorgeous, iD & Sleeper, Olympic Size, Sad Fingers, Ssion, Wylde Chipmunk & the Cuddly-Poos, newEar Chamber Ensemble, Paul Mesner Puppets, Mark Lowry (newEar)
Trampled Under Foot, Levee Town, Blues Notions, DC Bellamy, Blue River Ordonnance, Brody Buster, Billy Dye, Lonesome Hank & the Heartaches, Amy Farrand, The Grand Marquis, JW Myers, The Orginal Sinners, Millage Gilbert, Billy Ebeling, Lee McBee, Lee McBee & Pat Nichols, Linda Shell's Blues Thang, Ron Teamer, The Lucky Graves, Kool Aid & the Exact Change Band, Scotty Daniels, Noah Earle, The Wild Women of KC, John Paul's Flying Circus, Cotton Candy & So Many Men, Myra Taylor, Big John & the 39th St. Blues Band, Kelley Hunt, Ida McBeth, Angela Hagenbach, Scenebooster Sound System, Brothers Green, Onjalee, Bacon Shoe, Bloodstone, Millie Edwards, The Scamps, Karma, Phase II, 4 Fried Chickens & a Coke
Mike Ireland & Holler, Rex Hobart & the Misery Boys, The Wilders, Kasey Rausch, Split Lip Rayfield, Drakkar Sauna, Arthur Dodge, The Cass Co. Lamenters, Truckstop Honeymoon, Julia Peterson, Buffalo Saints, The Gaslights, Johnny Belt & the Buckles, The Midday Ramblers, In the Pines, Mark Stevenson, Pendergast, The Bad Ideas, The Afterparty, Black Ale Sinners, The Hearers, Peckinpah, PBR Band
Oz McGuire, DJ Just, Konsept, SCSI Bunny, Robert Moore, Miles Bonny, DJ Miss Death, Eternal, Steve Thorell, Automatic Westy, Billpile, Clockwerk, The Control Freeks, Bacon Shoe, Kiz One, SpinStyles, Sku Josh Powers, Superargo, Pat Nice, Sleeper, Namelessnumberheadman, Rico, Platinum, Clandestine, Team Scorpio, Nomathmatics, Deadpool, DJ Slimm, Bucho, John Bersuch, DJ P, SVS, Paul DeMatteo, Mike Scott, Ataxic, Oscar Slugworth, DJ Shad, Brandon Phillips, Superwolf, DJ Fresh, Keith & Marcus, cQuence, Sike Style, Brent Scholz, Onemilliontinytinyjesuses, Stevie Cruz, Big Brother, Rockwell, Joc Max
(Band names in parentheses provided by nominators)
Shay Estes, Myra Taylor, Mikal Shapiro, Erin Keller, "the In the Pines girls," Kirsten Paludan, Kasey Rausch, Danielle Schnebelen (Trampled Under Foot), Angela Hagenbach, Anna Cole, Heidi Phillips, Julia Othmer, Megan Birdsall, Kim Anderson, Julia Peterson, Kristen May, "Maygun Metzger at Brodioke," Abigail Henderson, Amy Farrand, Kaiya, JL from T.E.A.M., T-Blaze, Shelly Toliver, Sarah Carpenter, Venus Van Horn (Cass Co. Lamenters), Ruby Falls, Sharlynn Verner (Far Beyond Frail), Heather Loflin (Whiskey Boots), "the Capsules singer," "Julie from Ad Astra Per Aspera," Michelle Zimmer (Last Call), "the Afterparty girls"
Dirty Mae, The Gaslights, Scott Easterday, The Wilders, Midday Ramblers, The Down Trunks, Rumblejetts, Danny Pound, Noah Earle, Dan Bliss, Mark Montgomery, Drakkar Sauna, In the Pines, Howard Iceberg, American Catastrophe, The Hearers, Shannon Murray, Kasey Rausch, Mikal Shapiro, Valorie Engholm, Joel Kraft, Davan, Chad Rex, Andrew Connor, Olympic Size, Black Ale Sinners, Afterparty, Forrest Whitlow, Daryl Lea, "Vera, Chuck & Dave," Old Canes, Pendergast, Evan Saathoff, 4th of July, Mark Stevenson, Arthur Dodge & the Horsefeathers, OK Jones, Julia Peterson & the Breaks, Buffalo Saints, Honeywagen, Bob Walkenhorst
The Esoteric, Vena Amori, Diskreet, Moire, Cast Pattern, Stillborn, Lethe, Swill, Thrust, Sidewise, The Leo Project, Flee the Seen, The Sound and the Fury, Eyes of the Betrayer, Coalesce, Albino Fly, Descension, Black Market Sunshine, Evermourn, Taken in Vain, Richard Pryor on Fire, Sick with It, One Degree Difference, This is My Condition, Burning Existence, The Occupation, The Burning Fifteen, Minds Under Cover
Mac Lethal, Joe Good, Approach, Anti-Crew, Deep Thinkers, Brother Neves, CES Cru, Bacon Shoe, Archetype, SoundsGood, Reach, The Popper, Panic, Nezbeat, Soul Servers, Tech N9ne, SHADOW, C-Horn, iD, James Christos, Left E. Grove, Ukuepto. HipHopKC.com's Necia Gamby's written-in list of producers: Miles Bonny, Joc Max, Beatbroker, Tommylift
Malachy Papers, Bobby Watson, Millie Edwards, Angela Hagenbach, Megan Birdsall, Karen Davis Project, Harold O'Neal, Ida McBeth, The Grand Marquis, Ardys & Bradford, Jazz Disciples, Snuff Jazz, Jazzbo, Bill McKemy, Trio E, Jazz Discharge, Mr. Marco's V7, Midtown Quartet, Makuza, Kim Park, Jay McShann, Stan Kessler, Tim Whitmer, TJ Dovebelly, Shay Estes, Joe Cartwright, Jumin Jazz Quartet, The Scamps
Son Venezuela, Grupo Muralla, Mafia Norte�a, Makuza, Musa Nova, Aztlan, Sons of Brasil
the Esoteric, Donkey Show, Architects, Golden Republic, Doris Henson, the Litigators, Federation of Horsepower, the Supernauts, Penumbra/Redline Chemistry, Conspiracy, Vermillion Sky, Vibralux, Hello Superworld, Flee the Seen, Split Lip Rayfield, Sidewise, Albino Fly, DJ Sku, Hearers, Drakkar Sauna, New Amsterdams, Bobby Watson, Be/Non, American Catastrophe, the Ssion, Roman Numerals, Ad Astra Per Aspera, Mac Lethal, Bacon Shoe, SoundsGood, Ramalamas, Dead Girls Ruin Everything, Superargo, White Whale, Koufax, the Billions, Danny Pound, Levee Town, Swill, Alacartoona, In the Pines, It's Over, Daryl Lea, Last of the V8s, Buffalo Saints, Shots Fired, Olympic Size, Wild Women of KC, Pomeroy, Graciela Kowalczyk, 30 Minute Recess, Ukuepto, Soul Servers, Old Canes, Black Ale Sinners, Ike Turner Overdrive, Kelihans, Sugar Puppy & the Lovely Dumplings, the Wilders, I Don't Do Gentlemen, Pewep in the Formats, Blo-Chi, Approach & Sku, CES Cru, Anti-Crew, Archetype, the Pornhuskers
(Band names in parentheses provided by nominators)
Jeff Wood, Jon Zager (Flak), Jordan Geiger, Jon Yeager, Luqman Hamza, John Winkles (Immaculate Conception), Adam Stotts, Steve Hammond (Filthy Jim/Black Ale Sinners), Jim Suptic (Blackpool Lights), Miller Howell, DC Bellamy, Mike Tuley (Ad Astra), Cris Crisci, Nico (Sidewise), Gregg Todt, Jim LaForte, Tom Trashmouth Baker (Blues Notions), Matt Pryor, Stevie Cruz, Andrew Connor, Cory White (Esoteric), Allen Epley, Jason Magierowski (Goodnight Daylight), Damon Jeffers (Ramalamas), Tyler Lyon (Leo Project), Sean Waddups (One Degree Difference), Chris Tolle, Shaun Hamontree, Brandon Phillips, Rob Suchan, Darren Welch, Brodie Rush, Matt Suggs (White Whale), Arthur Dodge, Danny Pound, Jeremiah Kidwell, Marty Bush, Bryan Redmond, Tony Ladesich, David Basse, Rusty Tucker (the Scamps), Evan Saathoff, Billy Smith, Lethal D, Doy-Yun Kim (Pixel Panda), 'Toine, Danny Fischer (the Afterparty), Brian Sanders (I), Ike Sheldon, Ernie Locke, John Wesley Myers, James Duft, Grant Corum (I Don't Do Gentlemen), Matt Dunehoo, Thom Hoskins
The Monitor, Super Black Market, Blackout Gorgeous, It's Over, Boo and Boo Too, Bacon Shoe, MilkDrop, Until Broken, Flak, Wylde Chipmunk & the Cuddley-Poos, Olympic Size, The Popsicles, Leo Project, Cast Pattern, Insignifica, American Catastrophe, Anvil Chorus, Bad Ideas, Richard Pryor on Fire, Dora Dank, Local Stranger, White Whale, Girl is a Ghost, Blackpool Lights, Miller Howell, Davan, Whiskey Boots, Table Manners (Sku & Konsept), Jon Yeager, 30 Minute Recess, Seaside Riot, Lovers in Transit, OK Jones, Lucky Graves, the Roseline, A Burial at Sea, the Pomonas, iD & Sleeper, Jackie Carol, Kelpie, Harvey Girls, the Caves, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Aubrey, Cory Ryan, Makuza, Sugar Puppy & Lovely Dumplings, Goodnight Daylight, Dirty Mae, Anti-Crew
Super Black Market, Iron Guts Kelly, Ssion, Alert!Alert!, Last of the V8s, Architects, the Shebangs, Ricky Fitts, Ramalamas, Chloe Bridges, Shotgun Idols, Flee the Seen, Ad Astra Per Aspera, Esoteric, Outlaw, Anxiety Attack, Hopeless Destroyers, Havok on Polaris, A Day in Attica, Hooray for Me, Filthy Jim, Haunted Creepies, Reggie & the Full Effect, the Rather Nots, Unknown Stuntman, Nervous Wreck, Shots Fired, Big Iron, Brass-Knuckle Choir, Vibralux
Buffalo Saints, A. Graham & the Moment Band, Vibralux, American Catastrophe, the Litigators, Cripplefight, Hearers, White Whale, Emma Feel, Kelpie, Conner, Supernauts, Blackpool Lights, Doris Henson, Golden Republic, Architects, OK Jones, Ghosty, New Amsterdams, Minus Story, Shots Fired, In the Pines, Vedera, Ad Astra Per Aspera, Appleseed Cast, Roman Numerals, Anvil Chorus, Girl is a Ghost, Koufax, Softee, Redline Chemistry, Atone at Tone, Life and Times, It's Over, Federation of Horsepower, Golden-Hearted Whores, Reggie & the Full Effect, Ares to the 9th, Namelessnumberheadman, Ramalamas, Pendergast, the Belles, Lucky Graves, Goodnight Daylight, Afterparty, Blackout Gorgeous
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