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Well, almost immediately. Columbus, Ohio's Two Cow Garage
has more or less been adopted by KC at this point, and they were just taking the stage. Lead singer Micah Schnabel's vocals are fascinating, like he has swallowed an ashtray and washed it down with a bottle of something cheap, but there's a ferocious power there. The three-piece played their songs like they were leading a charge with them, and I felt like Two Cow Garage was probably the kind of band whose members would want to be buried in their sweaty, postshow T-shirts.
After a margarita-and-phone-charging break, I was back at Shangri-La for Katy Guillen and the Girls
- easily one of my top favorite acts in Kansas City right now, and I don't even care that I'm supposed to be impartial about it. Offstage, Guillen is unassuming. Onstage, she is wild. She shreds her guitar like this is all just child's play for her - I wouldn't want to put a gun in her hands - and pulls some impressive faces while she's doing it.
Katy Guillen and the Girls morphed into Claire and the Crowded Stage
as Guillen's bassist Claire Adams took center stage. Five others joined her: a violinist, an accordionist, a clarinetist, a keyboard player and another drummer. Crowded, indeed. It was all the best kinds of sounds: joyful, raucous stuff, and perfectly danceable. The adorable Australian vendors inside the Royale with Cheese food cart to stage right were dancing as they cooked grilled cheeses and fried home fries. It was a perfect time: the Austin weather had chilled out a bit, and Shangri-La was comfortably full. If only all the showcases were this accessible.
But we couldn't hide out in our comfort zone - especially when there were so many more new things to see. At the Dickies stage at Bangers, the NYC trio turned touring five-piece, Misterwives
, brought some high-energy pop. I mean, like, really high-energy: lead singer Mandy Lee might be petite, but she has Red Bull running through her veins. She twirled, danced and bounced all over the stage, never once lost her smile. I ran into Isaac Gale from the Marijuana Deathsquads. "They sound like a Disney band," he said. Not inaccurate.
was surreal. It had been a long time since I'd seen Channy Leaneagh perform, and I couldn't help but recall the very first time, in the fall of 2011, at the now-closed Nick and Eddie's in Minneapolis' Loring Park. It was Poliça's very first show as a band, and it was a brief, glimmering performance, full of promise. The show last night at Bangers was much different. Leaneagh has come into her own entirely as a performer, and she dominated the stage in every respect. Her sinewy frame moved with the synths as smoke engulfed the stage; sometimes, she seemed more dream than real, as though she was performing a choreographed piece.
Having missed Kurt Vile
on Tuesday, I was determined to catch him last night. We scooted down to Cheer Up Charlie's, passing a long line waiting at Stubb's for St. Vincent. Like many of the venues on East Sixth and Red River with larger acts lined up, both Stubb's and Charlie's were at capacity - a one-out, one-in kind of deal. Or sometimes one-out, three-in. I have no idea how anyone was keeping track of capacity, really.
But we got in for Vile. It was elbow-to-elbow, and I was dead on my feet at that point, but this set would not be ruined for me. Vile, who remained seated for his entire set, was nonetheless glorious. Vile's guitar was dark, and his spacious voice climbed up into the night air.
We decided to call it a night after that - 12 hours of walking and drinking and listening to music make for a hard life, man - but on our way out of Charlie's, there was a mess of cop cars and lights. You'll have heard the reports
by now about the drunk driver who came tearing down Red River Road, killing two people and injuring dozens more. It was altogether sobering, and hopefully something there won't be any more of this week.