I hadn’t been to a Farmer’s Ball, KJHK’s
annual battle of the bands, since Hospital Ships took the title a handful of years back. Perhaps I haven’t made it because it makes me feel old, but whatever. KJHK has typically done well by the event, creating a quickly paced event with enough variety to make an eight-band night tolerable.
- Captain Ahab and the Narwhals
One thing that I’ve always liked about Farmer’s Ball is that it gives newer, younger acts a chance to perform and usher themselves into the scene. Sometimes they are endearingly nervous, as was the case with Captain Ahab and the Narwhals
. The band dressed the part, with a couple of pirate hats and bare feet in the mix (seriously people — keep your shoes on), and there was some lovely, trilly singing to go along with the cello, mandolin and banjo. Another year and a few more shows under their belts, and you might have something here.
was without one of its two halves, so Todd Hawes performed a solo acoustic set, including something about the Catholic Church and pimping, followed by a surprisingly nice cover of “A Satisfied Mind.”
Fire in the Churchyard
featured two women in business-casual dress and carnival masks on ukelele and drums. Rachel Mulford on drums was one of the night’s most impressive performers. Maybe it shouldn’t be a big deal when a girl is a fabulous and intricate drummer. Unfortunately it is, and she’s impressive.
McPherson to Lawrence is a long drive for a prize. Speaking of which, what exactly the winner's prize is remains unclear; it used to be recording time in a local studio. But Royal
made the trek and played some fast, polished power pop. My friend Nathan leaned over to me a few songs in and noted, “Someone’s been loving the Blue album for a long time.”
is a white rapper who can definitely rhyme, but the subject matter was a little awkward. A song warning people not to screw ugly girls (which maaaaaybe would have worked had it been funny) might sorta isolate about half of your crowd. Just a thought.
was my favorite act of the night by far, laying out some funky hip-hop and soul music and a female singer channeling the flavor of Janelle Monae.
is a really enjoyable rock band, albeit a bit all over the map stylewise. The band’s talent brought out the votes. They appear to have won the contest the next evening.
closed down the house in fine fashion. The MC’s light, smooth style is a welcome addition to the local hip-hop scene.