Tag Archives: Kansas City

I’m Not Dead Yet

Yeah, it’s been awhile but I’m back.  This is the time of the year when I have more time to dedicate to music.  So with that in mind, I’m kicking off 2011 with what I have planned coming up.   Here’s just a few things:

  • There’s a bunch of gear I acquired in the last year that I will sit down and review.  I love me some knobs, keys, sliders, and buttons so I will go over the new ones I have in my setup.
  • With great hardware comes the need for software to put it all together.  I made a couple of purchases in that realm which I will wax poetic about as well.
  • Once again, I will be attending SXSW so look for previews leading up to and some live updates during the 25th anniversary of this tasty Austin conference.
  • My day job includes some hefty programming tasks so I will use that talent to start building/researching VSTs.  What’s a VST? It’s a plgin for digital audio workstations that runs on its own framework.  Yes, there are a couple of other frameworks out there, but in the interest of learning how to code for pro audio, I will be shooting the biggest target first.
  • With all of this gear, software, and love for the music, you know I will be actually creating some.  Look for some snippets to show up here and there.
  • I’ll be hitting up more concerts around the Kansas City area and will review as necessary.  Look for me at The Decemberists show in February.

There’s a couple of other surprises up my sleeve but I will reveal it when it’s necessary.  Until then, just keep tuning in.

SXSW Day 3: Stuffed On Music

I’m sitting here in the Clarion Inn at about 3:30 in the morning Saturday and I’m wondering if it can get any better than this.  No, I’m not talking about Old Milwaukee, I’m talking about this Music conference and the events leading up me typing this in my underwear.  Sure, my feet are super sore, they have been after every night, but each day passes and my mind continualy is blown up by what we’re doing down here.  Today’s music consisted of a smorgusboard of variety and some pay off from very well known to virtually unknown artists.  Let’s take a look:

  • First up was the Fangs and they bite pretty well in the Euro synth punk genre.  The lead singer lady is all sultry and punky while the rest of the band rocks it out eurocore.  Oh it’s catch and popppy, but has a slight edge.
  • After a couple of detours, I actaully ran into And So I Watch You From Afar playing again.  Me and my lovely girlfriend stayed and watched these guys play again. Go see them if they are in your town.
  • We heard rumor during the week that a major band would be playing at SXSW this week and we got in line at Stubb’s to check them out.  First of was Metric and what I thought was a Swedish smart rock band ended up being a New York rock and roll with synth Blondie send up.  The lead singer lady again had some great energy on the stage.
  • Next up was Muse.  They were the big rumor and Spin brought these guys here for a great show.  I’ve yet to see them live and now I will if they ever come around Kansas City.  Everyone knows who Muse is, or at least should, but what hit the home run for me was the Ennio Morricone cover of the them to Once Upon A Time in The West that they started out with in the encore and ran into Knights of Cydona.  Truly a site to see.
  • We piled out of there and ran back to the Mohawk to see some tunes.  We watched the Cool Kids rap and it was a great palette cleanser.  Good ole fashioned hip hop with some spliff references.
  • Next up at Mohawk was Miike Snow.  Again I thought this was Swedish smart techno but again I was proved wrong when the went alot harder than I expected.  This guys had the crowd at their fingertips by the time we left for our last show.
  • The last stop of the night pinned the tail on our ecclectic donkey of music.  Dengue Fever is a world music band featuring a Cambodian singer and hails for LA.  If you enjoy some rousing world music, check these guys out.  They had us bouncing around the room.  You know at first I thought the singer was a Bollywood type diva but I guess Cambodian divas sound alot like those.  Good fun at the end.

SXSW Day 2: Hardcore Hoofin’

Man alive today was all over.  I counted and I saw about15 or so different bands.  Some big and some small, with surprises in between.  So, in the interest of keeping things brief and at the suggestion of my lovely girlfriend, I will bullet blast what I thought was the better stuff of SXSW Music Day 2:

  • The first stop of the day saw us hit up the Canadian party and Dehli 2 Dublin.  What you say?  Dublin, Ireland and Dehli, India from Canada?  Yup, this bouncy world mash up made the day start out tasty.  On top of the egg and tortilla gobblety gook.
  • After they hit the stage, The Soft Pack A.D. rocked the joint big time.  Think of the White Stripes except the genders reversed.  Very bluesy and driving.
  • On the way to one stop, the guys from [email protected]#$ed Up put on an inpromptu show in front of Beer Land.  The hefty, shirtless lead singer guy ran through some Nirvana and Sex Pistols covers, mixing in their original stuff.  I was lucky enough to get some hardcore rock fixins as it was hard for me to find some time to fit it in on the trip.
  • The said stop just happened to be Gordon Gano and the Ryan Brothers at Valhalla.  Gordo, if you don’t know, is the lead singer of the Violent Femmes.  He’s got a new group and he’s sporting a violin.  They played some new songs and reimagined some old ones.  We loved the show and were lucky that we saw them in such a small venue.
  • I bounced around for a bit and made a pit stop at the Zone Lounge for some shwag and yet another Zone Energy Bar.  What I didn’t expect was to catch a great singer songwriter by the name of Danny Malone.  With acoustic guitar in hand and harmonica in mouth, Danny evoked emotion out of everyone in attendance and I’m checking this guy out the next he comes around Kansas City.
  • The Everything, Everything show later on was pretty tight.  They switched between keyboards with laptops and guitars.  The sound was a math rock or intelligent music sense but just a bit off.  Complex structures flowed out but made a quick turn here and there to keep you into the groove.
  • I left before Everything, Everything finished to head on to my big show of the night.  When I got to La Zona Rosa, it was much earlier than expected.    Fortunately, The 88 filled the time nicely.  The lead singer/guitarist had a Buddy Holly look with a much higher pitched voice.  The were consistent in they lovely dovey rock and roll.  I would play this in the car on the way to the hill to make out with my girlfriend.
  • Ray Davies took the stage after The 88.  If you don’t know who he is, you need to have hour face rocked.  Davies was the lead singer of the great classic band, The Kinks.  His songwriting was his strength and he brought out a great showcase of that with him and some other guy on acoustic guitar.  Not soon after, however, he brought out The 88 to join him on stage to rock the joint.  The Kinks rocked back in the day and Davies still pushing forward.  Davies and The 88 even wrote a song for the show the night before.  Very, very cool.

Now not all of the acts were as cool, but it’s all good.  There is just so much to consume here it can get overwhelming.  I’m just lucky enough to dip my toes in and catch some of the stream.  My toes are certainly sore from all the walking.

SXSW Day 1: Music Blast Off!

Okay Day 1 of SXSW Music saw myself kick into full swing of the tunes here in Austin.  It also helped that it was St. Patrick’s Day.  Naturally, me and my lovely girlfriend started out the Irish way and then ended up in the good ole nonprofit way.  In between shows, we checked some cool local shops.  But the important thing stuff was the shows.  So let’s get to it.

St. Patrick’s Day is a day celebrated by Irish alcoholics across the world.  So what better way to do so than at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30.  The only band the caught my eye was And So I Watch From Afar.  Those guys did some instrumental rock riffs that rival that of Kyuss.  I also enjoyed a lovely pint of Guiness in celebration.  Great times indeed.

We hit up the shops and then the convention center to get our SXXpress pass for the NPR Music Showcase.  The lineup was huge and we made our way to Stubb’s BBQ about 2 hours before the show.  The line was already long so we were glad to use the new pass types and be first inside the show!  The outdoor venue is a great place to watch bands and also snack down on some great BBQ, even though it’s not as good Kansas City.

The first two bands were alright.  Visqueen opened up with some rock that didn’t put me to sleep.  The Walkmen stepped on stage next and they rocked out in an almost Coldplay type style.  The lead singer hit the high notes well but really didn’t punch it through on the emotional side of things. The next three bands were the ones we really wanted to see.

Broken Bells is a collaboration of Danger Mouse and James Mercer.  They had a tough act to follow but they mellowed things out for the final performance.  The esoteric nature of their songs led to us jamming out but for some reason it didn’t fit perfectly with the line up.  It seems this is more headphone music than concert music.  That said, I’m anxious to sit down and listen to this album when I get back.

Spoon was the last show of the night and the Austin based rocked out pretty well.  We didn’t stay for the whole show and I missed the one song I really wanted to hear from them.  The show was swinging, however.  The crowd head bobbed pretty well even though they played until after 1am.  All in all good stuff from these guys.

The show of the night was Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.  The soul funk from Brooklyn had the crowd moving the whole time on stage.  Sharon Jones held the crowd in her hands and pulled strings of funk for the whole set.  If you ever want to get your funk down, check them out.  You won’t regret it.  And you won’t regret tuning in tomorrow for the next update.  Until then, off to more shows!