A Visit to Art Alley.

September 17, 2016

I recently visited Art Alley in the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City, Missouri. The alley showcases quality street art.

Check out a video tour of Art Alley:

 

 

McClain Approved: Rachel Mallin and The Wild Type “White Girls.”

August 31, 2016
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Rachel Mallin and The Wild Type Live at RecordBar 7/29/16

Rachel Mallin and The Wild Type is a Kansas City-based indie rock band. Songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Rachel Mallin’s lyrics are smart and biting. The band recently released their new EP Degenerate Matters. Live and on record, they bring the energy.

Rachel Mallin and The Wild Type’s “White Girls” is my favorite song of the year so far. The track is getting radio play from Kansas City to Sweden. Lyrically, Mallin brings the snark and lays the smackdown on stereotypical white girls, “There’s a special place in hell for girls like you/Go out on the weekends/Prey upon weak men that haven’t got a girl to come home to.” This heat is counterbalanced by an upbeat, indie surf rock vibe. It’s the kind of song Best Coast would love to write. It’s always great when sharp lyrics and an energetic groove combine to form a quality song. “White Girls” is one of the year’s best.

 

“If you don’t like my music, fuck you! Eat shit and die!” -Ted Nugent.

August 23, 2016
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Ted Nugent at CrossroadsKC at Grinders, 8/12/16.

“If you don’t like my music, fuck you! Eat shit and die!” –Ted Nugent, addressing the crowd at his recent concert at CrossroadsKC at Grinders.

At least Uncle Ted speaks his mind. You never hear indie bands say, “We’re Death Cab for Cutie. Go screw yourself!” It was a nice change of pace from the humility bands often display when bantering with the crowd.

He might have abhorrent political views and spout inflammatory rhetoric, but Ted Is one hell of a musician. Ted Nugent is 68. It was 90 degrees out and he smashed through a blazing hour and 30 minute set. It was an impressive performance for sure. Love him or hate him, Ted Nugent is true to himself and great at what he does.

Rachel Mallin and The Wild Type Performs “White Girls” Live at The Tank Room 7/12/16.

July 27, 2016

Here’s a recent video I shot of Kansas City-based indie rock band Rachel Mallin and The Wild Type performing “White Girls.”

Yes You Are “Echo” Live at KC Riverfest 2016.

July 5, 2016
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Yes You Are at KC Riverfest 2016, 7/4/16

Here’s a clip of up-and-coming Kansas City-based indie band Yes You Are performing “Echo” live at KC Riverfest on 7/4/16:

Yes You Are “World Without End” Live at KC Riverfest.

July 5, 2016

 

 

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Yes You Are at KC Riverfest 2016

Here’s a clip of up-and-coming Kansas City-based indie rock band Yes You Are performing “World Without End” live at KC Riverfest on 7/4/16:

 

The Glory of Little Freshie.

July 4, 2016
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Watermelon-basil snow cone at Little Freshie

It’s the end of an era for Little Freshie. The storefront closed July 1st. The Kansas City-based soda fountain and espresso bar was a fixture of the Westside neighborhood.

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Little Freshie

Little Freshie was created by entrepreneur and design maven Lindsay Laricks. Lindsay’s creativity and vision comes through in every aspect of Little Freshie. Her passion, positive outlook and drive is inspiring. She is closing the storefront to take a position at a local design firm and focus on her line of all-natural syrups. Little Freshie was more than just a shop, it was a community.

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Blackberry-lavender snow cone at Little Freshie

The vibes were always chill and laid back in Little Freshie. The treats were always insanely delicious. Everything was made with natural, fresh ingredients. Their snow cones were mind blowing. In my opinion, they also had the best chai tea in Kansas City. Quality indie, chill reggae or grooving afrobeat sounds would often be flowing out of the speakers. Every time I would go into the shop, I would meet interesting people. A lot of hip and funky folks were regulars at Little Freshie, but there was no attitude or pretension. It was a glorious place.

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Brownie and chai tea at Little Freshie

While it might be the end of the Little Freshie storefront, Lindsay’s ability and beasting will lead her to an even brighter future.

Yonder Mountain String Band Bring the Jams to CrossroadsKC.

July 2, 2016
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Yonder Mountain String Band at CrossroadsKC, 7/1/16

I’ve been a Yonder Mountain String Band fan since 2005. I saw them at Wakarusa one year and it got me hooked. They are past interview subjects, really nice and light it up live.

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Yonder Mountain String Band at CrossroadsKC, 7/1/16

One of my favorite Yonder memories was the time I caught a late NOLA Mardi Gras night show with my friend, Tim. I had seen Galactic play for 8 hours the night before. Tim smuggled in a Camelbak filled with a box of Franzia. We were passing out cups of boxed wine. At one point during the second set, a dude in a green dinosaur costume ran me over.
The early CrossroadsKC Yonder shows were also insane. Long, sweaty, packed evenings of quality jams and mayhem. Yonder shows create such a fun sense of joy and community.

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Yonder Mountain String Band crowd at CrossroadsKC, 7/1/16

Yonder fans are often referred to as the kinfolk. At the recent Kansas City show, a fan described his viewpoint of the Yonder fans as “a mix of bros, old ass hippies over 50 and hot girls. Everyone just wants to get down on some jams. No one judges each other. It’s not like when I go to indie shows and everyone is too cool.”
I hadn’t seen Yonder live in three years, but their July 1st show at CrossroadsKC reaffirmed what I love about them. The Colorado-based band’s two-hour set kept the crowd fired up. The interplay was tight, the tunes were on point and everyone had a great time. As the jams flowed and the breeze was rolling in, it was glorious. I took a bit of a break, but it feels great to be back! Woo!!

A Complete Vision of Silence: Notes From My First Experience with Sensory Deprivation Floating.

July 1, 2016
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Floating KC (Image via http://www.floatingkc.com)

A few months ago, I had a dream about floating in a sensory deprivation tank. I told myself if I saw any indicators to do it that I had give it a shot. I felt a really strong pull to attempt floating. The morning after my dream, I opened up Facebook and the first post I read was from a friend of mine that tried a sensory deprivation tank in my neighborhood. Here are some notes about my experience with sensory deprivation at Floating KC.
The session begins with a 15 minute chair massage. The float lasts for an hour.
You are in 10 inches of water with 1,200 pounds of Epsom salts, when you first enter the tank, there are lights and soft music. However, the sounds fade to silence and total darkness. The water is 93 degrees, the same temperature as your skin.
The experience felt like the complete vision of silence. My mind kept repeating that is was the complete vision of silence.
Feeling weightless, any mental weight/stress seems to slip away.
You really meld with the water. Things just seem to blend together. It’s hard to tell where your body ends and the water begins.
Everything seems slow, but the concept of time doesn’t matter.
Floating feels like you’re in zero gravity.

I could really hear my breathing.
The feelings of bliss and euphoria were very joyful. Seriously chill vibes.
It felt like the best, deepest meditation ever.
Floating felt like a really good massage, but for your brain as well.
I moved around the tank. I would push off and my mind told me it would take 1,000 years to get to the other side of the tank.
I stretched lengthwise. My mind told me I was 1,000 feet long.
I saw little flashes of light. They were these quick, golden, flickers of light. “These are excitement bolts,” my mind stated.
My mind thought about how my eyelids were heavy. I visualized a sack of cartoon style eyeballs.
Near the end of the session, a realization come to me. Whatever happens in life, I have to be peaceful about it. No matter what happens, I have to greet it with peace.
The lights came back on, the music started playing and it jolted me back to reality.
Floating in a sensory deprivation tank was an extremely chill experience. Everyone might have different experiences, but I would recommend it.

McClain Approved: Laura Gibson “Two Kids.”

June 30, 2016
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Laura Gibson in Kansas City, 6/20/16

Laura Gibson is a passionate songwriter and vocalist. She recently showcased her quality songwriting and glorious voice while opening for David Bazan in Kansas City. Gibson’s solo, acoustic set focused on songs off of Empire Builder, her excellent new album. Once you learn about Laura Gibson, you will have discovered one of the best singer-songwriters in music today. Her take on indie-folk is entrancing.

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Laura Gibson in Kansas City, 6/20/16

The jaunty, weird love song “Two Kids” is a great example of Laura Gibson’s appeal. Gibson’s emotive vocals soar over the sparse accompaniment of her acoustic guitar. The song is simple, direct and beautiful.

Here’s a solo, acoustic version of “Two Kids” recorded live at RecordBar:

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Myself and the lovely Laura Gibson