Posts Tagged ‘Kansas City’

Finding the Hipness Within.

January 5, 2016

A friend of mine told me a cautionary tale the other day. “My roommate named her cat David Bowie Waffles. She was trying way too hard,” she said. Just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you should. You don’t have to try that hard. “At first, I thought it was Tom Hanks Pancakes. I remembered that the cat’s name is David Bowie Waffles,” she clarified.

The people I know that are actually hip often just let it flow effortlessly from themselves. They aren’t out there trying to impress, they just do what they do. You shouldn’t have to force the hipness. It sounds cliche, but being true to who you are is the hippest way you can be. Realness over everything. Being real never goes out of style.

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YJs Snackbar

David Ford is one of the hippest people I know in KC. An artist, Ford is also the owner of the legendary YJs Snack Bar. YJs is a laid back, funky spot in the Crossroads. David recently gave me a rundown about a trip to Ethiopia, “The cities featured a lot of cosmopolitan  jazz and the countryside was very rural. It was a lot of goat slaughter, 2,000 ritual goat slaughter.” It was a strange description, but had me intrigued.

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YJs

The next night, I was watching Anthony Bourdain on CNN. He was in Ethiopia, of course. He described the cosmopolitan, jazzy vibes of the cities and the ritual goat slaughter of the countryside. David Ford is a man that is ahead of the curve, constantly pushing forward. David Ford is hip because he is true to himself.

Personal hipness comes from deep within yourself. Being open to the wonder of the world around you can help make you hipper. Being present in the moment can help you tap back into the realness of yourself. No need to try too hard, just be real.

 

 

 

The Wilco Double Up.

December 30, 2015
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Wilco at Pitchfork Music Festival 2015 (July 17, 2015)

Wilco proved (yet again) this year why they are one of the best live bands ever. I was able to catch two Wilco shows in one week this year. It was my attempt at the Wilco Double Up. I was was also finally able to catch the famed Chicago band in a hometown show, which was nice to cross off of my concert goals list.

One of the criticisms I’ve heard thrown at Wilco over the years is that some people label it as “dad rock.” You wish your dad was Nels Cline. When he uncorks solos like this on “Impossible Germany,” it will melt your face off of your face.

Like many great live bands, I respect that Wilco never play the same set/show twice. They will play some tracks you love, some songs you would never expect and some curve balls. The quality of Jeff Tweedy’s songwriting is best showcased at a Wilco gig, because you get so many songs from different eras of the band. Sometimes, they remind you how great some deeper cuts can be. They got really expansive on “One Wing” and covered the Uncle Tupelo song “New Madrid” at the Kansas City show. The Crossroads KC show also served as a great use of dynamics. The majority of the show was rocked out, fully electric. However, the encore was acoustic. This was a nice change in pace and made for a very well-rounded show.

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Wilco at Crossroads KC (July 15, 2015)

After over 20 years, it would be easy for a band to rest on their laurels and phone it in. This is not the case with Wilco. Between the KC gig on Wednesday and the Pitchfork Music Festival set in Chicago on Friday, Wilco dropped their first album in four years Star Wars.

At the Pitchfork set, Wilco played the entire new album, released the day before, live for the first time. Playing a whole new album live is risky, but Wilco is constantly pushing forward and being innovative. The new songs have a looser, carefree quality. The sprawl of some of the new songs reminded me of Sonic Youth. The crowd seemed confused at first, but warmed up at the songs wafted through the Chicago breeze. They followed up Star Wars with a bunch of classics. Watching people freak out to “Handshake Drugs” in the summer sun can be a glorious thing.

Wilco had a big 2015. They showed why they are still one of the best live bands touring today by never settling, consistently busting out setlists that clear 25 songs, and always being willing to surprise. The shows are always solid and the sense of something unexpected happening can create so much joy. Even after over 20 years, it will be fun to see what the future holds for Wilco.

 

 

My Favorite Music and Concerts of 2015.

December 15, 2015
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Kraftwerk at the Midland Theatre, in Kansas City.

With 2015 wrapping up, it’s time to look back on some of my favorite music and gigs of the year.

Canadian noise rockers Viet Cong put out my favorite album of the year. The sprawling, weird soundscapes of their self-titled debut make for quality extended listening. Serious shoegaze vibes that hit hard.

I also really loved the Chvrches album Every Open Eye. Their sound has really grown from their debut record. A track like “Keep You On My Side” peaks really well and brings the energy. The vocals are on-point (as always), but the beats hit harder and the songs are more epic.

Gigs:

German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk put on a show for the ages at the Midland this year. Kraftwerk perfected the idea of the “man machine” and raved the way for nearly every form of modern electronic music. It was my first 3D sit down rave. Visually, the show was stunning and the music wasn’t just a nostalgia trip. For something so robotic, it felt so lively, fresh and new. The show also marked Kraftwerk’s first Kansas City show in 45 years.

Stevie Wonder’s epic show at the Sprint Center was also one of the best of the year. He played for over three hours. The setlist included his classic album Songs in the Key of Life. He approaches music from a totally different angle. The hits were there, the jams were there, something for everyone. Janelle Monae sat in with Stevie in KC, which made the gig even better. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime show.

Favorite tracks:

The demo version of “Realiti” by Grimes is my favorite song of the year. Her whole sound really comes together on this track. An updated version of the song ended up on Art Angels, but the demo version has more rawness and punch.

I really dug the house vibes of Caribou’s “Can’t Do Without You.” I was lucky enough to catch him live at Pitchfork Fest in Chicago this year. It’s a glorious feeling hearing a song like this wash over a festival crowd.

New Orleans-based rapper Curren$y showed why he is one of the best rappers out there today with “Speed.” His vibe is singular and different. The production on this record is one of the best I’ve heard all year. This beat is so fresh!

The laid back, chill vibes of Martin Courtney’s “Airport Bar” made it one of my favorite tracks of 2015. The lead singer of Real Estate displayed a subtle shift in tone on his debut solo album. Courtney knows how to craft a really quality song.

What were your favorite music moments of 2015?

Wilco Review Featured on Jambase.com

July 22, 2015

My review of the recent Wilco show in Kansas City, Missouri was featured on Jambase.com.

The Record.

February 2, 2013

My first piece for The Record is out now. You can read it here. It describes what got me into live music in the first place.

Pretty Lights at the Midland.

August 30, 2012

Pretty Lights at the Midland.

Here are my photos from Pretty Lights’ Kansas City, Missouri show at the Midland Theater (August 23rd).


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