Posts Tagged ‘KC’

Friday at Middle of the Map Fest 2016.

May 19, 2016


Theta Intellect at Middle of the Map Fest 2016

Middle of the Map Fest 2016 showcased a diverse range of artists. Here are some of my highlights from Friday at Middle of the Map Fest:

Theta Intellect opened up CrossroadsKC on Friday with a mix of funk, soul and hip hop.

Past interview subjects Rachel Mallin and the Wild Type won over the crowd at CrossroadsKC with a set of shimmery indie rock jams. Their tight songs sounded beautiful wafting through the breeze. It was one of the best sets of the festival.


Rachel Mallin and the Wild Type at Middle of the Map 2016

Past interview subjects Kangaroo Knife Fight delivered a set of soulful indie rock at CrossroadsKC.


Kangaroo Knife Fight at Middle of the Map Fest 2016

Past interview subjects Not a Planet played the first ever set at the new RecordBar. Their high-energy  rock had the crowd moving. The new RecordBar is intimate and the location will make the venue a draw for quality indie rock in the Crossroads.


Not z Planet at Middle of the Map 2016

The set by Vince Staples at the Midland was on point, but poorly attended. Less than 1,000 people watched the acclaimed rapper.


Vince Staples at Middle of the Map Fest 2016

Cold War Kids brought their hooky indie rock to CrossroadsKC. It was my first Cold War Kids gig in nine years. They still bring the heat live. Classic tunes like “First” lit the crowd up.


Cold War Kids at Middle of the Map Fest 2016

Yes You Are played an energetic late night set to a packed Tank Room. Their glistening indie jams made for a perfect end to Friday at Middle of the Map.


Yes You Are at Middle of the Map Fest 2016


Taking a break from coverage with Brittany Hand


Chilling with Rachel Malin


Thursday at Middle of the Map Fest 2016.

May 18, 2016

Shadow Rabbits at Middle of the Map 2016

The 2016 edition of Kansas City’s Middle of the Map Fest showcased a great mix of local and national acts. The festival was a joyous overload of music. I was able to catch 20 sets in three days at Middle of the Map Fest 2016. The diversity and quality of the bands featured was staggering. I spent Thursday at Middle of the Map bouncing around between Californo’s basement and their outdoor patio. Here is a rundown of some of Thursday’s highlights:

Shadow Rabbits got the evening rolling with sharp, pulsing indie rock.

The Blackbird Revue showcased their quality Americana vibes on the patio.


The Blackbird Revue at Middle of the Map Fest 2016

Golden Groves specializes in groovy indie rock vibes. The rocking track “Ideas” really got the band and crowd moving.


Golden Groves at Middle of the Map Fest 2016

My Oh My! played a set of soulful Southern-tinged rock on the patio. It was perfect sonic accompaniment to the setting sun.


My Oh My! at Middle of the Map Fest 2016

Canada’s Foxes in Fiction delivered an entrancing solo set. It was one of the best sets I have ever seen. The music was serene, trippy and beautiful.


Foxes in Fiction at Middle of the Map Fest 2016

Your Friend’s emotional solo set closed out my evening. The Lawrence-based artist is signed to prestigious indie label the Domino Recording Company. Her passionate vocals and lovely, sprawling beats were the perfect combination of honesty and otherworldly beauty.


Your Friend at Middle of the Map Fest 2016

The Entrancing Soundscapes of Your Friend Shine at Middle of the Map Fest 2016.

May 11, 2016

Your Friend at Middle of the Map Fest 2016 5/5/16

Going into Middle of the Map Fest 2016, Your Friend was the set I was looking forward to the most. She was one of the best of the 20 sets I caught at the fest. Your Friend is Lawrence, Kansas-based musician Taryn Miler. Miller is signed to heavyweight indie label Domino Recording Company (Domino is also home to artists like Real Estate and Dan Deacon). Her debut album, Gumption, is one of my favorite releases of the year.
A large crowd packed the basement of Californo’s to see Your Friend’s set. Miller’s shifting soundscapes were entrancing. Her vocals had more clarity and depth live. Miller would jump from guitar to looping pedal to synth, often the same song, to craft her tunes. Songs like “Gumption” grew from soft murmurs into sweeping epics. Towards the end of her set, Taryn mentioned that she had had a live band until last week and that this might be her last show for awhile. She shouldn’t worry. Your Friend’s solo set at Middle of the Map Fest proved that she can go it alone and reach glorious heights.

“If you’re gonna get a stupid tattoo, get a really stupid tattoo.”

April 29, 2016


“My thinking is if you’re gonna get a stupid tattoo, get a really stupid tattoo,” –Molly Balloons, balloon artist, talking about her balloons lip tattoo. I’m also digging the chain. I mean, why not look like a discount version of Juvenile? A balloon maven in action.

Welcome to the Family: The Joyous Sound of the Mowgli’s.

April 27, 2016

The Mowgli’s live at Charlie Hustle, 4/26/16.

It’s always nice to see bands that enjoy meeting their fans. Indie-pop band the Mowgli’s really love their fans. The band recently brought the happy clappy indie rock heat to a secret show at the headquarters of Kansas City clothing company Charlie Hustle. Their songs sounded wonderful floating through the breeze. The energy and joy in the Mowgli’s music is infectious.

After the set, a young girl was talking to vocalist/percussionist Katie Earl about how she had wanted to see them live for so long. “Welcome to the family,” Katie said as she hugged the girl. Really sweet and kind.


McClain Approved: The Greeting Committee “Hands Down.”

April 12, 2016

The Greeting Committee at the Power & Light District, 4/9/16.

The Greeting Committee is a young indie rock band on the rise. The Kansas City-based band recently played SXSW and they are playing Lollapalooza 2016. The Greeting Committee features guitarist and lead singer Addie Sartino, bassist Pierce Turcotte, guitarist Brandon Yangmi, and drummer Austin Fraser. All of the band members are still in high school. They are signed to Los Angeles-based record label Harvest Records, which also features Best Coast and Glass Animals on its roster.

I recently caught the Greeting Committee’s headlining set at local radio station 96.5 the Buzz‘s Homegrown Buzz Music Showcase. Live, the songs have even more power and Addie’s vocals soar. I go to a lot of shows and the wonderful joy the Greeting Committee have playing is infectious. Those indie rock happy sensors go off in your body and gets you fired up. Their single “Hands Down” is a tight, well-crafted indie-pop song. It’s so inspiring to see a young band having fun doing what they love. The future is bright for the Greeting Committee.

Excision’s the Paradox Tour Brings the Bass and Joy to Kansas City.

March 28, 2016

Excision in Kansas City, 3/25/16

Canadian bass music DJ and producer Excision brought the Paradox Tour to Kansas City on March 25th. He sold out the 3,000 capacity Midland Theatre. There was no chill. I am not a big dubstep/bass nerd, but the energy and passion for electronic music showcased on the Paradox Tour couldn’t be denied. It was a joyous night of stunning visual production, quality mixing and 150,000 watts of bass mayhem

Bear Grillz got the show rolling with a diverse mix of tunes. He smashed through a set while wearing a bear costume. So much (literal) beasting. Damn y’all, Snuggle goes hard!


Bear Grillz in Kansas City, 3/25/16

Bear Grillz was followed back-to-back by Figure. The Indiana-based DJ really got the crowd moving with his hard-edged version of EDM.


Figure in Kansas City, 2/25/16

Excision hit the crowd hard with his heavy take on bass music. His hour and 30 minute headlining set proved why he is one of the best mixers in today’s dance scene. The production really helped to create a fully immersive show. Excision played a lot of the tracks from his excellent Shambhala 2015 mix. The balcony was bouncing with joy to his vicious tunes.


Excision in Kansas City, 3/25/16

I’ve been a fan of electronic music for a long time. It’s wonderful to see people getting down, having a good time and raving hard. When it comes down to it, quality dance music is all the joy it brings you. The Paradox Tour filled the Midland with a glorious evening of bass music.

The Trippy Vibes of House of DeBoer.

March 17, 2016

I recently received my ceramics box from Kansas City-based House of DeBoer. House of DeBoer is comprised of Brock and Colleen DeBoer, a husband and wife design and manufacturing team. I donated to their Kickstarter. These ceramic works were created using a 3D printer. It was exciting opening up the box and seeing what surprises awaited under the bubble wrap. Brock and Colleen are an artistic power couple. The trippy vibes of the pieces really speak to me. It is always inspiring to see local artists creating art that is sleek and has such a strong visual appeal.

Blowing Up: An Interview with Balloon Artist Molly Munyan.

March 17, 2016

Molly Munyan in her Royals-inspired balloon dresses (image credit: Bo Flores Photography)

Molly Munyan is a Kansas City-based balloon artist. She is known for her handcrafted balloon outfits. Munyan recently held a balloon fashion show. Molly discussed how she became interested in crafting balloon outfits, her creative process

Did you come from an artistic family?
Somewhat, my parents met through doing theater in college. They are artistic, but more on the performance side. I am definitely the child that is the culmination of the most artistic aspects of both of my parents. I am definitely the only one to try and make a career out of the arts. My two older biological brothers, neither of them are terribly artistic. I kind of got the lotto on the artiness.

What was your first memory of making art growing up?
I don’t really know, but I was always the kid that had my hands in something. Wrestling and soccer after recess, that wasn’t me. Staying late after art class, that was always me. I was always doing something. I haven’t had that much inclination towards 2D. It’s been origami, ceramics and Play-Doh, dumb shit like that. I’ve always been doing something like that.

What inspires your personal fashion sense?
Someone asked me, “If I was a combination of two icons, who would I be?” Easy, Pee-Wee Herman and Beyoncé. Getting dressed, I follow the motto of, “If I look like I would look good in a music video, I’m good to go.” Not all music video looks look the same, but they are extremely whatever they are. I want to look extremely whatever I look like. Just never settle.

What got you interested in creating balloon art?
I really just stumbled into it as a kid. I learned how to when I was bored in my parent’s basement. It wasn’t until I was 15 that I picked it back up. Everyone sort of asked me at once if I do parties. I was like, “Uhhh, I can.” The way I became a business professional is that I called Chick-fil-A and told them I’m a professional if they would hire me. They said yes, so I became a professional.

What was the first outfit you created out of balloons?
I was homecoming queen in high school. I made my homecoming dress out of balloons. I prototyped it a couple of times, but that was the first outfit I made. It’s what got me into it.

What is your creative process for crafting balloon fashion?
Making a balloon dress. Step one: Caffeinate. My creative process for the balloon dresses kind of varies. Sometimes, I’m like sitting at a stoplight and think, “This would be a great skirt design.” Then, I sketch it and I have it in the bank when I want to make a balloon dress. Other times, I sit down with a blank mental canvas and say, “What am I going to go for?” A lot of times, I have sketches in my balloon dress sketchbook. I pull from them, I pull from ideas that I’ve had. It always ends up a little different than you could ever plan. On paper or in your mind, it will never look the same as on the form. There are changes you do make along the way, but I do have a plan for it. Always.

How long does it take you to complete an outfit from start to finish?
It depends on what I’m making. A lot of the process is the creative process. Me sitting there going, “What am I going to do?” If I made a look and made the exact same look afterwards, it would take two-thirds of the time. It cuts out the creative process and I’ll I have to do is make balloons. Around 15 hours, often more, rarely less.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?
Honestly, my biggest challenges are just sort of being a real person. Responding to emails, being places on time, staying on top of the little things that aren’t fun. I’m much better at big artsy projects that I’m excited about. It’s always been hard for me to get shit done when I’m not passionate or inspired about what I’m doing. That’s a big challenge, getting things done to get me to the place where I want to be. The big art projects, the exciting, new things.

Do you have a favorite quote or motto that you live by?
“No one can be uncheered with a balloon.” -Winnie the Pooh.

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases from being shared.” -Buddha

Also, “Be here now” is a thing I think about a lot. Living every moment to the fullest and that bullshit. My watch says now on it, so I can look down and remind myself that the time is now. No time like the present to be happy and make others happy.

What advice would you give to designers just starting out?
This is a piece of advice that I received from my favorite poet Steve Roggenbuck, “Make art that you like. If you make art that you think is going to attract the most people, you’ll find that your audience Is watered down with people that don’t like the real you or interested in the real you.” He also says that over time, you can’t fake passion. Do what you’re passionate about, things that you love. Your inspiration will never die if you’re still excited about what you are doing. You can even see with my Royals and Chiefs dresses, they were like marketing pieces. I don’t see them as sellouts because I loved what I was doing. I was excited about every part of the process. They were totally fun to make. I wasn’t making them for anyone but myself. It was fun.


Molly in her Chiefs-inspired balloon dress (image credit: Bo Flores Photography)

A Journey into Pop Couture.

March 15, 2016

I recently attended my first balloon fashion show. The show, Pop Couture, was held in the hip Crossroads section of Kansas City, Missouri. The show was put on by Kansas City-based balloon artist Molly Munyan. Munyan is the co-founder of Pop Culture Sculptures. Molly is a whirling dervish of joyous energy. The passion and innovation within Molly’s work is inspiring.

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