Femme Fatale: Good Luck Finding Iris, Ayvah, and Lydia Liza @ The Cedar Cultural Center 4/22/17

I’m going to be honest, I expected to see more women and femmes at this show, but it was still amazing nonetheless. Patrick Hintz, Good Luck Finding Iris’s guitarist, put together this event to support and showcase women and femmes in music and visual art. Many statements were made about how much the girls in the scene have to offer and how much more they should be recognized not as “female musicians” but just as “musicians”.

I am in love with every band that played Saturday night and had been looking forward to it for weeks. But I was also really interested to see some of the visual art installations that Patrick was telling me would be there. Visual artists included Grace Kunkel, Ndolo Elate, Natalie Ganzalez, Beatrix Del Carmen, Rachel Lawrence, Sophie Mcgrill, Marie Claire Rassier, Nastassja Frampton, Moriah Young, Teresa Junge, Emily Knisley, Liz Bunce, and Destiny Noel Bilges. (I tried to get photos of the artists by their work, but couldn’t track everyone down, ALSO I apologize to the folks who had their work on display outside and I didn’t get photos – I didn’t know there was anything out there until I had left ­čśŽ )

First on the bill was famed local songbird Lydia Liza with her beautiful, vulnerable songs and voice that could kill. I got to see her perform her own work for the first time back in February and it was life changing having been a fan since I saw her with Toki Wright and The Big Cats in the summer of 2014 at a Music in Mears performance. Lydia effectively gave me full body chills during the fifth or sixth song in her set when she was singing, “Should’ve known by now!” At the very end of her set, Joey C. Hays, drummer for Ayvah, came on stage and played, picking up the pace a little bit.

Next up was the lovely, lovely Ayvah. Lead singer Ava Diedrich McFarlane introduced the neo-soul, jazz-funk band to an excited crowd that had about doubled in size since the event started. Ava has such a happy, effortless vibe about her when she’s on stage and it’s so so inviting – I can’t stop smiling and dancing every time I see Ayvah. They began with some fan favorites, “Lay Down” and “My Type” to which Ava dedicated to the women in the crowd: “This one’s for the ladies, not the men”. The band played three new songs, one of which I recognized from the acoustic set they did a few weeks back at Can Can Wonderland that she said was called “Red Vans” after guitarist Andy Schupp’s shoes!

Headlining the night was one of my absolute favorite local bands, Good Luck Finding Iris. The band is a mysterious being that gives me major shoegazey, Dido vibes. Lead singer and guitarist Michaela Stein’s voice still blows me away every. single. time. The band played some of their most recognizable songs in front of a big projector screen that was playing an art video with anime clips and flashes of flowers. About halfway throuh the set, Michaela introduced a new song, “Quite”, which started out with their same established sound, but then there were these heavy drums and I let out an audible “holy shit!” because of how good it sounded. Good Luck Finding Iris closed their set like they always do with the beloved “Christopher Robin” and an amped up light show.

The night was beautiful and that’s all I have left to say. Support local grrrls.

 

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Battle of the Bands: Final Battle @ Coffman Plaza 4/21/17

Last night was the Battle of the Bands final for this year at the U in the fight for an opening spot at Spring Jam! Here are some photos of those who made it to the end. Yesterday was beautiful and fun and happy even though it was the anniversary of Prince’s passing. Congrats to Vessel on the much-deserved win, and shout out to Early Eyes for landing the spot to play at Wam-O-Rama next fall – proud of ya’ll ­čÖé

Katatonia, Caspian, and Uncured @ Fine Line 4/14/17

“Maia’s Dad’s Inaugural Concert Review”

First off, I would like to thank my little girl, Maia, for letting me live vicariously through her and her website. A brief history of me, Maia’s dad: I have been a fan of music my whole life, and the late 80s and early 90s music scene had the biggest influence on me. I have a very diverse taste in music – Industrial, Metal, Grunge, Hardcore, Indie, Alternative, almost all things music. I am that guy that loves to find new bands and share it with anyone who will listen. I could talk music and bands and concerts all day, just ask Maia. I’ve attended hundreds of shows, and live music is the absolute best way to experience music. There’s just a certain feeling that you can’t get anywhere else when you see an artist or band perform live.

Opening the show is a new band Uncured hailing from New York City. The core of the band is two brothers, Rex and Zak Cox, with some massive skills. If you are into guitar driven old school thrash like Megadeath, Anthrax, Overkill, and you like some east coast hardcore like Biohazard, Hatebreed, Agnostic Front, and also some progressive metal like Periphery, Animals As Leaders, Porcupine Tree, then here ya go. I was absolutely blown away by their guitar skills, and for only being 16 and 18 years old, they will have plenty to offer in the coming years. A shout out to James Callahan, Uncured’s Tour Manager, thanks for the beer and conversation.

Up next was Caspian, and being a fan of what I have dubbed as metal shoegaze, these guys fit the bill. Having recently seen my favorite of this genre, This Will Destroy You, and having been unsure how well this genre would play out in a live set, but I was pleasantly surprised by how powerful and emotional this style is live. These guys fucking blew me away- each member working off of one another in perfect unison like a well-oiled machine. Their stage present demanded your attention all without saying a word, and mainly using back-lighting made for a very intense and ominous, yet appropriate vibe to their live show. If given the chance, go see Caspian live – they will not disappoint.

Having been a fan of Katatonia for 10 years or more, and to finally get to see them live was an absolute thrill for me. They were everything and more to see live. Treating the crowd to nearly a 90 minute set with a 3 song encore just didn’t seem to be enough. Being a fan of all things music, you tend to put bands on the proverbial pedestal. Having spent the evening with these guys, Katatonia’s humbleness was obvious; they were as grateful to be playing for us as the fans were to be there. These gents proved that they can transcend beyond the stigmata of a questionable time period that is the nineties.

Having a history of several lineup changes, I was a little concerned that I might not get the fix I so badly needed from Katatonia┬álive. Undoubtedly, they delivered a strong performance; the harmonies and dual leads were spot on, and the drummer – holy fuck! With the new/newer members playing together as if they were part of the band from start made for a stunning performance. I would like to personally thank Katatonia and their management for allowing my daughter, Maia, and I to attend an amazing show and get some kick-ass pictures.

Thanks again to my little girl, I had a blast!
Love You Kid.

Words by Joel Jacobson. Photos by Maia.

Dreamgirl is the modern Roadhouse Band we’ve all been sleeping on.

A few weeks ago I spoke with three members of the Missouri dream-pop, Dreamgirl. I first heard them when their track “Teenage Blue” popped up on my spotify weekly playlist off their latest release,┬áIlluminaughty. I was sold after the first listen; the song reminded me so much of the Twin Peaks soundtrack and all I could see was scenes of the roadhouse singer and red curtains in the Bang Bang Bar. Lead singer of Dreamgirl, Lacey, has the same swoony, angelic quality in her voice.

The band started quite a few years back after the breakup of an old band due to a member leaving to take a job on the railroad – no joke. The remaining members, Lacey, Bryce (the old drummer – currently Ian is on drums), Skylar (guitar and keys), and Zach (guitar and keys) all decided to start a new project. They borrowed vocal, guitar, and bass skills from friends Sam and Austin who were in a different band, and in 2013, Dreamgirl was born.

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A majority of the members grew up listening to 90s pop and the “golden oldies and really talented lady singers”. Most are indie music fans now, but they all have a music taste that diverges enough to distinguish themselves from each other, allowing for a wide variety of influences. As for my Twin Peaks comparison, they said that they didn’t really realize the similarity in sound until after they had written in. “We thought, hey this kind of sounds like Maddie and Donna’s song, or we found out that it kinda sounds like “When You’re Gone” by The Cranberries.”

on Kansas City and their local music scene, the band notes that there is tons of great jazz and blues and bebop, but that they really are an expanding scene with all kinds of genres. With a mixed demographic of liberals and conservatives, they count Kansas City as one of Missouri’s gems as far as it’s forward thinking and it’s supportive community. ‘We’re pretty lucky to have Kansas City, and the cool think about it is the radio stations are really involved with all the local bands. Local media really cares about telling people about the local music scene, the art scene.”

In the middle of recording a new album, since the last time they released was in 2015, the new songs will sound more mature. Moving away from the beachy vibes of Illuminaughty, Dreamgirl has a more “new disco, synth heavy” sound in store for us. “The themes of summertime will always be with us and in our music, but in writing these songs we went through a lineup change, so it was really different. But we’re really excited about showing everybody!”

Random interview shout outs:

  • Playing at the second largest venue in Missouri with K.Flay (“People were smoking weed┬ádude, and Missouri’s not friendly towards weed. that was awesome”)
  • Their friends in the band Toughies – check them out!
  • Fans from Brazil and the kid from France who put Illuminaughty on Youtube
  • “I may be investing too much, but we’re playing with Tennis, and that’s going to be amazing!” Dreamgirl played with Tennis on April 6th!!

This Will Destroy You with Emma Ruth Rundle @ Fine Line 3/20/17

Hi there kiddos, this post is waaaaay too late for my liking, but its been a wild past couple of weeks and I still want to share these. My Super Cool DadÔäó and I went specifically to see This Will Destroy You, who we’ve both been fans of for a long time now. Throw back to when my dad made me “check out this band” and their then-new album Young Mountain (2006). TWDY blew my mind, so SO good. My dad knew more about Emma Ruth Rundle than myself; in a recent Facebook post to my wall, he described her as, “Give the whole album a spin, very PJ Harvey meets Patty Smith meets TWDY meets a little bit of Nirvana and Haley Bonar and LOW. Its good.”

My dad may have more to add later, and I’ll keep this updated, but for now, photos are below! Enjoy!