Tag Archives: local music

Phoenix Bring Nostalgia, Unstoppable Hits to the Midland

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Remember 2009? Damn, what a good year! “I Gotta Feeling” was on the radio, Silly Bandz were stacked on our wrists, and this was the Internet craze your family sent you over and over

Those were simpler times, and the brighter days of ’09 feel so far away. But sometimes, a band, a song, an album is so powerful, it pulls you back to that year, and that feeling. That feeling only comes around rarely. That feeling happens during “Listzomania” and “1901” by the formidable French indie-rock troupe Phoenix.

During an incredible opening night of 96.5 FM’s “The Nights Buzz Stole Christmas” concert series, Phoenix brought their decadent lights, silky smooth music, and over-the-top cool persona to the Midland Theatre in Kansas City.

The band wasted no time kicking off the show. They opened with their latest hit, “J Boy” from new album Ti Amo, and then instantly gave the fans what they wanted to hear. They tore into a raucous rendition of “Lasso,” from 2009’s breakout album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. It won over the hearts of the large crowd within seconds of the song starting.

Over the course of the night, they continued to play gem after gem, hit after hit, until the dancefloor was theirs. “Rome,” “Girlfriend,” “Entertainment,” “Trying to be Cool,” and more. Relentless they were with the amount of hits they played. The band sounded insanely tight knit, and every guitar stroke or drum beat was impeccably perfected.

They closed with the stellar track “1901,” but that didn’t mean the show was over. Not by a long shot. Lead singer Thomas Mars strolled out into the crowd casually, carrying a microphone with a extended, light up red chord. He strutted through the entire crowd, before finally standing up above the fans. With balloons bouncing around him, he chugged a fan’s drink given to him, and surveyed the audience. He led the crowd in singing the final notes of “1901” and wished everyone goodnight. It was an extraordinary end to an extraordinary show.


Phoenix were supported by Hembree, a local Kansas City indie-rock band with a sound that is supremely ready for the biggest of stages. They truly have everything necessary for a successful band that will go the distance: incredibly catchy guitar riffs, pounding drum rhythms, fantastic lyrics, likable band members, and a readiness to have a fun time on stage that is infectious for the crowd, (i.e. their tremendously fun cover of the Gorillaz’ “DARE, that got the party going.)

While watching them onstage, I couldn’t help but imagine them on the festival circuit- starting low in the bill, playing the 3pm time slot, building an audience in the sunny afternoons. However, their audiences continue to build until they find themselves playing to the sunset, and maybe, just maybe, closing out the day. This may be idealistic, but I absolutely think that this is a capable goal for Hembree. Their love for music is palpable, and that kind of appreciation for the music, and the enjoyment of playing it for people, will get you far in this business.


The first opener of the evening was another local outfit, Y God Y. Led by Garrett Marsh, their sound is unique and inviting. Driven by warm synths, and spacey drum beats, Marsh’s voice carries the sound into another dimension. Their style is equally indie-rock and electronic-synth pop. The combination of styles works well for them, and they created a big hit with fans. With their Afentra-approved cosign, I can see this band growing into a prominent touring band, taking their weird and fantastic sounds on the road to audiences all over the world.



Shoebox Money Unleashes Live Recordings, Prep New Music

Shoebox Money, the Lawrence-based four piece blues-rock band can be found playing shows at an alarming rate. They’re almost consistently performing showcases and headlining gigs throughout the Midwest. The band has now released a compliation of live songs recorded at KKFI 90.1 in Kansas City, MO.

The first track, “Riverside” is a bluesy jam rock track that’s instantly catchy. The song is a party starter for sure, and the chorus is outrageously catchy. The heavy guitar riffs on this thing, and the hypnotic bassline make for a ludicrously likable hit.

The band shows their range by slowing things down on “Bring it Back.” Lead vocalist Ben Schenberg shows off his superb pipes on the crescendo-building hook. It’s a smooth jam with an unsuspecting chorus that hits like a homerun. The lyrics on this thing are phenomenal, and the guitar breaks unreal.

“Mary” is the slowest track on the release and allows the band to show off their bluesy side. The song sounds like a slow walk through a snowy and serene park at night. The emotive nature of the track cuts to the core as guitars dance delicately over Schenberg’s voice and bassist Patrick Spanier lays down a heavy riff.

The live session concludes with the barn-burner, “Lifeline.” The guitar shredding track is a hit in the making. The band punches with full force on this thing, and the result is something that could set a dancefloor on fire. There is life erupting from this song, and it’s impeccable pacing is stunning. The guitars, the drums, the lyrics, everything about this song crushes.

Shoebox Money have two shows this week, Friday at Davey’s Uptown in KC and Saturday at Kirby’s Beer Store in Wichita. They have more shows planned before December is up and will be touring the Midwest soon.

They also have their debut EP, “Chasing the Moon” dropping soon. Keep updated with everything Shoebox Money on their Facebook page 


When Concerts Blow Your Mind: Flying Lotus live at the Midland Theatre

When was the last time a concert blew your mind? Did you lose track of time while your jaw dropped to your feet? This kind of response is rare, and it takes a special show to cause this.

Flying Lotus took over the Midland Theatre on 11/16 with his incredible 3D show. In the space of the venue, he ascended to supersonic levels.

A Flying Lotus show is something to marvel at. There are few artists who create sounds so complex and challenging as FlyLo. His beats, which can span from hip-hop to freeform jazz to G-funk, incorporate some of the most eclectic sounds imaginable. They take so many turns, they could be mistaken for a race down the Autobahn.

FlyLo opened with some of his more ethereal, jazz-based jams, “Getting There” and “Computer Face/ Pure Being.” These songs were a good introduction to the weirdness that was going to become the night. Behind a large, asteroid-looking DJ table, a wildly braid-haired Steven Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, fiddled with controls and laid down the intense tracks. Behind him, a screen projected one of the wildest light shows I’ve ever seen.

The entire show was in 3D. What does that mean, exactly? After all, everything in life is 3D.

Well, every attendee at the show was given 3D glasses to effectively perceive the vision FlyLo was trying to portray. On the screen, colors and shapes flashed vividly, puzzles and landscapes became marbled and warped as they cascaded into each other. All of these visions erupted out of the screen and crawled toward the audience.

As the show progressed, FlyLo was handed a red solo cup, and the show took another, darker turn. It was time for Flying Lotus’ alter-ego, Captain Murphy, to arise. As the beat for “The Killing Joke” eerily crept in, like a demented lullaby, FlyLo grabbed the microphone and rapped every bar of the menacing verse.

The moment of the night occurred when Flying Lotus played his dark, spacious Earl Sweatshirt featuring “Between Friends” from the Adult Swim singles series. The beat is deadly and the crowd vibes to it in a major way. As FlyLo played Kendrick Lamar “Wesley’s Theory” followed by fellow BrainFeeder label artist, Thundercat’s “Friend Zone,” the show reached it’s climax.

Finally, FlyLo unleashed his ace in the hole, “Never Catch Me” featuring an unstoppable Kendrick verse and a blitzing bass solo.

During the show, cosmic beats collided with bombastic weirdness in a perfect space. The 3D imagery was perfectly conceptualized and completed. The beats thrown down were filthy and unexpected. The show was magnificent and bizarre.

There is no other way to watch a Flying Lotus show than with your mouth slack jawed and your mind blown.




Outrage! Is Now: Death From Above Bring the Noise to Kansas City

On Wednesday, Toronto indie-rockers Death From Above played a rambunctious and hard-hitting set at the Record Bar in Kansas City, MO. The two-piece tore the roof off the venue with their heavily distorted bass and bruising drums.

The world was a much different place when Death From Above 1979 released their acclaimed 2004 album “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine.” The album was beloved by rock fans who were captivated by the amount of sound these two guys could create. The group then took a 10 year hiatus before returning with “The Physical World.” Now, back and better than ever, Death From Above performed in support of their new album “Outrage! Is Now.”

The band opened with the first song off the new album “Nomad,” which blared out of the speakers so loud that my earplugs almost seemed useless, as hearing damage was inevitable, and accepted. It just seemed like part of the deal of going to a Death From Above show.

The song “Virgins” pounded out of the enormous speaker stack the band had onstage as guitarist Jesse Keeler strummed his distortion-heavy bass guitar and vocalist Sebastian Grainger crashed into his drum kit while singing with amazing range. He shouted every word while hammering his drums, which is honestly one of the most impressive things ever.

Fans in the audience said that they have waited 10 years to see the band live and in person, and the energy in the room mirrored this feeling. Fans shouted every word along to “Turn It Out” the album’s opener, which screeches with aggression and absolutely blistering drums. Fists pumped emphatically in the air.

The unstoppably catchy song “Freeze Me” got every foot in the venue moving. The band experienced difficulties with the sampler while performing the track, but didn’t let it stop them.

The band concluded their regular set with a blistering trifecta of “Trainwreck 1979,” The Physical World” and crowd favorite “Romantic Rights.” During “Romantic Rights,” the band built the anticipation and power of the song until the exact right moment before unleashing the final chorus. The amount of energy the band produced during this song could crumble buildings and collapse regimes.

They closed their set with “Pull Out” which was a highlight of the night as it was a crowd request, and the fastest song played. During this track, the crowd pushed and shoved each other joyously, celebrating the rarity of seeing this band play live after so many years.

Death From Above sound exactly like their name. The sound produced by these two guys is staggering, and the catchiness of the songs makes listening incredibly easy. There is no doubt that the world is a better place with them in it, even if they’re best suited for soundtracking a riot, as the new album states, “Outrage! Is NOW.”

We Found Our November: Tyler the Creator Soars in Kansas City

Tyler The Creator performed in front of a sold-out audience at the Truman in Kansas City last night as a part of his Flower Boy tour. He played a majority of new songs, with some old gems thrown in the mix, and the fervent crowd loved every minute of it.

The charismatic rapper swooned to his die-hard fans with opener “Where This Flower Blooms” and the screaming audience made the first lines of the song inaudible. Tyler performed on an elevated platform on the stage where he danced like Kanye West, grooving wildly to the music.

Tyler then kicked the show into second gear with the blistering and guitar-heavy track “DEATHCAMP.” While Tyler shows his emphatic and loving side on Flower Boy, the Cherry Bomb opener is filled to the brim with crushing aggression. The barricade, separating the audience from the stage, rattled and shook like a thunderous earthquake was hitting the venue.

Tyler played around with these two vibes perfectly throughout the show, embarking on a sweet ballads like “Foreward,” or throwing down bombardments of sound like “IFHY.” On songs like “Tamale” the crowd jumped emphatically in the air and shook the ground.

The clear-cut sing-a-long favorite was Goblin standout “She” which the crowd recited perfectly and sung beautifully along to the Frank Ocean crooned chorus.

During the intro of “Who Dat Boy” Tyler asked every member of the audience “put your phones away. I want you to remember this.” The crowd did just that, and came the closest all night to bringing down the venue with their incredible energy.

It wasn’t all turning up though. Tyler lead the crowd in a beautiful recital of “November” leading into “Glitter.” These songs clearly resonated with the audience. When the show concluded with “See You Again,” fans hugged and smiled with warmness, because they had just seen their favorite artist live. It’s moments like that, proving that concerts are clearly more than just the music.

Tyler the Creator has seen a huge evolution in his career, and on “Flower Boy,” he is at his most musically focused and lyrically gifted. His honesty has never been so relatable and with the rate that he is elevating as a musician, the sky is absolutely the limit for the Odd Future commander-in-chief.



The Pixies Captivate Kansas City, Perform Epic 34 Song Set


Some rock bands weren’t meant to last. The Smiths, Girls, Oasis. The hours spent arguing over E-chords over G-chords and crammed in a van can rip apart bands more quickly than an STD. Then there are bands that, defiant in the face of unrelenting conflict, persist.

Last night, one of these persistent groups, The Pixies, put on an absolute ripper of a show at the Midland Theatre in Kansas City. They performed an absurd number of tracks, played back-catalog tracks with impeccable skill, and kept the crowd captivated for nearly 2 hours.

The Pixies are indie-rock royalty as far as I’m concerned. And to a nearly sell-out audience, their no-bull shit rock shows are a must-go event. The amount of hits they’ve racked up, including the easy 10 on 1989’s Doolittle alone, make for an unbelievably interesting concert experience. They have at least another 20 hits on other albums, and just relased a new record. All and all, they played 34 songs. Unheard of.

Black Francis, the mastermind of the group, held up like a fucking champion the entire show. He was funny, yet brief with his comments- he and the rest of the band, chugging right along with song after song.

Of course, there were the heavy-hitters. The tracks that got everyone in the venue excited. “Where Is My Mind?,” “Wave of Mutilation,” and “Hey” all were stunningly performed with skill and uniqueness. As I would expect from a band who has played these tracks upwards of 10 million times.

My favorite of the hits was the stellar rendition of “Here Comes Your Man.” It was thrilling to see the song performed live finally, as I’ve loved it for years, and consistently sing it in karaoke, hoping to sound half as good as Joseph Fucking Gordon Levitt and win over a Zooey Deschanel 

Opening artist, Mitsky, stunned the rest of the audience with her subtle yet heart-demolishing indie rock. I say the rest of the audience because I have loved everything about Mitsky since I heard the fuzzy, distorted guitars and superb lyricism of “Townie”

Since then, everything she has done has been stellar, and absolutely nothing less. Her bold and excellent sophomore album Puberty 2, was atop my best albums list of 2016.

During her stop in Kansas City, she certainly proved her awesomeness with each and every song played. Each track garnered more applause and cheering than the one preceding it.

The entire show was a display that indie rock is still alive and well. Further, there are thousands of people who love The Pixies. The Pixies too proved that they love their fans and are capable of playing and sounding like they’re 30 still.

Goldlink Electrifies at a Fiery Show In Lawrence


Goldlink touched down at The Granada Theatre last night to perform an electrifying show, sponsored by KJHK 90.7 and SUA.

Goldlink is almost too talented. Almost to the point of being unfair to everyone else. Not only can he rap faster than 98% of the rappers in the game, he can sing and perform like a true pro. His style and his vibe elevate him from the rest of the genre. All of these components came together during his extraordinary live show.


Something that Goldlink is especially special at is his rapping ability. His toned down, mellow voice allows for his cadence to ride the beat so effortlessly. It’s like he’s running down directions of how to catch the E-Train so fast that you know you’ll get lost as soon as he finishes his sentence. His words form these parables and loops that are so infectious to listen to.

On songs like “Herside Story” he is able to dance over the melodic track and find flows I never imagined possible. He tells stories that are so relatable and his words are believable. On tracks like “Kokomoe Freestyle” he unleashes some of the fieriest bars on top of an absolute bruiser of a beat. This song is absolutely unreal, and could be any artist’s best song by a couple miles. When performing this song live, the crowd became unruly in the best possible way. Hands were flying in the air as every eye stayed on Goldlink, who delivered every word perfectly. The beat knocked hard like the next door neighbors when you play this song too loud.

It’s a testiment to how good Goldlink is that “Kokomoe Freestyle” is not his best song. That came at the end of his set. For his final song, Goldlink performed his biggest hit to date, “Crew,” a possible song-of-the-year choice. The melody on this song, the movie-esque sound, the chorus, which is catchy as hell, and Goldlink’s crushing verse played out on stage like an anthem. The crowd went absolutely ape for this song, rapping along to every word, singing the chorus like it’s a Weeknd song. They even knew every word of Shy Glizzy’s verse. Goldlink was so impressed that he performed the song twice in a row.


During his performance in Lawrence, Goldlink played through most of his new album, At What Cost, as well as some older gems. It was a vibrant and electric show that ended far too soon. He could have performed for another hour and the crowd would have eaten every song up like a snack.


Goldlink is a rare talent, one that will be revealed in time. He’s already gained recognition for “Crew,” but his star path is on a major ascension. This guy is talented enough to be the next big thing, so don’t wait. See him when he comes to your town.


Find Goldlink’s Tour Dates here


Pinegrove Wows an Enthralled Crowd in Lawrence


Pinegrove delivered their superb selection of indie-twee emo music for a crowded Bottleneck room last night in Lawrence. Their songs emoted emotional and relatable themes that resonated with the crowd resoundingly full with Kansas’s sadbois.

Pinegrove’s music is especially heartbreaking and rare because their keen ability to absolutely nail certain emotions on the head. Like the emotion of falling apart from friends and family, “I should call my parents when I think of them / I should tell my friends that I love them,” lead singer Evan Stephen Hall sings on “Old Friends.” Another is not truly grasping how or why someone crawled their way into your life, “How’d you get so caught up in my thinking / how’d you get so caught?” Hall belts out on show closer, “Angelina.”

These songs, permeating with emotion hit close to home to so many people. Every person in the venue resounded these lyrics back to the band with overwhelming unison. It’s like these songs are pages from the same book we’ve all read and reread over and over. They’re burned into our minds. From the first chord, we knew how deeply the song would pierce.


The staggering thing about this music is the ability to capture feelings and moments, things so fleeting, into songs so catchy and impeccable. Small moments in songs like “If I did what I wanted then why do I feel so bad?” and “So look me in the eye and be practical” are moments many of us have felt at some point, so for a band to put it into words, it’s stunning.

Every song Pinegrove performed was met with a roar of crowd interaction. From deep cuts like “The Metronome” to fan-favorites like “Cadmium” and “Size of the Moon” rang out into the rafters of the tiny club like siren songs from lost sailors. Fans in the crowd jumped around, shouted, even moshed a bit to these songs, and it was all understood. Everyone experienced the songs in their own way because it was like therapy uniquely to them- each person trudging through the trauma differently, yet together.

Perhaps that is the most exquisite aspect of the show was the general respect and appreciation for the music being performed. Fans respected the music, the artists, and the fellow crowd members around them, and let feelings go felt. That’s something you won’t find at most concerts, where people are more concerned with their view, rather than rustling through their own hearts for some kind of cathartic therapy through music.

There are some concerts you go to with the intention of getting turnt, there are some you go to to discover something new, and there are some, like last night, you go to trying to find yourself and attempt to unravel your deeper feelings. That’s what Pinegrove was able to achieve last night in Lawrence.



INTERVIEW with HIRETH : Your Culture Vulture Exclusive


One of Lawrence’s most exciting voices comes from four students at KU and their dream to share music with people. HIRETH is a term defined as “nostalgia or a longing for a home that doesn’t exist,” and the band takes this sentiment and infuses it into their music.

I recently sat down with three members of the band: Cooper Scott, Garrison Krotz, and Quinn Maetzold to discuss their latest show at the Jazzhaus, their future plans, and the weirdness of having fans sing their songs back to them at shows.

Your Culture Vulture: What’s been in the works with HIRETH lately?

Garrison Krotz: This is probably our most exciting semester to look forward to since the band started. We have 5 to 6 shows lined up and we have some recording time with a producer in St. Louis, so we’ll hopefully have something up on Spotify by the end of September.

Cooper Scott: September is booked solid, we’re going to be doing stuff every weekend.

GK: It’s funny because we had this idea of a band in a basement and we just started writing songs, and Cooper and Steve pulled these awesome songs together, and came to me and Q with them like “We made these.” So we picked the five best ones and put it out as an EP. So now that we’re actually going to record a song is pretty huge for us.

YCV: So where do your inspirations lie as a band?

GK: Definitely the Killers, the Smiths, and we mention the Cars, because the intersection of indie-pop sound we have with the classic jangle-rock sound of like REM and the Cars, it all ties together. We’re trying to be modern, while still trying to play back to the roots of the music we listen to.

YCV: Does Lawrence play any part in the music you guys put together?

CS: I think Lawrence is very different as a music scene than we’re used to- it’s kind of indie and alternative. We’re kind of pop-rock, so it’s a little weird for us to be here, and I don’t want to say we’re not respected, but we’re not seen as one of the bands in Lawrence because we’re not weird enough. We’re getting there though!

GK: Lawrence almost feels like a mini Austin, TX because it’s so weird, and it needs to stay weird, and we’re trying to add to that. When we’re on stage and we’re having fun and being weird, we feel like we’re working towards that.

YCV: How do you guys approach your live shows?

CS: When we write our setlists together, we usually try to tell a story, you know? Like the songs should build and then fall, and then build again. It’s one thing to go out and play your ten songs and then go off, but what we’ve worked on recently is trying to show that we’re having fun onstage.

Quinn Maetzold: I think the biggest thing we try to do in our live shows is that we try to show the audience that we’re enjoying ourselves so that the audience will enjoy themselves. Because the first couple shows, it was pretty awkward, but we’ve gotten a lot better at showing we’re having fun up there.

YCV: What do you think drives you forward as a band?

GK: I think at the core of it, we’re all driven by wanting to make music and share it with people. It’s about sharing our emotion helping people dive into something we’re creating. For me, making art has always been this thing that you can share, it’s not something that you want to keep to yourself.

CS: I think one of the coolest things for me has been at one of our shows, we actually saw people singing one of our songs, and we were like “oh my gosh, how do they know this? This is weird!”

QM: It was pretty amazing to see people who have listened to our Soundcloud, memorized the lyrics, and came out to the show to see us live.

YCV: So it’s weird having fans?

QM: It’s weird, but it’s a good weird thing. We’re just not used to it, yet.

CS: I had someone reach out to me for the first time in like 2 years saying he was driving to Manhattan and listened to our EP on the road and wants to hear more from us. So it’s just crazy that people our there are listening.

YCV: How do you decide what songs to cover at your shows?

QM: At the Jazzhaus show, we played mostly all our own original music, but when it came time for the covers, we picked the songs that we love playing and what fits our sound- what sounds like it belongs in the set. And when we play The Bull, we’re there to play to the patrons of the Bull that want to drink and sing along, so we try and pick songs that fit that vibe.

GK: You would not believe how quickly some of these covers come together. It’s usually how quickly we can learn the chords and if Cooper already knows the lyrics.

YCV: So what’s next for the band?

GK: We’re coming into these next two months 110% and seeing what happens. We have a ton of shows lined up, we have this recording in St. Louis for our new single. Hopefully there will be some record labels out there that come to one of our shows and likes us, maybe they’re reading this, and we want to share what we have.

CS: We’re working very hard, we’re not taking any downtime, we’re kind of just working as hard as we can for the foreseeable future. It’s hard to look too much into the future because these next two months are going to be crazy.

YCV: When’s the next time people can get out and see you guys?

CS: The next show is September 14th, at the Jackpot. We had an out-of-town band from Texas called Scuba Diver reach out to us about playing with them. On the 21st we have a Tunes at Night with KJHK, and on the 22nd we have a show at the Mini Bar in Kansas City. So we’ll be very busy.


HIRETH can be found on Facebook and Soundcloud

The details for the upcoming show at the Jackpot in Lawrence can be found here