Deco Auto

Show review: Deco Auto with The English Beat

(Photo by Elizabeth Garcia)
Friday night, I was 16 again, except for the part about needing a fake ID to get into the club. If there wasn't a good time being had by anyone and everyone in the vicinity of Knuckleheads, well, it's on them, because all the ingredients were assembled for them—all they had to do was shake.
Deco Auto got things rolling, and the only problem I had with their set was that it wasn't long enough. Seriously, seven songs? These guys deserve more. Steven Garcia just wails, both his vocals and his guitar; Tracy Flowers maintains the power pop beat with some of the most right-on bass playing in Kansas City, or anywhere else for that fact. The band is rounded out with Pat Tomek on drums. You know who he is. He's the unnamed drummer who not only didn't object, but probably thought it was a grand idea for Steve, Bob & Rich to change their name and become The Rainmakers.
But they're resourceful and made the most of what they had to work with, and played mostly new stuff from the new LP The Curse of Deco Auto (which is awesome and you should buy a copy). They closed with a crowd favorite, “The Mercy Kind.” I can only imagine the speeding tickets that song has inspired.
Deco Auto opening for The English Beat was like a pyromaniac gleefully setting a blaze, and then watching with smug satisfaction as the headliner fanned the flames.
And fan the flames they did. For two hours, they burned down the house. If you haven't gotten it by now, I'll just tell you… I had a great time. For a few hours I was as carefree as I was when they provided the soundtrack of my youth, and that was the effect they wanted to have. The Beat has a new album coming out next month, and the playlist interspersed songs from it with the songs of our youth that most of the attendees came to hear… “Tears of a Clown,” “Save it for Later,” “Hands Off…She's Mine,” “Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Twist & Crawl”… they knew what several hundred people turned out on a glorious May evening for, and they did not disappoint. For more than two hours they had the crowd on their feet, dancing and skanking (relax, it just means 'boogying' in ska-speak) and forgetting all about the babysitters that were on the clock and making more than the revelers made in their first two or three jobs combined. But no one cared, because the show they came for… they got.
--Tammy Booth

Tammy also blogs at They Gave Us A Republic and Show Me Progress.


Photos from Apocalypse Meow 5, 11.2 and 11.3.12

This year was the biggest yet for Midwest Music Foundation's Apocalypse Meow benefit—a fundraiser for the musician's emergency health care fund. The event kicked off with a pre-party on Friday, November 3 at Midwestern Musical Co. with Dead Voices and Tiny Horse

Dead Voices

Tiny Horse

The main event kicked off on Saturday at The Beaumont Club with School of Rock, consisting of more than a handful of tweens and teens masterfully playing covers from bands like Rush, Led Zeppelin, Foo Fighters, and many more. The band's stellar performance set an energetic tone for the rest of the evening, which ranged from acoustic Americana to power pop, surf rock, country, indie rock, and ballistic punk rock.

School of Rock

Amy Farrand

Deco Auto

The Empty Spaces

The Blue Boot Heelers

Clairaudients (formerly The Atlantic)

The Architects

And finally, a big thank you from all of us at Midwest Music Foundation for supporting our fifth year of Meow. We're so very grateful for your support of Kansas City and our musical community!

All photos by Todd Zimmer. Please do not use without permission.

--Michelle Bacon

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Artists on Trial: Deco Auto

(Photo by Leah O'Connor) 

Some things never change. The sun will always rise in the east. The roadrunner will always outsmart the coyote. Clowns will always scare the crap out of at least 85% of the general population. Parents will truly just never understand. And someone, somewhere, will always be rocking the handful of familiar power chords that constitute “power pop.” Fortunately for Kansas City, Deco Auto currently occupies that role. Its brand of hook-laden, hard-hitting pop rock does justice to this often unjustly ridiculed genre. Recently, I got a chance to catch up with this swell trio of musicians. Here’s their take on music stuff, as well as a preview of their upcoming performance at Apocalypse Meow.

The Deli: Gun to your head, 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?

Deco Auto: Extra-crunchy power pop.

The Deli: Let’s talk about what you have coming up. What can we expect?

Deco: Steve: Live via satellite from the International Space Station.
Tracy: I am most excited about possibly playing SXSW and more recording in 2013. In the near future, Steve is working on a Deco Auto Christmas song that I am super-jazzed about.
Michelle: Steve’s working on a Christmas song? Well, I’m very excited to play Apocalypse Meow and help make a lot of people aware of Midwest Music Foundation. After that, I am looking forward to a very long nap.

The Deli: What does “supporting local music” mean to you?

Deco: Steve: Giving local bands a chance. You're not gonna like all of 'em, but there's more to life than $100 concerts at the Sprint Center.
Tracy: Going out to see the local bands that you like. The recent MMF sampler (Midwestern Audio Vol. 1) showed me that every genre exists here and every band has to come from somewhere, so go see someone that's up your alley.
Michelle: There’s at least a few shows worth seeing on any given night for under $10, being created by people probably in or close to your network. Help support and foster the talent around you simply by enjoying it and investing a small amount into it.

The Deli: Who are your favorite “local” musicians right now?

Tracy: Molly Picture Club and Schwervon!. They really do it for me.
Michelle: Too many! The Quivers, Ha Ha Tonka (semi-local), Schwervon!, Thee Water MoccaSins, Tiny Horse, The Grisly Hand, The Caves, many more. I like my other bands when they’re nice to me.

The Deli: What bands are you most excited to see at Meow?
Deco: Steve: The Empty Spaces are always always always a good time. And I haven't seen The Architects since SXSW '06, I think, so that'll be cool.
Tracy: The Atlantic because of what I heard on the sampler and people have been saying really good things about them.
Michelle: Though everyone on the bill is stellar, I haven’t seen The Architects in years and I’ve never seen The Atlantic, so I’m stoked for those. It’ll also be great to see Tiny Horse playing Meow again, especially as a full band.

The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?

Deco: Steve: Bob Mould, Superchunk, Guided by Voices, and Deal's Gone Bad.
Tracy: Legendary Hucklebucks: they are one of the top acts this year's Rockin' the Suburbs fest back in ol’ Beaver County. My friend Bill Mays III is also doing some really cool ambient stuff under the name Infinite Third down in Florida.
Michelle: Tame Impala, Esperanza Spalding, The xx, Dum Dum Girls, Liars.

The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?

Deco: Steve: The Cars, Buzzcocks, Superdrag, Smithereens... ya know what, I don't wanna play this show, I just wanna watch it!
Tracy: Flaming Lips, Deco Auto and Clutch. This will never happen.
Michelle: We’d open up for David Bowie on his one-and-only reunion show that he would for some reason decide to do at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center. Radiohead would show up for an acoustic set too.

The Deli: Would you rather spend the rest of your life on stage or in the recording studio?

Deco: Steve: I used to really love recording, but I'm not ready to go back in there for a good long while.
Tracy: STAGE. HELLO!!!
Michelle: I love the energy of the stage, but I also have an annoyingly structured mind, so the studio is a good place to implement that. I’m also very indecisive. Moving on…

The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?

Deco: Steve: Elvis, Buddy Holly, Johnny Rotten, Joe Strummer... all are music idols of mine.
Tracy: Mozart, because it would be the world's biggest bust of his head and we could get into the Guinness Book of World Records; Coltrane, baby. No explanation; Frank Black, because his bulbous head is the perfect shape to be immortalized in stone; Joey Ramone, because he is cool. (FYI: I have always been against landmarks like Mount Rushmore because they took a beautiful mountain and blasted it apart to carve the faces of politicians on the side of it.)
Michelle: Yo-Yo Ma, Yoko Ono, Ravi Shankar, and me. Just because I think it’d be great to see Asians on Mount Rushmore. And I only picked me because it was down to me and William Hung. America, can I be your idol?

The Deli: All right, give us the rundown. Where all on this big crazy web can you be found?
@decoautokc on Twitter

The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
Deco: Steve: WARNING: Persons denying the existence of Robots may be Robots themselves!
Tracy: Words of wisdom. Legalize it!
Michelle: Read The Deli KC every morning with breakfast. They have a really excellent editor. Don’t toot your own horn, even in jest. Hug your mother.
Deco Auto is:
Steven Garcia – guitars, vocals
Tracy Flowers – bass, vocals
Michelle Bacon – drums
The next time you can catch Deco Auto will be this Wednesday, October 24 at The Riot Room, where they'll be opening up for Reno Divorce (Denver) and Hipshot Killer. Then, be sure to see them at Apocalypse Meow on Saturday, November 3. They'll take the Beaumont stage at 8:00 pm.

 --Zach Hodson
Zach Hodson is a monster. He once stole a grilled cheese sandwich from a 4-year-old girl at her birthday party. He will only juggle if you pay him. I hear he punched Slimer right in his fat, green face. He knows the secrets to free energy, but refuses to release them until "Saved by the Bell: Fortysomethings" begins production.

He is also in Dolls on Fire and Drew Black & Dirty Electric, as well as contributing to various other Kansas City-based music, comedy, and art projects.

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On The Beat with Michelle Bacon

If you've been wanting to know a little bit about The Deli KC's very own editor-in-chief, now's your chance. Michelle Bacon shares with us her views on smiling, Phil Collins, and why she loves Kansas City's music scene so much. Oh, and playing drums. Catch the beat right here!

On The Beat is a weekly interview brought to you by drummer Sergio Moreno (of Hillary Watts Riot and Alacartoona), and features some of the many talented drummers in the Kansas City area.

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On The Beat with Michelle Bacon




On The Beat with Michelle Bacon


Michelle Bacon is super rad. Seriously. I’m not just saying that because she’s my editor-in-chief. I’m saying it because it’s the truth and if you know her, then you know I’m not lying. This week I had the distinct pleasure of asking her a few questions, and I think she may have smiled…although, we’ll never know for sure because I interviewed her over e-mail.

The Deli: It appears that some have made a sport of capturing a photo of your elusive smile…

Michelle Bacon: There's a Facebook group called "I saw Michelle Bacon smile and no one believes me," started by a certain drummer who I won't call out, but I'll give you a hint: his name rhymes with Journey Moogan. Don't believe him. Ever since I was a kid, people would tell me I didn't smile enough. It turned me into a bitter and angree drummer, and then I got to hear later that I make the angriest drummer faces. So, in other words, no, I do not smile. Any so-called "proof" to the contrary is Photoshop. That is, unless I'm with my awesome 98-year-old grandma or a handful of other very special people.

The Deli: Well, thanks for setting the record straight. Tell us, how are things since the release of Deco Auto's EP and what’s next for the band?

Michelle: We played a bunch to support the EP release, which was a huge success. Thanks to Pat Tomek for recording us and for everyone who has been supporting us! Since then, we've taken a little break to enjoy our summers and I've been focused on other projects. We've got a couple shows coming up though, and we hope to hit the road when our schedules allow. We definitely want to go in the studio again, and have thrown around the idea of releasing a split 7-inch with a certain local band that will remain unnamed for now. I won't even tell you what their name rhymes with.

The Deli: So, how did the drums find you?

Michelle: Like any self-respecting Asian child, I played piano from when I was 4 until I was 12. Then I pretty much did nothing musical again until picking up the guitar in college. In maybe 2004, I decided that drums would be fun to try out (and hide behind so I wouldn't have to talk to anybody), so I bought a cheap crappy Pulse kit (it was awful). I got in my first band [on drums] in 2006, and ever since then it's become my passion, and my primary instrument.

The Deli: Deco Auto and Drew Black & Dirty Electric are very different bands. Is your drumming approach in each of them also different?

Michelle: Absolutely. In Deco, I try to keep a pretty tight, cohesive beat with no frills. Since we do the power pop trio thing, I stay within the structure of the song, but try to make my beats impactful and intense, Ringo style. With Dirty Electric, it's a totally different ballgame. Our sound is much heavier and much sexier, so it allows me to experiment a lot more with different styles. [Bassist] Terra Peal is doing these massive, sensual Queens of the Stone Age-type runs that really challenge me to lock in to her groove to drive a song home. Additionally, I hit harder, which makes me feel much older the day after a gig.

The Deli: Obligatory question: favorite drummers?

Michelle: Besides Phil Collins (laugh if you wish) and Stewart Copeland, one of the most melodic drummers ever, most of my favorites are your standard rock/jazz drummers that everyone loves. I was thinking recently about my favorite drummers in town though. There are several, but I love to watch the ones who play with a lot of passion and, of course, precision. Among them I think of Eric Melin (The Dead Girls), that Journey Moogan guy (see first question), Nan Turner (Schwervon!), Stephanie Williams (every band that I'm not in), Solomon Radke (Radkey), Amy Farrand, Lennon Bone (Ha Ha Tonka), Go-Go Ray... I could go on all day.

The Deli: You also play bass with Dolls on Fire? Why are you and so many drummers also bass players? What's going on?

Michelle: My theory is that we're all really greedy. I should note that I share drumming and bass duties with Mark Johnson in Dolls on Fire, so I like to think I'm extra greedy. As I mentioned earlier, I played guitar in the past and though I might be wrong, I always thought I had a good sense of rhythm. So since I already had the guitar foundation and somewhat know where to place rhythms in a song, I figured I'd try my hand at it. I'm probably mediocre... but I do have an awesome bass stance, which is really all that matters.

The Deli: You're plenty busy making music and yet you somehow have the time and energy to be one of the most fervent supporters of the KC scene. Why are you so passionate about this scene? 

Michelle: There is just so much rich musical talent in and around this city. What's more, I feel like a lot of the musicians support each another. There's some genuinely great people in town that I'm really blessed to have gotten to know as friends and collaborators. When I was asked by Midwest Music Foundation to start The Deli, I was thrilled that I'd get the chance to promote as many local artists as I could as well as find out about other talent I didn't know was out here. Though it's a small contribution, I really want to do my part in continuing to make Kansas City more of an inclusive and significant musical community. Bands should be supporting each other, not competing with one another.

Also, I want more people to know about what's going on in their town. It might sound cliché, but certain songs can seep right into your soul or make you shiver with how amazing they are. And you know what? There are local bands that move me like that. So, if you really love music, why not see what's going on in your backyard? Shell out under 10 bucks and go to a gig. If you like the band, buy their record. Wear their t-shirt. Tell your friends about them. Shake their hands and let them know you appreciate what they're doing. A little goes a long way.

You wanna have your face melted? Then go out and see Michelle rock out with Drew Black and Dirty Electric this Saturday, August 18 at Davey’s with The Electric Lungs and Schwervon! And then catch her again, Saturday, September 1 with Deco Auto at Club 906, sharing the bill with The 1%, Molly Picture Club and The Hillary Watts Riot. Michelle will be the one not smiling. 

-Sergio Moreno

Sergio is a drummer drone for The Hillary Watts Riot and a contraption set buffoon with Alacartoona. He wishes he could get paid to practice meditation, do yoga, and drink white tea all day long. But in the meantime he earns his keep making greeting cards in Spanish.

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Michelle Bacon

Photo by Todd Zimmer

Deco Auto