Michelle Bacon

Noise For Toys returns to KC

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
 
The Noise FM will be bringing its Noise For Toys benefit concert back to Kansas City for the second year in a row. This dancey indie rock band—currently based in Chicago—started the event in 2008, when brothers Alex and Austin Ward were still living in Lawrence. Since moving to Chicago in 2010, they’ve held the event there annually.
 
“We weren't sure what to expect the first year, other than we knew we wanted to host a benefit concert for an organization that would benefit the community,” says lead vocalist and guitarist Alex Ward. They eventually chose Toys For Tots, and Noise For Toys was born. “If our band is remembered for nothing else, please let it be that we came up with the name Noise For Toys. It's almost too good.”
 
The holiday party includes an ugly sweater contest, costumes, and Christmas tunes, “and usually one of our unfortunate friends dressed as Santa in the same unwashed Santa suit we've had for 10 years,” mentions Ward. “It's pretty gross in that suit, but we usually buy Santa a bottle of peppermint schnapps before the show to keep his spirits high.”
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle is the editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
 
 
This year’s Noise For Toys show in Kansas City will be this Saturday, December 6, at The Riot Room. The lineup includes The Noise FM, Hembree, Bonzo Madrid, French Horn Rebellion, and music from DJ Sheppa throughout the night. Tickets are $10, or $6 with an unopened toy. Starts at 9:00 p.m. Facebook event page.
 

 

   

Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear performs a secret show at recordBar

(Photos by Todd Zimmer)
 
Last night, Madisen Ward and his mother Ruth turned down the lights at recordBar to play their songs to around 50 friends, relatives, and members of the KC music community. A few short months ago, an intimate dinner performance to a moderate crowd would have been the norm for Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear. Now, one of the best-kept musical secrets in the region is being recognized around the country; last night’s performance was unannounced and mostly by invitation. It was the duo’s first Kansas City show since opening up for B.B. King at The Midland on October 1.
 
 
The two performed about 45 minutes of new and existing material; according to Madisen, the final song of the evening, "Little Barrel," was just written last Friday. This set captured every aspect of why MW&MB has become the object of so many musical affections. Madisen Ward can write tunes that sound more seasoned than someone of his age should be able to do. Along with it, his vocal styling demands attention, ranging from serenely soulful to ardent and impassioned. Ruth Ward plays guitar effortlessly, as though it’s an extension of herself, and sings each note from deep within. The connection they share—both musically and as mother and son—comes through with the genuine delivery of each song.
 
 
 
Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear were recently signed to Glassnote Records, adding their name to a professional caliber that includes Phoenix, Two Door Cinema Club, and Childish Gambino. The duo attracted attention from the likes of Rolling Stone, Paste, and NPR after playing an exclusive showcase at Third Man Records for the Americana Music Fest in September, only a couple weeks after performing to a capacity crowd at Crossroads Music Fest in Kansas City. They plan to record and release an album with Glassnote in 2015.
 
 
For more photos from last night’s performance, visit Zimmer’s Flickr album.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle is editor of The Deli KC, a staff member for Midwest Music Foundation and Folk Alliance International, and plays in The Philistines, Dolls on Fire, and Drew Black & Dirty Electric.
 
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Money Wolf's songwriter stage at CMF promises musical diversity

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
 
This week, we’ll be highlighting some of the events and artists at the 10th annual Crossroads Music Fest on Saturday, September 6. Please visit cmfkc.com for tickets or more information.
 
Along with The Record Machine (see our spotlight on them earlier this week), Money Wolf Music will be curating its own stage at CMF this year for the first time. This Kansas City collective/production house/record label has helped put musicians on display to different audiences in unconventional settings; for instance, they often put on exclusive secret shows and coordinate a private hotel showcase at the annual Folk Alliance International conference. By also co-organizing networking and informational sessions, recording and releasing albums, and advocating for its artist roster—which includes Dollar Fox (pictured above), The Hillary Watts Riot, Dead Ven, and others—Money Wolf is an important resource to Kansas City music.
 
This year, Money Wolf will host a songwriter showcase at Celina Tio’s Crossroads district restaurant, Collection. The event will feature songwriters’ circles: four sets of four artists will trade off songs. Tommy Donoho, one of the main forces behind Money Wolf and the frontman of Dollar Fox, talks to us about what we can expect from Saturday.
 
The Deli: The Money Wolf stage at Collection features 16 different acts. Tell us why festivalgoers should make a point to check out this showcase.
 
Tommy Donoho: We worked hard to put together a lineup that truly represents the amazing diversity in this city. From folk to punk to blues to instrumental to pop to country to full-on freaks, we wanted people to really experience a taste of ALL the great songwriters this city has to offer. Plus, we're doing a very intimate, simple mic set-up—kind of the old time approach—to capture the real essence of what these people sound like. It's a songwriter-focused stage in every possible way.
 
The Deli: Do you have any surprises in store?
 
Donoho: You know us all too well. For us, the surprise was the diversity of the lineup. It's something we're really reaching towards—getting people to see ALL the music KC has to offer. Of course, you get this many folks together, I'm guessing someone is going to bust out something that inspires collaboration.
 
The Deli: Why did you decide to curate a stage at CMF?
 
Donoho: Last year, Justin [Penney] was hired to run sound at the venue for CMF and it went well. Over the last year, he and I have had more contact with both Celina and Bill [Sundahl] and it made sense to bring us back this year.
 
The songwriter circle idea came from Bill. I think he saw the potential of what we were pulling together with our involvement with Folk Alliance International some of the songwriting circles we've been hosting with a variety of artists. What can I say? Bill trusted us to make something unique.
 
The Deli: What value does this have for the KC music community?
 
Donoho: I'm hoping musicians make new friends and fans. I'm hoping fans find more musicians they weren't even aware existed. And mostly I'm hoping we'll get more and more people out to see a wider variety of shows in the future. The town and the people who write songs in it are fucking amazing. I'm starting to see the city embrace this notion more and more. I'm hoping they'll embrace our vision of how there's no difference between Mikal Shapiro and Mike Alexander. They write songs and damn good ones; music fans should see the musicians at the core of what they are. And that's the biggest benefit we can hope for: to have people walking away saying, “Holy shit, those people can write some songs.”
 
The Deli: What else does Money Wolf have coming up that you’re looking forward to?
 
Donoho: We're actually hosting our second Sonic Saturday Social Club at 3:00 on the day of CMF. It's an event we're working on with Coda, where we bring in rock bands on the first Saturday of each month. Day drinking, rock and roll, all ages, good food. It's all about exposing people to great music.
 
On September 22, we're hosting another of our infamous Secret Shows. We have Zachary Lucky from Canada rolling in. He blew people away at the FAI conference and we're hoping to get him in front of more people. He writes some of the best sad bastard tunes around. He picked the most depressing day of the week to hit town. So we're going to celebrate all the sadness by serving up some delicious competition smoked BBQ and music. We're calling it All Your Hopes Go Up in Smoke. It'll be limited to a mere 20 tickets. We'll be announcing all of it soon.
 
The Deli: Tell us what some of Money Wolf’s artists have going on.
 
Donoho: The Hillary Watts Riot has been playing a ton in and out of town and are about to release a new video. Dead Ven is playing everywhere, including a set with the Ataris, I believe. He's a really spectacular songwriter. Dollar Fox is woodshedding for a while, but I'm always out playing. And we just did the Records with Merritt live show, recording. It was a huge success and songs are being mixed to ship out to press here very soon.
 
We stay busy here at Money Wolf Music. And this CMF event is something we're crazy excited for. It's gonna be a great night.
 
 
Start your day off early at Coda and catch Money Wolf’s Sonic Saturday Social Club at 3:00 p.m., with The Thunderclaps (our artist of the month!) and Oldfield Victory. Facebook event page. Then, at 6, be sure to hit up the showcase at Collection, with 16 different songwriters. Facebook event page.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
 

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Barry Lee interviews Deli KC editor Michelle Bacon (Part 3 of 3)

Listen in as KKFI 90.1 station manager Barry Lee and The Deli KC editor and all-around musician Michelle Bacon converse about growing up in Kansas City, playing music, and the current local music scene in a special three-part audio verite series.
 
Click below to hear part three of the series.
 
Here is the link to part 1.

Here is the link to part 2.

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Album review: Cadillac Flambe - Old American Law

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
 
Some bands have the ability to create music that reaches into a chasm of sorrow and affliction, exposing the deepest of wounds. With its latest release Old American Law, Cadillac Flambe boasts nine heavily weighted tracks that escort the listener through calamitous musical compositions, and tragic tales told by the mesmerizing vocals of husband and wife Kris and Havilah Bruders.
 
Since its previous release, Eli’s Porch, Cadillac Flambe has had to adjust its sound. The band’s harmonica player James “Pappy” Garrett, who was an integral component to its dark Americana blues approach, died in a car accident during the making of the 2011 EP. Shrinking down to a four-piece, the band has shifted in a decidedly more rock ‘n roll direction, still retaining its rootsy nature but packing a more substantial punch.
 
Ushered in by Kris Bruders’ signature gritty blues guitar sound, “Shakin’ Baby” sets the album in motion, highlighted additionally by Michael Payne’s massive but calculated drum work and Dave Duly’s perfectly in-the-pocket bass playing. On this album, Payne and Duly add a collective rhythmic wallop unheard in previous recordings, pervading the tunes with a rock and R&B heartbeat.
 
After the first track, you’re likely in for the ride, which allows Cadillac Flambe to pull you in to its turbulent descent.
 
This emotional tailspin careens to its greatest depths in “3 Bullets,” the album’s longest and most powerful track—one split into two distinct acts. In Act I, Havilah Bruders tells the story of a desperate mother trying to feed her child, reaching out to the church, the government, and the bank, and is turned away by each. Act II arrives in the middle of the song, which slows from a steady 4/4 to a haunting 6/8 groove, as she discloses the news of her child’s death. A chilling anguish is felt as Bruders’ voice rages, a deliriousness is experienced as she transitions from a quiet whimper to a grief-stricken roar, also revealing the song's final crux: the woman has murdered the three entities that indirectly caused her child's death. Her soul and gospel background is most noticeable here, as she carries us through each scene and makes us feel her misery and despair, measure by measure. It’s also apparent in “Sweet Chariot,” where she takes us through a woman’s frenzied fear of impending death, into her answered prayers of serenity and light.
 
Most of the songs on Old American Law were penned by Kris Bruders, whose own vocals have a mystic, commanding, but sincere quality to them. Take “Father to Son” for instance, a narrative about a father’s beliefs and pressures onto his son. Bruders’ vocal delivery at once contains the father’s threatening tone and the son’s subsequent harsh, casual defiance. In the album’s title track, his voice characterizes the overall personality of the album. His words and the dusty Delta blues sound of his hollow-body custom magnesium guitar convey the voice of an uncompromising outlaw. Bruders’ authoritative, booming vocals—often coupled with his wife’s harmonies, sometimes impassioned, sometimes a simple adornment to his own—and the unique growl of his guitar dig into the meat of each song.
 
Plenty of bands write songs about death, family strife, social issues, and religious conviction, yet few are able to execute it as effectively as Cadillac Flambe does in Old American Law. The throttle of the rhythm section, the bedraggled, melancholy guitar tones, the dissonant piano chords, and the soulful vocals push the message of each song to the forefront. The LP, which was tracked, mixed, and mastered at Little Class Records by Keegan Smith, is the strongest manifestation of anything the band has released to date. 
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle is the editor of The Deli KC and is in bands. Believe it or not, this is the first full album review she’s written all year.
 

On Saturday, July 26, Cadillac Flambe will be performing at Czar Bar with Thunderclaps and Deco Auto. Be sure to check them out. You can also download the new album at the link.

 

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