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Show recap: KC Uncovered III - Shine A Light

Throughout the first day of the winter solstice, the streets of Kansas City glazed over with ice and various events around town were canceled. While much of Westport and surrounding areas were relatively desolate, a healthy-sized crowd gathered at the recordBar to pay tribute to the music, the work, and the life of Abigail Henderson.
 
It’s one thing to cover the music of a musician whose work you respect. It’s another thing to cover the music of a musician you know personally whose work you respect. It’s yet another thing to cover the music of a musician whose work and life was esteemed by every person in the room, from those who knew her best to others who had possibly not even met her. Though this was quite the challenge for each musician who took the stage, each one honored Henderson’s music in his or her own way.
 
 
The audience was somewhat subdued when The Clementines stepped up to the stage, perhaps fully beginning to grasp the fact that they would be hearing these songs live for the first time since Henderson’s passing. But as soon as the first note of “Gods, Guns, and Glory” (an early Gaslights tune) kicked in, a collective smile swept over the room. Throughout the band’s five-song set, Nicole Springer captured everyone’s attention with a vocal inflection and country twang very akin to Henderson’s. Her charismatic control over Tiny Horse’s “Ghost” and confident command over “Last Dollar” (The Gaslights) was reminiscent of Henderson’s range.
 
 
Katie Gilchrist picked up right where Springer left off, evoking the late singer’s grit and tenacious attitude with “15 Hands” (The Gaslights). Vi Tran Band interpreted some of these songs in a different way, with slightly different arrangements to highlight Gilchrist’s voice or to emphasize the weight of the words Henderson wrote—for instance, the band performed acoustic versions of “One Trick Pony” (Tran on lead vocals) and closed out the set with “Galveston” (Gilchrist on lead vocals). On Atlantic Fadeout’s “Better Run of Bad Luck,” Gilchrist channeled the brazenness of her friend, providing one of the many musical highlights of the evening.
 
 
Where the previous two frontwomen amazingly called upon Henderson’s voice with their similar vocal deliveries, the remaining acts put a different spin on the music. Power trio Not A Planet injected its own melodic, punctuated rock ‘n roll style into songs of a more country/Americana nature. Nathan Corsi proved that his own vocal pipes could stand up to the fiery deliveries of Springer and Gilchrist through Gaslights’ tunes like “Red Dirt” and “Wicked Love.” The band reinterpreted Tiny Horse’s “Ride” with a boldness that emphasized the story of the song and a delicateness that honored the song’s memory.
 
Next up was The Oil Lamps, a supergroup of Henderson's friends and former bandmates with featured guests. The main band included the event's co-founder Bill Sundahl, Mike Alexander, John Velghe, and Mike Meyers. Howard Iceberg appeared on guest vocals for "Lines and Wires," (The Gaslights) delivering his own punk rock resolve to the tune. Amy Farrand, who was the drummer for Atlantic Fadeout, stepped into the forefront to sing the band’s tunes “Blood and Bone” and “Break Your Heart.”

 
 
 
But one of the most compelling performances of the night was the band's performance of "On the Market," featuring Steve Tulipana on vocals. This was a Gaslights tune that Henderson sang in a quieter, more melancholy register than most of the band's work, perhaps more reminiscent of her vocal work in Tiny Horse. Tulipana turned this into a heart-clenching tribute, channeling the intensity of Tom Waits and Joe Cocker, each word calculated and phrased to drop like an atom bomb. 
 
Finally, Sister Mary Rotten Crotch (pictured above) took the stage, a perfect choice to end a cathartic evening. The tears that had been shed throughout the night ceased when Liz Spillman Nord started spitting lyrics from old Gaslights’ tunes. Her fierce punk vocals turned up to eleven put a completely different spin on Henderson’s music, but kept in step with the late singer’s intrepid spirit. By the end of the evening, the tight-knit crowd was at the edge of the stage pumping fists and singing along with the band on tunes like “Sundays and Interstates” and “Old Blue Love.” The night ended on a high, celebratory note, preserving the memory and honor of an individual that helped bring the Kansas City music community closer.
 
—Michelle Bacon

Michelle is editor of The Deli Magazine - Kansas City, and also plays drums Drew Black & Dirty Electric and bass in Dolls on Fire and The Philistines. #shinealight #voteformmf 
 
 
Saturday’s show also kicked off the beginning of the voting period for Boulevard Brewing Company’s 10% of KC campaign. The campaign continues through December 31 and includes three area charities—one being Midwest Music Foundation. Visit www.voteformmf.com to vote for one of the charities, once per day, per IP address.

 

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Show review: The Latenight Callers' Lost Weekend Brunch, recordBar, 11.16.13

Kansas City music fans got a rare treat when the recordBar hosted The Latenight Callers for the Lost Weekend Brunch, featuring the complete brunch menu and their famous (in certain circles, anyway) Bloody Mary bar and generous pours. If you aren't familiar with either the recordBar (located at 1020 Westport Rd., on the northwest corner of Westport Rd. and Southwest Trafficway) nor The Latenight Callers, get acquainted with both. The bar has been around for just over eight years and is Kansas City's premier live music venue, and the band pretty much invented the noir a go-go genre.
 
It was a rare free show—rare for both the band and the bar. The music got started about 12:30 pm and the band played two sets. It wasn't too loud, so the folks who were there for brunch and conversation weren't crushed by a wall of sound, but the people who were there for the music weren't disappointed either, because the band brought their A-Game to a brunch show. Krysztof Nemeth never missed a note on lead guitar, Nick Combs was smooth as silk with the melody lines on the keyboards and percussion—don't ask how he pulled it off, just accept the fact that he managed to do so and move on—Gavin Mac kept the groove on bass, and Julie Berndsen vamped it up like nobody's business while belting out hypnotic vocals; and she looked divine, in a red sweater dress and black beret. She looked as if she had stepped off the page of a Neiman Marcus catalog, circa 1945—and as Martha Stewart would say, “that's a good thing.”
 
All in all, it was a treat for all the senses. The food served at the recordBar is probably the best bar food in town, and in Kansas City, that is a pretty bold statement, but one I'm willing to go out on a limb and make. The atmosphere at recordBar is always cordial and pleasant, which is definitely a reflection on the owners Shawn Sherrill and Steve Tulipana, and the staff they have hired. Shawn and Steve deserve every bit of the success they've had, and more. Two nicer guys you'll be hard-pressed to find anywhere, and when you consider that they are in the live music business, it approaches unicorn rarity.
 
The Lost Weekend Brunch was the first Saturday brunch the recordBar has hosted, and the only one the bar has ever hosted with live music, but based on the turnout, it was quite a success and something they ought to consider doing regularly... if not weekly, perhaps they will do it once a month. I know that every one they host, I will attend, and you should, too.

--Tammy Booth/Blue Girl
 

 

 
   

Show review: Deco Auto/Gas Pump Talent/The Empty Spaces at recordBar 6.9.12

Deco Auto -- This fun-lovin’ 3-piece, whose songs all have a heartbeat to their rhythm, laid down the ground rules for the evening in 4/4 time; making it impossible not to wag your head to, while incessantly checking for loose floorboards under your shoe. With a nostalgic power-pop rock jingle, their dulcet vocal harmonies transformed you into a suburban kid on an adventure in a sugary coming-of-age summer movie. Their sound is reminiscent of earlier Soul Asylum and The Replacements, had those bands cut their teeth jamming with Dave Clark Five. Lead singer/guitarist Steven Garcia’s crunchy Les Paul guitar riffs bounced along in anthem to the purist backbeat stamped out tightly by Kansas City drum darling, Michelle Bacon. Wrapping a sexy vine around the triplet’s delight was the carefully melodic bassist/backing vocalist, Tracy Flowers – a perfect last name, when considering her sixties-styled vocal harmonies with Garcia. Blending well into their set were covers of “Needles & Pins” (Nitzsche/Bono, 1963), and “Time Won’t Let Me” (The Outsiders, 1966).

Next up, Gas Pump Talent from Springfield, MO – who describe their own sound as “stomp and holler” – showed they’ve learned to cunningly mash-up more acoustic genres than can be listed – and well. Sadly, I was out of eyesight of the stage throughout their relatively short set. Fortunately, I heard them just fine – recordBar’s sound guys consistently set a high bar. Gas Pump Talent showcased musically captivating, campfire, Ozark-styled country-crunk that had DNA speckles of Dylan, Springsteen and Waits sprinkled throughout. Their performance was infectious, often lending to an Irish folk vibe that beckoned you to order a whiskey drink, pull a chair up front, and sing along with any reoccurring stanza you heard. I recall debating their genre with some friends as we listened…this was much in vein, which always makes me happy. The Midwest consistently cultivates great bands that are hard to paint into a corner. ¡Viva Springfield!

Closing the night down for the evening was another 3-piece from Kansas City – The Empty Spaces. Their rock n’ roll blend of (dare I say) country, rockabilly and surf beach party made for attention-grabbing jams, which featured a squirrely Mat Shoare dancing about, yelping Femmes-esque vocals into the mic, while playing hooky rhythms on his guitar. Widening out their sound was the ever-busy, hard-hitting drum licks of Ross Brown, and jovial out-of-the-box bass man about town, William Brent Wright – who was stripped down to his under tank top by the night’s end. The guys looked like they were having a good ol’ time up on stage, which added to the decent-sized audience looking loose and ready to party – and that they did.

It was a fun, energetic night, with three bands that stylistically are different from one another, but together on a bill – made for a great Saturday night at the recordBar.

--Christian Anders Liljequist

Christian is a freelance writer. He will graduate from UMKC in the spring of 2013 with a BA in Communication Studies (Journalism & Mass Communication).