The Riot Room

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.



Show review: O, Giant Man at The Riot Room, 7.16.12

Here’s the thing about The Riot Room; it is loud. Always and without fail. This is as constant as the Northern Star. In fact, if Las Vegas were to handicap the betting odds on the room being flooded by noise, the percentages would linger at 100%. This is always a safe bet regardless of who is playing. An alternative country band from Raleigh; maxed. A metal band from the suburbs of the gates of hell; if it is too loud, you’re too old. Spinal Tap; cranked to 11.

There is no getting around it. However, sometimes there is also no excuse for it. Watching O, Giant Man open for The Henry Clay People, this principle was never more relevant. The group’s fidgety sound is best served wrapped in complex layers and complicated shifts. The group flutters throughout styles, touching on multiple approaches to writing throughout the set. A sparkling Rhodes organ will bleed through for a moment, meshed with the band’s controlled chaos, before subsiding and surrendering to a room full of drums. The organized clutter is thick and tricky in its ability to fool listeners into determining if it is actually planned. The casual observer might even assume the set list and the collection of tunes were an act of improvisation. However, broken down it is clear that O, Giant Man has meticulously constructed not only a set of tunes, but has managed to arrange them in a way that the evening becomes one long, flawless track. Each song is intentionally placed before the next and sown together with a cross stitch creating a warm, inviting quilt of songs.

Yes, watching O, Giant Man is like staying the night at your Grandma’s house. And who doesn’t love their Grandma? Nazis. That’s who.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Group frontman Christopher Robbins guides his group through their set like a ship’s captain guides his crew. Throughout the night his eyes dart around the stage as he intently directs traffic and shoves his band through the crosshairs to the intended destination. Yet simultaneously, he also manages to make his guidance look as effortless as listening to a GPS. "Turn left here." Wham! Hit single.

It is important however to remember that the crew behind Robbins is as talented as he is. There is no denying that they are the real deal once you’ve heard them play. Their structure, which is unique to the Kansas City area, sets them apart from the sometimes incestuous music scene, often complicated by having the same signature sound in every band. There is something rather fresh about the way O, Giant Man is an island unto itself.

However that island holds something for all types of vacationers. Swirling guitars and harmonic vocals are both in check. At any given time the band can shift from dance-friendly indie pop to a straight rock sound that will knock your teeth out. Sometimes, I can hear The Clash, then suddenly I think I’m listening to Ryan Adams. Then vocally, I would swear they were Counting Crows. However, regardless of what the shifting sounds, I expect big things from O, Giant Man. I’ll be disappointed with Kansas City and the world if they offer this extremely talented band anything less.

-Joshua Hammond

After stints drumming for both The Afternoons and Jenny Carr and the Waiting List in the Lawrence/Kansas City music scene, Joshua Hammond found his footing as a music journalist, launching the national publication Popwreckoning. After running the show as Editor in Chief for 6 years, Hammond stepped away from the reigns to freelance for other publications like Under The Gun Review and High Voltage Magazine. This shift allowed the adequate amount of time for him to write passionately, allow the Kansas City Royals to break his heart on a daily basis and spoon his cats just enough that they don't shred his vinyl. 


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