Archive for August, 2013

Performed July 28, 2013 at FOKL in Kansas City, Kansas

Post show at FOKL, Photo by Andrew Erdrich

Post show at FOKL, Photo by Andrew Erdrich

Mouthbreathers are a Lawrence mainstay who stand out amongst the surrounding, middling indie rockers not only sonically but also socially. The members of Mouthbreathers (Derek Solsberg, Bass; Zach Campbell, drums; Kyle Gowdy, guitar and vox; Brad Shanks, guitar) are deeply invested in various aspects of the Lawrence music scene. A number of them work at the local music bar The Replay Lounge pouring drinks, running sound, and promoting. It’s no accident The Replay has become well known for it’s local music shows, and I’m willing to bet Mouthbreathers have had more than a small role in securing that position (for more on The Replay Lounge see #7-CS Luxem/OILS). In addition all members of Mouthbreathers have vetted themselves in other Lawrence Bands such as Rooftop Vigilantes or Blood On the Walls.

Possibly the greatest effort spent on the Lawrence music culture comes from Brad Shanks who runs Replay Records, attributed to it’s parent company and the aforementioned Replay Lounge. In just over a year Replay has put out six 7″ singles (sold individually or collected in the Replay Records 2012 Box Set), and one full length compilation of Lawrence/KC bands entitled Cheap Beer. Mouthbreathers themselves have released a single Die Alone on the label making it a true circumstance of one hand washing the other. Mouthbreathers have also released singles on a couple other notable labels such as Slovenly and In The Red. Not only does the label support help the band book tours, find new fans, and play with bigger acts, but it also draws attention back towards the Lawrence/KC area which is normally thought of as a fly over zone.

If I’m remembering correctly, the last time Mouthbreathers played a show in Kansas City was over two years ago at the now defunct, but fondly remembered, Studded Bird. That’s quite a gap for a band that resides less than an hour away. Maybe they’ve been busy, or maybe their adoration in Lawrence is sufficient for them, either way it doesn’t seem to have affected their popularity in KC much. This time around they performed at FOKL, a DIY space that hosts a variety of shows including the-not-too-infrequent punk show. Case in point, the night’s lineup consisted of Dated, Thugees, the newly reformed Whyte Bytch, Sneaky Creeps,  and, of course, Mouthbreathers.

FOKL has come a long way as a venue. It’s a volunteer run space operating out of a basement in KCK that charges a modest $5 for their typical show, but they have a sizable PA setup and even book bands as prominent as No Age (that show is tomorrow, Thursday, August 29, 2013). They are also a community minded space, hosting gallery shows of local and national artists as well as annually hosting a two day psychedelic music fest known simply as Pyschfest, so it makes a lot of sense for a community oriented band such as Mouthbreathers to play at FOKL.

Unfortunately for FOKL, it seems that their most present downfall is their inability to draw large crowds consistently which may be a direct result of their location being off of Tremont and Central Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas. Admittedly it’s difficult to convince a mostly-midtown constituency to traverse the state line then pay a cover. Maybe this is a promotions thing, but it could also be the lack of punks with cars, licenses, cash, time, or interest. However, a combination of Mouthbreathers long absence and highly anticipated return, and a show lineup loaded with many of KC’s most active basement musician’s, may be credited for temporarily lifting this curse in spite of a Sunday booking. Hopefully, when Mouthbreathers return, it will be before 2015, and maybe they’ll have a full length for us to take home as well.

-AWE

Listen to Mouthbreathers’ set now with the embed below (27:03)

Listen to Mouthbreathers’ set later, with tracks already separated, with the mediafire link below

http://www.mediafire.com/folder/0ak6i8bncnmel/Mouthbreathers

Set list for Mouthbreathers

1. Nowhere Else To Go

2. Track 2 (2:37)

3. Track 3 (6:29)

4. Track 4 (9:05)

5. Jail Weapons (11:28)

6. Track 6 (15:09)

7. Anxiety (18:16)

8. Die Alone (21:07)

For more Mouthbreathers click the links below

http://mouthbreathers.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mouthbreathers/144312625634479

This concert was recorded with permission of the band Mouthbreathers. If you like what you hear, please show your support by going to their shows, buying their studio recordings, and liking their facebook page. If you enjoy reading this blog then subscribe/follow, leave a comment, and tell your friends. Muchas gracias!

Performed July 26, 2013 at Café Acoustic in Saint Joseph, Missouri

The first time Sneaky Creeps played with Cupcake we opened for some shitty singer named Cock Douglas at The Record Bar. Cock had hired a backing band of professional musicians who knew some of the members of Cupcake, so they had asked Cupcake to open for them. Sneaky Creeps had just started playing bar gigs and The Record Bar owner Steven thought we would fit well with Cupcake. Steven was right. We loved playing with Cupcake, but more importantly both bands abhorred Cock Douglas. While Cock sang through his set the rest of us were drinking on the patio waiting for the show to be over so we could maybe get some sort of payout. Wishful thinking. Thanks Cock.

Fast forward a year and a half later and Sneaky Creeps once again shared a stage with Cupcake at a little place called Café Acoustic in St. Joseph, Missouri. Cupcake was still comprised of the same four members; Jeff Jensen on drums, Kiley Bodenhamer on bass,  Shardy Darnell on lead guitar, and Marc Darnell on guitar and vox. Cupcake has a pretty standard setup, but it’s important to note that these musicians are all in the latter half of their 30’s or even working through their mid 40’s. With older, gigging musician’s it’s reasonable to expect some Classic Rock stylings, possibly some old-hat New Wave, perhaps a little 80‘s Hardcore/Metal, or maybe some Alt-Rock with a wash of Americana. Cupcake eschews these tropes and offers an attempt at being their own band. Additionally, Marc’s on stage antics make their shows that much more entertaining. For example, If you listen to the accompanying recording you’ll hear Marc as he plays a card game with the audience for REAL MONEY. In case you’re suspicious, I can vouch that Marc made good on his payouts.

Like other bars in St. Joseph Café Acoustic is a “One-O-Clock” bar, and unlike most cities in the United States, indoor smoking is still legal in St. Joseph. This means you can go to a show and leave with the real smell of a bar on you. That being said, Christina, who books the shows at the café, runs a pretty tight ship. She’s no hard ass, but she makes sure the bands are provided for. On the recording you can hear her introducing Cupcake, as well as coming on stage to encourage the audience to throw money in the tip jar or buy raffle tickets (the raffle was more successful). She also pays out bands from the money made at the bar as opposed to the money made at the door. While it may seem counter-intuitive, paying out from the bar makes a lot more sense in this kind of situation. Neither band was going to draw hundreds of people to that show, but people were still interested in finding their way to a bar on a summer Friday night and putting down a few libations. The bar saved money by not having to hire a door man and because Café Acoustic is bar that is known for having frequent live and local music. The latter is key. Cultivating a space that carries the expectation of affordable yet ever-changing live music is paramount to having a successful music venue, because that venue now has a built-in-audience of people who frequent it just to see and listen to something new. Without this audience bands must rely on the power of promotion, their name, and their brand to attract crowds, which is often not enough to sustain any sort of lifestyle. Local bands can have it hard, but I have even witnessed bigger, touring bands have problems with drawing audiences. Bands like Quasi, Boris, or even Os Mutantes, all of whom have played shows internationally to audiences of thousands.

So maybe the cards can be stacked against the musicians, but the members of Cupcake don’t really seem to care. They seem happy and excited to simply be playing shows, performing for audiences, and doing what they love. Maybe they weren’t sure if being in a band was something they would be doing at their age, but here they are, still making noise. Cheers to you Cupcake.

-AWE

Listen to Cupcake’s set now with the embed below (36:34)

Listen to Cupcake’s set later, with tracks already separated, with the mediafire link below

http://www.mediafire.com/folder/3qqrc2jpg0ilt/Cupcake

Set list for Cupcake

1. Card Game Pt.1

2. Feels So Good (:52)

3. Divorce (3:11)

4. Card Game Pt.2 (8:36)

5. Big Boys (9:17)

6. Fetch (11:37)

7. Card Game Pt. 3 (14:42)

8. Feet Fell Down (16:27)

9. Mustard Seed (22:23)

10. Short Bus (25:58)

11. Vacation (30:18)

12. Those Kids Played Hard (33:32)

This music was recorded and posted with permission of the band. If you’d like to support them then take a day trip to St. Joseph when they’re playing and hang out in front of the stage, otherwise there aren’t many other options. If you like this blog then follow it and post a comment with some feedback.