Archive for September, 2013

Performed September 16, 2013 at Prospero’s Uptown in Kansas City, Missouri

Billy Mack and friend Ruthie Miller, Photo By Andrew Erdrich

Billy Mack and friend Ruthie Miller, Photo By Andrew Erdrich

Sometimes it’s difficult to predict how a concert is going to turn out. I booked this show as a favor to Kyle Klipowicz (a.k.a. Bowl of Dust & Co., a performer that evening), who wanted a show in an unconventional venue. Sure, it’s no laundromat, but I’ve never seen a show at Prospero’s Uptown, though they are rumored to host them. Combine the low profile performance space with dreary weather and a competing punk show just up the street, and you could have the makings of a very poorly attended concert. Indeed, as the first act JAMetatone began performing, the room was very sparse. But just as the first set started rolling the audience started growing. By the time Bowl of Dust & Co. began there were nearly 30 people in the crowd.

Billy Mack Collector featured two musicians; the namesake Billy Mack, and his friend Ruthie MillerBilly played guitar and took lead vocals, while Ruthie switched between shakers, a toy piano, mandolin, marimba, and supplied backing vocals. Billy Mack Collector’s set was filled with brief and concise happy songs, wordplay, and, despite the variety of instruments present, an earnest, stripped down production. In fact, all the other performers that night (JAMetatone, Bowl of Dust & Co., & Margo May) played with a very bare-bones setup. There wasn’t even a microphone present!

In the end the performers were granted an appreciative crowd, and the audience was able to enjoy four mellow performances inside a peaceful bookstore on a drizzly KC evening. Furthermore, Billy Mack Collector managed to earn enough money to break even for the day and continue on to the next show. So it’s a happy ending, not too happy, but nonetheless seemingly appropriate.


Listen to Billy Mack Collector’s set now with the embed below (18:10)

Listen to Billy Mack Collector’s set later, with tracks already separated, by clicking the mediafire link below

Set list for Billy Mack Collector

1. Gone On The Weekends

2. Shrug Your Shoulds (1:37)

3. Onto The Back Roads (4:45)

4. Alright, Fine, Okay (8:57)

5. The Coast of Pennsylvania (11:47)

6. Saving The Whole World (16:01)

For More Billy Mack Collector click the links below

This recording was made and posted with permission of Billy Mack and Ruthie Miller. They happen to be very cool, so show them some love by buying some tapes, art, or whatever. If you like the blog then leave a comment, share with your friends, and follow. Peace!

Performed August 29, 2013 at FOKL in Kansas City, Kansas

No Age Performing a new track off "An Object", Photo by Tim Amundson

No Age Performing a new track off “An Object”, Photo by Tim Amundson

No Age‘s one night stand in Kansas City marked the fulfillment of more than a few teenage dreams. It was also a windfall occasion for local DIY venue FOKL, whose volunteer staff won’t need to pay the next month’s rent out of pocket.

To some it may be a surprise that No Age‘s booking agent approached FOKL instead of another venue. Other spaces could arguably be more accommodating in terms of stage production, space, and promotional capacities. However, it follows No Age‘s modus operandi to play at a place like FOKL. They even had their start in a similar space called The Smell back in Los Angeles.

Maybe No Age is on to something. Perhaps a DIY space gives you something a club or a bar cannot. Something like genuine hospitality. Sure, it’s nice to get drink tickets, but it’s not the same as a venue that grants anyone of any age, entrance for five bucks. It sucks playing shows in bars with a handful of attendees and a staff who is visibly annoyed that your band is wasting their time. On the other hand, if you play to a sparse room at someplace like FOKL, at least you can hangout with the venue dudes during the downtime.

Nevertheless, No Age probably doesn’t play to empty rooms that often these days, and when they do, it’s most likely not at places like The Smell or FOKL.

No Age was supported by fellow L.A. musician’s Protect Me and K.C.’s own Lazy.


Listen to No Age’s set now with the embed below (48:47)

Listen to No Age’s set later, with tracks already separated, by clicking the mediafire link below

Set list for No Age

1. Circling With Dizzy

2. Lock Box (3:55)

3. Teen Creeps (6:08)

4. You’re A Target (9:14)

5. Every Artist Needs A Tragedy (13:00)

6. I Won’t Be Your Generator (16:05)

7. A Ceiling Dreams Of A Floor (19:29)

8. Defector/Ed (21:54)

9. Glitter (24:36)

10. Eraser (27:57)

11. C’Mon Stimmung (30:39)

12. Ripped Knees (33:44)

13. Fever Dreaming (37:18)

14. Boy Void (41:04)

15. Miner (43:33)

16. Everybody’s Down (46:05)

For more No Age click the links below

Visit photographer Tim Amundson’s blog at

This recording was not recorded or posted with the permission of the band. If the band or their label would like it removed then send an email to If you like the blog then re-post it, leave a comment, subscribe, or tell a friend. Cheers.

Performed August 13, 2013 at FOKL, in Kansas City, Kansas

Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble, 8/13/13, Photo by Andrew Erdrich

Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble, 8/13/13, Photo by Andrew Erdrich

This particular review may be masturbatory, but I’m probably the biggest fan Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble (SK&THE) has. They even dedicated the second song of their set to meWhat’s more, SK&THE don’t have another show scheduled going into the foreseeable future, because the Stiff Knight himself, Perry Kroll, is snowbirding in Arizona for the winter. So, while this review may be self-indulgent, it’s also a means of adding longevity to a group with an uncertain future.

There are many reasons to like a band, some of the more popular examples include; how loud they are, the genre of music they play, their technical ability, and production value. I’m drawn towards SK&THE for the spectacle. On any given night Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble could include anything from four to six members, depending on who has a ride, can get off work, or just wants to step on stage (such as this performance). This night’s set included four core members plus a guest from the audience.

Perry takes the lead swapping chords and lead notes between his chaos pad. Bassist Nicholas Bell remained motionless and stoic while performing the entire set in a bright blue bunny hat. Catherine Grimes, lead female vocalist, played ukelele (without amplification), slide whistle, and french horn. Catherine also doubles as the chief costume designer. She’s undoubtedly behind the giant pants her and Perry temporarily shared during performances (they put them on during track three, Warddrobe Change Interlude and wear them for the next composition), the face mask shaped like a lamb’s head, and the large, Terry Gilliam-esque cardboard semblance of F.D.R. who mouths along to their songs. Drummer Tommy Capps is seemingly the most square of the bunch, but frankly they need someone to keep the whole show on the rails. During the set guest player Summer Power can be heard playing an out-of-step snare. Combine their stage antics with their weirdo lyrics and you have yourself a contender for most entertaining show in town. I don’t like SK&THE to be blown away by craftsmanship, virtuosity, or overwhelming coolness; I like them because I always have a good time.

The various members of The Hard Ensemble may continue on in some capacity. Before the formation of SK&THE Nicholas headed his own project, Wire and String. Nicholas’ frequent collaboration with his girlfriend Catherine Grimes and Perry is what eventually led to the formation of SK&THE in the first place. Whether Wire & String reforms or another entity manifests entirely is yet to be determined. However, Perry won’t be in Arizona forever, so chances are Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble will return.


Listen to Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble’s set now with the embed below (31:29)

Listen to Stiff Knight & the Hard Enemble’s set later, with tracks already separated, with the mediafire link below

Set list for Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble

1. Bad Word

2. Two Kinds Of Cheese (4:07)

3. Wardrobe Change Interlude (6:48)

4. Chained For Life Hong Kong Flu (7:30)

5. Beth The Psychic (10:37)

6. I Know (13:30)

7. Goth Wop (15:55)

8. Gamer (19:35)

9. Sugar Skulls (21:59)

10. Twilight Zone (25:19)

11. Giants In The Desert (28:40)

For more Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble click the links below

This recording was made with the permission of Stiff Knight The Hard Ensemble, so if you like it send some love their way. With any luck they’ll receive it and come back to play again. If you enjoy the blog then leave a comment, share it with your friends, and subscribe.

Performed August 12, 2013 at The Middle East In Kansas City,  Missouri

Silence Dogood 8/12/13, Photo by Andrew Erdrich

Silence Dogood 8/12/13, Photo by Andrew Erdrich

Naming your band after an alias of Benjamin Franklin is an overt gesture in proclaiming your love of literature. Composing a song based off a short story by Mark Twain may be borderline obsessive. While waxing literary fixation, Silence Dogood deliver their sermons in the church built to the 90’s alternative rock gods, and, like any good zealot, they practice what they preach. As such, their music is lyrically driven and follows a straight forward lineup. This prolific three piece is composed of Nick Erickson on drums, Matt Bullock on bass, and Cameron Mahoney the guitarist and singer/songwriter.

Silence Dogood toured from the upper peninsula of Michigan with Sycamore Smith & The Gray Beast. Their local destination, The Middle East, is a basement venue deep in the east side of Kansas City on 59th and Spruce within an ever-expanding compound of rehab houses. Landlord John Larson (also known by his stage name Mosquito Bandito) has been buying up cheap, neglected properties in the area and reconditioning them, seemingly just for amusement. John himself is also a Michigan transplant and has become somewhat of a conduit between KCMO and UPMI, hence the Michigan musicians.

While many people showed for the opener Scammers, most left by the time Silence Dogood kicked off. This attendance drop was arguably exacerbated by eleven minutes of downtime following the first song as Mahoney changed out a broken string (this downtime has been edited from the recording). However, the reason why so few may have remained in attendance may be because the Middle East tends to be a hot bed for some fairly gritty punk shows, and Silence Dogood may not have been the best fit for such a crowd.


EDITOR’S NOTES: Since the publication of this review, Silence Dogood asked me to remove the post. As a compromise I removed their music which I had recorded and linked, but kept my review. The music belongs to them, however, my opinion about their concert belongs to me.

Set list for Silence Dogood

1. Wonder Years

2. Paradise City (3:02)

3. Granola Kids (5:30)

4. School Is Out Forever (8:10)

5. Don’t Stop Believing (10:31)

6. Endless Bummer (14:56)

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