Posts Tagged ‘KC Bands’

Performed January 8, 2014 at Art Closet Studios, Kansas City, Missouri

All Blood Ringmaster Jonathan Brokaw; Photo By Brock Hildebrandt

All Blood Ringmaster Jonathan Brokaw; Photo By Brock Hildebrandt

Art Closet Studios is the awkward niche carved out of the backside of Open Fire Pizza. It earns points as a centrally located all ages venue (features that are ever in demand), but for the most part the space is bare bones. There’s a basic-but-adequate PA system, the door man was hand-picked from the crowd, and there’s a total absence of any sort of climate control. Around the room space is occupied by in-process artist works encircling a concrete pad. The performance area is marked by a helter skelter backdrop of mixed media that leaves one questioning whether it is in fact a finished stage setting or a neglected project made into an ersatz substitute.

Alongside such trappings typical of a house venue comes the baggage of a more legal public event space; it’s an alcohol and drug free zone, door money is split a dozen ways, and they close down early. In practice, the venue stayed open as long as necessary and the localized prohibition was largely a facade. Many attendees fearlessly or carelessly drank openly. Maybe the restaurant couldn’t divert one of their employees to chaperone for the evening? Furthermore, despite the math-magical purgatory that is payout, touring band Idaho Green did alright.

All Blood played in the middle of a packed billing that showcased two other local bands alongside two touring acts. Initially a solo project created and nurtured by KC native Jonathan Brokaw (aka JB), All Blood has expanded to four members. These extra hands and voices belong to familiar faces. Zach Campbell on drums also plays for Mouthbreathers, Justin Baird on keys and guitar has spent time in Whyte Bitch as well as The Conquerors, and Zach Turner on bass has played in Folkicide and worked solo as Puffs Or Plumes.

While on his own JB has written, produced, and released numerous recordings including last year’s highly favorable Someone Else’s Ocean, but with the new troops the All Blood live experience has noticeably expanded. Shows are bigger and louder, the songs are catchier, and JB seems more coherent and sober. During instances where other members would spearhead vocal duties, such as Zach Campbell taking the lead on Hippie Drugs, All Blood seemed less like JB’s brainchild and more like a collective effort. This is a good thing and the fact that the entire band continues to perform together indicates they are self aware of this improvement.

As long as bands like All Blood continue to perform at Art Closet minors and underagers will keep showing up,  but before you decide to attend a show keep in mind the music and arcade far outclass the art and the pizza.


Listen to All Blood’s set now with the embed below (25:39)

Listen to All Bloods set later, tracks currently uncut, with the mediafire download below

Set List for All Blood

1. Now I Am The Devil

2. Hippie Drugs (3:37)

3. Object Destroyer (6:30)

4. Action/Reaction (9:04)

5. Feral castle (11:25)

6. She’s In The Air (12:48)

7. Sweet Ass Dank (16:50)

8. Triumph Of Your Cool (19:18)

9. Queen Twerp (22:24)

10. Casino (25:07)

For more All Blood click the link below

These recordings were posted with permission of the performers so throw em’ a bone and support them by going to their shows and buying their music. If you like my poor recordings of them, then throw ME a bone and subscribe, share, like, and tell your mom, sister, brother, dad, and friends. Thank you.

Performed October 5, 2013 at The Middle East in Kansas City, Missouri

Torben in the red-lit basement of The Middle East, Phote by Andy Erdrich

Torben in the red-lit basement of The Middle East, Photo by Andrew Erdrich

In the short span of their existence Torben garnered high esteem within the KC underground for delivering unforgivable, riff laden, heavy metal. This three piece matriarch of death is composed of Danni Parelman on guitar, Anna St. Louis on bass, and Libby Zanders on drums. Their untimely end is a result of bassist Anna St. Louis, who also pulls double-duty in Bloodbirds, moving out of town.

Torben‘s popularity was evident when upon witnessing the sheer number of people who turned out for their their last showing at The Middle East. The double backyard was so full it made me wonder if anyone was even inside to watch the bands. All doubts were dashed once I realized the basement was too packed to accommodate another person. Torben‘s set was modest, only about 30 minutes, but the crowd urged them for an encore and were rewarded with a truncated version of Motörhead‘s “Lost Johnny.”

Among the artifacts Torben leave behind are a short five song, self-titled demo; this live recording; and perhaps another (most likely better mixed) version of the same show, courtesy of Mike Tuley. As for the future, Parelman and Zanders are still playing in Peace Warriors alongside Jordan Carr of Dark Ages, so maybe seeing them will fill the newly created Torben shaped void in your head. No guarantees.


Listen to Torbens set now with the embed below (32:26)

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

Set List for Torben

1. Second Coming [Alice Cooper cover]

2. Blood (2:03)

3. Burning World (4:20)

4. Working Man’s Sabbath (6:31)

5. Mother Sludge (9:23)

6. Psyched to Die [Deep Wound cover] (12:16)

7. Runner (14:12)

8. Zone Boss (18:46)

9. Deposer (20:48)

10. Guts [Budgie] (23:58)

11. Heavy Loader (27:04)

12.Lost Johnny [Mötorhead cover] (30:51)

For More Torben click the link below

This recording was created with permission from the stand up members of Torben, who will be missed both as a symbols of strong independent women and for their impeccable skill in melting faces. Mothers of sludge, may your ghost live on!

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Performed May 30, 2013 at The Walnut Place Laundromat, Kansas City, Missouri

Ashley Tini 5/30/13, Photo by Sean Starowitz

Ashley Tini 5/30/13, Photo by Sean Starowitz

Von's Stuff 5/30/13, Photo by Sean Starowitz

Von’s Stuff 5/30/13, Photo by Sean Starowitz





















The Walnut Place Laundromat has been the chic spot for Kansas City music the last couple of months thanks to the open mind of owner Wally Badejo and the hard work of artist Sean Starowitz. While it’s popularity is palpable many of the attendees are probably unaware of the lineage of Laundromat music venues which starts with the famous Sudsy Malone’s Rock N’ Roll Laundry and Bar (now defunct) in Cincinnati. From 1986 to 2008 many influential and famous acts passed through Sudsy’s including Yo La Tengo, Modest Mouse, Built To Spill, and 3RA1N1AC along with legions of other lesser known hardcore, punk, and metal bands. Now Byproduct: The Laundromat, Starowitz’s latest alternative-arts-programming-social-practice endeavor, carries that torch.

The first performers of the night were Ashley Tini and Von Hansen, two percussion majors from Kansas University. During their near 40 minute set they played two compositions each, one of which was an original. Von commanded the limited “stage space” while Ashley sprawled her various instruments and accessories across the main Laundromat floor. The dynamic range of their pieces was wide and their timbres unconventional. They achieved these effects through various extended techniques of electronic manipulation, homemade instruments, prepared instruments, and alternative means of striking their instruments. In Ashley’s first piece (track 2) you can plainly hear her tearing paper (sheet music) and using marbles as well as other household objects on her tamtam, while Von talks briefly in track 3, It’s Like the Nothing Never Was, about the homemade instruments he is using which include the guts of a grandfather clock. Let me emphasize that these two people had a lot of gear. Not only were all of Ashley’s percussion instruments huge, but Von set up a five point surround sound system in addition to his stage full of make shift toys and electronic gear. It seemed to take them almost as long to load out as it did to perform. Their performance was well received by the audience and I personally enjoyed their selections, but allow me to pose a question: in the world of compositional music who is greater, the composer or the performer?

Listen to Ashley Tini’s and Van Hansen’s set now with the embed below (37:14)

Listen to Ashley Tini and Von Hansen’s set later, with tracks already separated, with the mediafire download below

Set List for Ashley Tini and Von Hansen

1. Canotila (Composed by Mike McFerron, performed by Von Hansen)

2. Resonance of The Corner Less (Composed by Austin Yip, performed by Ashley Tini) (12:01)

3. It’s Like the Nothing Never Was (Composed and Performed by Von Hansen) (18:43)

4. Rebonds B (Composed by Xenakis, Performed by Ashley Tini) (31:20)

For more Ashley Tini and Von Hansen click the links below

Metatone 5/30/13, Photo by Sean Starowitz

Metatone 5/30/13, Photo by Sean Starowitz











Much later, following the massive load out of the previous performers and after waiting for the delivery of a functional electric bass guitar, Metatone took the stage. Metatone is Ashley Miller’s newest genre band that blends Afro-pop styling with humorous lyrics that cleverly address his personal turmoils (and a happy belated birthday to her) and triumphant recoveries. Metatone is also very much a family affair as his father Gary contributes vocals, percussion, and harmonica and his sister Abbi provides lead female vocals. The biggest surprise of the night was finding Ian Teeple now filling in on bass. Though I will always have a soft spot for their former bassist Hank Eddins, the young Ian was a more than adequate substitute. As usual they were accompanied with Rhys Ziemba on guitar, Jon Kraft on Drums, and the enigmatic Rabbit Killer on the makeshift electric fiddle. The riason d’être for the show was the release of Metatone’s self-titled album which was available for purchase as an impressive, sexy 12″ vinyl record. I suspect they sold a fair number of them as the event and the beer was free, and the crowd was burgeoning and enthusiastic. There was little space to traverse the catwalk while Metatone performed in the small lounge area, but the main floor was filled with shimmying coeds slowly becoming more and more sweaty. I hugged the wall and kept to my recorder which may have been a bad decision as it attracted the attention of the slightly inebriated A. Bitterman whom you can credit for the defamatory interruption during the middle of track 7, Rururu. Thankfully a request from audience member Drew Roth lead Metatone to perform my favorite song, Dark Empress, before they called it a night.


Listen to Metatone’s set now with the embed below (1:06:11)

Listen to Metatone’s set later, with tracks already separated, with the mediafire download below

Set List for Metatone

1. Unknown 1

2. Gemiknife (7:25)

3. When The Dreams Come (12:36)

4. 2 Fine 4 Time (19:30)

5. Unknown 2 (25:37)

6. Happy Rebirthday (33:33)

7. Rururu (38:18)

8. Theme (42:54)

9. Unknown 3 (48:56)

10. Unknown 4 (54:12)

11. Fear Pressure (58:13)

12. Dark Empress (1:02:18)

For more Metatone click the link below

These recordings were posted with permission of the performers so throw em’ a bone and support them by going to their shows and buying their music. If you like my poor recordings of them, then throw ME a bone and subscribe. Thank you.

Performed May 29, 2013 at Harling’s, Kansas City, MO

It’s significant when two touring bands show up to a sleezy KC dive bar in the middle of a May rainstorm, still manage to make some money, and play to 60 plus people. Maybe it means the local openers Sneaky Creeps and Meat Mist can draw a crowd, the flyering and social media promotion worked, or Harling’s is very, very well loved? It is definitely evidence that the KC community will support smaller, alternative touring acts if given the right conditions.

By most anyone’s standards The Funeral And The Twilight (TFATT for short) are not a pop group. Their sounds and themes point towards a kind of satanism, or at the very least a deeply macabre cynicism. This “dark” asssociation is why when they manage to coerce nearly $70 in donations from the crowd and sell a bit of merch, I consider it a fairly astounding feat. Chances are, if KC can maintain a habit of making bands feel welcomed, like The Funeral And The Twilight, then more bands will want to play here. This not only means more shows, but potential for better, bigger shows.

TFATT themselves are a Minneapolis three piece comprised of Benjamin Jones on guitar and vocals, Noah Schafer on bass, and Brandon Keegan on drums. I have never seen any of these guys wear anything but black, and with the exception of Brandon, everyone has a gigantic beard. They came to KC with another group, Dusty Santamaria And The Singing Knives, from Portland. TFATT was driving them around on their tour and KC was their last stop before heading back to Portland, while TFATT went back to Minnesota. While the comparisons may be easier to draw from recordings, it was harder for me to find the ties between Dusty and TFATT. Dusty seemed like a performer, a professional musician trying to make a name or something, and sometimes the act came off a little forced. TFATT however seemed to just want to bury you alive. What always seems to surprise me are their longer passages of unaccompanied instrumentation. I say this because Benjamin strikes me as the type of front man that puts a lot of care and thought into his lyrics, so I automatically assume he wants to employ them as much as possible. Fortunately TFATT is not above pulling away from  morose singer/songwriter posturing in order to melt a few faces. Oh, they also “punk” as well as the rest of them.


Listen to TFATT’s set now with the embed below (23:43)

Listen to TFATT’s set later with tracks already separated with the mediafire download below

Set List for The Funeral And The Twilight

1. Crusaders Of Death

2. Church Burner (1:30)

3. Sabina Isabella Pena (6:30)

4. Human King (9:55)

5. Salacity Pure (11:40)

6. Speak It’s Name (12:14)

7. Wipe The Blood (13:25)

8. Make This Man (17:09)

For more TFATT click the links below

These recordings were posted with the permission of the gentlemen in The Funeral And The Twilight. If you enjoy their music and my shitty recording of it then show your support by buying some of their stuff and subscribing to Big Urges.

Performed May 15, 2013 at East Wing, Kansas City, MO

Nature Boys, Photo by Andrew Erdrich

Nature Boys, Photo by Andrew Erdrich











KC’s own Nature Boys are much beloved in the community for good reason; they bring it every time. Every bill I’ve seen them play there are at least 60 people in the crowd to see them (which is a lot for a dark, wet basement) as they smash through a twenty-plus minute set without going soft for a second. What’s most surprising is that they are still (in my mind) a fairly straight forward rock n’ roll band. Danny Fischer plays guitar, with Suzanne Hogan on bass (they split vocal duties), Aaron Rommel is the drummer, and that’s it. They leave it frills free and raw. A little distortion and overdrive here, some screaming and harmonizing there, and not much else. Very “punk.” Their best songs for me however, songs like Scary Larry or Babylon (track number 5 in the bootleg recording posted below) seem to be something other than “punk” songs. While that lineage still exists, through some creative divination they’ve moved into other territory. This is what I feel sets them apart.

Nature Boys‘ show last Wednesday at the East Wing lived up to all expectations. That night was a “Cardboard Cutout Costume Party” most likey in honor of the touring band Moira Scar (I’ll talk about them below). Danny was wearing a woman’s spread eagle legs on his face and Suzanne was some sort of shark attacking a boat or something. Eventually they ditched the outfits, but they didn’t need the getups to get the crowd riled anyhow. Bodies were surfing, bottles were being chucked, and people were visibly singing along. What most impressed me about their performance was their awareness of their instrument volume in relation to vocal volume. You can actually hear them singing, an incredibly rare feat for a DIY basement show. That being said their lack of sheer volume didn’t take away from their drive or aggression. Opening the night was KC’s Palace Neapolitan, followed by Nature Boys who were playing in support of the touring band Moira Scar from Oakland. Closing out the night was another KC group Wasted Management.

Moira Scar, Photo By Andrew Erdrich

Moira Scar, Photo By Andrew Erdrich











Moira Scar are a costume wearing, gender bending, instrument hopping, carnival troupe of chaos. As unique as that combination may sound it also perfectly describes other Oakland area groups such as Idiot Flesh or Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. Fortunately their similarity to Moira Scar is mostly limited to their shared aesthetics. Yes, they wear androgynous costumes and use pseudonyms, but wait; Moira Scar is not eight members but three, and while their music is a bit carnival-esque it’s also very gritty, danceable, electropunk. Furthermore their use of brass is golden and they ditched most of the theatrics in lieu of straight rocking out. Did they adjust their set for the night’s crowd? I’m not sure, but it was a relief to me to not have sat through ten minute monologues or spooky-weirdo-not-as-good-as-actual-noise-bands soundscapes. That being said, their costuming was not posturing as “Over-the-top” was still present in their songs/performance, a lot of which came through their vocals which, admittedly, I liked (even the pseudo-operatic parts).

Moira Scar is Roxy Monoxide (vocals, guitar, sax, keyboard, drums), Lu Lu Gamma Ray (vocals, synthesizer, trombone, sampler, drums), and Ryan Bonus Beast (drums and bass). Their headlining set lasted for about 40 minutes from 11:30 to 12:15. I put $5 in the hat and bought their newest “recorded at home, mastered in the studio” album Scarred For Life for $7. If my spending/donating is any indication of how the night went on a larger scale then I’m guessing they made enough money to drive the van to the next gig. Success?


Listen to Nature Boys‘ set now with the embed below (22:04)

Listen to Nature Boys’ set later with tracks already separated with the mediafire download below

Track List For Nature Boys

1. Dr. Claw

2. Boot Stew (3:53)

3. Future Boys (9:11)

4. Mr. Sniffers (11:57)

5. Babylon (14:31)

6. Movin’ In (17:34)

7. You Suck (20:14)

For More Nature Boys go to their website:

Listen to Moira Scars set now with the embed below (38:28)

Listen to Moira Scar‘s set later with tracks already separated with the mediafire download below

Track List For Moira Scar

1. Damaged Control/Escaped Mechanic

2. Gotta Get Out (5:40)

3. Miss Funktion (8:37)

4. Organ Grinder (11:54)

5. De/Monster/A-Tiff (15:58)

6. Telepathos (19:10)

7. Nina Dantor (22:03)

8. Tarantula Tangoid (25:32)

9. Demon Lover (30:32)

10. Someday Cockroaches Will Rule The World (33:30)

For more Moira Scar go to their website:

These recordings were posted with permission from these independent artists. Visit their websites, see their shows, and buy their stuff. You’ll be broke even if you don’t so just do it anyway.