6/20

The Regrettes

Destroy Boys
LK Ultra

$12 + F&T | All Ages | 7 pm

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The Regrettes


Perfectly imperfect – that’s one way to describe LA based punk act, The Regrettes. Writing songs that proudly bear a brazen and unabashed attitude in the vein of acts Courtney Barnett or Karen O – with a pop aesthetic reminiscent of 50’s and 60’s acts a la the Temptations or Buddy Holly – the LA based four piece create infectious, punk driven tracks.



    Destroy Boys

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      LK Ultra

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        6/21

        The Sea and Cake

        LA Takedown

        $13 + F&T | All Ages | 8 pm

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        The Sea and Cake






        The Sea and Cake deliver an album with the freshness and energy of a new band, and the ease and musicianship that can only come with experience. Runner began as the companion piece to 2011's The Moonlight Butterfly, and using that album's sonic experimentations as a starting point for a new process of writing and recording, became something completely new. Songs that began as synthesizer experiments in Sam Prekop's home studio were reimagined by the other members, and eventually recorded and mixed by John McEntire at Chicago’s Soma Studios. The result is an album that feels like a private travelogue. Start listening at one place, and end up some place else. Cherish the unexpected mysteries around every corner.



          LA Takedown

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            6/23

            Lindsey Alderman

            Cuee
            Shah
            DJ Aimez

            All Ages | 8 pm

            Lindsey Alderman

            At 8 years old, Lindsey Alderman wrote her first song. Now at 22, she has written hundreds. Being involved in music at such an early age, Lindsey grew up with certainty that pursuing her creative side is the only option. She strongly believes in having "no plan B".

            Lindsey's suggestive and powerful lyrics have gained the attention of many. Lindsey recently performed the National Anthem for the Kansas City Royal's twice during their awesome season. She has performed in various cities across the country.

            Her music continues to inspire men and women alike; her career is only just beginning.

            OUR LINKS


            Cuee

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              Shah

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                DJ Aimez

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                  6/25

                  River Whyless

                  Jalen N`Gonda

                  $13 + F&T | All Ages | 8 pm

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                  River Whyless

                  For many bands, and especially those who’ve been together for several years, recognizing
                  maturation, progress or palpable evolution is a daunting task. Is it continued creative
                  accomplishment that signals progression? Or perhaps it’s profitable commercial endeavors? The
                  answer is often quite unclear. Six years, two albums and countless gigs after first forming as a
                  band, River Whyless, the North Carolina-bred folk-rock outfit has discovered their evolution is a
                  subtler albeit monumentally important one. Deep in the throes of writing and recording their bold
                  new album, Kindness, A Rebel , the four musicians reached a necessary and collective
                  understanding. Namely: this band is their lifeblood, their family and their love. To that end, with
                  unspoken acceptance, the members of River Whyless, each songwriters in their own right,
                  collectively put aside their respective egos, coalesced around each other’s creative vision, and
                  fully embraced the beauty of their enduring partnership.



                    Jalen N`Gonda

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                      6/26

                      The Artisanals

                      $9 + F&T | All Ages | 8 pm

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                      The Artisanals

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                        6/27

                        CHXPO with Dommy Divine

                        Tione
                        Ricky Roosevelt
                        Sav Gusto

                        All Ages | 8 pm

                        CHXPO with Dommy Divine

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                          Tione

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                            Ricky Roosevelt

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                              Sav Gusto

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                                6/28

                                Alex Guthrie

                                Tyler Gregory

                                $9 + F&T | All Ages | 8 pm

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                                Alex Guthrie

                                Alex Guthrie is a singer-songwriter based in Atlanta. With the infusion of different genres such as soul, folk and rock, Guthrie brings audiences together through brilliant lyrics and an expressive voice.

                                Most recently, Guthrie has been noted as “the guy from the Jennifer Hudson commercial.” The now-infamous American Family Insurance commercial features him playing in Atlanta’s Woodruff Park when the Grammy Award-Winning singer and performer Jennifer Hudson surprises Guthrie and sings along to Bill Wither’s beloved “Lovely Day.” The commercial has played on national television and radio, resulting in new opportunities and heightened awareness for Alex Guthrie, his band and his music.

                                Guthrie and his band have performed events including Milwaukee’s Summerfest — which was also featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Music — as well as the 30A Songwriter’s Festival in Florida, Wire and Wood Songwriter Festival in Alpharetta, GA, Jammin’ Java Listening Room in Vienna, VA, the Elbo Room in Chicago, IL and Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta, GA.

                                In the early stages of his career, Guthrie released his first album, Lessons Learned, and also scored the Atlanta Braves Band of the Year in 2014. In 2015, Guthrie and his band were awarded the Georgia Americana Artist of the Year — another astounding achievement bringing his music much-deserved attention and recognition. Within a short span of time, Guthrie was opening up for national touring artists including renowned BMLG Records recording Artist Drake White, RCA recording artist Bleachers, and famous Atlantic Records recording Artist Kelly Clarkson.

                                Singer-songwriter Alex Guthrie continues to impress and defy conventional expectations, making waves as he makes great music. A new album is currently being recorded and is expected to be released in Spring 2018.

                                More at alexguthriemusic.com.



                                  Tyler Gregory

                                  Hailing from the rolling hills of Kansas, Tyler Gregory can regularly be found busking on city streets with his deep voice and steam-powered melodies bouncing off the street-side architecture. His sturdy songcraft takes cues from WWII-era blues bellowers like Leadbelly and Son House.

                                  Gregory's mix of blues and roots music howls with a sense of passion and freedom. Singing songs portraying stories of travel, land, and the meaning of simplicity, Gregory goes full force on his guitar/stomp-box live performance arrangements.

                                  OUR LINKS


                                  6/29

                                  Carrie Nation & The Speakeasy

                                  Whiskey for the Lady

                                  All Ages | 8 pm

                                  Carrie Nation & The Speakeasy

                                  Carrie Nation & the Speakeasy is a high-energy, acoustic brass 'n' grass outfit based out of Wichita, KS. The band, whose sound has been described as a stagecoach in overdrive, has brought their eclectic blend of punk, bluegrass, dixieland, and circus tunes to packed bars, basements, and festivals across the United States since 2007.

                                  With tunes that cover just about everything from drinkin' to
                                  dyin' to livin' and lyin', CNS can fill the dance floor with their blazing bluegrass and circus tunes as quickly as they can provoke existential introspection with dark, slinky tunes reminiscent of a New Orleans funeral march. Blaring trombones melt into break-neck banjo solos, while the "junkyard" trap set and stand-up bass churn out hard-driving rhythms that carry the force of a Kansas freight train.

                                  This unique blend of styles combined with the high energy maintained on stage, allows CNS to fit perfectly into any lineup including folk, bluegrass, punk, metal, ska, or jam. Always providing an energetic and drink 'em down atmosphere to any place they play, Carrie Nation & the Speakeasy has proven a dedication to their live shows with a solid understanding of what entertainment really means.

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                                  Whiskey for the Lady

                                  A fixture in the Kansas City "newgrass" scene for five years, Whiskey for the Lady is a high-energy melting pot of eclectic musical styles and wildly opposite personalities. That may be the formula that makes their music so well loved by young punk rockers and old time bluegrass-lovers alike. From festival set to porch session, the band's unique roots sound delivers an unforgettable live experience.

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                                  6/30

                                  The Maggie Valley Band

                                  All Ages | 8 pm

                                  The Maggie Valley Band

                                  MORE INFO COMING SOON!



                                    7/5

                                    The Pickin Pear

                                    All Ages | 8 pm

                                    The Pickin Pear

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                                      7/6

                                      The Gleaners

                                      Psycho Violets

                                      All Ages | 8 pm

                                      The Gleaners

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                                        Psycho Violets

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                                          7/7

                                          Bent Knee

                                          Jorge Arana Trio
                                          Le Grand

                                          $12 + F&T | All Ages | 7 pm

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                                          Bent Knee

                                          Bent Knee is unlike any band you’ve ever heard. Its borderless sound combines myriad influences from across the rock, pop, minimalist, and avant-garde spectrums into a seamless, thrilling whole. Its new album Land Animal—Bent Knee’s first for InsideOutMusic/Sony—takes its sound to a new level. It offers a suite of songs full of addictive hooks, lush melodies and enthralling twists and turns that capture the reality of life in the 21st Century—a reality of people and nations in the midst of tumultuous change. It also communicates a ray of hope and desire for listeners to embrace the fact that they’re not alone in their struggles.

                                          “The silo-smashing Bent Knee’s unique mix is equal parts ingenuity and deliciousness,” said Jim Fusilli of the Wall Street Journal in 2016 when he first heard the group. “Bent Knee breaks new stylistic and temperamental ground,” declared Steve Smith of The Boston Globe. Other media outlets worldwide have reacted with similar enthusiasm, including NPR and the BBC, which have playlisted the band.

                                          Bent Knee formed in 2009 as a democratic collective determined to push the boundaries of pop and rock. Lead singer and keyboardist Courtney Swain’s soaring vocals are instantly arresting. Guitarist Ben Levin is one of the most dynamic and versatile guitarists around, shifting between the raging and raucous to the sublime and meditative. Bassist Jessica Kion and drummer Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth combine into an enthralling rhythm section that’s equal parts powerhouse and nuance. Violinist Chris Baum’s kinetic violin work provides drama, grace and intrigue. World-class producer and live sound designer Vince Welch weaves it all together with a captivating, expert touch.

                                          The band has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Its last two albums, 2016’s Say So and 2014’s Shiny Eyed Babies, were hailed as significant art-rock achievements. The group has performed hundreds of shows across the world to date. During the fall of 2016, the band played for ecstatic audiences as an opener for the U.S. leg of The Dillinger Escape Plan's farewell tour.

                                          With Land Animal, Bent Knee has elevated its storytelling ambitions to create narratives that reflect and refract the currents we’re exposed to in the news every day.

                                          “We’re at this bizarre point in history when our species can almost actively play God,” explained Baum, when discussing the themes running through the album. “We’re getting closer and closer through communication and technology. On the flip side, we still have many primal urges that have yet to evolve. There’s a strange balance between our technology and our biology that’s tremendously difficult to find. Land Animal explores where those animalistic urges come from and how we can harness and transform them to create a better reality.”

                                          “The album has all kinds of songs about struggle,” added Levin. “We look at global warming, family strife, technology-mediated relationships, racism, and societal polarization. Each song is imbued with a dichotomy between who we are now as a species and where we’re going.”

                                          As the band hits the road in support of the album, it intends to explore the diversity of thought amongst its ever-growing audience in a world where it's increasingly easy to live inside one's echo chamber of ideologies.

                                          “I think our music is powerful and capable of uniting people with different perspectives,” said Kion. “They may think about things differently, but they’re there together, part of the concert. The fact that music and art can bring people together in that way is a really significant force that’s needed right now.”

                                          “We haven’t made a political album with Land Animal,” said Wallace-Ailsworth. “However, it’s definitely motivated by the difficult state of the world at the moment. If people are able to take some comfort in our music or create dialog through it, those are great things for us.”

                                          Like the band’s previous work, Land Animal is full of fresh, sophisticated arrangements and beautiful vocal harmonies, but it’s also its most direct statement to date.

                                          “It’s a really juicy and immediate album,” said Swain. “With our previous album Say So, I think it took people a few listens to absorb its themes. That’s not the case with Land Animal, which delivers more instant gratification.”

                                          “We tried to balance that with an appealing narrative arc,” said Welch. “The album starts with ‘Terror Bird,’ a song about individuals and communication issues and ends with ‘Boxes,’ a song that explores the fact that we’re all marching towards our own demise, so we better make the most of the time we have. Land Animal is an epic journey.”

                                          At the end of the day, the band believes strongly in music as a force for positive change and delivering ideas no other medium is capable of.

                                          “We believe music is the most efficient way to get a point across,” said Baum. “The only way to cut through the noise of a confused, globalized world is to create something that speaks directly to the soul, and that’s what we hope we’ve done with Land Animal.”

                                          --

                                          Land Animal releases on June 23, 2017. The album will be available in standard CD, deluxe edition digipak CD, vinyl + CD, and digital download configurations. It will also be available worldwide across every streaming platform, including Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Google Play, SoundCloud Go, and Amazon.

                                          OUR LINKS


                                          Jorge Arana Trio

                                          Jorge Arana trio is an avant-rock group from Kansas City, MO. Formed early 2011, it features members of the defunct immigrant-son/noise-rock band Pixel Panda. JAT released their debut album 'Mapache' 10/26/12, an urgent and dark convergence of rock, jazz, noise, classical, horror, video game, free-form, punk, and incidental musics. Enthusiastic reviews and eager listeners shortly followed. 08/13, the trio was awarded 'Best Avant-Garde' group by Kansas City's Pitch Weekly. 11/05/13 marked the release of a 7" split with experimental-rock group Ambulants, featuring the trio's first collaboration with violinist Chaski Zapata-Dye. A tour to the east followed, then several performances at Austin during SXSW14. The new ep 'Oso' was released 07/22/14 on 12" vinyl from Haymaker Records. With origins stemming pre-trio, Oso carries with it doses of nostalgia, surf rock, horror film sounds, and the persistence of sophisticated perplexity.


                                          Jorge Arana - Guitar/Keys
                                          Jason Nash - Bass
                                          Josh Enyart - Drums

                                          ----PRESS----

                                          Reviews

                                          Oso EP

                                          "On the whole, it feels more raw than The Mars Volta ever did, making me to feel like I was listening to some kind of unholy offspring of At The Drive-In and John Coltrane"
                                          -Fecking Bahamas

                                          "In constant jeopardy of lapsing into staid routine, jazz needs an occasional swift kick in the pants. The Jorge Arana Trio is providing the uncomfortable wallop to Kansas City's jazz scene."
                                          -Plastic Sax

                                          "Jorge Arana Trio has proven through relentless live shows, and most recently onOSO, that experimentation and writing outside the box is something we can all relate to."
                                          -Deli Magazine

                                          Mapache LP

                                          "Free like knife-fighters, trying to save their energies and moments for the right move at the right time but seething with excitement over the open field of opportunities."
                                          -Misfit City

                                          "These three adventurous fellows use their musical wanderlust to carve up twelve short sketches that cover free jazz, fusion, prog-jazz, metal, noise rock, and pretty much anything they deem necessary to move the story forward."
                                          -Deli Magazine

                                          "Compositionally, the album is a bit of a beast."
                                          -Is This Revolutionary?

                                          "It plays out like a night that started with the best intentions & ended in bone-crushing, karmic chaos ...but beautiful chaos...quiet, deranged, pulchritudinous chaos."
                                          -Kill Your TV

                                          "Jazzy virtuosity in the cassette world isn't something I hear too often, yet with the debut album by the Jorge Arana Trio, that is all I hear."
                                          -Cassette Gods

                                          "It's playful, clever and heavy and the approach to song writing never feels forced or overly improvised. It's a good balance. The recording itself sounds really good as well. Damn good."
                                          -Dead Formats

                                          Interview

                                          On the Beat with Josh Enyart
                                          -Deli Magazine

                                          An Interview: Jorge Arana of Jorge Arana Trio
                                          -KCMusicJudged

                                          Other

                                          Jorge Arana Trio Keeps Evolving and Experimenting
                                          -Ink Magazine

                                          Best Avant-Garde group (award 2013)
                                          -Pitch Weekly

                                          OUR LINKS


                                          Le Grand

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                                          7/10

                                          States & Capitals

                                          Forts Like Vana

                                          $11 + F&T | All Ages | 8 pm

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                                          States & Capitals

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                                            Forts Like Vana

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                                              7/12

                                              Lord Nelson

                                              All Ages | 8 pm

                                              Lord Nelson


                                              Biography
                                              Lord Nelson has won many fans over the last several years with their spirited live performances and serious musical chops. Those fans should raise a glass, because they’re about to get their ears blown off with the new full-length album Through the Night, set for a late spring release. The album possesses a depth of sound that can only come from the frequent addition of piano, organ, and horns to guitar-based rock. This set of songs, written on the road and between tours, explores dark themes of relationships, the political climate of the country, and what it means to spend your days in a van, traveling the highways of America.

                                              Musically, the songs don’t hesitate to dive deep into grooves, peeling off that outer layer of song craft to illustrate a wide palate. With haunting guitars, a driving rhythm section, and big chorus’, this album represents a thin coat of finish on a hard worn sound. The lead-off single “Tail Lights” grapples with the joys and challenges of the road for those on it and those left at home. Other standout tracks include the powerful “Second Chances,” the zeitgeist commentary of “Southern Discomfort” and “Safety Meeting.” A moment of levity with the swamp tinged “Good Time” provides a snapshot into the simple pleasures.

                                              Produced over the last year by Dave Stipe (Rockfish Music) at Monkeyclaus Studio in Nelson County, VA, the record has a full, Rock’n’Roll identity, heavily laced with Americana and Soul. Whether it’s a fat horn section under a slide guitar riff, propelling it powerfully forward, or a harmony vocal giving the song an extra dimension, the album illustrates the power of a band bringing lyric driven songs to full expression. As anyone who has seen their live show will tell you, while there are several excellent solos and impressive individual moments, the thing that gets you – the thing that keeps you coming back – is that full sound. Sonically, the band is greater than the sum of its parts, in the best possible way.

                                              The unified musicianship of the band serves as a solid home base for the searching lyrics of lead singer and guitarist Kai Crowe-Getty. In addition, the band’s multi-instrumentalist, Henry Jones, takes a break from keys and trombone to jump on the mic for a few tracks, bringing an R&B urgency. The current lineup includes Jones’s brother Calloway on lead guitar, Andrew Hollifield on bass, and Johnny Stubblefield behind the sticks. With a full tour of the east coast and points west in the works, this is a band in command of their sound, bringing strong songs in hard times to towns across the country. Keep your head up.



                                                7/13

                                                An Evening of Horror with Alice Sweet Alice

                                                Scrappy''''''''s Attic
                                                Ozark Stomp
                                                The Perfect Pursuit
                                                PLUS MORE (SEE BELOW)

                                                All Ages | 8 pm

                                                An Evening of Horror with Alice Sweet Alice

                                                Other Perfomrer:
                                                Anya Neeze
                                                The Last Carnival
                                                T-Rav Nero



                                                  Scrappy''''''''s Attic

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                                                    Ozark Stomp

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                                                      The Perfect Pursuit

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                                                        Amore Et Bellum

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                                                          7/14

                                                          Amanda Fish

                                                          E100

                                                          $9 + F&T | All Ages | 8 pm

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                                                          Amanda Fish

                                                          Amanda Fish began as a singer songwriter in late 2012, refining her original material as a solo act for 2 years before she formed her band in early 2014, a Roots Rock and Soul project featuring Amanda's signature 'from-the-gut' vocals locked into a sturdy groove.

                                                          In 2015, she released her first LP, "Down In The Dirt", on VizzTone Label Group, for which she was awarded the 2016 "Sean Costello Rising Star" Blues Blast Music Award. Amanda and her band set Beale Street on fire in the 2017 International Blues Challenge Semi Finals, playing new material slated for her next release.



                                                            E100

                                                            E100 is a three piece Rock'n Soul band, all twanged out and custom built with pride in Northeastern Kansas.

                                                            OUR LINKS


                                                            7/17

                                                            Fall Risk

                                                            Desmond Jones

                                                            All Ages | 8 pm

                                                            Fall Risk

                                                            Based out of Lawrence, KS, Fall Risk is a jazz + funk band comprised of 9 KU students. They specialize in high energy arrangements of popular songs and party standards ranging from the 1960's all the way up to current top 40 chart toppers. The horn section adds a groovy twist to the typical rock band set up. The band operates as a music collective, featuring singers, soloists, composers and arrangers.



                                                              Desmond Jones

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                                                                7/18

                                                                Lawrence Field Day Fest Pre-Party

                                                                All Ages | 8 pm

                                                                Lawrence Field Day Fest Pre-Party

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                                                                  7/19

                                                                  Lawrence Field Day Fest 2018

                                                                  All Ages | 8 pm

                                                                  Lawrence Field Day Fest 2018

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                                                                    7/20

                                                                    Lawrence Field Day Fest 2018

                                                                    All Ages | 8 pm

                                                                    Lawrence Field Day Fest 2018

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                                                                      7/21

                                                                      Black Site Lawrence Field Day Fest

                                                                      All Ages | 8 pm

                                                                      Black Site Lawrence Field Day Fest

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                                                                        7/26

                                                                        Stacked Like Pancakes

                                                                        SOLARS

                                                                        $11 + F&T | All Ages | 8 pm

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                                                                        Stacked Like Pancakes

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                                                                          SOLARS

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                                                                            7/27

                                                                            Ben Miller Band

                                                                            Rolling Foliage

                                                                            All Ages | 8 pm

                                                                            Ben Miller Band

                                                                            Ben Miller – vocals/guitar/banjo
                                                                            Scott Leeper – one-string washtub bass
                                                                            Doug Dicharry – drums/trombone/trumpet/mandolin/electric washboard/spoons

                                                                            "I like the idea of saying something very complicated in a very simple way," says Ben Miller, discussing the trio that bears his name. "That's what we strive for musically, and what I strive for lyrically—to get directly to the point and save the flowery b.s. for the romantic poets. John Sargent, the painter, said 'That which is not necessary is detrimental,' and we try to live by that."

                                                                            Since its formation in 2004, the Ben Miller Band has staked out a singular niche that's established the Joplin, Missouri threesome as both a potent creative force and a perennial fan favorite. Any Way, Shape or Form, the BMB's New West debut release, showcases the seasoned threesome's fierce creative spirit and infectious performing chemistry, as well as Miller's melodically catchy, lyrically resonant songwriting.

                                                                            On Any Way, Shape or Form, the Ben Miller Band channels a century's worth of wide-ranging influences into 13 new songs that radiate with energy, smarts and soul. The result is music that's wholly contemporary, while ringing with ages-old echoes of bluegrass, delta blues, Appalachian mountain music and more. A stew they lovingly call “ozark stomp.”

                                                                            Miller writes roots-rocking barnburners ("The Outsider," "Burning Building"), thoughtful ballads ("I Feel for You," "Prettiest Girl") and left-field departures ("23 Skidoo") with melodic skill and lyrical insight, and the band elucidates them with urgency and eloquence. While those tunes show off Miller's songwriting craftsmanship, a memorable workout on the traditional "The Cuckoo" underlines the band's interpretive abilities.

                                                                            The hard working threesome has already won a substantial—and still-growing—grassroots fan base through old-fashioned ingenuity and an unstinting work ethic. Their D.I.Y. success helped to win the band its current deal with New West, and led to some high profile touring with ZZ Top, thanks to the enthusiastic patronage of avowed fan Billy Gibbons. Opening for ZZ Top on a 2013 tour of Europe, the humble BMB wowed unfamiliar crowds on stages in large halls and arenas, including a triumphant set at the fabled Montreaux Jazz Festival.

                                                                            The Ben Miller Band's homespun, self-reliant approach extends to the lo-tech, and largely self-built, instruments that the members play on stage and in the studio, e.g. singer-songwriter Miller's thrift-shop guitars and banjos, bassist Scott Leeper's one-string washtub bass – comprised of a weedeater string attached to a wooden pole – and Doug Dicharry's varied arsenal: trombone, trumpet, mandolin, electric washboard and electric spoons.

                                                                            The band's use of offbeat instrumentation, however, shouldn't be misunderstood as a gimmick. Instead, the three bandmates have mastered the technical challenges of their unconventional axes to produce a uniquely evocative ensemble sound that offers a compelling frame for Miller's compositions.

                                                                            "What I really care about is songs, and the rest of it is just a vehicle to get you to that destination," Miller asserts, adding, "Just because we use junk to make music doesn't mean we aren't serious about it."

                                                                            "Our sound," Dicharry notes, "is something that we never thought much about. It's just something that kept growing without us really trying, and at some point we realized it sounded pretty cool."

                                                                            "The instruments that we use ," Miller explains, "were originally born out of necessity, because we didn't have any money. People would give us their old gear that didn't work anymore, and we'd wire things together and try things out in different permutations and see where it led us. Through a lot of trial and error, we arrived at the set up that we've got now. Blazing your own trail through the jungle can take a lot of extra time and effort, but it gives you a chance to end up in a place that nobody's been to before."

                                                                            That sense of musical adventure has long driven Miller and this bandmates from the start. Growing up in rural Curlew, Washington, Miller began playing guitar at 16, turning his back on a promising career as a visual artist to pursue his passion for music. He gained experience busking and performing in open mic nights while roadtripping around America, and during an extended stint in Eastern Europe.

                                                                            Miller eventually found kindred spirits in bassist Scott Leeper, who'd been playing since the age of seven and had performed with his family's band, in a duo with his brother, as a one-man country act and in a variety of blues combos; and Doug Dicharry, a musical omnivore and multi-instrumentalist, who can play nearly any instrument and has played in a wide array of projects from noise bands to ska and rock.

                                                                            The three like-minded players joined forces, and soon their diligent touring regimen allowed them to conquer an ever-widening geographical base and win a loyal live audience. In 2012, the Ben Miller Band took its first tentative steps in the recording studio, resulting in the embryonic self-released CD Heavy Load, which attracted a good deal of fan praise and critical acclaim despite its humble origins.

                                                                            The same maverick spirit that motivated the BMB's early musical adventures came into play in the recording Any Way, Shape or Form, which they cut with seasoned producer Vance Powell, who's renowned for his studio work with the likes of Jack White, Buddy Guy, Wanda Jackson, Willie Nelson and Kings of Leon.

                                                                            "Our original plan," Leeper notes, "was to scale it down a bit, and have it be even less produced than the first one. It came out sounding like us, which is all we really want."

                                                                            "It was the first time we'd really had a producer/engineer," Dicharry notes, adding "It felt like we could finally breathe, because Vance was on top of things and got some really cool textures. We had a lot of confidence in him, so we were comfortable just going in and laying it down."

                                                                            "We wanted to keep it as live as possible," Miller asserts, "so we recorded it live and did lots of takes, on average around thirty takes before we felt we really nailed it down. That was important to us because we’ve been a live band for our whole career and we wanted that to come across in the recordings, that feeling of guys playing in a space together. We worked long days in the studio for about a month, just playing the songs over and over and working to push our performances and maintain the energy of what we do.”

                                                                            With Any Way, Shape or Form encapsulating the Ben Miller Band's salient qualities, the three intrepid bandmates are eager to hit the road and bring their new songs to live crowds around the nation and around the world.

                                                                            "Our plan," Leeper says, "is to just get out there and play for as many people as we can. That's pretty much been our plan all along, and it's worked for us so far."

                                                                            "The title Any Way, Shape or Form is sort of our way of saying that by any means necessary we will make the music that makes sense to us,” Miller explains. “That’s always been our attitude, and that’s how we’ve gotten to where we are and how we will get to where we are going.”

                                                                            OUR LINKS


                                                                            Rolling Foliage

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                                                                            7/28

                                                                            Thunderkat

                                                                            All Ages | 7 pm

                                                                            Thunderkat

                                                                            Based in Lawrence, Kansas, ThunderKat stands as the city’s premier 80s hard rock cover band. Voted by Best of Lawrence from 2013-2016 as a top local act, the band delivers a diverse collection of hits from Motley Crue, Poison, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Journey, AC/DC, Night Ranger, Billy Idol, Van Halen, Joan Jett, Prince and more. You won’t want to miss the ear-splitting spectacle of ThunderKat!

                                                                            OUR LINKS


                                                                            8/4

                                                                            Rayland Baxter

                                                                            $13 + F&T | All Ages | 7 pm

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                                                                            Rayland Baxter

                                                                            Thoreau had Walden Pond. Kerouac had Big Sur. Rayland Baxter? He had an old rubber band factory in Franklin, Kentucky, and it suited him just fine. As one of the hardest-touring artists on the road today, Baxter’s spent most of his professional life in transit, but ever since he was a kid, he dreamed of creative seclusion someplace lonely and isolated, somewhere he could sit still and devote his every waking hour to writing without interruption or distraction. When the opportunity finally presented itself in late 2016, the Nashville native pounced.

                                                                            “I packed everything in my van and moved to Franklin for three months,” says Baxter. “It was the fist time I ever got to be alone and focus solely on songs like that. All I did was write, write, write all day every day. I was obsessed.”

                                                                            By the time Baxter emerged, he’d penned more than 50 tunes and crafted a detailed blueprint for his spectacular new album, ‘Wide Awake.’ Deftly produced by Butch Walker, the record infuses Baxter’s easygoing, soulful sound with British Invasion melodies and rock and roll swagger, marrying lean, muscular songwriting with adventurous, inventive arrangements. It’s a cutting, insightful collection, one that takes a sardonic view the violence, greed, and division that seem to define the modern American landscape. Rather than point a finger, though, the music holds up a mirror, offering a sober reflection of the times thoughtfully bundled in bright, infectious hooks. There’s no judgment here, only keen observation, and Baxter implicates himself as much as his neighbor through it all.

                                                                            “This is an album about decision making,” he explains. “It’s about being a human at the crossroads. Do I do good or do I do evil? Do I lie or do I tell the truth? Am I going to be happy or am I going to be sad? All of these questions and emotions are things I see in myself, and they’re the same things I see in everyone else no matter where I go.”

                                                                            Baxter’s built a career on capturing those sorts of timeless, deeply human sentiments, bringing colorful characters to vivid life with equal parts humor and pathos. His debut album, ‘feathers & fishhooks,’ was a critical hit praised by Interviewfor its “well-worn maturity,” whileNPR described “Yellow Eyes,” the lead single from his 2015 follow-up, ‘Imaginary Man,’ as “close-to-perfect.” Stereogumdubbed the record “an impeccable sophomore break-out,” and Rolling Stonehailed its pairing of “whimsical narrative with often deceptively complex arrangements.” The music earned Baxter festival appearances from Bonnaroo to Newport Folk in addition to tours with an astonishing array of artists, including Jason Isbell, The Lumineers, Kacey Musgraves, The Head and The Heart, Shakey Graves, Lauryn Hill, and Grace Potter.

                                                                            “The six months leading up to the release of ‘Imaginary Man,’ that was the first time I really started playing electric guitar and performing with a band,” says Baxter. “We did my first headline run and toured that album for a year-and-a-half, and the experience really opened up this whole new sound for me. It helped me figure out more of who I was as an artist and a songwriter and a traveler and a human being.”

                                                                            It was with that newfound sense of self that Baxter entered Thunder Sound, the abandoned rubber band factory-turned-studio in the cornfields of Kentucky that would become his home for three months of intensive soul searching and songwriting.

                                                                            “I blanketed the windows so no one could see inside,” he explains. “I laid a mattress down next to an old Wurlitzer so I had somewhere to sleep. I had a guitar, a desk with a lamp and some paper and pencils, and that was it. For fifteen hours a day, I wrote.”

                                                                            When it came time to record his mountain of new songs, Baxter relocated to Santa Monica, California, where he wrangled an all-star studio band that included Dr. Dog’s Erick Slick on drums, Butch Walker on bass, Cage The Elephant’s Nick Bockrath on guitar, and piano wizard Aaron Embry (Elliott Smith, Brian Eno) on keys. A producer and artist equally at home working with massive pop stars and indie stalwarts, Walker immediately embraced Baxter’s vision for the album, and the result is a sunny and altogether charming collection. Scratch beneath the surface, though, and you’ll find it’s populated by a cast of characters who project a vision of the good life as they struggle to keep it all together behind closed doors. On the punchy ‘Casanova,’ the singer reckons with debts he knows he’ll never be able to repay,while the volatile “Amelia Baker” charts the narrator’s descent into near-madness as he pines for a starlet perpetually out of reach.

                                                                            “We have this society where we’re obsessed with celebrity and living on the top of the mountain,” says Baxter. “But what’s at the top? Maybe it’s a lonely place to wake up.”

                                                                            Late 2016 was a particular tumultuous time in the country, and though Baxter did his best to isolate himself from the outside world while he wrote, it was inevitable that some of the chaos would seep in. On album opener “Strange American Dream,” a chiming piano and spare Motown groove give way to lush harmonies and unexpected melodic twists as Baxter sings, “I close my eyes and realize that I’m alive inside this strange American dream.” Meanwhile, the soaring “79 Shiny Revolvers” finds him reflecting, “you really wanna save the world, man / well, I wanna save it, too / we can blow ’em away / the American way.”

                                                                            While ‘Wide Awake’ offers plenty of broad, wide-angle musings, some of its most arresting moments arrive bundled inside deeply personal memories and snapshots. The heartfelt “Everything To Me” is a tender tribute to family (Baxter’s father Bucky, who played pedal steel with Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams among others, contributes to the record), and the laidback “Let It All Go Man” is a reminder that there’s beauty in simply being alive.

                                                                            “I actually started that song two years ago on a trip to South America,” says Baxter. “I was sitting on the porch of a house in this little town in Colombia, and I was all alone playing a gut string classical guitar, just staring out at the ocean and the beach in the middle of the night. It made me realize how much unnecessary stuff we hold on to, all the grinding away we do chasing success and money and missing the big picture. It made me realize what an incredibly beautiful gift it is to be human.”

                                                                            That empty South American beach may have been a world away from the rubber band factory in Kentucky, but for Baxter, the effect was the same. The solitude offered a chance to observe, to reflect, to grow, to appreciate, and most importantly, to write.

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                                                                            8/14

                                                                            Delhi 2 Dublin

                                                                            $11 + F&T | All Ages | 7 pm

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                                                                            Delhi 2 Dublin

                                                                            Delhi 2 Dublin continues to break the mold one album after another, busting genres as they go. It’s as if the band has been sent on a mission to further spread their sound across the planet and out into the galaxy. They describe the 2010-release of Planet Electric “as the buzz of the world that they are plugging into some large socket to electrify the people, to charge up their energy”. To capture that dynamism, all of the tracks on the album were road-tested in front of live audiences before being recorded. Something else the band did differently from the last album was going on a writers’ retreat where they worked on the music day and night for ten days straight. The results are definitely more representative of Delhi 2 Dublin as a band and a noticeable progression. The icing on the cake was being able to get Diamond “DJ Swami” Duggal (Apache Indian/Maxi Priest/Nusrat Fateh Ali) to mix the tracks.

                                                                            Hour Magazine wrote that “Delhi 2 Dublin is the United Nations of rock ‘n’ roll”. The Vancouver, Canada-based band plays an energetic mash-up of Bhangra, Celtic, Dub, Reggae and Electronica with global rhythms and club beats. Tarun Nayar, Sanjay Seran, Andrew Kim and Ravi Binning, along with guest musicians Jaron Freeman-Fox and Sara Fitzpatrick, are diverse in both their backgrounds and musical influences. The band has been together almost six years and has released four full-length albums plus the latest EP, Delhi 2 Dubland.

                                                                            Back in 2006, a live collaboration put together as a one-off performance piece for a club-night in Vancouver called “Delhi to Dublin” was so well-received that requests for additional performances led to the official formation of Delhi 2 Dublin. “Not being able to fit into any specific genre allows the band to create whatever we like and not be judged for it. Our audience expects nothing less.” The band finds this advantageous for their live show as it enables them to create a flow to their sets much like a DJ would for the dance floor. “Audiences love to see a band transcending stereotypes and letting the music speak for itself”.

                                                                            The Delhi 2 Dublin crew are road warriors. They have played major festivals in both Canada and the U.S. including Bumbershoot in Seattle, Earthdance in California, Canada Day on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Stern Grove in San Francisco as well as such diverse events as SXSW in Austin, TX, the Keelung City Ghost Festival in Taiwan, the BaliSpirit Festival in Indonesia and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The band has an ambitious schedule planned for 2012 kicking off with a handful of dates throughout the westcoast, as well as expanding horizons to include performances in Asia and Europe. In addition, a fresh new album is in the works to be released later this year. Delhi 2 Dublin has become one of Canada’s most buzzed-about bands and 2012 will only see them enhancing that reputation. After all…where else are you going to see a kick-ass fiddle player rocking out with a kilt-wearing Korean flanked by two bouncing Bhangra percussionists and a vocalist who looks like he would be at home in a Bollywood music video?

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                                                                            8/17

                                                                            Maria the Mexican

                                                                            $11 + F&T | All Ages | 8 pm

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                                                                            Maria the Mexican

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                                                                              8/21

                                                                              Charlie Hunter Trio

                                                                              $15 + F&T | All Ages | 7 pm

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                                                                              Charlie Hunter Trio

                                                                              Hunter consistently ups his game as an innovative writer and bandleader. He has worked with the likes of Norah Jones , Mos Def, John Mayer, D’Angelo and countless others. He is widely considered the authority on the seven and eight - string guitar, and continues to stun audiences with his ability to simultaneously bust out tasty bass parts, melodic leads and swinging rhythms.

                                                                              Hunter has previously recorded for the venerable Blue Note label, Concord, Ropeadope, GroundUP and others. His recent independent venture is steered by his motivation to release music that most inspires him. Critics have touted his genius technique, but it's his profound artistic sensibility that propels his original music. Hunter's signature style of writing and performing has secured his place as one of today's great guitarists.



                                                                                8/24

                                                                                Lou Dog ( Sublime Tribute)

                                                                                3 Son Green

                                                                                All Ages | 8 pm

                                                                                Lou Dog ( Sublime Tribute)

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                                                                                  3 Son Green

                                                                                  Since 2007, 3 Son Green has been interweaving their vast web of sound, sense, and solidarity into the ever‐evolving architect it has become. Their RockJamJazzFunk style breaks genre bylaws, and pulls crowds out of their seats everywhere they play. 3 Son Green’s intricate songwriting combined with their natural improvisation is guaranteed to satisfy every music lover’s palette. Their well fueled, expanding flame has, even now, lapped at the feet of the music world at all manner of festivals across the Midwest. These Kansas City grown virtuosos are vaulting to new heights, and leaving no slack behind.

                                                                                  Jamie Anderson – Guitar/Vocals
                                                                                  Evan Carlson – Guitar/Vocals
                                                                                  Steven Pearson – Drums
                                                                                  Trey Green – Bass/Vocals

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                                                                                  9/2

                                                                                  SALES

                                                                                  No Vacation

                                                                                  $15 + F&T | All Ages | 7 pm

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                                                                                  SALES

                                                                                  Longtime friends and collaborators, Lauren Morgan and Jordan Shih, have been known as SALES since 2013 when they released their first single, “renee”.



                                                                                  After self-releasing a string of singles online (“chinese new year”, “getting it on”, “vow”), the duo self-released their eponymous debut EP in September 2014 and were named “Ones to Watch” by Hype Machine + BBC 6. The EP also featured a remix track with electronic producer, XXYYXX.



                                                                                  Their debut album SALES LP was self-released on April 20, 2016 and it featured the singles “big sis”, “ivy”, and “jamz”.



                                                                                  Their highly anticipated second LP will be self-released in July 2018 and it features the singles “talk a lot” and “off and on”.



                                                                                  SALES have headlined tours in the US, Canada, and Europe. The independent duo continues to self-release their work, which is recorded, mixed, and mastered in their Orlando, FL bedroom studio.



                                                                                    No Vacation

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                                                                                      9/8

                                                                                      Lost Dog Street Band

                                                                                      Matt Heckler

                                                                                      $9 + F&T | All Ages | 8 pm

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                                                                                      Lost Dog Street Band

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                                                                                        Matt Heckler

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                                                                                          9/12

                                                                                          Bad Bad Hats

                                                                                          Cumulus

                                                                                          $9 + F&T | All Ages | 7 pm

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                                                                                          Bad Bad Hats

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                                                                                            Cumulus

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                                                                                              9/13

                                                                                              Juice

                                                                                              Fall Risk

                                                                                              $9 + F&T | All Ages | 8 pm

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                                                                                              Juice

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                                                                                                Fall Risk

                                                                                                Based out of Lawrence, KS, Fall Risk is a jazz + funk band comprised of 9 KU students. They specialize in high energy arrangements of popular songs and party standards ranging from the 1960's all the way up to current top 40 chart toppers. The horn section adds a groovy twist to the typical rock band set up. The band operates as a music collective, featuring singers, soloists, composers and arrangers.



                                                                                                  9/14

                                                                                                  Steve n Seagulls

                                                                                                  Restless String Band

                                                                                                  $18 + F&T | All Ages | 8 pm

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                                                                                                  Steve n Seagulls

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                                                                                                    Restless String Band

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                                                                                                      9/20

                                                                                                      Saintseneca

                                                                                                      $18 + F&T | All Ages | 8 pm

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                                                                                                      Saintseneca

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                                                                                                        9/27

                                                                                                        Foxing

                                                                                                        $18 + F&T | All Ages | 7 pm

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                                                                                                        Foxing

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                                                                                                          9/29

                                                                                                          Youngblood Supercult

                                                                                                          All Ages | 8 pm

                                                                                                          Youngblood Supercult

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                                                                                                            10/3

                                                                                                            Eric Schwartz

                                                                                                            $15 + F&T | All Ages | 8 pm

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                                                                                                            Eric Schwartz

                                                                                                            Eric Schwartz is a comedian, actor, voiceover artist, musician and content creator. In addition to television appearances on Showtime, the Tonight Show, Comics Unleashed, BET and his one-hour special, “Surrender to the Blender,” on Hulu, Eric is know for his popular digital stand-up clips, sketches and parody videos. He has been going viral long before social media existed and continues to deliver hit after hit to his growing and engaged online fanbase.

                                                                                                            This multi-dimensional showman’s stand up, sketches, songs and characters have led to content collaborations with Grammy-winner Jason Mraz, Craig Robinson, Anjelah Johnson, Tiffany Haddish, Disney, Yahoo, HLN, Machinima, Maker Studios, MiTu Networks and more.

                                                                                                            On stage, Eric is one of the most creative and original comedians working today, earning the description, “everything there is to love about entertainment” (First Order Historians). GQ India names him one of “5 International Comics You Must Catch.” “E! News Daily” host Ryan Seacrest said Schwartz is “rocking the web” with “video that’s got everyone Googling” and Forbes.com applauds him for having “a minor industry in pop music parodies.”



                                                                                                              10/10

                                                                                                              The Districts

                                                                                                              $15 + F&T | All Ages | 8 pm

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                                                                                                              The Districts

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                                                                                                                10/12

                                                                                                                Reverend Horton Heat

                                                                                                                Unknown Hinson
                                                                                                                Delta Bombers

                                                                                                                $21 + F&T | All Ages | 7 pm

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                                                                                                                Reverend Horton Heat

                                                                                                                It’s true that the Reverend Horton Heat have been called a great many things over the course of their storied career: Perpetual Carriers Of The Rockabilly Flame, Genre-Shattering Problem Children, Filthy Drunks, and The Most Electrifying Live Act In America (150 shows every year can’t be wrong). But whatever you happen to call them, their country-flavored punkabilly and onstage antics have brought the Reverend Horton Heat a strikingly diverse fan base and a devoted cult following. The Rev himself, aka Jim Heath, leads the way with signature guitar riffs, while pounding out the bottom notes (often on top of) his upright bass is Jimbo Wallace, while Scott Churilla keeps time on the drums.

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                                                                                                                Unknown Hinson

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                                                                                                                  Delta Bombers

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                                                                                                                    10/14

                                                                                                                    Ezra Furman

                                                                                                                    Transangleic
                                                                                                                    Exodus

                                                                                                                    $15 + F&T | All Ages | 7 pm

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                                                                                                                    Ezra Furman

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                                                                                                                      Transangleic

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                                                                                                                        Exodus

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                                                                                                                          10/26

                                                                                                                          Colony House

                                                                                                                          $16 + F&T | All Ages | 7 pm

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                                                                                                                          Colony House

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                                                                                                                            11/1

                                                                                                                            Watermelon Slim

                                                                                                                            $16 + F&T | All Ages | 7 pm

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                                                                                                                            Watermelon Slim

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                                                                                                                              The Bottleneck Interview with Jamie Laurie of Flobots

                                                                                                                              flobots1

                                                                                                                              Flobots (image via http://liveloudmedia.com/flobots)

                                                                                                                              Denver-based alternative hip hop band Flobots play The Bottleneck October 28th. Jamie Laurie recently discussed artists that inspired him to love hip hop, creative process and his passion to create music without boundaries.

                                                                                                                              What first got you starting out in music? How’d you get going? What was your first musical memory?
                                                                                                                              I remember in 5th grade people making fun of me like, “Hey, what kind of music do you like? Why don’t you listen to music?” It wasn’t in my world. I wasn’t thinking about who my favorite band was. Once I did start listening, the first tape ever, honestly, was Willie Nelson. My dad had this tape of Willie Nelson and I liked the songs on there, then I got into the stuff that was on the radio. The first hip-hop I was into was J.J. Fad and Supersonic. Just stuff on the radio that still I think holds up pretty well.
                                                                                                                              I like Young MC and some of that pop stuff, but before long I got really into more They Might Be Giants and R.E.M. and some of the alternative radio stuff. I think it was really De La Soul and Native Tongues were some of the first hip hop artists I was into. Pretty soon after that, I was into more revolutionary hip hop like the Coup. They are still some of my favorite or most formative, influences for that.
                                                                                                                              The early ’90’s was a pretty great time for hip hop with Hieroglyphics, Outkast, the Roots and all those groups expanding what the music could be. I fell in love with West Coast underground. Quantum, Living Legends, Soulsides, all that stuff.

                                                                                                                              Quantum is really something else. Those beats are so fresh.
                                                                                                                              It’s amazing. It was an experience actually going into the industry, making the music myself. It was amazing getting a chance to meet some of those folks and have them, for a second, treat me like a peer when I’m still just looking at them like a fan.

                                                                                                                              Your music, it goes beyond styles. You’re not boxed in at all. You’re doing your thing.
                                                                                                                              Right. That’s one of the things I always admire. Especially about West Coast underground at the time. I always felt like people on the East Coast, because that’s where hip hop sort of lived in the ’90s. It’s like “Oh, that’s where the real hip hop is” people. In my little mind, it was like those people sound more similar, but I would listen to the range between E-40 and the Grouch. We were exploring. They’re just doing absolutely completely different things.
                                                                                                                              I fell in love with the ability of artists who really find their own personal style and that became an ambition for me. When Flobots really got going, we thought, at that point there were no barriers, even musically. What do we have to sound like? What does the music have to sound like? The Roots had shown that we could be a live band and be an authentic hip hop group. I think, for us, it was like, “Look, we’re coming out of Denver, Colorado. We’re coming out of very different social conditions than many other artists. We have things to say that we could say, that are unique to us and that’s why every one of us are on this Earth is just express our own truths most fully.” So we thought, there’s no boundaries anymore. Let’s have a viola. If there’s a viola player that’s excited about this band and wants to be part of it, let’s start there. Let’s bring in live musicians. Let’s just be ourselves as fully as we can be and that’s what music’s all about.

                                                                                                                              flobots2

                                                                                                                              Flobots (image via http://www.facebook.com/theflobots)

                                                                                                                              Don’t you feel like having a live band with you, doesn’t that push you lyrically? It gets you fired up as well.
                                                                                                                              It does and it also forces you to think responsively to the music. There’s songs where it’s like, “Alright. This music’s really busy, so I need to be simple.” Or, “Hey, this one is a whole lot of space, so now I can fill it in.” It’s definitely a lot more to think about in the creative process, because it’s not just put on the beat and I’ll do a rap. it’s what is the emotional journey of this song going to be and how can I contribute to that with my lyrics.

                                                                                                                              Kind of like adding to the sound or pulling away from the sound? Contrast?
                                                                                                                              Right, absolutely. I think, hip hop is doing very well these days because so many people have thought about so many different things. You look at Kanye, who was a producer first for at least a decade and then starts bringing in the lyrics and it’s no surprise that his lyrics feel like they’ve been put together by a producer. Like, “Alright, where do I want to take people? How clear do I want to be? How cryptic do I want to be? What’s the crescendo of this verse?” He’s thinking about those things. I think that makes better music when people pay attention to, how does the emotional arc of the verse match the emotional arc of the music and vice versa?

                                                                                                                              Taking people on a full journey with a song.
                                                                                                                              Right. It challenges you to think, maybe, more in depth. I revise way more than I ever did before. I used to go, “Okay, what’s the music? Cool? I wrote a verse. Alright, I’m done.” Now it’s like, “Wait, maybe that verse isn’t everything it could be. Let’s try a new verse.” On the new album we have, I have probably written 3-4 verses for every song and I love where it ended up.

                                                                                                                              Basically, you’ve gotten better at drafting ideas.
                                                                                                                              Exactly. Honestly, it took me a while to not be stubborn because I’d be like, “What are you talking about? I already wrote a verse for that. It’s done. No, I can’t change that word because then I’d have to change that other word.” I’ve just learned to have more confidence in the finished product. I think of it like a sculpture where you, you know there’s something that already lives in that rock and your job is to remove the parts that are obstructing it. By the end, it’s like I’ve peeled back all the layers and revealed what the song really is. It’s taken a while, as an artist, to be humble enough to realize that the first thing I did wasn’t necessarily the work of genius that I thought it was in that moment.

                                                                                                                              That’s got to be a fun challenge, looking over your past work and trying to expand all the time. You never want to stagnate.
                                                                                                                              Right. Exactly. There’s lots of ways to move forward. You can move forward by just creating a whole lot of things or you can move forward by saying, “Alright, let’s keep wrestling with this song until it is so undeniably compelling that you know it’s finished.”

                                                                                                                              You never want to put anything unfinished out there. You have a certain standard of what you want. How often do you find yourself writing songs? How often do you find yourself writing lyrics? Is it every day or is there a certain time of day that works for you?
                                                                                                                              It’s fun to do in the morning. It’s fun to just get up and write but, honestly, it’s all over the map. There was a year, 2010, where I actually made a commitment that every day I would put a new verse up on YouTube and so I did this thing called “The Rhyme of the Day.” It basically meant I wrote a new verse every day. Sometimes, I used old ones that I’d never put out. That was really as a creative exercise. As a artist you can have this feeling, “I have all these ideas. When am I going to get to try them?” In the course of a band where a song is a big production that involves a lot of people, it was easy to think like, “I never get to write a verse that just speaks to what happened that day in the news, or whatever whim I had that day,” so it’s the little idea factory needed to be satiated. Taking a year to just indulge in that was pretty gratifying.
                                                                                                                              In the process of the last two years of writing this album, it was kind of a back and forth. Someone would come with a bass line and it’s, “Alright, let me react to that bass line. Here’s a verse that reacts to that bass line. Now, based off that verse, we want to do a new bass line. Okay, cool. Let’s bring in this guitar, this. Oh, look the song has evolved and now it’s not really about what it was about. Now, it’s more about this. Alright, let’s do a new verse, let’s try that out.” I don’t know if you ever worked with a t-shirt designer or someone who’s like, “Here’s some potential logos. Here are seven ideas. I like this one, can you take that and expand it?” It kind of feels cool to be a craftsman like that too and also to reach back into that crafts place back into the soul place and see what I’m doing. Let’s go back to what I’m trying to say and what is authentic to me about the song.

                                                                                                                              Everything is tied into each other, connected, like in the creative process.
                                                                                                                              Exactly and songs reveal themselves. We have a song on the new album called “Carousel.” I’m trying to remember what we thought it was about in the beginning, but now it’s very clear. It’s a song about that feeling when you’re just playing with your phone, looking for something that you will never find. Whether it’s laying in bed late at night or in the early morning before you get out of bed, just being stuck in this little swirl of this pretend world of likes and follows and instant approval from other people that you’re seeking. I think it consumes so many of us. The song’s about that. The Carousel is that. It took a while to figure that out. First, it was just this chorus, this other set of ideas. It’s exciting when you listen to the song and let it reveal itself to you.

                                                                                                                              Yeah sure. We should definitely talk about that too. How do you approach a live show differently than your work in the studio? How do you go about it?
                                                                                                                              For us, the way we came up in Denver was because of our live show. My grandpa used to say, “Your audience is like a greased pig. If they can get away from you, they will.” We think of it from the audience perspective. If I was standing out there, what would I want? What would hold my attention? What would I actually feel good about if I paid and came to a show, brought some friends and told them to trust me, this is going to be good? What are the things that I would want to see happen? How would I want to feel? Were there elements of the show that would actually engage me?
                                                                                                                              We put a lot of energy into the live show. It’s great having a live band because if you have a bad ass viola solo right before lyrics that captivate people, all of those things go a long way. We really look at our shows as almost like church for a secular world. Come here, we want you to move your ass, want you to intellectually be on board but we want to touch your soul too. We try to send people on a journey that at the end of the night they’ll be like, “Hey, I’m satisfied, I feel good.”
                                                                                                                              With the election and the climate in the country, it’s really easy to sit at your computer, look at Facebook and just be like, “Hey, we all hate each other. Everyone’s a horrible person and there’s no hope for anything.” Actually, that’s not true and the best way to remind ourselves it’s not true is just to be in a community of people where we can actually celebrate just getting together. It doesn’t mean there’s not things that need desperately to be transformed, because we do. We need social movements. We need to confront hard questions about police violence or climate change. Those need to be transformed. Those systems need to be transformed to be more human things. We can do that in a way that invites everybody into the process and to the solution.

                                                                                                                              Music, live especially, is the catalyst for positive change.
                                                                                                                              Yeah, I think it definitely can be. It can be a lot of things, it can be catharsis, it can rally, be a place to pour out our anger, pour out our pain but the over all effect of doing that in a group of people is that we remember that we are not alone. I think that’s the problem where you sit at your computer and you have all these feelings, but you have them by yourself. There’s no affirmation of ultimately moving towards something because there’s other people that feel the same way and we can do something about it. The concert is a shortcut to that feeling. That’s why it was important for us to go out on a show where we’re doing this, really, because we just looked at the situation right now and we need to be out there talking to people.

                                                                                                                              Making something happen.
                                                                                                                              It reminds us that we’re not alone, you know?

                                                                                                                              Yeah, of course. It benefits everybody.
                                                                                                                              Right, exactly. Anyway, thank you to whomever is reading this. If you’re not sure about coming to the show, come to the show. We promise you it’ll be a good time. Even if you never listen to our music or think you don’t agree with our politics or something, come to the show. We want to see everybody there.

                                                                                                                              The Bottleneck Interview with Evan Hawkins of Through the Roots

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                                                                                                                              Through the Roots (image via http://www.throughtheroots.com/ )

                                                                                                                              Through the Roots is a California-based band. They are playing The Bottleneck October 27th. Lead singer and guitarist Evan Hawkins recently discussed how he became interested in reggae, his songwriting approach and the beginnings of Through the Roots.

                                                                                                                              Did you come from a musical family? Were your parents musical?

                                                                                                                              I did come from a musical family, my father was a musician, he played guitar and bass for ?Marvin Gaye and other Motown acts in his day. My brother was a singer, so I guess I just found my abilities naturally.

                                                                                                                              What was your earliest musical memory?

                                                                                                                              My earliest musical memory was spending countless hours at my best friend’s house playing all of the instruments that his father had collected. I think that is really where I found my obsession with playing them.

                                                                                                                              What was the first album you bought?

                                                                                                                              I honestly can’t remember, but it was probably Hanson or Offspring Americana or something. 

                                                                                                                              What first got you interested in reggae?

                                                                                                                              My mom used to play reggae for me around the house when I was very young. At that young age I really found a love for the grooves and easy listening.

                                                                                                                              What do you remember most about your first time onstage?

                                                                                                                              I just knew that was where I belonged. I never felt insanely nervous or anything. The stage is my comfort zone.

                                                                                                                              How did Through ?the Roots first get started?

                                                                                                                              Started writing songs in my first and second year of college. I had a close friend that influenced me who passed away, and I wrote a song for him, “man down.” Once I found that people were digging the music, I got some guys together and we started putting more music together and playing shows. 

                                                                                                                              How does your creative process work when songwriting?

                                                                                                                              Normally I just like to be in a quiet place with a good vibe. I normally make the music first and then find something to write about that fits the mood.

                                                                                                                              How did “Bear With Me” come together?

                                                                                                                              Eric Rachmany and I came up with the riddim for the song in 2013 on the “Give Thanks” tour. The song sat untouched and was revisited when I first toured solo with them on the “Count Me In Tour.” Eric came down to San Diego and we finished it in the studio together. 

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                                                                                                                              Through the Roots (image via http://www.throughtheroots.com/ )

                                                                                                                              What have been the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your career?

                                                                                                                              I would say every day is a new obstacle, none bigger than the other. In this industry you have to learn to adapt, while maintaining the grind. We’ve had our bus burn down, switch our members, tour for countless years not making a dime. Starting a band is no joke. However, it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever been a part of. We are very fortunate to have this outlet. 

                                                                                                                              What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?

                                                                                                                              Never give up, even when it seems impossible. You’re hardest day, might make someone’s greatest day. 

                                                                                                                              The Bottleneck Interview with Max Doucette of Skydyed

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                                                                                                                              Skydyed (Image via https://www.facebook.com/Skydyed/ )

                                                                                                                              Skydyed is a Colorado-based band. They play The Bottleneck September 28th. Guitarist and keyboardist Max Doucette recently discussed how he became passionate about music, the evolution of Skydyed’s sound and their creative process.

                                                                                                                              Did you come from a musical family? Were your parents musical?

                                                                                                                              To a certain extent yes. My dad is also a guitar player and though he never took it to a fully professional level, he was certainly the one who first got me started as musician. My guitar that I tour with was actually handed down to me from him from his musician days which I’m very grateful for. My great-uncle was also a big influence on me guitar-wise and many other members of my family have sung or played piano as a hobby. Shane’s family had no musical background before him, but they supported him from a very early age giving him the resources he needed to grow. Andrew’s dad on the other hand made a lifelong career as a professional musician and was a huge influence on him too.

                                                                                                                              What was your earliest musical memory?

                                                                                                                              Honestly it’s probably from the old VHS tapes my parents have of me as a little kid dancing to various children’s songs, although I don’t actually have the memory. Earliest memory I can remember would probably be the first time I tried playing my dad’s guitar just whacking on the strings having no idea what I was doing, but being absolutely mesmerized by it.

                                                                                                                              How did Skydyed first come together?

                                                                                                                              Skydyed really started as a reggae-rock band between a couple friends and myself in high school. Andrew and I were already friends then and it was around the time he joined that we both started dabbling in electronic music that he joined the group. After we moved to Colorado post-graduation our original lineup kind of fell apart and it was there we met Shane who eventually joined us once we started developing our new sound.

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                                                                                                                              Skydyed (Image via https://www.facebook.com/Skydyed/ )

                                                                                                                              How does your creative process work when writing a song?

                                                                                                                              It often starts out as one of us just making a simple demo in Ableton and then if everyone likes it we’ll start building upon that as we go, but sometimes two of us or everyone will sit down and start something together. For example, Andrew and I will often both leave the drums open for Shane, or I’ll leave a lot of the bass parts and arrangement open for Andrew, or Andrew will give a lot of room in his compositions for Shane and I to add on to. It’s really just writing on the fly between the three of us so that we can end up with something we all like and think others will like as well.

                                                                                                                              Your songs have a really great flow to them. Do you try and record tracks as live as possible?

                                                                                                                              Not necessarily, we do a lot of the writing within Ableton itself but we try to approach it in a way that we can replicate live after the fact. Every now and then an idea will be something someone comes up with on the spot, but usually we spend a lot of time tinkering with various sounds and trying new things out to see what sticks. Something Andrew really brought to the table is putting an emphasis on making sure our arrangements are really solid and not too repetitive feeling, so I think he deserves a lot of credit for that. Shane is also quick to change up the beat a lot which gives everything a lot of movement I think.

                                                                                                                              How do you go about writing a setlist?

                                                                                                                              We usually first consider the tempo and key changes first as we try to be as fluid as possible and not spend to much time in silence on stage. We’ll also consider what kind of instruments begin and end each song. Something I’ve started dabbling in is figuring out what songs blend together well so we can mix things up live a bit more a like a full on jam band would per say. Even though we often extend out songs out live in improv/solo sections we have yet to really dial in those kind of changes that you often see in the big names of the scene, something I personally look forward to seeing us develop with our sound.

                                                                                                                              Do you have a favorite quote or motto that you live by?

                                                                                                                              I can’t think of anything that the whole band together would say, but I’ve always been a big fan of the phrase from the philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti that is, “Truth is a pathless land” which I often look at from an abstract point of view not just the literal meaning.

                                                                                                                              What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?

                                                                                                                              There is no final plateau as a musician, so always look to improve your craft. Never become arrogant no matter how far you get. Always show respect and appreciation to your fans and musical peers. Also, be sure to remember professional music is not just an art, it is also a business whether you like it or not. Most importantly of all never forget that music is beyond ourselves and to never lose sight of the the underlying importance it has to this world and the people in it.

                                                                                                                              Lawrence Locals The Dear Misses Rock The Bottleneck Stage for Lawrence Field Day Fest on Friday, July 15th

                                                                                                                              The Dear Misses

                                                                                                                              Todd Anderson/Vocals and Rhythm guitar, Cody Stapleton/Lead guitar and Backup Vocals, Bret Collins/Drums, Shane Berggren Bass/Backup Vocals

                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                              If you love vocal hooks and thick rhythm, then you’ll love alternative, indie-rock band The Dear Misses. This Lawrence-based band rocks The Bottleneck stage for Lawrence Field Day Fest on Friday, July 15th. Catch them live at 8:15PM.

                                                                                                                              How did you pick your band name? When did you form The Dear Misses?

                                                                                                                              The band name started as Dear Misses and it was designed to be an acoustic project whose songs were geared toward love, lust and all of that mushy stuff. Dear Misses is like Dear Mrs. but leaving the last name open-ended. Love songs to my future someone.

                                                                                                                              After Cody and Todd made the decision to plug in the electric guitars and make a full band project it eventually turned into THE Dear Misses which then created a sort of double meaning.

                                                                                                                              All the musicians in this band have been plugging away for the better part of a decade and a half trying to “make it” in this business and all of the opportunities that we missed along the way lead us to this. So you could say that those misses are dear to us.

                                                                                                                              How would you describe your musical style?

                                                                                                                              Our musical style is hard to pin point to one genre as most musical endeavors are these days.  There are some tones of the early 2000 emo movement, some colors of progressive alternative, and some throw back elements of 90’s alt deriving from British and American groups alike, harnessing open standard chords with some dirt on the top with lead lines that sow them together. All of the songs try and grab you by the vocal hooks and thick rhythm section.

                                                                                                                              Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process? Are there any reoccurring themes in your songs?

                                                                                                                              Inspiration comes at you at all different times of day no matter where you are. Most of us carry around cell phones with recording capabilities so we can record any melody or any riff that comes to mind as we go. Most riffs are put together on our own time and brought to the practice space to be given a test run. The overall song inspiration comes from the feeling that we get from the music that we love. We try and convey that in our riffs and vocals alike. Our mission is to really hook the listener. We really want these songs to stick in our listeners head and make them feel inspired themselves to do something great in their own lives. We are trying to create something beyond ourselves. As far as themes go We have touched on subjects about love, passion, and anxiety.

                                                                                                                              What’s your music making process?  

                                                                                                                              Making music starts at home in our respective home studios. We put together riffs when they come to our heads and if they stick, we end up shaping the song and putting into a form that we can bring to the practice space.  If they vibe well, we will finalize the song as best we can. Vocal melodies come first and the words to the lyrics usually come last. Songs can derive from a vocal melody all the way to a drum beat. The beautiful thing about this is that our songs are coming from every which way which is allowing us to grow at a speedier pace.

                                                                                                                              Has your music evolved since you first started playing music together?

                                                                                                                              Our music has very much evolved. We have the same spirit we started with in that we just want to create. Any success that comes from that will make that much more pure of an experience. The music has always been rock based but we have explored all ends of the rock music that is in our hearts whether that be clean guitars and poppy melodies all the way to distorted low tuned guitars with gritty and loud vocals.

                                                                                                                              What’s your favorite thing about the music scene in Lawrence?

                                                                                                                              Our favorite thing about the Lawrence music scene is how eclectic and open minded musicians and music fans are alike. It’s such a family vibe that a show could consist of 4 or 5 bands all with different styles and everyone would have the same amount of fun no matter who is playing

                                                                                                                              dear misses2What other bands inspires your band musically?

                                                                                                                              Each member has a slightly different music taste, but for the most part we all meet in the middle. If you were to have us throw different bands into a hat you might find, Thrice, Manchester Orchestra, Brand New, Jimmy Eat World, Ben Folds, Early Radiohead and Say Anything.

                                                                                                                              Does The Dear Misses have any rituals/traditions you do before/after performances?

                                                                                                                              As far as a pre-show ritual, we just try to stay loose not drink too much before we get on stage. We are usually as social as we can be, which leads to drink drink drink. So to answer your question. Stay sober. (just kidding) We try and stretch, get into a huddle and say a few positive things before we start the rock.

                                                                                                                              Besides music, what do you guys like to do in your spare time? 

                                                                                                                              Todd likes to golf, Bret likes to work out, Shane like to play Frisbee golf, and Cody likes to play music and take selfies.

                                                                                                                              What have been the biggest challenges you’ve guys had to overcome in your career?

                                                                                                                              The biggest challenge we are running into is honing into a very specific style. right now we are still very broad in what our style actually is. We could take this project in any different direction and have personal success with it, but are wanting to make this band count as much as we can, so picking the right direction to go is very delicate at this moment.

                                                                                                                              Any advice to other bands starting out on the music scene?13606500_898471793594724_4363945182159391034_n

                                                                                                                              Stay true to yourself and never make it about business. Make sure you are happy in your personal life because all of your shit will follow you into the band which should be a positive and healthy experience for anyone that tries it.

                                                                                                                              What’s in store for the future of The Dear Misses? Anything you would like share, from new merch to upcoming shows/tours or songs/albums?

                                                                                                                              We have a run of shows starting in July 1st and 2nd in our hometown, Hutchinson, KS, coming back to play Lawrence Field Day Fest the 15th and playing The Riot Room in KC on July17th and ending in late August as well as promoting our as of yet untitled E.P. Our main focus in the spaces between are to write as special of music as we can so we can hopefully get into the studio and on to the radio. We want to be heard more than we want to be seen.

                                                                                                                              What are you look forward to most playing at the Lawrence Field Day Fest at The Bottleneck?

                                                                                                                              Lawrence Field Day is a huge opportunity to get to know and enjoy our musical peers as well as show them what we are about so we can hopefully develop new and awesome relationships with the bands that are playing and The Bottleneck alike.


                                                                                                                              For more info on The Dear Misses, have a listen on their website.

                                                                                                                              Looking for tickets to the show? Get yours today!

                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                              Coral Creek Hits The Bottleneck July 2nd

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                                                                                                                              Coral Creek (Image via http://www.coralcreek.net)

                                                                                                                              Coral Creek is a Colorado-based band. Vocalist Chris Thompson recently discussed how he became interested in bluegrass, the beginnings of Coral Creek and advice to musicians just starting out.

                                                                                                                              What first got you interested in bluegrass?

                                                                                                                              Like many Deadheads, I found bluegrass music through Jerry Garcia and Old & In the Way during high school (this was in the late 80’s, I should add). My interest in bluegrass first peaked in college. I bought a banjo, got some lessons and starting copying every Flatt & Scruggs album I could find at my local library. I mostly just liked the fast banjo tunes. I wasn’t really into the county singing and all that when I was young. I just wanted to hear that banjo played real fast! So, I guess you could say “the banjo” got me interested in bluegrass. These days I’m more of a dobro junkie though and the pickin’ parties at the festivals keep me coming back.

                                                                                                                              How did Coral Creek get started?

                                                                                                                              The current configuration of Coral Creek got started at the end of 2014 as a collaboration between Bill McKay and me.  We were both playing a lot around Colorado and we crossed paths a few times, so after my wife Susannah (who’s a terrific singer/songwriter and co-founder of the band) decided to step down, I was looking for a new collaborator. We gathered up Rob Garland and Jack Watson and launched Coral Creek 2.0 at the UllrGrass Music Festival in Golden in January of 2015, where we were joined by Luke Bulla as a guest on the fiddle. Luke was a great fit, so we’ve been touring and recording with Luke as much as possible ever since.

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                                                                                                                              Coral Creek (Image via http://www.coralcreek.net)

                                                                                                                              How does your creative approach work when songwriting?

                                                                                                                              For our first album, we did not do a lot of collaborative songwriting as a band. Bill and I are the primary contributing songwriters and for the most part we bring completed works to the band. The song arrangements may get tweaked a bit, but not a lot.

                                                                                                                              For myself, I tend to draw inspiration and content from people, places and life experiences. My life is hectic and I’m a bit ADD, so my approach is to grab good ideas, musical or lyrical, when the pop into my head and try to keep track them in notebooks and voice memos until I can find some time to sit down and complete a song. It’s a bit haphazard, but time can be a pretty good filter. When I listen back, there is plenty of garbage that seemed clever in the moment, but doesn’t hold up to sober scrutiny. But then there are the little nuggets that make for great lyrical content, musical motifs or even concepts for an entire song. Every so often I’ll steal a few days of isolation and complete the songs working from my notes.

                                                                                                                              What inspires you lyrically?

                                                                                                                              I draw inspiration from people, places, current events and random life experiences.

                                                                                                                              Do you have a quote or motto that you live by?

                                                                                                                              Not really, but I am a fan of the Golden Rule. That one serves us all well.

                                                                                                                              What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?

                                                                                                                              We’re making music here, so life is good. The challenge for all aspiring musicians is figuring out how to get the music out to where people can hear and appreciate it. There is so much great music in the world, that’s always going to be a challenge, but how you measure success is relative, so I’m not sure if we’ve overcome that one or not. The new album’s getting pretty good radio play, but I don’t think we’re there yet.

                                                                                                                              What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?

                                                                                                                              My advice would be to concentrate on the music/product and the promotion/business in equal parts. In rare cases, an artist can be successful with one and not the other. But most will need to build both to have success.

                                                                                                                              Frogleg Brings Their Jams to The Bottleneck July 13th

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                                                                                                                              Frogleg (Image via Frogleg’s Facebook page)

                                                                                                                              Frogleg skillfully blends funk, reggae and bluegrass to create their sound. Guitarist and vocalist Joe Dunn recently discussed how Micro Jammers began his musical obsession, how Frogleg got started and the band’s songwriting approach. Frogleg plays The Bottleneck July 13th.

                                                                                                                              What was your earliest musical memory?

                                                                                                                              My first musical memory would have been these mini guitar toys called Micro Jammers with different buttons that played short songs when I was a young tot. I was obsessed with them. That was probably the first thing that got my eyes set on becoming a guitar player.

                                                                                                                              How did Frogleg first come together?

                                                                                                                              It first started out as an acoustic trio with Demitri and Will Effertz, who is no longer in the group. Toward the end of the summer, in 2012, Demitri got a call to put a band together and be the Thursday night house band at Bunkers Bar and Grill in Minneapolis. We went for it! Almost 4 years later, we’re still holding down Thursday’s and having a blast.

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                                                                                                                              Frogleg (Image via Frogleg’s Facebook page)

                                                                                                                              You incorporate so many different styles of music to create your sound. What is your creative process when songwriting?

                                                                                                                              Originally it went where Demitri and I would write songs outside of the group and would bring them to the rest of the band and we’d work them out. Recently Demitri, Elliott, Sam, Jimmy and I have been getting together at a practice space and doing collaborative writing sessions. It’s been working out really well having more brains to give input. We’re excited about the new music.

                                                                                                                              How often do you find yourself writing songs?

                                                                                                                              I varies between the members of the band but we’ve been trying to get together at least once a week whether it’s writing lyrics or just piecing the music together for something to write to later.

                                                                                                                              What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?

                                                                                                                              Not only try to get out and play as much as you can, but also go out to shows and support and meet other musicians and artists. Networking with your peers is key when first creating your musical brand.

                                                                                                                              After Funk Funks Up The Bottleneck June 29th.

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                                                                                                                              After Funk (Image via http://wwwafterfunk.ca)

                                                                                                                              After Funk is a Toronto, Canada-based funk band. They are playing The Bottleneck June 29th. Bassist Justin Bontje recently discussed the beginnings of After Funk, his lyrical inspiration and the band’s musical creative process.

                                                                                                                              Did you come from a musical family? Were your parents musical?

                                                                                                                              My parents were never musicians, but always had music in their lives. They grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, a great time for music that is directly linked to the kind of music After Funk creates.

                                                                                                                              How did After Funk first come together?

                                                                                                                              After Funk came together at a university in southwestern Ontario, Jaime and Justin were randomly paired up as room mates where they were free to construct a beat laboratory for all to come and collaborate. That’s where Yanick came into the picture, he came to jam with them on keys. After winning multiple battle of the bands they decided to keep on making music!

                                                                                                                              It really just kind of happened. Justin and Jaime were paired as room mates at university where they met Yanick. After a couple jams we decided to enter a battle of the bands just for kicks. We needed a name to enter the contest and thus After Funk was born.

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                                                                                                                              After Funk (Image via http://wwwafterfunk.ca)

                                                                                                                              What is your creative approach when writing a song?

                                                                                                                              ?We try a mixture of approaches. A big one is listening before we play?. Because writing can be such a delicate process, we find it helpful to visualize before we make a bunch of noise with our instruments.

                                                                                                                              What inspires you lyrically?

                                                                                                                              ?Stories! People are interesting and awesome, and everyone has something great worth sharing. I also like to put a fantastical twist on things because I find the imagery evocative and imaginative.

                                                                                                                              Do you have a favorite quote or motto that you live by?

                                                                                                                              ?Chuffy. It means anything you want it to.

                                                                                                                              What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?

                                                                                                                              ?When the ground starts to get steep, you know you’ve reached the base of the mountain. Work hard and keep chuffin it.

                                                                                                                              Rolling Foliage Rolls Into The Bottleneck June 18th

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                                                                                                                              Rolling Foliage (Image via https://www.facebook.com/RollingFoliage )

                                                                                                                              Rolling Foliage is a Lawrence-based band. Guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Leaf recently discussed how he became passionate about bluegrass, his love of the Lawrence music scene. Rolling Foliage plays The Bottleneck with the Ragbirds June 18th.

                                                                                                                              What was your earliest musical memory?

                                                                                                                              My earliest memory musically is old Motown playing while momma cleaned house. She was always dancing around and my dad would say “easy momma, you’re gonna throw a hip out.” As far as live music, it was Cain Robberson and Joel Brummett playing guitar and washtub bass on Mass street. Cain with his eyes closed, on his knees, singing his heart out while Joel thumped that weed eater line. It was moving and inspiring for me.  

                                                                                                                              What got you interested in bluegrass?

                                                                                                                              Split Lip Rayfield got me into bluegrass. I used to live across from The Bottleneck and would always go in for free pool early in the day and get to watch the bands warm up and discuss band stuff. New Years every year was SLR and had never seen acoustic instruments played with such power and passion. You follow Split Lip and end up meeting all the die hard Winfield Bluegrass crew.  

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                                                                                                                              Rolling Foliage (Image via https://www.facebook.com/RollingFoliage )

                                                                                                                              How did Rolling Foliage get started?

                                                                                                                              Rolling Foliage started a few Junes ago. I had been building stages and throwing a festival called Festy Fest and the production took up all my time. I used to tour with Deadman Flats all across the country and Europe and used to open up as a solo/loop act. Decided I wanted a band to play with and ended up with Sonny and Paul, two friends that have played in all sorts of bands (primarily bluegrass) and my music seemed to be a way that both of them could stretch out a bit and not be bound to standard bluegrass rhythms and chord transitions. We actually have a hard time classifying our sound and try not to be stuck in a single genre.

                                                                                                                              What do you enjoy most about the music scene in Lawrence? 

                                                                                                                              The music scene is amazing. I remember listening to “The Band That Saved The World” CD and thinking they are my favorite band for three years and found out they were local! Let alone, I knew a couple of the members. The amount of musicians is staggering and the quality and variety of bands is impressive. I love being able to go out any night of the week and catch a band. I thought it was primarily a bluegrass scene and I was happily mistaken.  

                                                                                                                              What is your creative approach when writing tracks?

                                                                                                                              My creative approach is probably all the other monotonous work I do. When I’m welding I like to listen to music that’s around 100 bpm and get a steady groove going. I listen to the words and generally find my own groove and topic. When I sit and pick alone I generally find a simple lick and kinda freestyle the topic I’ve been thinking of while working. I figure most of the rhymes and melody at work. Paul and Sonny especially can jump in with ease once they hear it a time or two. I’ll sit and try to write a song sometimes and end up writing a completely different one. Your mood also has a lot of impact. It’s really tough to pinpoint when you can be inspired by so many different things.  

                                                                                                                              What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?

                                                                                                                              The biggest challenges have collaborating schedules. I work a lot and love to build and try to accommodate music with my projects while the other guys have other bands they play with and work as well. As much as we all would like our band to pay our bills, it’s just not doable unless you’re always on the road. I think I am ready to start putting more time into the band and am eager to write new material. It’s just hard to feel it when you’re overworked.  

                                                                                                                              What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?

                                                                                                                              The advice I’d give to musicians would be to prioritize your moves. Get good at your material. You shouldn’t have to think about what chord you’re playing next or how the lyric melody should go. It should be natural and each word/note should be deliberate. When you half-ass play a song it gets awkward and people don’t feel it. Play a song enough times where you nail it every time and play it like its the first time anyone has heard it and have fun. Even if you’re not that good, but are having fun doing it, people will like you. Bring the energy.

                                                                                                                              Vela Brings Their Indie Rock to The Bottleneck June 17th

                                                                                                                              Vela at The Bottleneck

                                                                                                                              Vela (Image via http://www.velakc.com)

                                                                                                                              Vela is a hard-hitting, Kansas City-based indie rock band. The band features Jonas Birkel on guitar and vocals and Sean Cedillo on drums. Birkel first became interested in music when his parents got him involved with playing classical music. “As far as being moved by music, I was about 4. Our family had a cassette tape called Peter and the Wolf and listening to that was mind altering. I would sit on my bed and blast it. I loved the dynamics between the heavy tones of the brass and the light woodwinds and strings. It still today is a huge influence for me,” he says.
                                                                                                                              The members of Vela first met in 5th grade. “Sean and I had always talked about starting a project and we tried it with a bunch of different people. But it never really worked out until we started playing as just a two piece,” Birkel says. Staying true to their vision, the band produces all of their own music.

                                                                                                                              Vela at The Bottleneck

                                                                                                                              Vela (Image via https://velakc.bandcamp.com/

                                                                                                                              Striving to create quality music keeps Vela focused. “Everything always ever and forever in music is a challenge. That’s why I feel that every musician carries a blessing and a curse. I see many people solely try to make money off of music or show how great they are at it. But I think that if just playing music isn’t enough fulfillment then don’t do it because the gratification will never inversely relate to the amount of time and effort you put in,” Birkel says about being a musician. Vela plays The Bottleneck June 17th with Fallopian Fire, Good Ole Fashion and Trauma Parlor.

                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                              The Ragbirds Take Flight at The Bottleneck June 18th

                                                                                                                              The Ragbirds at The Bottleneck

                                                                                                                              The Ragbirds (Image via http://www.theragbirds.com)

                                                                                                                              Catch The Ragbirds at The Bottleneck

                                                                                                                              The Ragbirds combine world music, bluegrass and more to create their sound. Their latest release is the album The Threshold & The Hearth. The Michigan-based band’s music has been described as infectious global groove. Vocalist and violinist Erin Zindle recently discussed the band’s beginnings, her personal mantra and advice for musicians just starting out. The Ragbirds play The Bottleneck with Rolling Foliage June 18th.

                                                                                                                              How did you become interested in music?

                                                                                                                              My early experiences with music start with my family and the church we grew up in. My mother always sang with my brothers and I as we went about our day – at meals, in the tub, as we played, etc. My parents also sang in the choir at the Baptist church we attended.  The church used hymnals so I grew up following along in the music from a very early age which helped me be an early reader and my dad always sang the tenor parts so I grew accustomed to hearing the harmony. At Christmastime my dad’s 8 brothers and sisters would gather and sing carols in harmony with guitars. I think it is because of this climate that It was always very natural for me to sing. I started violin lessons at the age of 9 and piano a few years later.  

                                                                                                                              How did the Ragbirds first get started?

                                                                                                                              In 2005, I had written more than an album’s worth of songs that were tugging at my sleeves so I decided to record them. I asked my boyfriend, percussionist Randall Moore (who is now my husband) to record the rhythm tracks. The early songs were very much centered around the world rhythms that Randall and I laid out. We found a guitarist and bassist to record those parts and we cut the record before we even played a single show together, then we hit the ground running and haven’t stopped since. We’ve had a few lineup changes over the years, but my brother TJ Zindle joined the band in 2008 and our current drummer Jon Brown and bassist Dan Jones joined a little over 2 years ago.

                                                                                                                              What is your creative approach to songwriting?

                                                                                                                              I am a lifelong student of the songwriting process and I could talk about it for days, so I’ll try to answer this as concisely as I can. I try to approach songwriting from many different angles to keep the process fresh and to challenge myself, but my most natural way of writing is to sit down in a quiet place with a pen and paper. For me, the words are at the center of my songs and I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the words before they are ever even sung. It is like a puzzle and once the words are “just right” they practically sing themselves. This is the greatest thrill and in these moments when a song lifts off the page into my throat I feel more alive and complete than ever. I usually rush to record the melody at this point and quickly find an instrument to sketch out the harmonic structure, experimenting and editing as I shape the song into being.

                                                                                                                              What inspires you lyrically?

                                                                                                                              Working through struggles. One of the lyrics on our new album is “I’m a self-improvement junkie” (from the song “Sometimes Honestly”) and it’s so true. I’m always striving for self-awareness through my songwriting, and seeking out the message of wisdom that the song wants to teach me. I’m trying to express my trials and sorrows by finding my way through them into hope and joy.  Songwriting is the best tool in the world to help me do that. My greatest hope is that other people who hear the songs when they are in a dark place can find their way out too.

                                                                                                                              The Ragbirds at The Bottleneck

                                                                                                                              Erin Zindle, of the Ragbirds (Image via http://www.theragbirds.com)

                                                                                                                              How did the song “Six Wheels” come together?

                                                                                                                              Oh, gosh. I wrote that song about 6 years ago I think. We were in the middle of one of our busiest touring years and we were constantly on the road. Touring can be exhausting and the lifestyle tends to be dominated by masculine energy. So, I was on the road with 5 boys (4 band members + our merch guy) in a van and trailer (that’s the 6 wheels) and was writing songs about our experiences which eventually were recorded for our 2011 album Travelin’ Machine. “Who’s got sugar who’s got spice?” was something I wrote in my journal one evening as I was reflecting on my need for femininity. It’s easy to lose touch with yourself in a sense when you are surrounded 24/7 by people who are very different from you.  I was so grateful on the road every time I’d get a little “girl time” – like if we’d stay with a friend, or even just the little hospitable touches that women would bring to the show experience – like home-cooked meals in a clean green room, etc. Those little moments were so refreshing and those human connections mean the world to all of us who live a traveling lifestyle.

                                                                                                                              Do you have a favorite quote or motto that you live by?

                                                                                                                              I have a mantra that I repeat each morning.  It’s an acronym for the word EMBRACE, which reminds me to embrace each day.

                                                                                                                              E – Enjoy the day

                                                                                                                              M – Magnify the positive

                                                                                                                              B – Be the strongest version of yourself

                                                                                                                              R – Rise above the petty stuff

                                                                                                                              A – Accept responsibility (+ apologize effortlessly)

                                                                                                                              C – Control your tongue

                                                                                                                              E – Empathize with others

                                                                                                                              What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?

                                                                                                                              This new music business is full of many possibilities so it’s important to go into it knowing your own personal definition of success. If you are genuine (both vulnerable and humbly aware of what makes you unique) and always striving to learn and improve then you will succeed. It’s just that success doesn’t look anything like the old model – and it usually is not the same as fortune and fame. Know yourself and plan for the long game. If there’s anything else you can see yourself just as happily doing then do that thing, because this way, this business is a hard way to go. It’s also worth every bit of the hard work and disappointment. It’s the only job I’ve ever had. I’ve been touring in bands for almost 20 years! I always remind myself how lucky I am though, because what else could I be doing with my life that would make so many people happy? I know that this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, and if you know that about yourself too, then the sky is the limit.

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