I love this city. I’ve got a lot of sappy thoughts about it as I reflect on being here for a year and a half but the big thing is music. Yeah, the coasts are really great. And I frequently miss the ocean. But that Midwest kindness mixed with cheap indie concerts, access to world-class art, and some of the best coffee in the country (yeah I said it) make it pretty easy to stay. I knew KC loved the arts, but that’s only been proven moreover throughout this last year, especially as I explore more of my city and great radio stations like The Bridge keeps playing so many of these local gems (after I gush about how great Maggie Rogers was).
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Maggie Rogers + Mallrat
Wow. Maggie was AMAZING last Saturday. I’m still living off of that dance party high…. And a lot of coffee.
Mallrat opened for Maggie and it’s clear she’s still shy in her performing, but it was pretty endearing. She had this cowboy hat she kept worrying would fall off. The set felt like we were watching her and her friend mix beats in her living room. Again, really sweet to watch her share her music. You could tell she was really proud of it and into it.
Solid 4 out of 5 cowboy hats.
Taking a total 180 to the dance floor, Maggie Rogers started her set with the lights off as we all danced to “Dancing Queen” by ABBA. And wow. It only got better. We’re talking all out dance party the whole time. Maggie has amazing range and her performance was full of so much energy. You could tell she was giving it her all. Also, her parents were there. How cute. “Light on” was my favorite song of hers, really in general, but also the performance just put it at #1. She closed her set by singing “Now That the Light is Fading” acapella, which she said she used to sing at a camp she went to growing up.
5/5 dance parties.
Niche Genre – Local
The Greeting Committee – Nov 10
I started listening to these guys (and gal) years ago when a KC friend of mine shared them with me because she heard them on The Buzz (another great local radio station). They are classic indie with a little pop. And maybe it’s their sweet sound with hipster flair or that fact that they’re everything I wanted to be in high school, but these kids know what’s up. The band met in high school (Blue Valley) and got the attention of Buzz host Lazlo Geiger.
I met some of the band, including Pierce, at a SoFar Sounds KC show earlier this year and they are so sweet. Pierce said they were working on a new album and it finally dropped this week! They just sold out their show at the Truman November 10th so they’re doing something right. Go listen.
“To us, The Greeting Committee is an art project influenced by the listeners. The music is merely the soundtrack to something much greater” – TGC
Intro: Hands Down (old album), Don’t Go (new album)
For fans of Bad Bad Hats, Hippo Campus, Sjowgreen, Jukebox the Ghost, Colony House
The Roseline – Nov 3
I heard The Roseline (fronted by Colin Halliburton of Lawrence, KS) on the Bridge when they played “Hurry Up and Wait.” It’s a catchy little song. It’s almost a more country version of Dawes’ “All your favorite bands” song (all time fave). This one is definitely for my friends who like their tea a little sweeter.
Halliburton describes the music as “somewhat literate, midwestern, alt-country, bummer music with a hint of hope.”
They’re playing at Ollie’s Pub this Saturday (Nov 3) But you can catch him around town pretty often.
Intro: Hurry Up and Wait
For fans of Lilly Haitt, Shovels and Rope, Jason Isbell, Dawes, Trampled by Turtles
Bob & Una Walkenhorst
It’s a classic story of not wanting to live in your famous parent’s shadow. Oh wait, you don’t struggle with that? Oh well, still makes for some great music. Una Walkenhorst went on a year and a half road trip to establish herself as a musician without the help of her father, who was the lead singer of The Rainmakers (popular 1980s band). But, now, she and her father are making an album together. So that’s cute.
Intro: For Tomorrow, Afraid of the Rain
For fans of The Rainmakers ;), folk, southern gothic, a little Brandi Carlile, Emmylou Harris, Civil Wars
Check out their 909 Bridge session.
Belle and the Vertigo Waves
Don’t remember how I heard of Belle, but somehow I heard her song “What You Wanted” and had to stop and know who was playing. I’m hoping to grab a show of hers soon, but in the meantime, she’s got a full album called “Aligned” that’s some easy listening. And how can you not love someone whose bio says “She resides in Kansas City, MO, and is slowly attempting world domination.” Belle Loux was at Middle of the Map this year and judging by her Instagram, always has some light-tastic shows.
Intro: What You Wanted
For fans of indie, but also 90s grunge and definitely some Cranberries.
Second Hand King
Joe Stanziola (can I call ya Joe?) is the main guy behind Second Hand King. He’s got a genre all his own, mixing a little hip-hop/rap and doo-wop. I’m down. His lyrics are both vulnerable and cheeky-honest (Go so wrong) and he’s got such a heart for encouraging people to be vulnerable that he held a show where he also talked to a therapist in front of an audience.
Intro: Cold Shoulder, King of Broken Hearts, Go So Wrong
For fans of Childish Gambino, Dean Martin, Ben Folds, Regina Spektor, idk it’s like pop-ish but also some rap mixed in. Joe does his own thing. And he owns it.
Also, I really love his music videos.
Madisen Ward & the Momma Bear
Another parent-child power combo here. Madisen Ward and his sweet mama Ruth Ward are consistently the talk of KC. They’re an acoustic roots and blues duo. Ruth has been playing music since she was 19 and traveled throughout the country in her youth. After putting her music on hold and raising her children, her youngest, Madisen, showed a similar affection for the music Ruth also loved and they started playing together. He’s the man behind the lyrics, and Ruth joins on guitar and harmonies.
Intro: Silent Movies, Hell and Back
For fans of The War and Treaty, Parker Millsap, J. Roddy Walston, Nathaniel Rateliff, The Lone Bellow
If you’re living in KC and haven’t heard of Hembree, lift the rock off your head. These guys are blowing up. I saw them when they opened for Phoenix last fall and they were so great, just natural performers. They were also featured as one of NPR’s Slingshot artists, their single “Holy Water” was featured in an Apple commercial, they were a hot pick at SXSW, and they don’t even have a full-length album out yet.
Intro: Had It All, Holy Water
For fans of Mt. Joy, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Joywave
Other locals worth checking out
Oct 31 – Tank and the Bangas (Truman)
Nov 1 – Joy Formidable (RecordBar)
Nov 2 – mwY (Bottleneck)
Nov 2 – Sir Sly & Joywave (Truman)
Nov 3 – The Roseline (Ollie’s Local)
Nov 7 – Una Walkenhorst (Bier Station)
Nov 10 – Greeting Committee (Truman) SOLD OUT
Nov 10 – Weepies (Knuckleheads) $25
Nov 14 – Bastille (Uptown) $35
Nov 16 – John Prine w Conor Oberst (Midland)
Nov 21 – Twenty One Pilots (Sprint)
Katherine’s 5 Things – Thanks to Katherine, I binge-watched “Bodyguard” on Netflix all day Sunday.
SoFar Sounds KC – SoFar was created to provide artists with a concert experience where the audience really wants to sit and listen. You can sign up for small concerts on their website, get invited, and then enjoy an intimate concert with local artists.