KC music

Rural Grit Happy Hour celebrates its 15th anniversary

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
Last Monday about 20 to 30 hearty souls braved the cold and the coming snowstorm to go down to the Crossroads and celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of that uniquely Kansas City jam of American music, the Rural Grit Happy Hour
The Rural Grit Happy Hour started in the winter of 1999 as Brother Ike's Rural Grit Happy Hour ("Brother Ike" being frontman Ike Sheldon of The Wilders), and it was held on Monday evenings at the Grand Emporium. I worked at that fine establishment back then, and when the word spread through the musical community that Roger Naber had sold the bar, the most frequent question I got from people out in the community, wherever I went, was "what will happen to Rural Grit?" asked by people who were genuinely, painfully concerned. 
After the Grand Emporium, the Rural Grit Happy Hour found a home at Mike's Tavern, the bar across Troost from Rockhurst University, where I learned a new definition of "awkward.” While my son and my money were going to Rockhurst, I walked into a Rural Grit one night to find a former colleague from the GE happily serving my minor son while he tapped his foot and bobbed his head in time to the music. Eventually, he felt the daggers I was staring at him and turned slowly to see me standing there cross-armed and fuming. He closed his tab and beat a hasty retreat across the street to his dorm.
A few years later, it was my turn to ask "what happened to Rural Grit?" with genuine concern, when that same son, now living in a house a couple of blocks from Mike's, told me in a satisfied tone, that the bar had closed. "Don't worry Mom. It moved to The Brick, and the Brick isn't going anywhere. It'll be there forever."
Here's hoping, because looking at the slideshow of fifteen years of Rural Grit on Monday night, I sure did get nostalgic for those Mondays gone by.
--Tammy Booth
Tammy (AKA Blue Girl) also blogs for They Gave Us A Republic and Show Me Progress.
The Rural Grit Happy Hour happens every Monday from 6-9 p.m. at The Brick. Old Sound will be the featured artist at tomorrow’s show. If Mondays don’t work for you, you can catch the Rural Grit All-Stars at Halfway To Winfield 2014 at Knuckleheads on Saturday, March 15. Facebook event page. Purchase tickets online. 

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Album review: Steady States - EEEPEETOO (EP)

(Photo by Paul Garcellano)
Apparently, I am now old enough for the sludge, stomp and insanity of my youth to come back around. Are The Melvins, Jesus Lizard, Shellac, Helmet and Young Marble Giants my classic rock? Are young bands claiming my freak-out heroes for their own now? Judging from what I hear on Steady States’ new EP, the answer is clear: the bands that I discovered as rebellion to the bullshit of ‘80s and ‘90s radio are now the template of rock ‘n roll. And I’m fine with it. The band (Joel Shields, Mark Lewis, Bob Comire, Kyle Anthony) flies in the face of what’s expected in “alternative rock” and spits into the wind with no regard of who will get hit in the back splash. I appreciate that approach.
From the opening chords of “Muzzle & Fitness,” the leadoff track, I hear the space between Scratch Acid and Jesus Lizard-era David Yow. Abrasive, chaotic, insane rapid-fire rock that, I suspect, was made for the sole purpose of pissing off those that are not already unacquainted with the asylum that is Steady States. I appreciate this approach; I myself occasionally start fires (figurative ones of course) just to see what burns.
Therein lies the beauty and the rub of Steady States: it is a band that clearly pushes what convention accepts as rock ‘n roll, and history has shown us that pushing boundaries doesn’t equal mass appeal. However, EEEPEETOO has no hopes of mainstream success; it will not get anywhere near the gated neighborhood that the mainstream comfortably occupies but they will find an audience, and I suspect, a rabid one at that.
“Happiness” comes on like a Helmet track, if guitarist Page Hamilton was blasted out of his gourd; it’s ominous, slightly off-kilter, mostly instrumental, the kind of tune a serial killer would love. The track “Mound City” is every bit as sludgy as Gluey Porch Treatments-era Melvins, but strangely has the most potential of all the songs to see even a second of radio time.
“White Caps” is almost bluesy, departing from the form of the previous tracks. The guitars of Shields and Lewis work perfectly within the bass and drums in a way that gets under your skin, stuck in like a splinter or a leech that refuses to let go.
I hate to use the word “refreshing” in any of my reviews but EEEPEETOO is refreshing, in that it ignores what many in music hold dear: mass appeal, widespread acceptance, and fame. Steady States is making the music it wants to make and throwing caution to the wind. The group strives, it seems, to not be like the rest and in that will be the weird, wild, and noisy beast.

EEEPEETOO was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Weights & Measures Soundlab by Duane Trower.
Catch Steady States as they celebrate the release of EEEPEETOO Saturday night, February 8, at Davey’s Uptown. Red Kate, Loose Park, and The Brannock Device will also play. Show starts at 9:00 pm, $8. Facebook event page.
--Danny R. Phillips
Danny R. Phillips has been reporting on music of all types and covering the St. Joseph music scene for well over a decade. He is a regular contributor to the nationally circulated BLURT Magazine and his work has appeared in The Pitch, The Omaha Reader, Missouri Life, The Regular Joe, Skyscraper Magazine, Popshifter, Hybrid Magazine, the websites Vocals on Top and Tuning Fork TV, Perfect Sound Forever, The Fader, and many others.

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Akkilles wins The Deli KC's 2013 Emerging Artist Award!

Congrats to Akkilles, our WINNER of The Deli KC’s 2013 Emerging Artist Poll!
Akkilles is the project of songwriter David Bennett, who began by writing folk-inspired demos with his acoustic guitar. He is the sole musician on his debut EP, Demo Treasure, which is available at Bandcamp. But this isn’t your regular sleepy coffeehouse acoustic hour—not by a long shot. Bennett takes risks with his music, many of which are fully realized in his debut full-length LP Something You’d Say (see our review here), released in mid-2013 through The Record Machine. Bennett enlisted an accomplished cast of musicians (Nick Pick, Rachel Pollock, Jeff Larison, Isaac Anderson, and Mike Crawford) to carry out his compositions, influenced by folk but swathed in a snug blanket of ambient, chill indie pop. It's music that anyone can listen to, whether it's a listener who becomes unconsciously bathed in its warmth or one who gets swept away by its depth and texture.
The result is that Akkilles has won over KC audiences with its easygoing summer pop sound, tinged with subtle hints of psychedelia. Bennett, who sometimes performs with the full five-piece band or sometimes a stripped-down version, has the ingenuity to transform songs that began as minimalistic bedroom tapes into dynamically dominant indie pop arrangements that seem to catch the attention of anyone in earshot.
Akkilles performs next at Czar Bar on Thursday, February 20, with Rae Fitzgerald and Cleemann. Don’t miss it!
--Michelle Bacon
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays bass in The Philistines and Dolls on Fire, and drums in Drew Black & Dirty Electric 

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Katy Guillen & the Girls Runner Up in The Deli KC's 2013 Best Emerging Artist Poll

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
Congrats to Katy Guillen & the Girls, The Deli KC’s second-place pick for 2013 Emerging Artist!
Though they’ve been a band for only a little over a year, Katy Guillen & the Girls have gained a strong and dedicated following in Kansas City and beyond. Guillen—whose blues/roots/rock/flamenco guitar skills far exceed that of most—has assembled a precise, expert rhythm section of Claire Adams on bass and Stephanie Williams on drums (see our 2012 interview with Williams) to set her songs in motion.
The trio recently took fourth place at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis with its unique, daring interpretation of blues rock.
KG & the Girls released …and then there were three in summer 2013 (see our review here) and a single for “Earth Angel” early this year. If you want to find out more about them, we did a Q&A with them shortly after the album was released.
The group will be playing at Knuckleheads on Wednesday, February 26, with The Latenight Callers and John Velghe & the Prodigal Sons. Facebook event page.
--Michelle Bacon
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays bass in The Philistines and Dolls on Fire, and drums in Drew Black & Dirty Electric

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Not A Planet Runner Up in The Deli KC's 2013 Best Emerging Artist

Congrats to Not A Planet, The Deli KC’s #3 pick for 2013 Emerging Artist!
Not A Planet has garnered well-deserved attention with its unmistakably catchy pop sound, complete with pleasant vocal harmonies and a garage rock edge. Frontman Nathan Corsi’s vocals are passionate, theatrical, and soulful all at once, weaving together the trio’s cohesive, sincere indie rock approach. Corsi, along with bassist William Sturges and drummer Liam Sumnicht (see our 2013 interview with Sumnicht), command each stage they play with exuberance, finesse, and finely crafted songs.
In mid-2013, Not A Planet released its debut LP concept album, The Few, The Proud, The Strange (see our review). The trio has opened up for big names like ZZ Ward, Flogging Molly, and Maps and Atlases, and returns on tour this month to introduce more audiences to its infectious, energetic sound.


Not A Planet will be heading out on tour this month, but you can catch them when they return for their first KC show of the year at The Riot Room on Friday, February 28, with Me Like Bees and The Electric Lungs. Facebook event page.

--Michelle Bacon

Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays bass in The Philistines and Dolls on Fire, and drums in Drew Black & Dirty Electric.

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