Monday, October 27, 2014

Concert Review: Kverlertak, Gojira and Mastodon at the Uptown Theater


As he took my $30 last Wednesday, the man in the box office of the Uptown Theater raved about the brilliance of Mastodon.  I confessed that while I admire the band, I was really laying down my money for the opening acts. 

I'd already attended three or four Mastodon concerts but I had yet to witness Kvelertak perform "Bruane Brenn" and I hadn't seen Gojira since the French band opened for Lamb of God in the same venue in 2007. 

Kvelertak didn't disappoint in an opening set marked by revolting showers of spit and sweat.  Gojira's slow songs caused me to wonder if it's the world's best post-metal band.  For its part, Mastodon dialed the visuals way back from the gaudy spectacles displayed on previous tours. 


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I reviewed Judas Priest's concert at the Midland theater.

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I reviewed Lecrae's concert at Independence Events Center.

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Here's my Local Listen feature on the Architects for KCUR's Up To Date.

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Kansas City musician Horace Washington has died.

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Jack Bruce has died.

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Budos Band's metal-tinged Burnt Offering is RIYL: Booker T & the MGs, epic instrumental jams, the Meters.  Here's the title track.

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The title of the stellar new Francis Bebey compilation Psychedelic Sanza: 1982-1984 is misleading.  RIYL: God, Mickey Hart, life. (Tip via Big Steve.)

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The Thought of You, Otis Brown III's debut album as a leader, is RIYL: Joe Lovano's Us 5, the idea of jazz as a living music, Gretchen Parlato.

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Walt Weiskopf's Overdrive is RIYL: Michael Brecker, classic Blue Note, Kenny Garrett.

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Hey, there's a new documentary about the Mekons!  (Tip via Rick H.)

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John Cale recalls Lou Reed on "If You Were Still Around".

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: The Owen/Cox Dance Company's "A Body of Work"


As the rest of an audience of about 100 watched five athletic dancers at La Esquina on Sunday, October 5, I studied Brad Cox as he manipulated sound at the back of the room.  I have nothing against ballet, but Cox's stunning score for The Owen/Cox Dance Group's production "A Body of Work" demanded my full attention.  Using a combination of prerecorded backing tracks, ambient beats derived from the dancers' movements, a drum machine and the live vocals of Victoria Botero, Cox crafted a compelling soundscape.  Additional percussion emanating from four hanging columns and a quadrophonic mix made the experience even more dizzying.  Cox's exceptional performance was a civilized version of the futuristic work of groundbreaking acts like Marijuana Deathsquads.


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I reviewed Tuesday's concert by Gaslight Anthem, Against Me! and Cory Branan.

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The Kronos Quartet's performance at Helzberg Hall floored me on Saturday. 

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Ikey Owens of Mars Volta has died.  Owens recently produced Various Blonde's Summer High album.

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John Holt of the Paragons has died.

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Here's a video tour of the Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven.

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Local Customs: Cavern Sound, a compilation of forgotten bands from Independence, will be released this week.  The only name that rings a bell is Morningstar, a band I hadn't thought about in at least 25 years.

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Iceage's Plowing Into the Field of Love is shockingly raw.  RIYL: The Fall, drunken stupors, the Birthday Party.  Here's "How Many".

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The video for Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's "Quail and Dumplings" is almost as good as the song.

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It's not fair to Vince Staples, but almost all I could think about as I listened to Hell Can Wait was how much I still love Earl Sweatshirt's Doris.  RIYL: OFWGKTA, Los Angeles, the Cool Kids.

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On Worker, the latest studio album by Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, the Oklahoma band veers into electronic territory.  RIYL: Soulive, acting on impulses, Galactic.

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SZA's fine new album Z is RIYL: Sade, slow motion, Frank Ocean.  "Babylon" is the best track.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Concert Review: Lalah Hathaway at KC Live


I've witnessed performances by Tony Bennett, Deborah Brown, Joyce DiDonato and Bettye LaVette this year.  Lalah Hathaway out-sang all of them at the KC Live stage in the Power & Light District on Sunday.  About 5,000 people attended the free concert.

From the vocal trickery of the Grammy-winning "Something" to the emotional histrionics of the big hit "Forever, For Always,  For Love", Hathaway's repertoire allowed her to demonstrate that she's among the best vocalists in popular music. 

Poor Ruben Studdard didn't stand a chance against Donny's daughter.  He and Hathaway shared a band.  The concert was successful in part because the needless ambient noise I complained about in my review of Eric Benét's recent concert in the same space was blessedly silenced on Sunday. 


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I reviewed the 18th & Vine Jazz & Blues Festival.

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Paul Revere has died.

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Flying Lotus's stunning new album You're Dead! is equal parts hip-hop, jazz and electronic music.

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Jason Moran's All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller RIYL: Meshell Ndegeocello, high concept, Joni Mitchell.  Here's a recast rendition of "Ain't Misbehavin'.

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It was nice to see the longtime There Stands the Glass favorite Lazerbeak support Lizzo on the Late Show with David Letterman.  (My notes on Lizzo's 2014 appearance at the RecordBar are here.)

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Mark Kozelek has jokes.

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Bill Frisell's new surf-oriented Guitar in the Space Age is RIYL: The Ventures, baby boomers, Steely Dan.

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The self-titled album by Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn is wondrous.  RIYL: banjer, Raymond Fairchild, no frills.

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My selections among the recently nominated candidates for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in order: Chic, N.W.A., Lou Reed, Kraftwerk and War.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Lou Whitney


Chuck Berry still maintained a heavy tour schedule when I became old enough to sneak into nightclubs.  What a disappointment!  The first two times I caught him, the legend was clearly going through the motions. 

Ever the glutton for punishment, I once found myself at Parody Hall to give the man another go.  Berry's demeanor shifted from contempt to delight upon recognizing the expertise of the pickup band.  That outing remains the only time I've seen Berry give a damn.  Lou Whitney and his cohorts in the Skeletons/Morells were the men responsible for inspiring Berry.

I spent several nights dancing to Whitney's bands during the next few years.  On the two or three occasions I spoke with him, he was funny and gracious.  Whitney died this week.  C.J. Janovy wrote a nice piece about the beloved Missourian. 

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Album Review: Sturgill Simpson- Metamodern Sounds in Country Music


I'm skeptical when people who wouldn't know Ray Price from Luke Bryan rave about a country artist.  Having been raised on albums by Waylon, Willie and Kris, I take it personally when jokers subvert those sounds to amuse people who look down on the form.  That's why I avoided Sturgill Simpson's fashionable Metamodern Sounds in Country Music for months.  I'm finally willing to admit that it's really good.  With lyrics that could have been written by Jimmie Dale Gilmore and production modeled on Honky Tonk Heroes, the album sends me back to my smoke-filled childhood home.


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I reviewed the Zombie Pub Crawl.

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I participated in a discussion about Kansas City's jazz scene on KCUR's Central Standard last week.

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D/Will and Stik Figa made a video for "Work".

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Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar are at their best on "Never Catch Me".

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Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood is my favorite jam band.  Juice is RIYL: Garage a Trois, outdoor festivals, Umphrey's McGee.

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It really goes without saying, but Prince's messy new Art Official Age contains about 20 minutes of brilliance.  RIYL: Controversy, freaks, Sign o' the Times.

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Yelawolf's "Till It's Gone" is one of my favorite songs of 2014.  RIYL: Lindsey Buckingham, classic rock, Tech N9ne.

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Roni Size is back.  His new album Take Kontrol is RIYL: 1997, video game soundtracks, Orbital.

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Jazz can be a chore.  It took four sessions for me to work my way through Joris Roelof's Aliens Deliberating.  RIYL: Eric Dolphy, nails on chalkboards, Ned Rothenberg.

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Everclear's spoof of U2's partnership with Apple is perfect.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Concert Review: Eric Benét at KC Live


I couldn't have imagined the sexually-charged mayhem I was about to experience when I entered Kemper Arena to see Marvin Gaye in 1983.  I've since been part of dozens of similarly fevered audiences.  It never gets old.  Sunday's free Eric Benét concert on the KC Live stage in the Power & Light District was one of the best of the type I've attended.  As Halle Berry's ex-husband crooned ballads like the sensitive "Sometimes I Cry" and the sultry "Chocolate Legs", many in the audience of 9,000 screamed deliriously.  While earsplitting, their shouts and the fine work of Benét's five-piece band competed with the canned music that blared from many of the adjacent taverns and restaurants, an inexcusable insult that's plagued concerts in the district since 2008.


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I reviewed the Preservation Hall Jazz Band's concert at the VooDoo Lounge.

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In the previous There Stands the Glass post I lamented the lack of truly great new music.  The Architects may have rescued me.  At first listen, Border Wars (Episode II) sounds magnificent.  RIYL: The Clash, rock and roll lifers, Sham 69.

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Here's Ces Cru's amusing video for "Jimmy Stewart".

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Lou Whitney, one of the greatest living Missourians, is ailing.  Here's 75 minutes of prime Morells.  (Via D.W.)

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The video for Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood's "Juicy Lucy" is solid.




(Original images by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Kendrick Conundrum


Where in tarnation is my album of the year?  I've found plenty to like but little to love among the hundreds of albums I've heard in 2014.  (Perhaps my lack of focus plays a role in this conundrum.)  I prefer the top seven titles in my year-end 2013 list in the column to the right to anything I've encountered during the past nine months.  Where's the stuff that turns my world upside down?  Kendrick Lamar's disappointing new song "i" sent me into panic mode.  C'mon Kanye.

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I reviewed concerts by Spoon and Living Colour.

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Here's the video for Josh Berwanger's "Enemies".

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Kenny Wheeler has died.

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George Hamilton IV, a staple of the Opry, has died.

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Highway Robbery, the new album by Freeway and the Jacka, is RIYL: J. Stalin, thug life, Messy Marv. The Real Rick Ross and Freddie Gibbs are in the video for "Cherry Pie".

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Jerry Douglas, Rob Ickes and the late Mike Auldridge sound great on The Three Bells.  RIY:: dobro, Gene Wooten, pickin' and grinnin'. 

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Goat's formula- equal parts the Doors, the Velvet Underground, Tinariwen and Toumani Diabaté- is irresistible on Commune.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)