Lawrence Field Day Fest 5 feature at the Pitch

[caption id="attachment_18836" align="aligncenter" width="540"]Music_ShadowRabbits.57850c177944f Shadow Rabbits[/caption]
In its original incarnation, Lawrence Field Day Fest featured the sort of games played during elementary school field days. Those games have gone by the wayside in favor of three days of the best local music the area has to offer. Past years have focused on indie and rock acts, but the fifth edition has the fest branching out with more bands and artists than ever before. In addition to the fest spotlighting Girls Rock Lawrence, there will be three different local labels showcasing their acts. The Pitch spoke with the folks behind the Record Machine, High Dive Records and Datura to find out what they have to offer attendees this year.
Read the complete feature on Field Day Fest 5 at the Pitch. Published 7/12/16

Lawrence Field Day Fest 2015, Night Three

lfdf header The third and final night of 2015's Lawrence Field Day Fest kicked off hard. It was pushed back half an hour, but Eyes of Iolite wasted no time in getting things ripping. "The Thing" kicked it off, and for the rest of their set, it was fuzzed-out blast after blast. Sludge? Doom? Whatever you want to call it, this trio knows how to deliver metal. It's so fucking heavy, with a volume and low end that makes it hard to even breathe. There's no moshing to this: just let the band lead the assault. [gallery ids="18498,18499,18500"] My friend and former roommate has been playing drums for the People's Punk Band for months now, and he's been talking them up as a band I'd love. I tend to worry about hyperbole such as that, because it's usually unwarranted , but in this case, he was dead right. Big, chunky riffs, and that weird harmonic vocal thing that Turbonegro or Death By Stereo does? Sold. Fucking sold. It's punk 'n' roll, and my only complaint was carrying around a goddamn camera bag, because this is the sort music to which you throw yourself around with wild abandon. Doing that with a grand of electronic equipment is dumb -- although, in this case, tempting. [gallery ids="18512,18511,18510,18509,18508,18507"] It's basically what happened halfway into the Federation of Horsepower's set. The rock 'n' roll train that this five-piece rides is hard to avoid becoming a passenger on, and when they do something like cover Cocknoose's "All Jacked Up," what the hell am I supposed to do? Not scream along like a maniac? Obviously not. This is as near as I get to attending church, so I better testify while the service is going on. Exaggeration aside, they've been a favorite for over a decade now, and any chance to see them rock out in my town is a welcome one. That goes doubly true for a show like last night's, where in addition to 100% rock 'n' roll power, frontman Gregg Todt wandered outside and across the street with his wireless pickup, playing guitar in the middle of a goddamn crosswalk. That, my friends, is showmanship. [gallery ids="18501,18502,18503,18504,18505,18506"] I saw Gnarly Davidson, but only about a song or two. It was, as to be expected, very loud, the band set up on the floor and blazing through their setlist. Every show from these three makes me wonder whether or not they have to chug water beforeheand, because thet have to be getting some sort of workout from their performances. They put their fucking all into their music. Psychic Heat proceeded to rock out the Jackpot afterward. It's odd, because the band plays out so often, I don't feel the need to see them as much as I have the opportunity to do so. That means that every set I catch is light years ahead of the one previous. Saturday night's performance was frighteningly tight garage psychedelia, and their crowd was all head-shaking, hip-moving enthusiasm. Bonus: Kliph Scurlock was filling in on drums, absolutely murdering the kit, and comedian Barry Crimmins (star of the new Bobcat Goldthwait doc, Call Me Lucky) was right up front. It was amazing, and the perfect end to three days of rock insanity. [gallery ids="18513,18514,18515,18516,18517"]

Lawrence Field Day Fest 2015, Night Two

lfdf header My first band of the second night was a muscular rock 'n' roll quartet. It looks like I'm going for a theme, huh? Actually, Kansas City's Admiral of the Red would pair nicely with the Vedettes. The KC act definitely leans more toward modern rock in their sound, but definitely knows how to lock in to more than just shredding and screaming. There's a punk verve and melodic hook to what they do, and while it's not earth-shattering in terms of novelty, it's certainly worth watching. [gallery ids="18475,18474,18473"] Having seen the Josh Berwanger Band probably more than any other active local band, I think I know what's what. The lineup Friday night is the one I really wish would be the "official" one. I know Heidi Gluck has her own solo career, but goddamn if Berwanger isn't better with her guitar and vocals providing counterpart and harmonies. Even something like "Enemies," where the vocal component is pretty simple, just results in much more going on. The harmonies are richer, the guitars are fuller, and it's nigh-impossible not to start singing along. A bonus of last night's set was the band being a little more rough and tumble in their playing. It was more garage, less stadium, and it made me happy to see the foursome get a little scrappy. Downside to their set: the crowd grew during it, but it was due to people wandering in from the free Split Lip Rayfield show down the street. As soon as it ended, the club FILLED, but with loud assholes ignoring the band onstage. Upside: "Mary" was renamed "Theresa" for the first verse, and the band won over 20 drunk kids instantly. [gallery ids="18476,18477,18478,18479,18480,18481"] Afterward, I attempted to see David Hasselhoff on Acid at the Taproom, but things were nearly an hour behind, so it was more just chatting with folks, using the bathroom, and getting down to the Replay for Sister Rat. The Lawrence trio has been playing a lot more shows in recent months, and it's really helped. The doom punks have always been a favorite of mine, but the stage presence they've gained leads to shows which are a lot less nerve-wracking in terms of tension. They look like they're enjoying themselves now, rather than white-knuckling it through their set. The songs are tighter, and I love watching these brash women fucking kick ass. Songs like "Revolutions" and "Valhalla" are still amazing, but other songs manage to grab people who aren't already fans, and that's fucking rad to watch. "It's Okay" has gone from a feedback-soaked mess to a screaming declaration of hope. Sister Rat may now be the only band which has successfully married doom and pop-punk, and watching them pull it off every time brings me a joy I can't put into words. [gallery ids="18493,18492,18491,18490,18489,18488"] KCMO's Sedlec Ossuary ended my night on a fully-destructive note. The death metal act drew a crowd of their own who head-banged the ever-loving fuck out of the Replay. The bar hasn't seen a band like this in some time, and it needed it. The energy level was through the roof. Double kicks, breakdowns, and pummeling bass combined with melodic riffing to just destroy. Those vocals, too: raspy screams that switched to guttural roars on a dime. The only downside is that stuffing a band with two guitarists and a full metal drum kit onto that little Replay stage meant there wasn't a lot of room for the band to move. Maybe next time I see them, I can catch them on a stage where they have room to strut. [gallery ids="18487,18486,18485,18484,18483,18482"]

Lawrence Field Day Fest 2015, Night One

lfdf header Night one of the 2015 Lawrence Field Day Fest was a bit lighter than I would've liked, but plans to see more bands were sidetracked by attending a screening of the documentary, The Damned: Don't You Wish That We Were Dead, followed by a performance from Mike Watt and the Missing Men. I'd intended to skip Watt's performance, but then he played a dozen Clash songs and the Minutemen's "Bob Dylan Wrote Protest Songs," and next thing you know, I'm running terribly behind. That said, I did get to see three great bands, and I'm happy I was able to see them. I started the night with newly-minted Lawrence quartet, the Vedettes. Equal parts blues, mod, and soul, the Vedettes are absolutely devastating. They remind me of late '60s / early '70s rock 'n' roll, but specifically the post-Blue Cheer stuff that's being referred to these days as heavy psych or bonehead crushers. The bass on the Vedettes' songs emphasizes the groove, and it's just dirty. Something about all of this makes me want to get in a car and drive very, very fast -- preferably to get somewhere I might have enthusiastic sex. Like I said: DIRTY. [gallery ids="18466,18467,18468"] The Ovaries-eez are the absolute exact opposite. They're quiet, beautiful folk, with harmonies for days. Just the most dreamy sort of music, very well-suited for a hot, muggy summer weeknight. The group's vocal dynamics are the highlight, here, demonstrating a kind of singing that hearkens all the way back to ... forever ago, making the Ovaries-eez a band completely timeless. [gallery ids="18460,18461,18462"] The Sugar Britches (or at least 3/4 of them) complimented the Ovaries-eez nicely. They were more upbeat, certainly more profane, but continued the harmonies. Their bluegrass stylings have been getting them gigs all over town lately, and it's easy to see why: witty, catchy numbers loaded with prfanity will always go down nicely in these parts. They're a little bigger than the Ovaries-eez, in terms of sound, but the paring still worked out wonderfully. It's great to see two bands of women making music, playing back-to-back. Empowering and entertaining pairings like this make Field Day Fest more than another bunch of angry dude bands playing one after the other, and it's so appreciated. [gallery ids="18463,18465,18464"] More information about Lawrence Field Day Fest can be found here.

Red Kate / Bad Ideas split 7-inch

cover - bad ideas red kate split The first release from Kansas City's Mills Record Company features the finest punk rock 'n' roll the city has to offer, with two songs each from Red Kate and the Bad Ideas. Red Kate continues the wonderful racket they had on last year's full-length, When the Troubles Come. The first cut, "On My Mind," is a melodic rocker, almost wistful in the way it recalls someone gone. The cover of Naked Raygun's "New Dreams" clocks in at half the length of its predecessor, and blasts away for its entire 80 seconds. Factor in the copious "way-oh"s, and you've a pile-on pit classic reborn. The Bad Ideas have always been a live force with which to be reckoned, but these two recordings are fantastic. Mixing classic-era Epitaph Records energy with Sonic Youth guitar work and absolute snottiness, they're absolute keepers. I can't decide whether the straight-ahead energy of "Apocalypse Detroit" or the off-kilter jerk of "I'm Stuck" is my favorite, so I just keep flipping the record and starting over from scratch.
It's on a solid slab of 7-inch black vinyl, with cardstock covers (union-made, too -- check the mark), and might be the nicest single I've laid hand on in a good long while. It's a hand-numbered limited edition of 516. You can buy it direct from Red Kate via Bandcamp or you could easily pick it up in person when both bands play this weekend. They're at Mills Record Company in Westport Friday, June 27 at 7:00pm for the split's release party. It's free and all-ages. They're also playing as part of Lawrence Field Day Fest on Saturday, June 28. The Bad Ideas play at the Bottleneck at 9:00pm, with Red Kate on the Jackpot stage at 11:30pm.