Kansas City, the rest of the week   2 comments

[I’ve revised this piece, adding more details.]

Back home now, and back to work. The last half of my week in Kansas City didn’t live up to the first part, but did have its highlights.

My trip to southern Missouri was brilliant. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and home place were well worth the eight or so hours on the highways of the state. I absolutely loved my experiences in the Mansfield area. I believe I may have been born in the Ozarks, only we called it the County of Parkland- beautiful, rough land that just felt like home. Walking in the footsteps of history; it was wonderful to walk through the homes of Laura and Almanzo. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was equally impressive, albeit in an entirely different way. While I knew most- if only in a superficial way- of the Ingalls Wilder story, I learned so much about the history of baseball while at the museum in the 18th and Vine area of Kansas City. The displays were very informative, and much of the museum was very well done if beginning to show some wear around the edges, an affliction it shares with the Ingalls Wilder museum.

I got back to the city too late that evening to start my Map Fest experience, but I did catch a reggae band at The Levee, a club near my hotel. The served a real good burger, too.

The Middle of the Map festival in KC was most obviously not designed with me in mind. I decided to branch out and catch some acts removed from my roots/Americana world. I can’t say I was impressed by anything new I heard within the ‘indie pop/indie rock’ catchall, a genre without distinction beyond muffled, indistinct vocals. Every band reminded me of either the Lumineers or REO Speedwagon, often simultaneously. Canadian Owen Pallett was the exception- rocking the traditional violin-based, loop-fired power trio format, Pallett was pretty impressive and, more importantly, enjoyable. Other (and apparently popular) bands didn’t fare as well to my ears- the appeal of The Joy Formidable was lost on me, and don’t get me started on Whiskey Breath, an outfit that made cowboy thrash a genre I don’t need to encounter again any time soon.

I’m guessing I just don’t have enough facial hair. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen so many ill-nourished beards as I did at Middle of the Map venues. And what is it with folks to talk, tweet, and listen at the same time? Never have I felt so old; it was as if I was surrounded by the youth of a different species.

A pair of KC based roots acts impressed more than the indie rock/pop outfits. Blackbird Revue’s brief set contained an unusual male-female vocal blend that I quite enjoyed, and Cadillac Flambe were a rockin’ roots outfit; I picked up their recordings. A very impressive band were featured at Gustos on the Saturday afternoon: power-pop is alive with John Velghe & the Prodigal Sons- energetic, fresh, and dynamic. Shades of Dwight Twilley. Brass, too!

The only Roots performer that came close to reaching the levels of Rex Hobart/Bob Walkenhorst was Joe Pug. “Diana” and “The Great Despiser” were just two of the songs that make me think of Pug in the way I am confident hipsters thought of Steve Forbert around 1979. I had been quite familiar with his music prior to his set; hearing him live made me a fan. I will continue to follow his path.

I enjoyed my time in the city.

Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald


2 responses to “Kansas City, the rest of the week

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  1. Thanks for the wrap-up, Donald and wonderful to read that you visited the Negro League Museum. I’m a Joe Pug fan, too.

  2. Thanks for your coverage of the festival, Donald. Wish I could have met you at the show. — John

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