Hey there, rockers!!
I really can’t stress just how excited The Dead Girls are to be a part of MidCoast Takeover this year. This showcase has become the premiere non-official SXSW event for Midwest bands, so tight that even a score of national bands clamor to be added each year. I’m not totally sure how this year’s lineup stacks up to those of past years, but 2012’s collection of KC area and national bands would be enough to make me want to hitchhike down to Austin if my band wasn’t already playing.
Twenty-six KC bands have been chosen to represent this year, and while that is quite a lot, I have no doubt in my mind they are all great choices. I haven’t heard them all, but I look forward to finally hearing some bands that people have been buzzing on for awhile, like We Are Voices, The Empty Spaces, Maps for Travelers, and so many more. For the sake of getting down to the nitty gritty of just how awesome this MCT lineup is, though, I’m going to do a breakdown of some of the bands I have already come to know and love, and the bands with whom I am most excited about causing a good old-fashioned Austin ruckus.
O Giant Man – We finally got to play with these guys at Eleven Productions’ big Eleven Eleven festival in Lawrence a few months ago. They have a knack for great melodies and good, straightforward, unpretentious songwriting, and you can tell they love what they do. Plus – and this may be what I love most about them – they all just look like normal dudes who live to play music. They don’t dress to impress – they ROCK to impress. I know that saying isn’t as catchy as the normal one, but it’s true.
The Figgs – One of the few national acts MidCoast was lucky enough to be graced with this year, New York’s The Figgs have been kicking ass onstage and in the studio for a good twenty years or so now. They would probably take names, too, if they had any time between shows and recording, but the reality is they have remained one of the hardest-working rock bands in America for most of the time they have existed. They never disappoint live; in fact, they usually tend to mop the stage with any band they share a bill with, so at least for this showcase, they will have a lot of mops. They recently released a live album that was recorded at the Hurricane in KC back in 2001 – I’m pretty sure I was at that show, too.
Everyday/Everynight – There are so many indie pop bands who think it is somehow a crime to rock, and I’m pleased to say that Everyday/Everynight are NOT one of these bands. They do provide a great dose of that indie whimsy and playfulness, but never shy away from a killer riff or an opportunity to freak out onstage. Their sound is a mix of the contagious vulnerability of the first two Rogue Wave albums, the angular riffs of Bloc Party, the fist-pumping melodies of Arcade Fire, and even a bit of that loveably awkward but straightforward feel of Weezer.
The Beautiful Bodies – We played with these guys and gal at Kanrocksas last summer, and they proved to be just the sort of fiery dance-rock people needed, despite the fact that it was probably over 100 degrees outside. In the vein of bands like Franz Ferdinand or even former local party-rockers The Noise FM, TBB take a no-nonsense approach, and their unrelenting attitude is only one aspect of their impressive stage show.
Vi Tran Band – This is one artist whose music I have yet to hear, but the few times I have met Tran out on the town in KC have helped to build anticipation for hearing his music. Anyone not new to the KC music scene can tell you of Tran’s magnetic persona and his unrelenting love for performing and creating, and no matter how talented an artist is, it’s always better to have this sort of excitement at the base of that talent. Plus, I hear his music is a somewhat eclectic mix of Americana and Power Pop, which of course intrigues me greatly.
David George and A Crooked Mile – David George has been making music in the area ever since I was a spoiled-rotten seventh grader who thought my In Utero shirt was too cool for school (after I wore it there and they made me turn it inside-out, I realized it was). I remember seeing his bands Deege and Moaning Lisa play these summer festivals in my hometown of Manhattan, KS, and to see him still rocking and making his best music ever is such a great feeling.
Oriole Post – In perhaps what may have been the oddest mismatched lineup in KC show history, The Dead Girls played with Oriole Post at the Brick a couple years ago, just as this band of country/folk/bluegrass artists was getting its sea legs. As usual, we were loud and borderline obnoxious (in only the best ways, of course), but then these guys came up and proceeded to bust out one perfectly crafted folk tune after another. They have a strong country sensibility, but adamantly mix in as much of the straightforward folk approach as possible, giving their sound an exciting rural quality, like the Dixie Chicks if they could be as cool as Lucinda Williams.
Quiet Corral – At the beginning of 2010, Quiet Corral released an EP and began casually playing Lawrence venues, honing a sound that mixes Arcade Fire-style indie rock with a more traditional Americana feel. Just a little over two years later, they have already undergone several tours with an impressive array of acts, and are playing multiple showcases at this year’s SXSW festival. Having maybe the most impressive work ethic of any band at MidCoast, QC has been writing and recording relentlessly as well, and will release their first full-length album in 2012. The Dead Girls recorded the A-side of our new single, “She Laughed A Little”, at QC’s studio, The Art House.
Sons of Great Dane – One of my favorite KC bands, the Sons come the closest to presenting rock music as I want to hear it – with huge, pummeling guitar riffs that hook deep into your subconscious and very little pretense to what the whole purpose of the affair should be. This is music that is made simply for the love of big guitars and the worldwide need for songs that truly stick with you. For some reason, they kind of remind me of a somewhat southern-fried Built to Spill, even though they aren’t southern – probably the combination of the wizardry of the guitar solos, the downplayed vocals, and the overall sum that seems so much bigger than its parts.
Cherokee Rock Rifle – I will settle this now, just in case some feel this is up for debate – there is no better way to end MidCoast Takeover than with a blistering-ass set from these guys. Featuring former members of National Fire Theory and Thunder Eagle, CRR may be a little too “rock and roll” to be called metal by the pickiest of metal heads, but no other genre describes them as accurately. Taking equal parts influence from classic metal like Metallica or Slayer, and mixing in elements of the stoner guitar riff rock of bands like Red Fang or Queens of the Stone Age, these guys are going to reduce the Shangri-La to rubble, and I can’t think of a better way for KC to say farewell to Austin, until next year.