Entries from blogs tagged with “Kansas”

Watch La Guerre spread her wings at the Bottleneck

It's been a while since we checked in with La Guerre, but it was worth the wait.

Watching La Guerre is like watching a butterfly emerge from a cocoon. It's wonderful seeing how an artist like this matures, both personally and musically. The full band she's assembled to accompany her soothing synth skills is top notch, and she even brought along a brand new drummer for their Bottleneck show Saturday night.

Along with this new sense of maturity, there's something awfully comforting about Katlyn Conroy's lyrics and the way she executes them. It's like a mother patting you on the back at the end of a long day while you cry into a pillow about a boy. Somehow, mother knows best... most likely because, honey, she has BEEN there.

Conroy's perfect pitch is still exquisite to listen to, as was evidenced by the flock of fans who scuttled up to her after the set to compliment her singing. Conroy is also one of the few musicians capable of carrying out perfectly executed a cappella bits in her songs.

You can watch a video of her performance below.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.


Coming off hot summer, Wayne Selden Jr. plans to be more effective scorer

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) drives to the basket in a Team USA gold-medal game against Germany Monday, July 13, at the World University Games in South Korea.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) drives to the basket in a Team USA gold-medal game against Germany Monday, July 13, at the World University Games in South Korea. by Mike Yoder

After spending a good chunk of his summer preparing for the World University Games, in South Korea, and then leading Kansas/Team USA to a gold medal, Wayne Selden Jr.’s basketball journeys continued with a trip to the adidas Nations event, near Los Angeles, in early August.

It was there that DraftExpress.com caught up with Selden, a junior guard at KU, for a quick interview. Though he has played two seasons in the Big 12, Selden described the competition level at adidas Nations as high, too.

“You know, it’s basically everybody that’s left in college, that’s been around for a few years, and it’s a lot of guys that just know how to play basketball,” Selden said.

According to SBNation.com, Selden played on one of the four teams there that featured college players, and he teamed up with Iowa State’s Monté Morris and Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer. At one point, they lost to a team led by Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell.

It sounds like a worthy training ground, and Selden told DraftExpress.com he plans to be a better player this coming season for Kansas.

“Last year I had times where I was timid, I would shy away — not shy away. Timid’s not even the right word,” Selden said, deciding to re-characterize his sophomore struggles. “But I wouldn’t always be locked in. That’s probably a better word. I wouldn’t always be locked in. This year I’ve got a different mindset. I’m a lot more focused and I’m working. I’m out here having fun and just playing basketball.”

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) drives against Kansas State forward Nino Williams (11) during the second half, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) drives against Kansas State forward Nino Williams (11) during the second half, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015 at Bramlage Coliseum. by Nick Krug

Offensively, Selden’s had issues during the 2014-15 season with his shooting inside the arc. Look at these numbers from hoop-math.com:

  • Selden only made 35 of 69 attempts at the rim (50.7%)

  • Selden converted on just 28 of 89 2-point jumpers (31.5%)

Often, Selden would reach the paint — or even the rim — and fail to finish off a solid drive with a bucket. By the end of the season, the guard hit a better percentage of his 3-pointers — 46 of 124 (37.1%) — than his 2-pointers. He said he wasn’t an efficient scorer because he would get to the lane and make things more difficult than they had to be.

“But I feel like I really improved on that, just in the short time since the season ended,” Selden said. “Over in Korea and here I’ve been doing pretty well with it.”

In fact, at the World University Games Selden made 59.7% of his 2-point shots — 40 of 67 — as his offense carried the Jayhawks to an 8-0 record. He was almost unstoppable in the first seven games, making 36 of 50 (72%) of his 2-pointers, before KU played its eighth game in 10 days, everybody’s legs looked dead and he shot 4-for-17 inside the arc in a double-overtime victory over Germany in the gold-medal game.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) is pulled up from the court after being buried under a dog pile of players after a Team USA double-overtime win against Germany Monday, July 13, at the World University Games in South Korea.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) is pulled up from the court after being buried under a dog pile of players after a Team USA double-overtime win against Germany Monday, July 13, at the World University Games in South Korea. by Mike Yoder

Selden’s 3-point shooting didn’t suffer in South Korea, either. He made 18 of 48 from deep for 37.5%, just above what he shot for KU as a sophomore. But he hopes to improve upon that clip as a junior.

“I see myself shooting over 40 percent from three this year, much improved jump shot, and I’m real confident with it right now,” Selden said. “I feel like I can make every shot. Even if I miss a shot, I feel like the next one’s going in.”

If he can follow through with that goal and continue finishing inside, the Jayhawks should have no trouble getting back to at least the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2013. Plus, the junior will see his stock rise.

And Selden knows Bill Self needs the junior guard in an effective, assertive role, to compliment junior point guard Frank Mason III and senior forward Perry Ellis. The trio figure to carry the Jayhawks and trade off leading the team in scoring from game to game.

“Basically, me and Frank, we the real bulldogs,” Selden said. “We’re gonna run the squad this year. Perry’s gonna get buckets, obviously, because that’s what Perry does. But me and Frank, we’re the heart of the team. We’re gonna have to take over and run the show.”

In case you were wondering, DraftExpress.com’s mock NBA Draft for 2016 doesn’t include Selden. The website actually has him as a second-round pick — 52nd — in the 2017 draft (after what will be his senior season).

KU freshman big man Cheick Diallo is listed as the No. 15 pick in the first round for 2016, and sophomore wing Svi Mykhailiuk is two spots behind him, at No. 17. Jayhawks senior forward Perry Ellis isn’t listed in the top 60 for the 30-team, two-round draft.


Weekend Picks: Final Friday art; “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean”; Comedy Freakout; “They Live” at Liberty Hall; GWAR

Recent columns have focused on family-friendly summer fare, but send the kids to bed for (most of) this column. We're here to talk about indie theater, Comedy Freakouts, ASSJAMZ and GWAR.

Art Opening: Grace D. Chin's "Find a Place You Trust and Then Try Trusting It For Awhile," 6 p.m. Friday at Bourgeois Pig

We often showcase less-traditional Final Friday events, such as last month's Wonder Fair "performance art" walking tours. But this month we wanted to bring attention back to the kind of art that's hanging on the wall!

Stop by the Pig for Grace D. Chin's show, which takes its interesting title from a list of rules intended for young artists that was composed by artist/activist Sister Corita Kent. Chin says this collection reveals her search for "pithy, compelling statements that can live with and empower a person daily."

If you're like us, you've been wandering around saying "SERENITY NOW" ever since the students returned to town last week. Perhaps this show will help us find some new mantras of comfort.

Find more details on the show and Chin's bio at the Facebook event page.

[Also recommended for your Final Friday art ramble: the Neil Goss/Alicia Kelly opening at Cider Gallery along with the "Food Truck Friday" event in the courtyard outside the gallery].

"Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean," performances at the Percolator at 8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and Sept. 4, 5

We're always happy to support scrappy local theater performed in unexpected locations. Hopefully Lawrence will feel the same as Orange Mouse Theatricals stages Ed Graczyk's 1976 play "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean" at the Percolator over the course of two weekends.

The play (which was adapted for the screen by Robert Altman in 1982) concerns an all-female Jimmy Dean fan club which reunites near Marfa, Texas, where Dean filmed "Giant."

If the play alone isn't enough of a lure, Orange Mouse Theatricals is offering an "immersive event" they bill as a mix of "live theatre, an art gallery opening, shopping in an old-school 5 & Dime, popular icons from the past, root-beer floats, beer, great coffee and more!"

Find more details at the Facebook event page and purchase tickets via the Orange Mouse website here.

Comedy Freakout, 10 p.m. Saturday at Frank's North Star

The Facebook event page suggests this could be the final installment of the (reasonably) long-running Comedy Freakout event at Frank's, so make sure to get some last laughs just in case.

This edition brings in Iowa headliners Dan Umthun and James Doyle along with the usual local yokels and hosts Peter Lyrene and Chance Dibben. Drug Dealer, from the Whatever Forever record label, will provide the tunes.

If this is indeed the last Freakout, we hope that Frank's continues to host comedy events in the future. As we always say, "Everything seems funnier when you're drunk late at night in an old cockfighting pit."

ASSJAMZ: 90's Part Deux, 9 p.m. Saturday at Granada

School is back in session at KU and ASSJAMZ is back in session at the Granada. Just think of all the new freshmen discovering the joys of this ever-popular dance party for the first time and calling to tell their parents about it. "You went where??" "ASSJAMZ, ma!"

The Facebook event page commands attendees to "RELEASE YOUR BOTTLED GENIE AND SAY BYE, BYE, BYE TO SILLY POST MILLENNIAL INHIBITIONS." We don't expect this to be much of a problem.

Buying a ticket in advance via the Granada site lets you skip the (long) line at the door and impress your friends as you walk by them like a VIP.

"They Live" screening, 7 p.m. Sunday at Liberty Hall

OBEY this blurb (if you catch our reference!) and head to Liberty on Sunday evening for a screening of John Carpenter's funny/scathing sci-fi satire of class issues and consumerism in Reagan-era America. The legendary fistfight scene remains hysterical and astounding in its length (six-plus minutes).

Given the recent passing of the film's star, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, the screening should also hold sentimental value for many longtime fans of this cult classic. Hopefully the screening draws as many fans as Liberty's recent raucous screening of Carpenter's "Big Trouble in Little China." And hopefully the Carpenter screenings continue ... because we'd really like to see "The Thing" on the big-screen.

Find more info on the film at the Facebook event page.

GWAR, 7 p.m. Sunday at Granada

Some people will spend Sunday walking peacefully through the Fall Arts and Craft Festival at South Park. Others will pack the Granada to let a bunch of intergalactic warriors spray various "fluids" all over them.

Yes, the legendary "shock-rock" masters of GWAR are back in town and back at the Granada, which seems to be their usual stopping point when they pass through the area. Maybe it's easier to hose off the fluids there?

The band was left without any of its founding members after the death of Dave Brockie last year. However, in the spirit of the best intergalactic warriors, they still continue to rampage through the universe.

Read the full and fascinating "mythos" of GWAR at their official website and visit the Facebook event page to find out how many people are bold enough to attend.

Tweet us @LarryvilleLife with tips for next weekend's Labor Day picks.


Sludgy and severe: an introduction to Amenaza

There was a lot of serious metal at the Jackpot over the weekend, but you’ll want to take note of Amenaza.

The Lawrence band is establishing a solid spot amongst its grungy peers with an impressively brutal set executed impeccably in the key of doom. Normally, when a band starts its set, various musicians hop onstage with beers in their hands to help quench their thirst during the performance. Amenaza’s vocalist, however, showed up with an entire gallon of water because he was about to do work.

This guy’s vocals were damn near flawless. We were already impressed with the menacing tracks they threw up online. That stuff will make you crawl out of your skin. So one can only imagine how vicious the live show is. The band teases with tempos, ranging from sludgy to severe, while the vocalist stomps around and savagely paces about the stage.

Amenaza has a growing audience and all the right ingredients for a metal band. Thanks to a last-minute cancelation, they got to show some of that off at the Jackpot on Saturday. You can catch a glimpse of their callousness below:

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.


Tyler Gregory to reunite old band for weekend hootenanny

Get ready for a hootenanny this weekend.

For the first time in two years, Tyler Gregory will be joined by The Bootleg Band (formerly the Bootleg Bandits) for an actual stage show (and not just a casual jam) at the Bottleneck this Friday.

This is significant because when Gregory is joined by an entire band, fans tend to get down big time. "We're going to decorate the stage," he says. "It's going to be a lot of old friends playing the old songs that I don't play anymore."

The show will also be unique because it brings several of the Mudstomp Mondays revelers together in the same room for one big event. It's been a while since that happened, so Gregory decided to get the old band back together for this one-time event.

"I think I just missed them," he admits. "It's fun playing with those guys. It's really enjoyable. I know a lot of people ask me, 'Do you play with those guys still?' It's been asked about a lot. So you know what? We're going to do it."

This fall, Gregory will fly west for the winter. It's a yearly tradition that sends him to warmer weather for nonstop touring, and he doesn't return until the weather gets warm again in Kansas. So this may be one of the last few opportunities to see him get an entire audience boogying.

Tyler Gregory and the Bootleg Band will be joined by Rolling Foliage (and their new drummer!) this Friday at the Bottleneck at about 10 p.m.


Weekend Picks: Fiddling and Picking Championships; ‘Obamaville’-themed fundraiser; Cowboy Cabaret; Taproom Poetry Series; Dewayn Brothers at Replay

The students are back in town and hopefully they won't run over you as you make your way to this weekend's cavalcade of cowboy cabarets, "candy-ass dance parties," and fiddling and picking contests in South Park. Good luck!

Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships, pre-party at 6 p.m. Friday at Replay, main events from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday in South Park.

The Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships is an event somewhat bittersweet in its implications, arriving at the end of August and marking the official end of another summer in Lawrence. The event itself, however, is always a stellar day to witness the state's best fiddlers and pickers (and a few concerts from local bluegrass bands) while eating and drinking in South Park. Free State Brewery has been on hand with beer in recent years.

Can't wait till Sunday? Get a jump on the picking and grinning with a Friday matinee at Replay featuring Old Fangled and Alferd Packer Memorial String Band. Details here on this pre-party.

Visit the official Kansas Fiddling and Picking website for more information and a schedule of Sunday's events.

940 Live: Starhaven Rounders Cowboy Cabaret, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Lawrence Arts Center

"Cowboy Cabaret" seems like an odd and unexpected combination of words, but this event from LAC's typically-excellent 940 Live music series is shaping up to be a memorable evening.

The Facebook event page promises "a feel good, honky-tonk, variety show, featuring fun and faithful interpretations of classic country and western songs, burlesque performances, audience participation and laughs for everyone!"

We've had several good times listening to KC's Starhaven Rounders play their country covers on the Replay patio. Mix in a bevy of special guests (including Drakkar Sauna's Jeff Stolz and the members of Maria the Mexican) and this should become a good old-fashioned Saturday night hootenanny.

We asked Kirsten Paludan, a Rounders member as well as the director/co-producer/co-creator of this show, to give us a rundown on why the Cowboy Cabaret is a must-see weekend event. Here's a short list of her reasons: 1) it's a rare chance to see cool local artists performing with a full-on country-and-western backing band; 2) it has its own theme song; 3) an appearance is expected from a "rather frisky donkey." Sold! High-rolling cowboys and cowgirls should also inquire about the VIP option, which includes a pre-show party with the cast onstage plus free beer and BBQ.

Check out more from Paludan about what the show has in store in this LJWorld piece.

Lawrence Community Shelter fundraiser, 7 p.m. Saturday at Frank's North Star

Saturday brings a good opportunity give back to the community at an unusual fundraiser centered around the recent Payless Furniture controversy in which owner Bob Fyfe claimed that the city of Lawrence was essentially "Obamaville" and deemed its residents a bunch of "Commies and candy-asses." Longtime Lawrencians, of course, decided to embrace these designations!

This benefit for the Lawrence Community Shelter kicks off with "Commie Cocktail Hour," in which guests are invited to wear red (get it??) and enjoy a silent auction and raffle. This is followed by a "Candy-Ass Dance Party" in Frank's basement. You can also order Christine Maki's in-demand "Commies and Candy-Asses" T-shirts at the event.

Find all the necessary details at the Facebook event page and head to Frank's to shake those candy-asses.

Reggae by the River, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday at Burcham Park

Summer is waning but the music festivals aren't quite over. Head to Burcham Park for the first-ever Reggae by the River, an event presented by the Lawrence Community Fest organization.

One can of food (but be kind and bring several) is the only cover charge for this otherwise free event that seeks to collect 5,000 cans of food for needy Douglas County residents.

Twenty food vendors are slated to be on hand, as well as a "Farmer's Community Vending Village" in the afternoon. The event also bills itself on the Facebook event page as "family friendly, dog friendly, cooler friendly." The last one seems very surprising, if true. Won't that cut down on beer sales?

Taproom Poetry Series, 5 p.m. Sunday at the Eighth Street Taproom

According to a 2014 piece in The New Yorker, the work of Steve Roggenbuck might be similar to what Walt Whitman would produce if he were alive and "vlogging." The New Yorker terms Roggenbuck a true "internet poet" in that his poetry "is made, distributed, and viewed almost exclusively on the Web, taking the form of tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, and image macros."

In addition to The New Yorker, Roggenbuck's work has been discussed by media outlets from Rolling Stone to The Guardian, and an exhibit of his videos is currently on display at the New Museum's 2015 Triennial.

Local writers Liz James and Zach Webb round out the bill along with an open-mic reading.

The Facebook event page has more details on the event.

Dewayn Brothers/Sugar Britches, 5 p.m. Sunday at Replay Lounge

If you're looking for a considerably rowdier alternative to Sunday poetry or a perfect follow-up to Sunday's picking and grinning in South Park, look no further than the Replay patio, where one of the region's very best bluegrass bands, Dewayn Brothers, will make an increasingly rare Lawrence appearance for a barn-burner of a Sunday matinee.

Hailing from Emporia, Dewayn Brothers list their genre as "Kansas bluegrass." We're not 100 percent sure what distinguishes Kansas bluegrass from other forms but we know to expect a full dance floor and drunken stomping. LFK's ever-sassy and ever-present Sugar Britches will open the show at 5.

Yes, work and/or school looms the next morning but, for these three hours with a patio beer in hand, you simply won't care. The Facebook event page lists 100+ guests. The flier above offers a nice feel of the vibe for the Dewayn's current three-city weekend-whirlwind tour with the Britches.

Film Church presents 'Tootsie,' 7 p.m. Sunday at Liberty Hall

Our Weekend Picks are unusually Sunday-heavy this week, but we couldn't dare leave out Liberty Hall's screening of "Tootsie."

If you haven't seen Sydney Pollack's 1982 classic in awhile, rest assured it holds up as one of the most finely crafted comedies ever made, with impeccable performances from Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, and Bill Murray in addition to Dustin Hoffman's legendary title role.

Since this is an official Film Church presentation, expect Liberty Hall manager Maggie Allen to kick things off with a short "sermon" explaining the film's continuing importance (in her typically humorous fashion).

Visit Liberty's website for more details.

Tweet us @LarryvilleLife with under-the-radar ideas about next week's Final Friday events.


Folk music to take over downtown Lawrence this weekend

Lawrence is in store for a weekend full of ballads, harmonies and get-downs thanks to the Annual Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships. This is the 35th year for the event, which brings music lovers far and wide to the heart of Lawrence on a hot August Sunday.

The weekend of music kicks off on Friday with a little pre-show at the Replay from 6 to 9 p.m. That's where Old Fangled, Alferd Packer Memorial String Band, and Pickett, Paull & Jeans will set the tone for the harmonious weekend.

After that, Americana Music Academy brings its open jam to South Park on Saturday. The jam starts at 4 p.m., with performances from Kansas City Hustle, P. Lague, and Carswell & Hope at 6 p.m.

On Sunday, everyone heads back to South Park to lay out the picnic blankets and enjoy all the fiddling and picking the competition has to offer. Contestants from previous years are set to return as professional performers. The Vogts Sisters, The Wheatbenders, Gadjos-Chapeaux (gypsy jazz!), and Spencer and Rains are all set to perform this year. You may have spotted Spencer and Rains fiddling and busking on the streets of downtown Lawrence over the last year.

Those performances will be interjected with competitions for fiddle, banjo, flat-picking guitar, finger-style guitar, and mandolin. Both stages start up the music at noon. The festival is going to try something new this year, an all-acoustic "campground stage" similar to what we see at the Walnut Valley Festival campgrounds. It's called "The Sunflower Stage," and performers will get 15 minutes to perform acoustically (you can sign up on the day of the event).

This is a family-friendly event, and Americana Music Academy will be hosting an area for children to take part in crafts, painting, and (of course) music.

You can find out more information at the event's website.


Listen to Dean Monkey and the Dropouts’ new song ‘My Little Bum’

At long last, Dean Monkey and the Dropouts have released a new song.

"My Little Bum," a cheeky yet heartbreaking number from everybody's favorite dirty doo-woppers, is their first piece of new music since the release of "Dean's Steak House" in 2013.

It was worth the wait because this may be their best recording to date. The song features the classic doo-wop sound we've come to love from Dean Monkey, riddled with catchy harmonizing and intersected with a manic breakdown from their female vocalist in the bridge. The band debuted the song at its live shows less than a year ago, but it has already become a fan favorite.

You can listen to the song below and check out more over on their Bandcamp page.


‘That’s what’s up’: Ben Heeney goes for 8 tackles and sack in Raiders debut

In this Aug. 14, 2015, photo, Oakland Raiders inside linebacker Ben Heeney (51) tackles St. Louis Rams running back Trey Watts (42) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Oakland, Calif. Linebacker Heeney's exhibition debut for Oakland went so well that he wanted the jersey as a keepsake. The only problem was it's the only game-ready one the Raiders have for the fifth-round pick. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

In this Aug. 14, 2015, photo, Oakland Raiders inside linebacker Ben Heeney (51) tackles St. Louis Rams running back Trey Watts (42) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Oakland, Calif. Linebacker Heeney's exhibition debut for Oakland went so well that he wanted the jersey as a keepsake. The only problem was it's the only game-ready one the Raiders have for the fifth-round pick. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

It wasn’t the regular season, so none of the stats count and everything that transpired will soon only register as footnote-worthy, but former Kansas linebacker Ben Heeney looked like he’ll fit in at the NFL level just fine in his preseason debut Friday night.

Heeney led Oakland with eight tackles in the Raiders’ 18-3 victory over St. Louis, and even picked up a sack by chasing Rams quarterback Case Keenum out of bounds for a short loss early in the second quarter.

“That counted as a sack?” Heeney asked a reporter in a story posted on the Raiders’ website.

“That’s what’s up. We were just in man coverage and I was manned to the (running back). The back went into the flat and Keenum kept the ball, and I just got off my man coverage and chased him out of bounds. I didn’t know it was a sack at all, so that’s what’s up.”

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio left the exhibition impressed with his fifth-round pick from KU. In a CSNBayArea.com report, Del Rio said Heeney flies around at practices the same way he did in his unofficial Oakland opener.


“He’s very, very active. His speed showed up,” Del Rio said. “I know that one time the quarterback tried to break contain and he laid him down for a sack. That was his speed. That’s one of the reasons we have him.”

Heeney told CSNBayArea.com’s Scott Bayer hustling and getting dirty is in his football DNA. He just doesn’t know any other way of playing the game.

“That’s what I’ve staked my game on,” Heeney said.

The rookie from Kansas hoped to take his stained, game-worn jersey home with him after his successful night, but the Raiders’ equipment personnel told him he couldn’t, because that was the only black, No. 51 Heeney jersey they had available at the moment.

“I definitely want to get it back once they get the next jersey made,” Heeney said. “I wish they wouldn’t wash it, but I guess it has to look good for next game.”

The defensive play-calling and in-game adjustments made his first NFL game feel a lot different than his college days, Heeney said, but he thought he handled it pretty well. Moving forward, the 6-foot linebacker from Hutchinson just wants to make sure he attacks more.

“There were a couple of plays I could have shot a gap and got a tackle for loss that I didn’t do, but I think for the most part I’m happy with my performance,” Heeney said. “I have a couple of things I need to clean up.”

Thanks to Naveed Chowdhury of Cover32.com, we can watch every defensive snap Heeney played on Friday night.

Along with his eight tackles and one sack, Heeney read one pass over the middle well enough to either disrupt the intended receiver or deflect the ball (it was hard to tell on the video whether he got a finger on it). It was just another example of how the former KU star can begin making an impact immediately for Oakland this season.

As Heeney posted on Instagram following his first preseason game in silver and black, the NFL is finally a reality for him: “No more dreaming, just living!”

No more dreaming, just living!

A photo posted by Ben Heeney (@henbeeney) on

No more dreaming, just living! by henbeeney


Weekend Picks: Me Like Bees; Joke Fighter; ConfabuLarryum; music documentaries; KMFDM

This is the last summer weekend before the students move back into the dorms and LFK kicks into full college-town mode once again.

Savor it while you can with good bands at the Replay, big laughs at Jazzhaus, and family fun at ConfabuLarryum.

Me Like Bees/Westerners, 10 p.m. Thursday at Replay

We like sloppy garage rock as well as the next guys, but sometimes it's nice to balance it out with some polished and gleaming pop and rock. Thursday night's double-header of Joplin, Mo.'s Me Like Bees and LFK's Westerners should do the trick. Both bands should deliver tight and fun sets to jump-start your weekend.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Me Like Bees way back in the simpler days of 2012 at our old blog, where they memorably described their sound as "a cross between Meatloaf and a fifth-grader who just got his lunch money taken. Kind of intensely whiny." Hear for yourselves Thursday night and see how their sound has evolved.

When we reached out for a blurb, the busy Bees (who were in the midst of a music festival) promised new material at this show and also told us that things are prone to "get weird" when they play with Westerners. Prepare accordingly. The Facebook event page is here.

Joke Fighter VI: Redemption, 8 p.m. Friday at Jazzhaus

Local comedy isn't known as a lucrative business, so don't miss out on this chance to win $1,000 (seriously?) by telling jokes.

Here's the gist of it: "10-12 comedians get five minutes to perform their best material and the audience chooses the top four to move on to the $1000 Joke Fighter Championship in November."

There's no charge to enter this year, so what have you got to lose? The potential of flopping is a small price to pay for $1,000.

Find the full details on the Facebook event page.

ConfabuLarryum 2015, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at South Middle School, 2734 Louisiana St.

Can you resist an event with a name as spectacularly silly as ConfabuLarryum? We can't.

The family-friendly (and completely free) "festival of creativity" returns for a second year at a new location. Bring the kids out for a day that includes "everything from fun, hands-on creative and maker activities for kids and adults, to inspiring presentations on the role of creativity in the home, classroom, and workplace, to coding classes and high-tech 3-D printing and design."

We stopped by last year (along with over 1,300 other visitors) and witnessed a gaggle of world-renowned air guitarists jamming in the parking lot en route to a competition in KC. Some should be on hand again this year, along with robots, a "drone zone," giant bubble demonstrations, and the sure-to-be-popular "Nerdy Derby Pinewood Car Racing" exhibition.

Visit the Facebook event page and find a full schedule of activities here.

'Call to Okies' and 'Verdigris' documentary screenings (with Q&A and music), 8 p.m. Saturday at Lawrence Arts Center

June's Free State Festival was excellent but overwhelming, and we missed one of the short films that we most wanted to see. Luckily, Bradley Beesley's new 20-minute doc, "Calls to Okies: The Park Grubbs Story," is screening again Saturday at the Arts Center. The film examines a tape of legendary prank phone calls that circulated in the early '80s. Beesley is also responsible for the wonderfully odd short doc "Okie Noodling," featuring music from The Flaming Lips.

Also screening at this documentary double-header is a 60-minute documentary called "The Verdigris: In Search of Will Rogers," in which director Beau Jennings "retraces Will Rogers' footsteps... performing songs along the way."

The films will be followed by question-and-answer sessions with the filmmakers and some tunes from Jennings.

Tickets are $10 for the evening's proceedings and more information can be found at the Facebook event page. Read Eric Melin's full LJWorld preview here.

KMFDM, doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Granada

Some people choose to end their Sundays quietly in LFK with a porch beer in hand. Others choose to join a sweaty crowd for a German industrial band that's been plugging away in various incarnations since 1984 (read the band's fascinating history at their Wiki page).

A recent PopMatters review of KMFDM's 2014 album "Our Time Will Come" deems the band, "one of the first, if not the first, band to bring industrial music to the masses during their early ‘90s surge."

You can always count on '90s nostalgia to draw a crowd, and the Facebook event page lists over 300 attendees who like to end their Sundays LOUDLY.

Tweet us @LarryvilleLife with tips for future picks.


Radkey releases new music video, announces Lawrence show

Not a lot of people will remember this, but an important part of Radkey's beginning was right here in Lawrence.

The punk-rock thrashing, anime-loving, and overall badass trio of brothers used to play venues here before they were legally old enough to enter them. Now, they sell out venues in Kansas City and tour the world. But in the midst of all these tours and continental travel, they've released a music video and scheduled a Lawrence show.

The video for "Love Spills," a track off their upcoming album "Dark Black Makeup," revolves around the adventures of a group of skateboarders. The album is set to come out Aug. 21, and shortly after they'll be hitting up The Bottleneck, a stage they haven't played since Lawrence Field Day Fest a couple of years ago. That show is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 25, smack dab in between European tour dates. Tickets go on sale Friday.

The video is NSFW due to vomiting.


Montell Cozart impressed with freshman QBs Carter Stanley and Ryan Willis

Kansas quarterbacks Montell Cozart (2) and Ryan Willis (13) look up the field for receivers during the first day of practice on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015 at the fields south of Anschutz Pavilion.

Kansas quarterbacks Montell Cozart (2) and Ryan Willis (13) look up the field for receivers during the first day of practice on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015 at the fields south of Anschutz Pavilion. by Nick Krug

When Montell Cozart arrived at Kansas in 2013, the true freshman didn’t have all the answers.

Cozart had to figure out then-head coach Charlie Weis’s pro-style offense. For him, the transition was far from seamless, because the system wasn’t like the spread format he had success in at the high school level, at nearby Bishop Miege, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Cozart said Monday he doesn’t think KU’s incoming quarterbacks will have as many issues as they adapt to offensive coordinator Rob Likens’ Air Raid attack. Plus, true freshmen Carter Stanley (from Vero Beach, Florida) and Ryan Willis (also from Bishop Miege) have impressed the junior with their approaches.

“You can see those guys coming in ready to work,” Cozart said. “They both have ran similar offense to what we’re running now when they were in high school.”

KU’s new offense actually benefits every quarterback fortunate enough to play in it, according to Cozart.

“Now that we’re back to this offense,” Cozart said, “it gives all of our quarterbacks a lot of confidence, because we all can be successful in it.”

A few days into preseason camp, Kansas has eight quarterbacks on its roster:

  • Cozart (jr., 6-2, 193)

  • Keaton Perry (RS-fr., 5-10, 186)

  • Stanley (fr., 6-2, 188)

  • T.J. Millweard (jr., 6-4, 219)

  • Willis (fr., 6-4, 205)

  • injured Michael Cummings (sr., 5-10, 212)

  • Deondre Ford (jr., 6-1, 200)

  • Frank Seurer, Jr. (jr., 5-11, 190)

Cozart said there are “all sorts” of players in KU’s quarterback room, and their various skill sets are on display when the QBs go over practice video.

“We’ve got guys with cannons. We’ve got guys with good feet that can run a little bit,” he said. “This offense just helps everyone be successful and puts you in a great position.”

Both Willis, whom Cozart knows a little from their Miege connection, and Stanley, Cozart’s camp roommate, figure to be his primary competition in the race to become KU’s starter. The junior said every time he leaves a quarterbacks meeting, he comes away impressed with the true freshmen.

“When we’re watching film, you see them jotting down things, trying to get better and get to where me, T.J. and Mike are in this offense,” Cozart said. “They’re trying to catch up, and you can see those guys working great.”

For Cozart, it’s fun to have younger QBs around looking up to him. When each day of preseason camp ends, the quarterbacks throw the ball around and talk about “everything” as they all get to know each other.

“We’re always talking about football,” Cozart said. “Just little things around the nation, what’s happening in the sports world, getting to know one another.”

Sharing a room with Stanley for camp has allowed Cozart to discover a lot about him quickly. Cozart said they often watch video and bounce ideas off one another when they see certain things pop up on the screens in front of them. He said Stanley (freshmen and program newcomers can’t speak with media, per team rules) has fewer questions each day, a sign he is learning the offense and getting comfortable.

Likens wants all of the QBs making strides in those areas. Cozart said the coordinator and quarterbacks coach has harped on the importance of recognizing defensive structure at the line of scrimmage, a key component of the Air Raid offense for the signal-callers.

“You want to know the answer to the test before it even comes,” Cozart said.

At this point, it seems the junior might have more solutions this season than he did in the past, which is good news for the QB whom head coach David Beaty referenced as having the inside track on the starting gig.


Drakkar Sauna plays emotional final show for packed house

On Friday night, every single seat in the auditorium of the Lawrence Arts Center was filled. People lined up against the walls in the back, peeked in from side doors, and held their breath while they witnessed the end of a musical era in Lawrence as Drakkar Sauna played their final show.

There were no tears, there was no pain — only smiles and laughter. Such is the nature of a Drakkar Sauna show. The folky musicians Wallace Cochran and Jeff Stolz have always had a cheeky sense of humor, and it was no different at the farewell show. It started with the auditorium dimming the lights while the two comically peered into the darkness that was the audience. The dapper duo were gussied up in their old-fashioned best, with embroidered vests and fancy ties. We'll call it "prairie chic."

Because this is a band you normally see at social events in Lawrence over the years — such as in-store performances at Love Garden or early patio shows at the Replay — folks were calm, chatty and relaxed. The wild prairie children were running amuck and dancing on the stairs, the beer was flowing, and the toes were tapping.

Cochran and Stolz started off the nearly two-hour set in their usual positions, perched on chairs and huddled around their instruments. They harmonized in each other's ears, smiled and brought out what Wallace called "a lot of rattlers." Over the years, instead of utilizing bass players or drummers, the band opted for seeds, shells, goat hooves, a tambourine shoe — whatever unusual noisemaker they could get ahold of. This eventually became indicative of their sound.

In reality, these are two very down-to-earth dudes who enjoy making music and throwing back a couple of beers. But you'd never know it by their lyrics. We like to think of Wallace and Jeff as exciting storytellers. Their songs conjure up all sorts of adventures and experiments with science. We'll never know what prompted their unusually strong obsession with outer space.

After a few numbers about space exploration and the history of rockets, they started to bring out the guest stars, and there were many. Paul Schmidt of the Midday Ramblers and Wayne Gottstine of Split Lip Rayfield were two who spent the most time onstage. They delighted the audience with a couple of trumpeters, including Kelly Hangauer, who plays with Jeff in his other band The Hips. When he wasn't blowing on the horn with Hearts of Darkness' Sam Goodell, the two trumpeters were swaying from side to side.

With Floyd the Barber's Ryan Johnson on drums and The Ants' Chad Ryan joining them later in the set, Drakkar Sauna's sound took on an entirely new form. What the audience was hearing was a full-fledged rock band, something Drakkar Sauna has never really been pegged as.

But we were also watching a snapshot of the Lawrence music scene in the early 2000s. Here you had a lot of big players who enjoyed the small scene. Some went on to tour, some stayed home. But all have played a part in the upbringing of several Lawrence musicians. These are the folks who helped create a musical palette in good old LFK, and now they were onstage together once again creating something new. By the time Tanner Spreer and Evan Herd from Psychic Heat joined them, the sound became an all-out psychedelic get-down.

Drakkar Sauna ended with not one, but two encores. As they took the stage for the first encore, somebody yelled "Aloha!" The reason is because shortly after the show, Wallace and his family boarded a plane for Hawaii, their new home. Hearing someone yell "Aloha!" at them pulled at our heartstrings a little bit, because the word means hello AND goodbye.

Wallace spent as much time working at The Merc as he did playing in Drakkar Sauna. He told the audience, "It's been a pleasure to serve you, and to sing for you." Then they played a song called "Don't Get Sentimental." Before anyone could gather their delicate emotions, Wallace stopped in the middle of the next song, gave one big pat to Jeff on his shoulder, and said, "Well, thanks for everything," and continued the rest of the song (below). The cheers from the audience were so loud, you could hardly hear the two friends finish out the rest of the tune.

During the final encore, they recruited two of their guest musicians once more, ditched the microphones, stood at the front of the stage, and played acoustically for everyone. On their way out, they gave delicate farewell high-fives to people sitting in the front row, then exited the stage.

That was it. That's all you get, folks, ending a unique decade of folk music in Lawrence. But the imprint these two left will continue to shape the scene for at least another decade. At the beginning of the show, the Arts Center's Ben Ahlvers introduced the band, and noted that everyone has their own interesting story on how they were introduced to Drakkar Sauna. The band may never know all the ways their unique and bizarre involvement in locals' lives helped shape who they are today. But for now, we'll consider it just another footnote amongst the many adventures these storytellers brought to life here in our quiet Midwestern town.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.


Weekend Picks: Drakkar Sauna farewell show; Sandbar block party; Urban Slide; pie auction; punk rock at Frank’s

Summer is slowly slipping away. Live it up while you can by sliding down a gigantic water slide in west Lawrence and witnessing the bittersweet farewell from one of LFK's favorite bands.

Drakkar Sauna: The Farewell Concert, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Lawrence Arts Center

It's a rare and beautiful thing for a band to become as entrenched in the music community for as long a period of time as Drakkar Sauna. The duo of Wallace Cochran and Jeff Stolz have been on the scene and making people happy — and often bewildering people — for 12 years now.

But all good (and weird) things must end, and Friday night brings a star-studded farewell concert at the Lawrence Arts Center where the boys will be joined by an "all-city cast" of fellow musicians from various bands and genres.

This "inter-disciplinary" farewell seems appropriate, since describing Drakkar's sound has never been an easy task. Are they country? Folk? Freak-folk? Indie-folk? Even when focused on futuristic themes, Drakkar's music often conjures images of what Greil Marcus called "the old, weird America".

When you catch Drakkar at the right venue on a night where the lyrics ring clearly, they tap into something deep and elemental as they howl their harmonies on songs with titles like "Spear for When the Bear Comes."

Most local music fans remember particular standout Drakkar shows: our favorites include an early-career set in the middle of the night down at Winfield and also a show at the old upstairs Love Garden where they played a set of old Louvin Brothers covers with band and crowd merrily stomping along on the floor. Share your own favorites with fellow fans at the farewell.

The Facebook event page has more details and a full list of the participating guest musicians. Check out the LJ-World's full preview of the show and the band's history.

The Urban Slide, opens 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, along George Williams Way off Sixth Street in west Lawrence

The Urban Slide did NOT slide easily into Lawrence.

The controversial event (which roves from city to city) was originally slated for downtown, but the logistics of a 1,000-foot water slide proved problematic for such close quarters. Following that, promoters faced opposition from residents of west Lawrence concerned about parking and traffic problems during the event. The City Commission weighed in, however, and assured us all that the show (and slide) MUST go on.

So the time has come. Load up the kids and aggravate west Lawrence residents with a day of slippery hijinks. Watch a video here to learn what's in store.

Upward of 4,000 people claim to be going on the Facebook event page.

7th Annual Sandbar Block party, 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Eighth Street between Massachusetts and New Hampshire streets

There's no shortage of block parties at the Sandbar, but this weekend is the big one: its annual birthday bash. Join the bar in celebrating its 26th year by doing in the street what you normally do inside at the bar: swilling tropical drinks and dancing to silly songs.

This year the event expands once again to cover two nights of beer gardens, socializing and bands (our favorite is the amusingly named Heavy Petty: yep, it's a Tom Petty cover band).

The Facebook event page provides further details but, as the page also says, you pretty much "know the drill" at this point.

Sunrise Project Pie Auction and Community Potluck, 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Hobbs Park

All signs suggest that LFK's beloved Ladybird Diner will finally be returning soon to serve us pie. But pies can be obtained for a good cause this weekend at Hobbs Park in East Lawrence as local nonprofit organization Sunrise Project hosts a pie auction and community potluck that will feature "beer, a kids' zone, heirloom tomato tasting and some awesome live music provided by youth bands from Richard's Rock Camp."

Sunrise Project describe itself as "a new and vibrant organization that will host a variety of youth- and community-driven programs focused on the intersection of food, the environment and social justice." Check it out and bid on some pies.

Visit the Facebook event page and you can see which of your friends and neighbors plan on baking pies. The above photo is taken from that page.

Federation of Horsepower/People's Punk Band/The Vedettes, 10 p.m. Saturday, Frank's North Star Tavern

Here's a pick for those of you who want NO part of a family-friendly block party or a family-friendly water slide and prefer a sweaty punk show with good friends in a dank basement.

KC's Federation of Horsepower describes its sound "as Motorhead meets Molly Hatchet meets the Misfits" and list their three primary influences as Black Sabbath, Black Flag and Black Oak Arkansas. Mix in the "distortion rock" of LFK's Vedettes along with the classic punk riffs of People's Punk Band and it's safe to say this evening AIN'T for the faint of heart. Don't bring your granny (unless she likes to thrash).

The Facebook event page is here. Say happy birthday to People's Punk drummer Jason Meier while you're on the scene. Here's a quick blurb Meier sent our way:

"All 3 bands are fresh off of playing the 2015 Lawrence Field Day Fest back in June and are looking to create some more loud, high energy, rock n' roll ruckus in the basement of Frank's."

Latenight Callers/Chris Meck and the Guilty Birds/Fullbloods, 9 p.m. (supposedly!) Saturday, Replay Lounge

If you're looking for a stage full of snappy dressers, you probably won't find it at Frank's punk show. Instead, you might want to drop by the Replay and soak up the "Noir-A-Go-Go" sounds of KC's Latenight Callers. You'll feel like you've wandered into a David Lynch film.

The solid triple-bill serves as a full-on Kansas City invasion, which is a bit rare at the Replay on a Saturday night. Joining the Latenight Callers will be Fullbloods and Chris Meck and the Guilty Birds (featuring prolific KC drummer Michelle Bacon).

Note, for what it's worth, that the set times provided on the Facebook event page are a bit earlier than one expects at the Replay. Pretty ironic for a band called Latenight Callers, don't you think?

Have fun and tweet us @LarryvilleLife.


People’s Punk Band plans rowdy show at Frank’s

There's a lot going on for The People's Punk Band this weekend.

The rockers known for really nailing that classic punk sound and driving rhythms is throwing a pretty big hoopla. On Saturday, they'll head over to Frank's for what should be a fairly wild show.

What makes this a big deal is that this may be their last show until fall. Additionally, all three bands on the lineup are fairly close, so this event was put together to celebrate drummer Jason Meier's birthday (he's pictured below cheering on Federation of Horsepower at Field Day Fest earlier this year). He happens to be one of local music's biggest fans in Lawrence, so the scene will most likely turn out in support.

Altogether, The People's Punk Band will be playing with Vedettes and Federation of Horsepower. Almost all of the musicians in these bands bring invaluable years of experience with them, so take notes.

These were three of the strongest performances we saw at Field Day Fest. Even with just a few performances under their belt, Vedettes are making a name for themselves as good and solid rock. Federation of Horsepower, a Kansas City group, is known for ear-busting antics during their sets.

Considering the enclosed space in the basement venue of Frank's, we'd highly recommend you bring earplugs.


The Blackbird Revue provides your dream pop for the summer

It feels a little wrong to discover a band so perfect for lazy summer days toward the end of the season.

The Blackbird Revue are a husband and wife dream pop duo from Kansas City. The accomplished multi-instrumentalists hit the Bottleneck and Saturday, and grabbed everyone's attention from the very first note.

These two remained perched at their stations, one behind a guitar and the other behind whatever she darn well pleased (synth, laptop, ukulele). They did a fantastic job of making their music sound so dreamy without drowning it in reverb.

Their soaring harmonies helped lift them to all those impressive high notes, all while they occasionally stole glances from each other. Half the time, their lyrics revolved around a level of heartbreak that could very well bring you to tears, but their sounds were just too satisfying to turn away.

Here's a sample of the alluring duo's hazy and whimsical performance sounded like:

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.


Weekend Picks: Love Garden songwriters; Bill Murray art; weird walking tours; demolition derby; Blackbird Revue

We don't have a festival in our Weekend Picks this time around, but we do have a fair. That's sort of like a festival, right? Add in some Final Friday hijinks and a few great music opportunities and you've got all the makings for a nice little late-summer weekend in LFK.

Danny Pound and David Swenson in-store performance, 7 p.m. Thursday at Love Garden

Love Garden has played host to some LOUD rock shows recently but this evening brings a chance to kick back in your favorite record store and think about your feelings while more introspective songwriters play you some acoustic tunes.

Headlining this evening is longtime-LFK musician Danny Pound joined by his former Danny Pound Band collaborator David Swenson (making a return trip to LFK for this show before jetting off overseas). Solo sets from Spencer Mackenzie Brown and Alex Chanay (of Maybe Not) kick off the evening.

Visit the Facebook event page for more details plus approximate set times, and check out a nice LJWorld feature article on Pound and Swenson's long history together.

"Kill Bill... Murray" art opening, 5-9 p.m. Friday at Art Emergency (721 E. Ninth St. in Warehouse Arts District)

One of our primary critiques of the Lawrence arts scene is that it's sadly lacking in paintings of Bill Murray. That will (finally) change on Friday as local artist Leo Hayden unveils what we think may be his masterpieces: a series of paintings that insert Mr. Murray and his characters into the context of other popular films.

The painting above, titled "Dance, You Son of a Bitch," offers a good example as Steve Zissou meets Jaws.

But what IS the origin of an art show devoted entirely to painting Mr. Murray into blockbuster movie scenes? We asked Leo to explain. His reply: "I think a lot of artists spend a lot of time trying to be deep, and not enough time trying to be good. And that just leads to deep st. Oh, and Bill Murray once stiffed my roommate for some cheese sticks he ordered. So 'Kill Bill Murray' was always our inside joke."

More details and a few sneak previews of other paintings can be found on the Facebook event page.

[Pro tip: While you're in the area, stop by the new Lawrence Community Photo Studio and look at photos while listening to the Sugar Britches and head over to Lawrence Creates Makerspace for the monthly Lawrence Art Party featuring tunes from the Heebie Jeebies.]

Card Table's Cheap 'n' Dirty Storytime Tours of Lawrence, 6-9 p.m. Friday, tours depart from Wonder Fair every half hour or so

Ever wanted to spend 20-30 minutes in the company of local actors and comedians as they lead you through downtown LFK on themed-tours such as "Places That Used to Be Cooler Back When I Was in My 20s" or "Ancient Ghosts of the New Lawrence Public Library?"

For us, it's a dream come true. Stop by Wonder Fair on Final Friday and learn and laugh a lot for the cost of $3. Our most anticipated tour is called "All the Benches Rob Schulte Has Cried On," although we're told that this particular tour may be delayed until a future installment of this continuing tour series (presumably because the sensitive barista is still trying to remember each and every bench he's shed a tear upon).

Visit the Facebook event page for more details on this unusual and ambitious collaboration between Card Table Theatre and Wonder Fair.

Demolition Derby at Douglas County Fair, 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Fairgrounds rodeo arena

Looking for a cultural event that feels far, FAR removed from Final Friday and all that highfalutin' art? Head out to the Douglas County Fairgrounds Friday night for the wildly-popular (often sold out) Demolition Derby. Make sure to pick a favorite car and don't be surprised if you find yourself hollering along with the masses for pure mayhem and destruction. Perhaps those guys from the recent wedged-truck incident near Johnny's will join the fray?

This year's Derby features a new attraction between rounds: a Power Wheels Derby for kids. No registration is required for this event that allows kids to bring their battery-operated "ride on" vehicles and ram into each other... just like grownups!

Do you prefer to see other kinds of vehicles besides cars getting smashed? Return to the Fairgrounds for the Mowbashers event on Saturday. That's right: riding lawnmowers.

Find more info on these events along with a full Fair schedule via LJ-World.

BlackBird Revue, 9 p.m. Saturday at Bottleneck

Acclaimed Kansas City Americana/folk outfit The Blackbird Revue swoops in for a landing at the Bottleneck tonight as part of a solid QUADRUPLE bill of folky/twangy acts.

Expect some sweet harmonies from the husband/wife duo of Blackbird. And what else should you expect on this jam-packed bill? Local troubadours Carswell and Hope will turn up the volume with their Irish rock leanings, KC songstress Mikal Shapiro will bring a classical and psych-influenced vibe, and Spencer Mackenzie Brown (you may remember him from such shows as Thursday at Love Garden) will do his indie-folk thing, perhaps with his band for this one.

Find more details via the Facebook event page.

Tweet us @LarryvilleLife and tune in next week as we offer our thoughts on a bittersweet farewell concert from one of LFK's best-loved bands.


Life of the party: Local rappers inspire, entertain and educate at Replay show

On Saturday, the love of hip-hop was alive and well at the Replay when three local acts got together to showcase what the genre has to offer. You won't always find hip-hop heads at these shows, but you will find those who are curious about the genre and applaud local talent.

Barrel Maker had the daunting task of starting the night off and getting the mood just right. Sometimes it takes rappers a song or two to get warmed up, but not Barrel Maker. He hits the ground running, putting his body into it and flinging across the stage at full gallop. He doesn't even need to close his eyes in concentration when he blazes through his lyrics.

Barrel Maker, an accomplished video artist responsible for some of the prettier music videos in the area, had a lot of camera references in his lyrics. He is a multifaceted artist that maintains his energy to the very end. That's the thing about Barrel Maker, he's good 'till the last drop.

During his set, Barrel Maker and D/Will kept bantering with the audience about hip-hop but got very little communication in return. Approach was in the crowd and remarked, "They're getting educated!" In a way, that was true.

Lawrence doesn't necessarily always turn out for hip-hop shows, although there are plenty of opportunities. lowercase KANSAS, a sort of open mic for rappers, has called both the Bottleneck and the Granada home. The Approach powerhouse resides at the Replay, so most of his associates will hit that venue up as well.

The Jackpot also has the occasional hip-hop show, and tends to bring out a Topeka crowd. The opportunities are there, and Lawrence is coming around… but it's a tedious process.

Here's an artist who could help speed that up. Duncan was the life of the party. There's something thrilling and gladdening about watching a live band with a hip-hop act.

The musicians were top notch, and quickly demanded everyone's attention when the drummer started up. That drummer, by the way, played his kit AND the keys at the same time. Like the performer before him, Duncan was also a spritely fellow and enjoyed spreading the good word through his music.

He slowed it down for a song when he dedicated it to his Granny. This one got us right in the feels. The song was highly relatable for anyone with a Granny, and entirely likable for those without.

But he quickly recovered with an inspirational number. It was kind of like going to church. His songs were full of positivity, especially when he dedicated one to his wife and preceded it with an announcement. "I think it's cool to make songs about your wife!" This was met with a round of applause, and more positivity that ran rampant in Duncan's act.

Lincoln Marshall extended the sentiment when they hit the stage. The collaboration between Approach and MilkDrop are a match made in hip-hop heaven. The two play off each other's talents and personalities, and we get to reap the benefits.

Approach still maintains his intense and likable onstage presence as he tumbles and darts around MilkDrop and various audience members. He called this set "20 minutes of cardiovascular," and it totally felt like it. By the time Barrel Maker joined them onstage for a song, Lincoln Marshall's act was beginning to feel like a buddy cop movie as the antics ran high.

Approach — an artist known for dipping his finger into writing, performing, recording and producing — announced, "I'm a man of many hats, and the hat I'm wearing right now is making your ass move!" There wasn't a still bootie in the house.

The time for Lawrence's hip-hop resurgence is now. Even at a late hour, fans turned up. How could they not? These rappers are lovable, contagious, and know how to convey a message.

If you make it out to their shows, you'll be entertained AND educated. Approach put it best when he addressed the crowd and waved his hand towards the performers. "We put the art in what we have to say and leave you with something so you don't go home stupid."

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.


Local music fans, bands get freaky at Forever Fest

The Lawrence label boasting musicians that like to get weird lived up to its reputation on Friday. Whatever Forever held a mini festival of sorts at the Replay. There were plenty of WTF moments (looking at you, Agent X-12), but the event mostly just showed how musicians from various backgrounds celebrated unity in their scene.

To everyone's delight, the evening portion of the evening was held inside, allowing revelers to bask in the Replay's air conditioning. Invisible Public Library started the night off with their delightfully authentic indie sound. Some of their songs have become so upbeat that folks ended up cutting a rug for most of their set. This band is full of acoustic fun you can actually boogie to.

For the older generation of music fans, Danny Pound teamed up with Major Games' Doug McKinney for a fairly experimental set. Pound planted himself firmly on the floor of the stage, legs crossed with his guitar resting on his knees. The musician's previous album was a little more on the experimental side, so it was no surprise to see him indulge in psychedelic noises while his partner in crime twisted knobs and produced all manner of clicks and loops.

The Ovaries-eez are easily a fan favorite, and the three gals were quick to set up for their stripped-down set. Armed with nothing more than a kick drum and an electric guitar, the sirens harmonized and captivated their audience. This is a rock venue, yet you could hear a pin drop because that's the kind of effect the Ovaries-eez have on people.

Agent X-12 performs Friday, July 24, 2015, at the Replay Lounge as part of Forever Fest.

Agent X-12 performs Friday, July 24, 2015, at the Replay Lounge as part of Forever Fest. by Fally Afani

The night proved to be a special occasion thanks to the eccentric return of Agent X-12. The musician, whose identity has been and will always remain a secret, was known for donning a robot mask of his own creation and wailing away on a unique guitar (also of his own creation) prior to his break. But on this night, he returned as a three-person act more terrifying than ever.

None of their identities were revealed, and every mask was unique. The drummer's had eyes that lit up much like Iron Giant's, while an evil wizard donned a silver shield across his eyes, exposing his green face paint. This fella was the most peculiar of the three, sporting a light-up staff that he repeatedly slammed into the stage (or held high above his head). The terrifying wizard wailed into a heavily altered mic and shocked the audience with his larger-than-life supernatural presence.

Agent X-12's act is something we can only describe as "Experi-Metal." There was plenty of guitar wailing, but the three also transported you to another ludicrous dimension. We had to pinch ourselves to make sure this was real, and on the inside we secretly prayed for the space punks in Arc Flash to show up and do battle.

While they didn't go head-to-head with Arc Flash, the band did follow X-12's set with a slightly altered act. The three of them were now two, and gone were the costumes (most likely because of the ghastly heat advisory).

The boys did not disappoint, setting up a rager on the floor. An impressively large crowd, considering the "early" start time by Replay standards, formed around the duo and shimmied, swayed and shuffled the night away. Arc Flash have played so steadily in Lawrence recently that one of their songs (video below) has pretty much become the song of the summer. If you enjoy live music in Lawrence, chances are this song has been your jam at one point or another over the last couple of months.

True to tradition and form, Dean Monkey and the Dropouts followed clad in coordinated costumes. Despite the intensifying heat, their impressively detailed skull makeup remained intact. Some even had sequins pasted to their faces!

It's been interesting watching the harmonizing doo-woppers perform new music since debuting it last spring. You can tell they've been intently practicing because songs that were a little shaky in March were absolutely perfect on Friday. They nailed every note, their pacing was on point, and their ever-developing sound is successfully retaining old fans and gaining new ones.

The Fog, a Kansas City band, rarely makes appearances in these parts. So their fans, friends, and collaborators were more than thrilled to see them at the festival. The first time we saw The Fog, the most noticeable trait was how fast they played. Now, they've somehow gotten even faster.

Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk rounded out the night with a large fan base crowding around the stage. The band used to hail from the area, so this was a bit of a homecoming for them. This show fell toward the end of their tour, and they brought their fuzzy, production-heavy sounds to a scene that helped launched their career.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.


Undrafted Cliff Alexander signs with Portland

Brooklyn Nets’ Cliff Alexander goes up for a shot against New Orleans Pelicans’ Victor Rudd during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game Monday, July 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Brooklyn Nets’ Cliff Alexander goes up for a shot against New Orleans Pelicans’ Victor Rudd during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game Monday, July 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Passed on 60 times during the 2015 NBA Draft, one-and-done Kansas big man Cliff Alexander had to make the most of his opportunity in the NBA’s summer leagues to keep his professional dream alive.

Though the 6-foot-9 power forward didn’t dominate as a temporary member of the Brooklyn Nets, Alexander did enough to impress the Portland Trail Blazers, who signed the undrafted post player to a contract Friday afternoon.

Alexander was the first to announce the move, via Twitter: “God has still found ways to bless me through the struggle,” he wrote.

None by Cliff Alexander

Projected by some to go late in the first round of the draft or early in the second, Alexander watched the made-for-TV event play out without hearing his name called. He later told NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper the entire experience shook him.

"I was thinking I'm not good enough," he said during his stint with the Nets. "Can I play this level? Was it a mistake for me to leave college? I had a lot of doubts. But I'm back confident now. I'm good."

The boost in morale, Alexander shared, arrived when Brooklyn gave him a chance to play on its summer league team in both Orlando and Las Vegas. Just getting back to basketball made all the difference for his psyche.

In five Orlando outings, the raw 19-year-old from Chicago, who missed his final eight games with the Jayhawks due to an NCAA investigation, averaged 6.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocks, while only converting 38.9% of his shot attempts.

Alexander continued to struggle with his field-goal percentage (37.7%) in six Las Vegas games, but increased his other numbers: 8.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

In a bit of a rebuilding mode after all-star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge left Portland this summer to join San Antonio, the Blazers needed another post player on which they could take a gamble. But reaching a deal doesn’t necessarily mean playing time for Alexander. Portland has six other front court players currently under contract who are 6-9 or taller and have NBA experience: Chris Kaman, Mason Plumlee, Meyers Leonard, Maurice Harkless, Ed Davis and Al-Farouq Aminu. Coach Terry Stotts figures to play each of them ahead of Alexander until the rookie gives him reasons to do otherwise.

Terms of Alexander’s agreement with Portland have yet to be disclosed.

Between not living up to his No. 4 (Class of 204) national recruiting ranking from Rivals.com once he arrived at KU and averaged 7.1 points and 17.6 minutes, to the allegations of his family receiving improper benefits, to seeing his draft stock free fall, the past year hasn’t been easy for Alexander.

Still, as he told NBA.com prior to signing a contract, the youngster remains optimistic about the next phase of his basketball journey.

"I'm going to show people," Alexander said. "I just have to redeem myself. I've been here before. I've started from the bottom before. I've been the underdog before. I know what it takes to get back on top."

— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


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