Entries from blogs tagged with “Lawrence”

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.


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.


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.


Weekend Picks: Firkin tapping; Basic Boys comedy; Forever Fest; Robert Earl Keen; Sunday poetry

The summer stretches onward. There is still beer to drink, shows and festivals to attend, comedy to make you laugh, and poetry to inspire you. Let's get going.

Lawrence Brewer's Guild 20th anniversary firkin tapping, music from Maw at 6ish and tapping at 7 p.m. Thursday, Free State Brewing Company

The Lawrence Brewer's Guild is celebrating its 20th anniversary exactly as you'd expect: by making beer and drinking it.

This shindig on the Free State patio kicks off with MAW's energetic, always fun, all-female bluegrass but, let's face it, the headliner here is the beer.

The Brewers are calling Thursday's beer "Chocolate Birthday Cake," described as "a blend of Owd Mac 2015 and Chili Mac (Owd Mac infused with cocoa nib, ancho chili, vanilla bean and Vietnamese cinnamon)." What??

Sample if you dare for $5 or $6, which also gets you a complimentary glass.

Basic Boys comedy showcase, 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Jazzhaus

If you've got a belly full of strange potent chocolate beer from the firkin tapping earlier in the evening, you may need a few laughs (and some Tums).

Consider heading over to the Jazzhaus for an evening of Lawrence and KC comedians with music from Narkalark. The low price of $3 gets you six comics and a band. Not bad.

According to some of the head honchos at the Harpoon Presents comedy collective, the Basic Boys event was designed in part to let comedians who often serve as hosts take a turn in the headlining slots for a change.

The Facebook event page has more details and a bunch of Michael Bay references. Note too that a Basic Boys "sequel" is already in the works and will take place at The Break Room in Topeka on Aug. 14.

Forever Fest, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, Replay Lounge, continues Saturday in "the countryside"

It's been a long few weeks without a festival in LFK, but the folks at the Whatever Forever music/cassette label are delivering a reliably weird one this weekend.

The Fest itself takes place, as a good fest should, out in the countryside in North Lawrence on Saturday. But the proceedings kick off Friday with a jam-packed evening of local bands at the Replay. Dean Monkey and the Dropouts (who you can read more about in this Lcom interview) will play some doo-wop, Danny Pound and Doug McKinney will make some unusual noises, and Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk are back on the scene.

If you are bold enough to venture out to the "countryside freak fest" on Saturday, expect a barbecue potluck and a compilation release party for a new cassette that features a whole slew of other LFK bands and artwork designed by Jason Barr. Your Friend and Paper Buffalo will be rocking the festival along with many more.

The Facebook event page with all the necessary details is here.

Robert Earl Keen, doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Saturday, Granada

Perhaps you've never caught one of the legendary sets from prolific Texas troubadour Robert Earl Keen and aren't sure what to expect. Let us tell you.

Expect a vital mix of older and younger fans. Expect them to be drinking heavily. Expect them to occasionally sing along. Expect a skillful mix of funny and poignant songs full of memorable turns of phrase. Expect to find yourself drunk and eventually singing along as well to the following refrain: "The road goes on forever and the party never ends." Expect to find yourself believing it (at least until the next morning).

Distant warning: Keen's pal (and college roomie) Lyle Lovett hits town in October. The smart move is to see them both.

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

Many Lawrencians (including us) end their weekends with early evening music on the Replay patio and/or Game of the Week kickball action at Hobbs Park. A more "sophisticated" alternative for this Sunday, however, is the return of this vibrant poetry series in the Taproom basement.

The events begin with a short, well-run open-mic prior to the featured readers. This month's showcase poets are Evie Shockley, in town from Rutgers, and William J. Harris, KU professor and jazz scholar (we call him Billy Joe and that's cool because we know him).

Visit the Facebook event page for more info on this month's featured poets.

Note for the truly ambitious: The start times for the poetry series, Replay patio show, and Game of the Week allow one, in theory, to attend ALL THREE of these events and therefore become the coolest person in town on a Sunday.

Rick Martin, head chef and owner of Limestone Pizza, plates his pork carnitas chopped salad served with the flat bread as he participates in the fourth annual Chef's Challenge on Wednesday, July 30, 2014, at the Douglas County fair. Martin won first place with his dish.

Rick Martin, head chef and owner of Limestone Pizza, plates his pork carnitas chopped salad served with the flat bread as he participates in the fourth annual Chef's Challenge on Wednesday, July 30, 2014, at the Douglas County fair. Martin won first place with his dish. by John Young

Douglas County Fair, ongoing through Aug. 2, Douglas County Fairgrounds

It's fair time all over Kansas.

The most popular events of the Douglas County fair have yet to arrive (the midway opens next Wednesday and the Derby happens on July 31). But the fair itself is underway with various events throughout this weekend and next week that might be worth a look.

Pro-tip: The "Chef's Challenge" event next Wednesday is a fun affair and a great way to score free grub cooked on the spot by some of LFK's best chefs. Pair it with a few midway corndogs and it's a memorable summer feast.

Check out this recent preview and schedule courtesy of LJ-World, and we'll offer our thoughts on the always-popular demo-derby in next week's column.

Tweet us @LarryvilleLife. We're out here, listening.


Meet Voyager, Lawrence’s newest metalheads

We have found Gnarly Davidson's evil twin, and his name is Voyager.

This trio of sludge-rockers are working the town into a frenzy. Their Replay show on Thursday night was only the second time they've played live, but the excitement surrounding these metalheads is already high.

Voyager are the guys you wish would invite you over to jam in the garage. They're cool as hell, and metal as hell, with just a hint of Black Sabbath hanging in the guitar-saturated air. From the hair flips to the "ancient wang bars," it's hard not to fall hard for Voyager from the very moment their leather-vest clad guitarist set foot onstage.

This is music that automatically gives you a gratuitous confidence boost. It will conjure up your inner Brock Samson, your inner Viking (Viking-core is so in right now in Lawrence). If you paid attention, you noticed the space between the audience and the band growing smaller as the night went on. If that's any indication of an immediate attraction between the scene and this beer-rock/viking-rock sound, then Lawrence will be sounding mighty vicious this year.

Here's what it sounded like when they started slaying dragons:

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.


The dog days of the Lawrence rock scene have arrived

Now that all the festivals and special events have died down, it's time to enjoy the finer points of the rock scene in Lawrence. These dog days are a time for condensation from your beer bottle to slowly drip down your fingers, a time for slow drags of your cigarette in the humid air, and a time for rock shows on a lazy night in the middle of the week.

Such was the case when Major Games took to the Replay on Wednesday night. This band stayed mainly out of view for a couple of years, but have really been popping up randomly this year.

In a grand and laid-back gesture, the band took requests and played at its leisure. Local drummer extraordinaire Kliph Scurlock, a friend AND fan of the band, even spontaneously jumped in to play drums on one of the tracks. The band's regular drummer went off to the side for this portion and air drummed along, but he wasn't the only one. Major Games is a band that fans can let loose to, drumming along and sludgingly banging their head in approval.

Here's what it looked like during the gregarious moment:

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.


Hard-working rapper Approach can’t stop, won’t stop

Here's a fella that puts your busy days at work to shame.

On Saturday, Sean Hunt (you know him as Approach) earned his title as one of the hardest-working rappers in the area. He started by spending the day in the Lawrence Public Library's Sound + Vision studio for a new series they're launching (stay tuned).

After that, it was off to the Granada to open for Talib Kweli. Approach just recently debuted Lincoln Marshall, his new collaboration act with MilkDrop.

It was nothing short of astounding because when Approach performs, he puts his whole body into it. This guy started off strong, spinning and sprinting across the wide Granada stage.

After a couple of songs, he was so unsatisfied with the audience's reaction that he dove into the crowd and performed a few songs from the floor. A circle of fans formed around him, throwing their hands in the air and gleefully cheering along as he continued his high-energy pacing and flawless rapping.

Approach didn't even get to stick around for Kweli's set because it was time to pack up and move down the street to the Replay, where he DJ'd into the early morning hours. This set was also pleasing to revelers on the dance floor as they (once again) threw their hands in the air in approval.

Does Approach sleep? Does he eat? We're not sure. But we are certain that his endless hustling and hard work is the reason why he is hands down one of the most celebrated artists in this community.

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: Sidewalk Sale; Bummer release party; ragtime at Gaslight; Class of Astra; theatrical mysteries; and wacky science theater for kids

Readers, the heat wave is on and seems to be lingering for the weekend. Will you brave the temps for sweet bargains at the Sidewalk Sale or sweaty rock shows at Love Garden? Or hide out in a dark theater in Murphy Hall with a good mystery? Either way, we've got you covered.

Sidewalk Sale, all day Thursday, all over downtown

At the time of this writing (Monday), Lawrence is under excessive heat warnings. That can only mean one thing: one of the summer's biggest outdoor events is right around the corner!

Yes, the annual Lawrence Sidewalk Sale arrives Thursday and many of you have surely spent weeks planning the best ways to either make the most of this event or avoid it altogether (the crowds! the heat! the hassle!).

The good folks at Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop host their 11th annual pre-sale on Wednesday for those who want to get a true jump on the action. Others will no doubt take to the street before sunrise on Thursday to wait for stores to open.

While most of the sales take place (obviously) on the sidewalks of Mass. Street, bargain-seeking scenesters who loathe the sunlight can take comfort in the fact that certain clever businesses such as Liberty Hall and Love Garden often host their sales indoors. These are always essential stops for us, along with Wonder Fair for a dose of sidewalk weirdness.

Stay well-hydrated (many businesses offer free water) and good luck to us all! If you survive the sale, consider the Downtown Lawrence Sidewalk Sale Social afterward (details here).

The Sidewalk Sale has an official Facebook event page here. And for a bigger rundown of what's happening on each block, check out this LJWorld piece.

Brian Hawkins and the New Printographers ragtime show, 8 p.m. Thursday at Gaslight

It's easy enough to find most kinds of music in Lawrence these days (even jazz, if you wander into 5 Bar and Tables on the right nights). But where's all the ragtime piano at??

Head to the Gaslight after the Sidewalk Sale and you'll find it.

Brian Hawkins, a veteran ragtime piano player who has recently played at Wonder Fair events, will perform his third annual Gaslight show accompanied on guitar and percussion by members of a band of local printmakers called A la Poupee and the Chine-Colles. No, we're not making this stuff up: you may have also seen these merry printmakers performing at Wonder Fair. Combined, Hawkins and crew are calling themselves the New Printographers (if you catch their New Pornographers reference!).

Hawkins tells us that the crowds have danced at his last two Gaslight shows, so come prepared and don't let him down.

The Facebook event page is here.

Bummer album release show, 7 p.m. Saturday, Love Garden

Olathe's Bummer has been making "rock and roll for the future cavemen of America" since 2012, and they'll be serving it up at Love Garden at Saturday's EP release party for "Spank."

The EP is out this week via High Dive Records, which has recently provided a home to such LFK luminaries as Psychic Heat and Rooftop Vigilantes. Bummer is releasing the EP on vinyl, cassette and digitally, so choose your desired format and join them at the show.

LFK's Gnarly Davidson open the festivities with their brand of "beer rock."

You can check out the track "Dude Baby" via Bummer's Bandcamp, and the Facebook event page is here.

Class of Astra, 6 p.m. Saturday, Bottleneck

One of the more intriguing/unusual events of the weekend can be found at the Bottleneck Saturday evening as "a collection of LFK-cultivated creators" calling themselves Class of Astra host a "pop-up event" combining the culinary, the visual and the musical.

There are a whole host of "creators" involved (find a list at the Facebook event page), among them Adam Lott (the visual!), Hank Charcuterie (the culinary!), and SUB URBAN (a mysterious new group providing a bit of musical oddness, or so we hear).

The event itself kicks off at 6 p.m. and musical acts begin around 9 p.m.

"Sherlock's Last Case" and "The Mousetrap," July 17-Aug. 2 at KU University Theatre

Looking for a few good mysteries but too lazy to pick up a book? Head to campus over the next few weekends and catch this summer's offerings from the Kansas Repertory Theatre.

This marks the second year of existence for the Kansas Rep, which is composed of a mixture of "professional actors, B.F.A. and M.F.A. actors from nationally recognized training programs, [and a] select group of KU students."

These productions, which "share the same casts but are distinguished by designs, directorial concepts and texts," should combine to offer audiences a good mix of the traditional (Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap" is a staple of theater reputed to have the longest initial run in theater history) and the modern ("Sherlock's Last Case" promises a modern update on the venerable detective).

Visit the Facebook event page for more info along with dates and times for the plays, which are running concurrently. Order tickets via KU University Theatre.

"Science: Boom! You're Welcome" presented by Summer Youth Theatre, 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Lawrence Arts Center

Or how about a different kind of mystery, geared for young audiences?

The Arts Center's Summer Youth Theatre program will explore the mysteries of science in "an eclectic mix of humor, science and theatrics" written by local mischief-maker Will Averill of Card Table Theatre. The Facebook page suggests that the show operates in a similar vein as the LAC's wacky and informative "The History of Kansas in 60 Minutes" from a few years back.

With "live science" courtesy of Card Table's Will and Jacqueline, our guess is that this show will be as entertaining for adults as it is for younger audiences.

The Facebook event page is here.

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