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Katy Guillen and The Girls

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Lawrence Field Day Fest bridges KC and Lawrence music communities

(pictured above: Oils / all photos and videos by Michelle Bacon)
 
Spanning over three evenings with 28 acts, the third annual Lawrence Field Day Fest proved to be a large success. From Thursday through Saturday nights, some of KC and Lawrence’s most notable acts converged upon the town and brought with them a score of talent and style.
 
 
For this reviewer, LFDF kicked off on Friday evening at Jackpot Music Hall in the middle of Katy Guillen & the Girls’ explosive set. The KC trio had the full attention of a trickling-in crowd, most of whom had never seen them before and all of whom raved over them after. Once you experience one of Katy Guillen’s searing guitar solos—impelled by her tenacious rhythm section—you’re never really the same again.
 
 
Immediately following KG&G was Destroy Nate Allen. As the duo began to do a sound check while walking about the room, I realized that this would probably be nothing like what had preceded it or what would follow at any point during the fest. The husband/wife team of Nate and Tessa Allen has a delightfully unusual punk folk style, characterized and enhanced by an unconventional, interactive live show.
 
The rest of the weekend was a somewhat similar story, where festivalgoers—myself included—were getting to experience bands for the very first time. The lineup dropped a portion of the KC music scene in a setting they aren’t as saturated in, allowing an initial exposure to many Lawrence music fans. In that same vein, the KC faction was also able to see performers who don’t travel east very often.

“Last year, I was burdening myself with the task of finding national acts because I thought that would help the draw,” says festival organizer Cameron Hawk. “I was worrying about stuff like that, and I think it made me forget that not only do we have a huge crop of amazing bands around here, but they are bands people care about. We are so lucky to have that.” So this year, Hawk took the approach of building a solid lineup from both sides of the state line, and was able to draw in fans from the two music communities and parts in between.
 
 
Other highlights included Major Games’ highly anticipated set on Friday at The Bottleneck. Emerging from a nearly two-year live show hiatus, the trio played its upcoming album in its entirety and presented an even bigger, fresher, more passionate sound than before. Following them was Loose Park, a pure rock ‘n roll band who manages to somehow become even more electrifying and fun with each passing performance.
 
 
The Sluts closed down The Jackpot on Friday night to an enthused, riotous audience. The duo of Ryan Wise and Kristoffer Dover has a steady following in both KC and Lawrence, and was able to prove exactly why with Friday’s performance. They have a stripped-down, DIY garage rock/punk sensibility, with just enough hooks to grab almost anyone who could possibly be entertained by the thought of live music. Wise’s newly added vocal effects also brought more depth and grunge to their songs.
 
 
Saturday night marked Pale Hearts’ final performance, as frontman Rob Gillaspie (also currently doubling as Lux Interior in The Cramps’ tribute band Stay Sick) prepares to move to KC. The always enigmatic performer led his band through its dark, poppy, ‘80s-influenced catalog. We hope to see more music come out of Gillaspie, perhaps in future collaborations with KC artists.
 
 
 
At Jackpot, CS Luxem entertained and captivated a new audience, showcasing Christopher Luxem’s talented songwriting both as a solo act and realized as a full band. Meanwhile—and with the help of Jar Jar Binks—Josh Berwanger and his band got the Bottleneck crowd on its feet.
 
 
Like other frontmen I was able to catch on that stage (Gillaspie, Matthew Dunehoo of Loose Park), Berwanger can capture an audience and keep it engaged—a feat many lead vocalists haven’t quite figured out yet. His obvious charm, coupled with the group’s grooving power pop anthems, warmed the audience up for Cowboy Indian Bear.
 
 
Cowboy recently announced that it would take a hiatus after LFDF, resulting in a lengthy, heartfelt, double-encore show. The band played several songs off its acclaimed 2013 album Live Old, Die Young, and delivered a touching but fervent performance—one of the most dynamic, gargantuan performances I have personally witnessed from them.
 
 
And closing down LFDF was Stiff Middle Fingers, who wins the award for Most Spirited Audience of the fest. In true form, frontman Travis Arey riled up the crowd, inciting friendly mosh pits and audience members storming the stage.
 
 
The exuberant crowd chanted and shouted right along with Arey, also showing its gratitude for guitarist/fest curator Hawk. The group’s straight-up don’t-give-a-fuck punk style was the perfect environment to congregate in for LFDF’s swan song. The KC and Lawrence music communities let loose together, shouting “I ain’t no goddamn son of a bitch” as SMF busted out a Misfits cover, and locked in sweaty embraces to celebrate a job well done.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle is editor of The Deli KC. She is in bands. She is the only person in the world not watching the World Cup right now and is sorry for that.
   

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Show recap: The Clementines' EP release show at VooDoo, 5.9.14

(Photos by Jodie Platz)
 
Last Friday, The Clementines celebrated the release of their EP Someday/Over (see our review), a follow-up to their self-titled debut album released last summer. This time, they threw a big party to commemorate the occasion at VooDoo Lounge, with special guests The B’Dinas and Katy Guillen & the Girls.
 
 
The B’Dinas kicked off the party with an exuberant set, bringing with them enough quirkiness to create a light, jubilant mood as the audience filtered in. Each member showed off his/her own individual talents throughout the set, often switching off instruments and lead vocal duties from song to song.
 
This is a band that rides on the strength of its musical prowess, maintaining an intricate prog rock/blues sound without sounding busy or overwhelming. At times, The B’Dinas boasted impressive four-part vocal harmonies. Toward the end of the set, when Peter Lawless switched over from bass to saxophone and took over lead vocal duties on “That’s Not What She Said,” the group unleashed a musical fury that filled the large room.
 
 
 
 
With gilded anticipation, The Clementines took to the stage with a confidence and performance that lived up to the quality of their new album. With a bevy of new material, the group played for about an hour to a receptive crowd.
 
Guest violinist Kristin Chow sat in on a few songs, adding another powerful dynamic to a band that is most noted for the strength and soul of Nicole Springer’s voice. But since adding drummer Aaron Derington to the mix last fall, The Clementines have brought new elements to their overall sound. Tim Jenkins mostly played electric guitar for Friday’s show and switched to mandolin for a few songs, contributing flourishes to Springer’s voice as well as a necessary bite to the music. Travis Earnshaw’s bass lines provided a foundation and a bounce to each song.
 
For one of their final tunes, “Your History,” the band’s former drummer [and Katy Guillen & the Girls’ current drummer] Stephanie Williams guest starred while Derington moved over to keys—reminding us that this band is a far cry from its beginnings as an acoustic duo of Springer and Jenkins, and is further testament to its growth as musicians and performers. “I felt [our performance] was very inspired by all of the support there and truly was a celebration of completing an EP that we’re super proud of,” mentioned Springer.
 
 
 
Though The Clementines were the evening’s celebrated act, Katy Guillen & the Girls headlined the show and kept the audience on the dance floor. They’ve added new material to their set as they prepare to release their debut full-length album in the fall. As always, Guillen’s guitar playing was simultaneously brutal and captivating, matched by Williams’ fierce and flashy but deliberate, on-point drumming (and a new kit to boot) and Claire Adams’ booming bass scales.
 
Since taking fourth place at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January, the trio has honed its performance into that of a band fit to play about any midsize/large venue in the country—a giant feat for a group still young in its career. This showed on Friday evening, as VooDoo provided the high-end production necessary to augment their roaring sound and a professional, flawless performance. KG & the Girls will be traveling in the coming months, playing the Montreal International Jazz Festival in June, Daytona Blues Fest in October, and taking a 10-day tour of Sweden in November.
 
 
 
 
The Clementines and The B’Dinas will be playing together again at The Brick on Friday, May 23. You can catch Katy & the Girls next at BB’s Lawnside BBQ on Saturday, May 31.
 
 
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle is the editor of The Deli KC and does rhythmic stuff in The Philistines, Drew Black & Dirty Electric, Dolls on Fire, and Lucky Graves. She also writes for Ink. The rest of the time, she is a hobo.

Jodie Platz is a concert photographer, and also doubles as the tour manager for Not A Planet.
  
 

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Album review: The Clementines - Someday/Over (EP)

 
If one had not seen this band live, one would think that with the name The Clementines, this would be a roots country or bluegrass band. When you cue up the first song of their new EP Someday/Over, the first sounds you hear are a bass intro that sounds vaguely reggae-like, then the first song "Afraid" kicks in with a definite reggae feel. The next, "In Yesterday," changes the mood with some quiet folky acoustic guitar picking and understated vocal by Nicole Springer, then moves into a country shuffle. The addition of the rhythm section of Aaron Derrington and Travis Earnshaw has broadened the reach of this band, which started as an acoustic duo with Springer on vocals and guitar and Tim Jenkins on lead guitar.
 
The next song shifts gears once again with the instrumental portion of "Misery" sounding a little like middle-period Fairport Convention, with a driving beat and excellent vocals from Springer. This is followed by a quiet but passionate acoustic love song called "Only in The Darkness."
 
The EP ends with the sonic blast of the title track, which begins with some nice acoustic guitar and ethereal vocals, then builds to a galloping beat with lots of tasty lead guitar from Jenkins and a slight Spanish/flamenco feel.
 
Lots of bands lately are doing EP releases. Not only does this save them money, it's a good idea to keep new material coming out every few months in EP form instead of releasing a full-length album that would not likely be followed up for another year or so. This keeps bands in the public's eye (and ears) every few months with new releases, much like bands used to put out singles every three or four months back in the ‘60s. This new EP showcases The Clementines' versatility and works well as a nice introductory sampler for those not familiar with their work.
 
 
The Deli KC is helping present The Clementines’ album release show at Voodoo this Friday, May 9. Show starts at 8 p.m. The B’Dinas and Katy Guillen & the Girls will also be playing. Facebook event page. See below for a video of "In Yesterday," the first single off the EP. 

--Barry Lee
 
Barry is host of KKFI 90.1's Signal To Noise Sundays at 8 p.m. During the day he's Station Manager at KKFI. 
 
 
 
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Katy Guillen & the Girls Runner Up in The Deli KC's 2013 Best Emerging Artist Poll

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
 
Congrats to Katy Guillen & the Girls, The Deli KC’s second-place pick for 2013 Emerging Artist!
 
Though they’ve been a band for only a little over a year, Katy Guillen & the Girls have gained a strong and dedicated following in Kansas City and beyond. Guillen—whose blues/roots/rock/flamenco guitar skills far exceed that of most—has assembled a precise, expert rhythm section of Claire Adams on bass and Stephanie Williams on drums (see our 2012 interview with Williams) to set her songs in motion.
 
The trio recently took fourth place at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis with its unique, daring interpretation of blues rock.
 
KG & the Girls released …and then there were three in summer 2013 (see our review here) and a single for “Earth Angel” early this year. If you want to find out more about them, we did a Q&A with them shortly after the album was released.
 
 
The group will be playing at Knuckleheads on Wednesday, February 26, with The Latenight Callers and John Velghe & the Prodigal Sons. Facebook event page.
 
 
 
--Michelle Bacon
  
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays bass in The Philistines and Dolls on Fire, and drums in Drew Black & Dirty Electric
 

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Song premiere: "Earth Angel" by Katy Guillen and the Girls

 
We are happy to premiere the latest track from Katy Guillen & the Girls, “Earth Angel.”
 
 
The trio releases the song right before descending upon Memphis to represent Kansas City in the International Blues Challenge next week. The KC kickoff show is this Saturday, January 18, at BB’s Lawnside BBQ. KG & the Girls will play the IBC as well as a few dates in Nashville and New Orleans over the next week.
 
“Earth Angel” is a ballad that successfully packs in every element that gives KG & the Girls its signature style, which is rooted in the blues but draws from rock and jazz influences. It begins with Guillen’s masterful guitar work and carefully weaves in her compelling vocals with  the always-on-point rhythm section of Claire Adams and Stephanie Williams. Though the track clocks in at nearly eight minutes, it gradually accelerates along with a balance of delicacy and force that gives it a satisfying sense of brevity and completeness.
 
The song was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Duane Trower at Weights & Measures Soundlab.
 
The band is offering up the track as a free download for one week, so head over to their Bandcamp and get your download.
 
Also, head over to BB’s this Saturday at 9:00 p.m. to see them before they leave for Memphis. AJ Gaither will be opening up the show and joining the band on a few tunes. Facebook event page.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle is the editor-in-chief of The Deli Magazine—Kansas City. She plays drums in Drew Black & Dirty Electric and bass in Dolls on Fire and The Philistines. She thinks gingers are dumb.
 

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