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Artist Spotlight: The Philistines

One of the newer additions to Kansas City's musical family, The Philistines are making themselves heard on the strength of a playlist in which you can hear sounds inspired by the Velvet Underground, the Black Angels, and Calexico, among others. If bands aim to be greater than the sum of their parts, The Philistines will have their work cut out for them, as this sextet includes some of KC's most well-known and experienced players. The Deli KC would like to know more ...
 
The Deli: Give us a thumbnail description of the sound of The Philistines.
 
Cody Wyoming: Psychedelic rock. Sometimes heavy, sometimes dreamy.
 
Kimberely Queen: Go-go acid pop.
 
Steve Gardels: Loud, drippy '70s-era psych with a '60s pop attitude.
 
Rod Peal: Psychedelic pop stoner rock, the best of all my favorite genres.
 
The Deli: How did the band come to be?
 
Cody: While we were cold and snowed in last winter, we started making music and writing songs together. Then we did a few live shows as a duo and quickly decided that we needed to expand.
 
Kimmie: I wished REAL hard.
 
Steve: I found myself bandless after 4 years with Appropriate Grammar. Cody sent me a message about jamming together, and I wound up with an unexpected day off. I headed down to Midwestern Musical Co., jammed through a couple of things and decided to see where it went. Next thing I know, they're packing out the roster with talented people and I started to fall in love with the songs. Pretty cool for an informal afternoon jam!
 
Rod: Just sort of happened. Cody said he had something cooking he thought that I would like. It’s all been very natural, unlike any other project I’ve been in.
 
Michelle Bacon: Cody approached me shortly after we played the Rolling Stones tribute (in our respective bands), and I jumped at the chance to work with him and Kimmie, not knowing who else was in the project. Judging from how well the six of us have meshed in a pretty short time, he has a great sense of putting different levels/types of ability and personality together to make a band work.
  
The Deli: At your debut show at The Brick last month (which was excellent, by the way), it seemed that psychedelic-influenced sounds were the main path that you will follow in the future.  What is it about that genre that’s so appealing?
 
Cody: I’ve always been in to psychedelic music, but for some reason its influence never showed itself in my original work. Since I took a turn down this path it’s like a dam broke. Both the quality and volume of my output has increased enormously. I like psychedelic music for its transcendent qualities. That’s kind of the point of it. To help you get “out there.” When done right, it works on you on a very subconscious level. I hope I do it right.
 
Kimmie: It's just what's been speaking to me the clearest artistically in music, film, and design.
 
Steve: I'm a metal head! I'm a big fan of anything dark or heavy, and what we play tends to do both; even at the same time! I find myself taking apart and repurposing licks from Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath a lot. The great thing about this is that everyone in our band has broad musical tastes, so I hear new stuff every week and try to take home things I like and see if I can't work them in to my parts.
 
Rod: It’s everything I want wrapped up into one package.
 
Michelle: I love the groove, weight, and atmosphere of psychedelic rock. Really, I just love playing gritty, unapologetic rock ‘n roll, and it’s new and exciting to me because I’ve only played bass in one other band.
 
The Deli: Who influences your music?
 
Cody: The Flaming Lips are a big influence, but also The Velvet Underground, Love and Rockets, Mazzy Star, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Black Sabbath. But hidden under the feedback and reverb, there’s some pretty basic early rock ‘n roll and even girl group influences. There’s some Buddy Holly and Elvis in there as well as The Ronnettes and the Crystals.
 
Kimmie: Love and Rockets, the Velvet Underground, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Sabbath, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are probably the most obvious influences. Some others are Italian and British horror cinema of the ‘60s and ‘70s, Hugh Hefner, and The Monkees.
 
Rod: Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, The Beatles, The Stones, The Sonics, The Stooges, Expo ‘70.
 
The Deli: Everyone in The Philistines either is or has been involved in other projects as well; does having so much going on outside the group make it easier or more challenging to create new music?
 
Cody: I have always had a short attention span, musically speaking. I’m interested in a lot of different and sometimes seemingly disparate things, and I feel that I need to cultivate them all. Sometimes it leaves me a little scattered. But I think it’s important to explore your interests. I’m glad everybody in this band does other things; I want everybody in my band to be as creatively fulfilled as they can be. I never want somebody to get resentful of the band because they’re feeling stifled or something.
 
Steve: The other groups I've played with are SO different from what we do that no one is in direct competition with another. I learn new tricks at each practice, so I get to apply things across all of my bands to see what works. I'm broadening my abilities as a drummer and learning new styles at the same time. It's pretty wonderful.
 
Rod: I’m one of the only ones that hasn’t had a project recently. I think that everyone else’s projects have been an attribute to this one.
 
Michelle: All of my projects teach me different techniques and allow me to express a different part of myself. None of them interferes with one another. It certainly keeps me busy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
 
The Deli: You’re a new band trying to get gigs; obviously most of you are already well known in the music community and have name recognition, so how much does that help when it comes to finding places to play?
 
Cody: Yeah, fortunately we all independently have fairly good reputations and relationships with venues. And obviously that helps immensely. But since we’ve only played a couple gigs so far, only time will tell.
 
Kimmie: Yes, I guess we are all well-known in certain circles. Which means we all work really hard towards our interests. It's a product of our time, work, and efforts if anyone wants to beef over it.
 
Steve: I'm happy to say that we have no problem finding shows as a result. We've only played three, but we seem to get great lineups at cool venues with little to no difficulty.
   
The Deli: Cody, what’s it like to be in a band with Kimmie?  Kimmie, what’s it like to be in a band with Cody?  Everyone else, what’s it like to be in a band with Kimmie and Cody?
 
Cody: It’s a blast. I’ve never worked creatively with a significant other before. It presents its own sets of rewards and challenges. Because Kimmie is so damned talented and she’s also my best friend, the rewards significantly outweigh the challenges. But also challenges are bitchin’, because overcoming them is how you learn. I love collaborating, and I think we collaborate well together.
 
Kimmie: Being in a band with Cody is like being on the Zipper at Santa-Cali-Gon with my best friend who I have a big crush on. Being in the band with the rest of The Philistines and Cody is like being on the merry-go-round with the Lost Boys.
 
Steve: They're adorable. And smart. And hilarious. I've gotten to know them a lot better over the last few months and they are great friends and walking encyclopedias of cool stuff. They demand nothing less than the best, but they make us want to put it forward. It's a really great and creative working environment with a family atmosphere.
 
Rod: Cody and Kimmie are the duke and duchess of the Kansas City music scene. They are pure, 100% unadulterated rock ‘n roll.
 
Michelle: Cody and Kimmie make me pop all of my Latenight Collars. Their collective energy and musical abilities simultaneously challenge me and make them a blast to work with. Same thing goes for Josh, Rod, and Steve.
 
Note: Josh Mobley is the band’s keyboardist, and was unable to participate in this interview.
 
The Deli: With whom would you like to work in the future, locally or otherwise?
 
Cody: There’s a lot of great psych stuff going on in the area these days. I’m a big fan of The ConquerorsBloodbirds, Expo ’70, and Monta At Odds, among many others that we would love to play with. But I’m always thrilled to share a stage with any kind of good music and I’m a big fan of diverse bills. I’d love to share a bill with a sword swallower, a DJ, and a string quartet.
 
SteveBLACK MOUNTAIN. Or Nick Cave. The Conquerors. Snake Island!... It's really hard to make a short list because there's just so much cool stuff going on around KC as well as coming through. The possibilities are endless! I'm just excited to see who we wind up with and where. 3 shows out and we're playing with bands that I LOVE seeing live. Here's hoping for a continuing trend of badass rock and roll.
 
Rod: I owned a store called Halcyon and met almost everyone in this music scene through that experience. There are very few that I would not like to work with. But in particular I’d like to work with Justin Wright of Expo ‘70, Jeremiah James of Redder Moon, and Dedric Moore of Monta At Odds.
 
The Deli: This goes out to whoever is brave enough to answer: what’s your musical guilty pleasure? 
 
Cody: This is kind of a copout. But I refuse to feel guilty for anything that I like. But I do feel a little occasional twinge for Sting’s work in the ‘90s.
 
Kimmie: ‘80s Casio funk.
 
Rod: Yacht rock. In particular, Loggins and Nicks duets.
 
Thank you to The Philistines for taking some time for The Deli KC. Best of luck in your future endeavors!

The Philistines are: 
Cody Wyoming – guitar, vocals
Kimberely Queen – vocals
Michelle Bacon – bass
Rod Peal – guitar
Josh Mobley – keys
Steve Gardels – drums
 
 
The Philistines will be opening up for The Besnard Lakes on Tuesday, November 26 at The Riot Room. Pioneer will begin the show at 9 pm. Facebook event page.Ticket link.
 
 
--Michael Byars 
 

Michael's musical guilty pleasure is Air Supply (I KNEW it!). Don't tell. 

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Show recap: Apocalypse Meow 6

On any given night in KC or Lawrence, there are bands playing to groups of varying sizes and intensity levels. Some of the audience is on its feet dancing. Some of them have their noses stuck in their electronic habitats. People order a few drinks at the bar during a quiet song, maybe smoke a cigarette between songs. The Friday night kick-off party of Apocalypse Meow 6 was one of those rare nights when the audience unified to experience and be captivated by the music.
 
This is the first Apocalypse Meow show since the death of Abigail Henderson, who—along with friends and husband Chris Meck—founded Midwest Music Foundation after friends held a benefit for Henderson when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. On Friday, Meck debuted his trio The Guilty Birds (pictured above), the first project without his wife since they began 10 years ago in Trouble Junction, and his very first project as primary singer/songwriter.
 
 
The trio (including Tiny Horse members Zach Phillips and Matt Richey) played a short but poignant rock/soul-infused set, while a packed crowd locked eyes and ears to draw in each note; to admire the musicianship, the ability, the fire, the obstacles and the affirming end result; to feel the anguish of a noticeable absence, but to honor and celebrate its legacy. The Silver Maggies kept the audience at attention with dark Americana propelled by intelligent songwriting. Hundreds of raffle tickets for Meck’s custom-built (with assistance from Phillips, Chris Wagner, and Paul Marchman) Fender Telecaster were purchased on Friday alone, and that spirit of generosity graciously carried into Saturday evening.

 
 
With a larger-capacity venue at Knuckleheads, eleven bands/solo performers commandeered the indoor and outdoor stages on night two. She’s A Keeper began by grabbing and enveloping the filtering-in crowd with its brand of colossal folk rock. The entrancing, aggressive outlaw blues of the duo Freight Train & Rabbit Killer (pictured below) demanded attention with its minimalistic setup, menacing costumes, and otherworldly presence. Meanwhile, the acoustic stage was occupied by a few KC music legends, all of whom were dear friends of Henderson’s. This connection translated into each musician’s cathartic sound, beginning with heartstring-pulling stories from Tony Ladesich (pictured below). Betse Ellis followed (and guest starred with the other acoustic stage performers later) with a fierce fiddle that could have sliced through any act on the main stage.
 
 
 
As the evening grew colder, warm bodies migrated toward the front and moved their hips to power trio Not A Planet (pictured below), pushed by the dynamic rhythm section of Liam Sumnicht and Bill Surges and steered by Nathan Corsi’s steady, pitch-perfect vocals. And no matter which stage you chose or floated to and from, each remaining act performed with no shortage of moxie. Howard Iceberg—KC’s answer to Bob Dylan—played a quiet but potent, storied set that included a duet performance with Michelle Sanders, a dulcet complement to Iceberg’s earnestly gruff voice. Federation of Horsepower frontman Gregg Todt (pictured below with Ellis) traded in his distorted axe for to round out the acoustic stage with a bluesy soul tone.
 
 
 
The second half of main stage featured three acts with female powerhouses at the forefront. The Latenight Callers’ Julie Berndsen allured the crowd with a coy sensuality that developed into a fiery, lascivious character, enhanced by the band’s electrifying, mammoth noir sounds. The Philistines continued in that same vein of ferocity from Kimberely Queen, whose appropriately unbridled theatrics amplified the band’s barbaric psychedelic rock sounds. The musical climax came when Sister Mary Rotten Crotch (pictured below) was welcomed to the stage right after Meck’s guitar was raffled off and subsequently auctioned (Artie Scholes, the raffle winner and also owner of The 403 Club, gave the guitar back to MMF for this purpose) to the highest bidder. But outside of this positive gesture and outside of the fact that many fans had been waiting for Sister Mary to take the stage again (the band’s last performance before taking a five-year hiatus was Apocalypse Meow 1 in ’08, and they only recently reunited to play a couple weeks before), frontwoman Liz Spillman Nord injected the hungry audience with an acrimonious punk vitriol. The veteran band showed old and new fans alike that they still pack a mean, purposeful rock punch and they still don’t give a fuck what you think.
 
 
Midwest Music Foundation and Abby's Fund for Musicians' Health Care made $12,000 at Apocalypse Meow this year, thanks to the efforts of all that were in attendance or made a donation of time, money, and/or resources. And though it was impossible for each moment of Meow weekend to have been as uninterrupted and uplifting as its inaugural set was, a sense of community was felt by each attendee and volunteer/staff member, each auction bid, each raffle ticket that fell into each bucket, each embrace or tear shed, each note or beat played.
 
On behalf of Midwest Music Foundation and The Deli Magazine—Kansas City, we thank you for your support of local music and those who work to make it happen. We thank you for honoring Abigail and helping us continue to carry on her legacy.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle is editor of The Deli Magazine - Kansas City, and also plays drums Drew Black & Dirty Electric and bass in Dolls on Fire and The Philistines. Thanks to everyone who made this weekend beautiful. #shinealight

 

 

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