Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday Picks: A Rare Weekday Hoedown at Replay and Horror Remix's Death Rock Part II at Bottleneck

Readers, it looks like summer may be short-lived in LFK this year.  The first snow of May is slated to arrive on Thursday and Friday.  So you damn well better soak up the sun while you can.

For some reason, there's an early-evening hoedown on the Replay patio this evening (6:00-9:00) with Cowgirl's Train Set and Funner Brothers, so that seems like the ideal spot for beers in the sun.

Cowgirl's Train Set has some new tunes posted on Reverb Nation over here.  They enjoy hanging out in the woods.  Hopefully they've been out searching for morels and will bring some to the gig!

Follow it up with a trip to the Bottleneck for Horror Remix's Death Rock Part II.  Hopefully you saw Part I, or else this shit won't make any sense at all! Tonight's bill includes films called Black Roses and Scream Dream and a bunch of shorts. We love this description of Scream Dream from the Horror Remix site:

"SCREAM DREAM (1989) is a shot-on-video mess that looks absolutely terrible."

We haven't researched Black Roses but the poster alone is surely enough to demand your attention:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Chatting With Baiowolf About Scott Baio and This Week's Baiowolf Reunion: "Love will be lost but not forgotten."

The local scene has been considerably less silly since LFK's Baiowolf took a two year leave of absence, but they've chosen the perfect time to pop back up.  You can witness their reunion this Thursday at the Har Mar Superstar show at the Granada (doors at 7:00).

We caught up with Baiowolf recently for a quick survey of their illustrious career, the likelihood of being arrested for their hijinks at Thursday's show, and the continuing cultural impact of one Mr. Scott Baio.

Give Baiowolf a "like" on FB over here and enjoy the interview after the pic!

Richard: What makes this particular moment in culture and history the perfect time for a Baiowolf reunion?

Baiowolf: It's statistically shown that everyone loves you when you're dead. We then did some quick mental math and put together that compliments divided by time equals 2 years (give or take a few months.) We will see if everyone's ring-kissing in the last two years will pay off.

Chip: The combination of Baiowolf opening for Har Mar Superstar is pretty damn appealing, since you're both known for wacky hijinks. Without major spoilers, can you give our readers a sense of what to expect from your set? What are the chances of someone being arrested for public obscenity charges? Will there be onstage nudity?

Baiowolf:   Shirts will roll. Eyes will come off. Love will be lost but not forgotten. BaioWolf will have some new tunes and new emoticons. The chance of arrest is high, but only if the show ends up moving outdoors... which isn't uncommon.

Richard: Baiowolf has a long and storied history in LFK. If you had to choose one shining moment that best represents the legend of the band, what would it be?

Baiowolf:  We opened for Girl Talk once. Rob threw a can of PBR at an audience member from stage, then a group of gentlemen from a local fraternity cornered one of our former members after the show and made him admit to them that BaioWolf was the worst band ever. Sean couldn't be found.

Chip: What's your favorite Scott Baio project? Mine is the film Zapped. Oh my God if I had telekinetic powers I would lift up so many skirts!

Baiowolf:  Zapped is good but it lobs zero law bombs.

In actuality these clips will really help piece together our thought process in creating BaioWolf:


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Final Friday Photo Recap: Cider Gallery, Love Garden, Wonder Fair

Say what you will about the new Cider Gallery in East Lawrence (and we'll get to some of your comments shortly) you have to admit it's a startling aesthetic experience to enter through the tall glass doors and find yourselves in an open, airy, sophisticated space of brick walls and giant wood (insert dick joke here) and ungodly expensive paintings that feels worlds away from the eccentric, casual nature of most of the LFK art scene.  Is there any way such a space can co-exist amidst the (let's say) more rough-hewn charm of the rest of the East Lawrence Warehouse District?  Or is it an early sign of the inevitable tide of gentrification that will eventually sweep our friends and their urban chickens out of the way to make room for a Starbucks on the corner where Charlie's East Side bar now resides?   Only time will tell.

The most common reaction during Friday's grand opening was "What. The. FUCK?," well-represented by our friend Karen in this photo:

BARRR initially dismissed the place as full of "stupid fucking Lincolns and bunnies" (though he later 'fessed up to liking the bunnies).

Some of the Lincolns and bunnies are "reasonably priced" at around $8000.  Many of the paintings hover around the $20,000 to $40,000 range.  We're not sure about the buyer's market for this art, but we do know one thing: it ain't us!

And we'll leave you with another local artist's Twitter assessment of the CG which we suspect is representative of many of the hardscrabble local artists who are working in the area:

"...it's pretty awful but there was free booze and maybe it'll get more people down to the [Invisible] Hand [Gallery]."


Over at Love Garden we finally caught one of Fourth of July's series of CD-release shows for Empty Moon.  The new songs sounded crisp, fellows!  And we think the boys may have penned their best statement yet about the LFK scene:

"In this town, in this town, things get passed around,
 Eventually, they're passed to me."

Does this refer to records?  Women?  Joints?  We assume it's all of the above, and that's what makes it so damn beautiful!

We like this shot of our "Eskimo brothers" rocking out.


Wonder Fair's opening was a little less quirky than we expect from those crazy kids (maybe everyone's still recovering from the whole Black Diamond thing), but we still enjoyed Kristen Martincic's "Surface Tension," a series of works about swimming pools.  But why didn't the WF gang think to include a dunking booth?  Or maybe just throw buckets of water on the guests at various intervals during the show?  Or a bunch of little kiddie pools for scenesters to lounge around in?

The artwork made us want to rehash our old "Suburban Lit" lecture on the swimming pool as a central trope of suburban malaise, focusing especially on Cheever's classic story "The Swimmer" and the image of the empty pool in Ang Lee's masterful adaptation of Moody's The Ice Storm.  But everyone was too drunk on "cheapo" swimming-pool themed drinks made from Blue Curacao that they weren't paying much attention to our thoughts.

Watch the empty swimming pool scene from The Ice Storm here (about 1:15 into the clip):

And head over to Karen's Larryville Artists blog here to see more pictures from the evening, including Fourth of July in a funny hat and an awesome Kim Kearns painting of Nixon posing with some sexy bad-ass ninja ladies.  It's at Hobbs.  We want it.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Weekend Picks: Comedy, Film, Art, and Honky-Tonk

So what's up in LFK this weekend besides the Black on Black EP release show at Replay on Friday and the Farmer's Ball at Bottleneck on Saturday?

Let's find out.

Frank's North Star serves up an odd hybrid of music and comedy and drunken law-school celebration in the old cock-fight arena tonight.  We asked local jokester Peter Lyrene to give us the rundown:

Peter:   "Tonight's event at Frank's promises a variety of entertainments, featuring stand-up comedians, psychedelic rock group Future Garage, soulful punk crooner Beach Team, and the alt-country stylings of Bradley McKellip.  Extra details: still uncertain whether Beach Team (Zach Shoffner, sibling of Chicago transplant and former LFK/ICT darling Hawley Shoffner) will be playing solo or as a 3 piece band. Future Garage are all from Wichita and sound like dinosaurs. Bradley McKellip is a cook at Loopys/Miltons. Chance Dibben, Leigh Nelson, and myself are the only comics as of 'press time.'"

We're not sure what Peter means by "sound like dinosaurs."  Do they just make a bunch of dinosaur sounds? (please say yes).  Or are they old as fuck?  And is there any chance Hawley Shoffner herself will make an appearance? (we find her adorable).  Neither the dinosaurs, the comedians, or the future lawyers was ambitious enough to make a flyer, but you can find a FB event page with more details here .

In the absence of a flyer, let's just print this classic Style Scout photo of Hawley's "gussied-up grandma" look from 2010 (refresh your memory here via L.com).  Why can't somebody bring this style back to LFK?

Photo detail


The Free State Film Festival takes over the Lawrence Arts Center this weekend with three days of events:
"FSFF 2013 will include feature films, short films, panel discussions, staged readings, live music performances, an experimental film and music video showcase and a revival of the multimedia stage production."  (visit the official website here for full info and schedule of events).

Tickets to individual films cost $6 and a weekend pass is $30.  There's free stuff too, so check the site.

Our pick might be the doc A Band Called Death, which screens Saturday at 6:30.  Details on the film here ("Formed in 1971 by three African-American brothers in Detroit, Michigan, Death is now widely acknowledged as being one of the first punk bands.").   This will be followed by a performance from the locally-beloved young African-American brothers of Radkey ($10, though it seems like there should be a cheaper, combined price to see both the doc and the band).  Will they be performing an evening of Death covers?  Because that would be awesome!

Photos:  Death, then Radkey, then Free State Film Fest logo.




Tomorrow's Final Friday and the buzz is all about the ELFK Warehouse Arts District this week since the upscale Cider Gallery will opens its doors to the public tomorrow for the first time.  Somehow we doubt the scenesters will purchase the gallery's "pièce de résistance":  Hunt Slonem's Peace Plan, which has a price tag of $24,000 (photo via Artnet). Read the LJ-World story on the Cider Gallery here.

Hunt Slonem, Peace Plan

Nearby at Invisible Hand, you can check out Troy Moth's Wildness:

"...a set of 10 photographs that portrays a mystical confrontation between nature’s purity and the insidious global oil industry. Shot in complete darkness save for camera flash, with muted colors and an ever-present murk...".  (full info here via FB event page).

We love "ever-present murk" in our photography!  

Troy is also a former Rolling Stone and Vogue photographer, and on Saturday afternoon at the gallery he's offering portrait sessions for $125.  Details here .  This is almost certainly the closest Chip will ever get to being in Vogue, so he's been saving his cash for awhile now.


And on Sunday evening our book club buddy Steve's honky-tonk outfit Cryin' Out Loud plays the Replay matinee.  With any luck, it won't even be sleeting or snowing that night.  Here's the flyer, though we don't for a second believe that it starts at 5:00 pm!  FB event page here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chatting With Brain Food Before the Farmer's Ball: "Our sound is like electronic angels giving birth to a dark velvet thundercloud."

Readers, when we selected Brain Food as the "dark horse" candidate for our Farmer's Ball picks last week, it was really a bit of a random choice.  Mainly we just liked the fact that they weren't mining the same vein as the ever-multiplying collection of LFK garage rockers and shoegazers.  Plus, they seemed like such a charming group of young scenesters!

After checking them out in person in the first round, we were indeed charmed by their bubbly, buoyant melding of electronic music and good old-fashioned songcraft.  And when the band ended up advancing to this Saturday's final round at the Bottleneck, we decided to sit down with the Brain Food gang (Joel, Demi, Eric, and Charlie) and find out what they were all about.

Make sure to like Brain Food on FB here, follow them on Twitter @BRAINFOODband , and check out their video for "I Am" (included after the interview) which was just released today in time to get you hyped for Saturday.  Warning:  it's a pretty yet terrifying Lynchian meditation on identity!

We hope you enjoy the interview below this important picture!

Chip: Tell us how the name Brain Food originated? Also, do you eat a special brain food diet prior to your shows to keep you sharp during performances?

Joel:  The Name: my friend Andy Fitzgerald and I made a rap song at some point during our high school careers and named the song "Brain Food". It wasn't until much later that I started using it as my music production alias that eventually turned into the full band we have now.

Demi:  We each have our own diet before. Joel drinks two beers, Eric drinks one beer, Charlie eats FroYo, and I drink a bunch of water. Our post show diet is fried food and alcohol. We deserve it, right?

Richard: I enjoyed the Farmer’s Ball set, which was bouncy and fun. The electronic aspect of the music sets you apart from much of the scene, or at least the side of the scene that I tend to encounter at the Replay.  How would you describe your own sound, ideally using a pompous Pitchfork-y sort of description?
Joel:  Artificially intelligent music generation software on the verge of gaining true consciousness with its perpetual understanding of what makes music soulful and beautiful. ß How is that for Pitch Forky!
Charlie:  Our sound is like electronic angels giving birth to a dark velvet thunder cloud.

Chip: I know you opened a show for Quiet Corral in KC recently. Those guys are getting to be a pretty big deal! How was that experience? Did their fans react well to your sound? And did Quiet Corral share some of their groupies with you?
Charlie:  Opening for Quiet Corral at the record bar was a great and fruitful experience. It was our first show away from home and we felt great energy and a positive reaction from the audience. I witnessed a lot of free-flowing body movements when our sound hit the listener and loud energy after each song.
Demi:  Yeah! We saw lots of people we didn’t know at all getting way down to our music which is such a great feeling.

Chip (muttering to himself):  Bands always ignore my groupie questions.

Richard: Besides yourselves, obviously, what do you think were the highlights of the first round of the Farmer’s Ball? Did you catch the opening set by Y[our[ Fri[end] and, if so, were you as transfixed as the rest of us scenesters?
Eric:  Y[our] Fri[end] was incredible.  I was so impressed with Taryn’s lyrics.  She isn’t messing around up there!  As a band, they had great energy too with really solid arrangements.  With them, Spirit is the Spirit, and Forrester, forget the competition… it's just going to be a great show!
Demi:  It was really exciting to play a show with so many people there to support local music. It made me feel good about Lawrence.

Chip: If you win the Farmer’s Ball, how do you plan to spend the money? And will you please set aside a bit of it to buy me a case of PBR?
Eric:  We are going to be touring a lot this summer, so a lot of that money will go towards feeding our big, happy van gasoline.  We definitely want to use it towards making more music videos, recording new music, and playing shows all over this fine nation!  Oh yeah, and maybe have one extravagant party.
Joel:  We have already decided that if we win we are going to have a big party for our friends and family who have given us so much support the past couple months.  We'll buy a couple kegs and finger foods and have a jolly ol' time, and I’ll buy you a case of PBR even if we don't win. WHY NOT?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Small Town Americana Picks of the Week: Kansas Storytelling Festival; The Last Picture Show at Film Church; Lucero and Mud

Readers, it was recently brought to our attention that there are other towns in Kansas besides Lawrence and that some of you occasionally travel to these towns for events.  For cultural events!  Who knew?

Anyway, our new spring/summer column called "Road Trip of the Week" offers suggestions for those who insist on leaving LFK for a few hours or even (gasp) a weekend.

We begin today with this weekend's Kansas Storytelling Festival in Downs, Kansas, and we asked our friend Saul (nickname: Better Call Saul!) to pen a blurb for us because he has connections to the Festival (visit the official website here for full details).   Thanks, Saul.  Here's his report:

“What’s Up, Downs?”

Everyone knows you gotta get out of LFK every now and then, and after being cooped up all winter a springtime road trip is just the thing to erase the recent memory of a snowy, miserable Spring Break. Even if Chip asks to borrow your car for the weekend, tell him he can’t, because you are driving out to Western Kansas. 

However, we all know the options are limited and you can only see the corpse of SP Dinsmoor on display at the Garden of Eden in Lucas (Little Lawrence) so many times. So why not change things up and travel to the official Kansas Storytelling Festival in Downs, Kansas? This small town (about three and a half hours by car from Lawrence), which awestruck hipsters have described as Mayberry-like, hosts this event of tall tales and long-winded yarns which culminates in a storytelling competition where the winner receives a shovel for having spewed the best B.S.

For the weekend of April 26 and 27, the 20th annual festival will be in full swing (however, it is typically a dry event which sadly means no PBR). No need to worry about fan favorites pulling a no-show (I’m looking at you Morrissey) and with copious amounts of small-town hospitality this event is well worth it. 

Chip:  "I attended this event last year and relayed a series of tender and erotic 'farmer's daughter' stories. They were generally well-received, though the most consistent critique was that I overused the word 'pecker.'"



If you're like us, you've been waiting a long time to see a young Cybill Shepherd naked on a diving board in beautiful 35mm black and white.    Thanks to Liberty Hall's Film Church, you'll get your chance this Sunday as they present Peter Bogdanovich's small-town slice-of-life The Last Picture Show.  We're not sure what's being served for brunch, but it really should be a greasy diner burger.


Lucero brings their brawny Americana sound to the Granada tonight (along with Langhorne Slim).  We haven't paid much attention to Lucero these past few years, but we'll always have a soft spot for them since we used to catch them regularly in the back room at a great dive called Vino's in Little Rock more than a decade ago.  Oh, such memories.

We snagged this old flyer from a cool site over here:

And here's tonight's flyer:


We also like to take every opportunity to enlighten or remind people that the brother of Lucero's Ben Nichols happens to be the great young Southern filmmaker Jeff Nichols, whose follow-up to the outstanding Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter is called Mud.  It's coming soon, it looks like a riff on Huck Finn, and it features a shirtless (of course) Matthew McConaughey as the titular Mud, and costars a kid in a Fugazi shirt (watch the trailer) as well as Nichols' ever-present collaborator Michael Shannon as a mussel diver.  Oh yeah, and Ben Nichols and Lucero collaborate on much of the soundtrack of the film.  Trust us: it's all going to be very, very good.

 We prefer the French poster to the American ones, because we're sophisticated:

Monday, April 22, 2013

New Interview: Getting Cynical With Black on Black ("You can't hear shit at our shows anyway.").

Black on Black have a new EP called Let's Get Cynical, but there's no cynicism involved in this Friday's EP release show at the Replay: they genuinely want to rock your faces clean off!  And with help from LFK's legendarily loud Muscle Worship, along with Many Moods of Dad, they should easily fulfill this goal.

We chatted with Black on Black's Wade this weekend about the "helter-skelter" local scene, the pros and cons of social media, and how the band's super-short songs make us want to jump around and smash into things, which we'll be doing on Friday (look out).

Follow them on Twitter @BLKBLKBLKBLK  (they are excellent tweeters!) and give them a "like" on FB here.

Enjoy the interview!

Chip:  “Let’s Get Cynical” is a great title and a pretty good summation of much of the local scene.  Tell us where the title comes from and offer us your assessment of the local scene, perhaps mentioning the recent shitty experience you had while trying to play a Bottleneck show that got booked at the same time as an early KU tournament game. 

Wade:  Well, the title is overtly just a play on the Olivia Newton John disco tune "Let's Get Physical", but it came to me when I was putting together the album art for the E.P.s. Both the covers are real bummers and I wanted to name the albums so that the title went with the art. I'm also a word nerd so I like playing with language when I can. [Our 2012 record] Help Yourself could mean Help Yourself…to some pie (or our albums for free), or it could mean Help Yourself…because nobody else will.  [Listen via Bandcamp here] The title Let's Get Cynical worked for me too because life's bullshit just never stops and there's always something else shitty around the corner, so why not just put on your sweatbands and reeboks and spandex and sweat it out. What else is there to do?

As far as my assessment of the scene goes, I have an evolving theory. It starts with the premise that I don't really know if there is a "scene" anymore. I always felt like scenes had something about them that was unique to their city or region and I just don't really feel that. Lawrence is definitely a music city and is full of talented people doing good things, but I'm not sure our bands aren't interchangeable with any of the other cities in the Midwest. The internet made the world tiny, and music scenes are influenced as quickly as fashion is at this point. Bands are like memes. I'm not saying that I don't like our bands or that they aren't original. There are a bunch of local bands that I absolutely love and try to see play whenever I can. I'm just saying I don't think there is a flavor; no thread that holds us all together. In a way, when I started thinking about Lawrence like that, it was freeing. I just stopped thinking about where I fit in as a musician almost overnight. Black on Black is an expression of that idea. We don't really feel like we belong here, but we want to be here. Without that cognitive dissonance we probably would never have started this band. A helter skelter scene suits us just fine.

Oh, and yes, it's Black on Black vs. sports.

[This just in:  Black on Black's KJHK in-studio session scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed due to coverage of KU baseball.  Seriously.]

 Black Geometry cover art

Richard:  I really like the album-opening “Black Geometry,”  especially the howling, drawn-out delivery of the line “I don’t need you!"  It sounds like it’s tailor-made for a fist-pumping singalong.  Tell us what that song’s all about and does the audience sing along on that line or do they just stand there like chumps?

Wade:  "Black Geometry" is just a break-up song. It's about when a relationship reaches that point of no return and it becomes almost mathematic in predicting when it's going to end. The skeleton is cracked, the frame is bending and creaking, and the whole structure just takes on this twisted black geometry. It's over. Time to stand back and watch it burn. We do get the occasional fist pumps…or middle finger, but nobody sings along so far. That song is on the new record so I think our fans are just now reading the lyrics. You can't hear shit at our shows anyway.

[Listen to "Black Geometry" here via Bandcamp]

Chip:   Three of the songs on “Let’s Get Cynical” barely exceed the two-minute mark, which I like, because my attention span is short as fuck. [Chip crosses to window and stares briefly at a squirrel].  At the same time, your music makes me want to jump around and smash into people, and I sometimes feel silly when I’m in prime smashing-mode and the song just ends.  So can you promise me that this Replay show will not feature long pauses between songs so I can just keep right on smashing around?

Wade:  Yeah, we just hit and quit it. It's what we do. No fluff, no filler. There's nothing that we need to say in this band that we can't say in a few minutes. Our longest songs are still shorter than most pop songs, and sometimes I think we just wrote those to give us a little breather in the set. The pace of this band is purposely frenetic, so the songs have to be short. I also don't really do stage banter either, so yeah, you can keep smashing.

Richard:  The album closer, “Dig Your Own Grave,” has a decidedly different feel from most of the other songs, not to mention a sturdy run-time of over four minutes.  Tell us about the song and why it’s a fitting, somber end to the record.

Wade:  We have two slower tempo songs, "Dig Your Own Grave" and "Crease Then Fold". We decided to split them up and close both E.P.s with slower songs. There wasn't any more thought put into it than that. It was just about sequencing. You can't open with a bummer and you can't stick it in the middle of the record because it bogs everything down. The song itself is a paraphrase of my life mantra which is "Let only what you love tear you apart." It's what I tell myself every day. If I'm going to get old and fall apart and die anyway I might as well spend as much time as I possibly can doing what I love…even at the expense of my own body. That's the grave I'm digging. If I dig it, I get to fill it with whatever I want, and make sure it's just the right size.

Chip:  I’m a big fan of you guys on Twitter, particularly the recent list of “unfollow” messages in which you explained why you were parting ways with some of the accounts you follow.  Can you share some of your observations about the positive and negative ways that bands tend to use Twitter.  And tell us about your own approach.  Personally, I find Twitter appealing because it’s a useful method of conveying boner jokes.

Wade:  Yes, your boner jokes are Grade A and world-renowned. I don't know, I mean I'm not the Twitter police by any means. People and bands can use it any way they want. I just know there are certain things that just piss me off or bum me out and I gotta cut the cord. First of all I try really hard not to unfollow people that follow us. That's just a dick move…but I have done it…because I'm a dick…but also because I don't want to read tweets as texts. Like, why the fuck am I reading a conversation between you and your girlfriend/boyfriend about how sexually frustrated you are? Seriously. Who gives a shit about what you are eating right now or where you are shopping? I don't understand it. I basically gravitate toward bands and people on Twitter that are doing interesting things or thinking interesting things and are trying to involve their friends and fans in a personal way. Like, I don't want to read, "I'm watching Scarface" but I might want to read, "If Tony Montana fills a pillowcase with coke and gives it to you with a horse-skin blanket as a birthday present, what do you write in his thank you note?" See the subtle difference there? If you want an instant unfollow it's pretty simple: say something racist, sexist, homophobic, or narcissistic, retweet twenty times for every one original tweet, or worst of all, beg for my money with one of those crowd-sourcing sites like Kickstarter or Pledgemusic. No, I'm not giving you any of my goddamned money because you want to "go on the tour of a lifetime" or make a record on the promise that it will be "amazing."  Fuck off.  Anyway, my unfollow tirades are just me blowing off steam. Sometimes I refollow people after a while to see if they managed to press the ejection seat button on their rocket to Boringville.

Richard:  Leave our lazy readers with a short blurb that will convince them they REALLY need to make it out to the album release show at the Replay.

Wade:  Hmmm. We have cheap t-shirts, cheap records, free stickers, and we're playing with a couple of great bands. I don't know, I'm not very good at selling our band. How about this: You might die soon. Make sure your ears are ringing when you do. Good?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weekend Recap: Style on the Hill Fashion Show at Replay; Earth Day and 4/20 in South Park; Farmer's Ball at Bottleneck

The Style on the Hill blog has become quite popular in LFK lately among the campus set.  Check it out here.  If the Best of Lawrence competition had bothered to include a "Best Blog" category this year, they might have even given us a run for the money!

We stopped by the first annual Style on the Hill fashion show at the Replay on Friday evening with high hopes for an evening of boner-worthy entertainment, but apparently no one told the models that they were supposed to walk slow and be looked at.  They sped through the patio in a frenzy and the whole thing was done in five minutes, much like a Chip lovemaking session.

At least the evening was salvaged by an appearance from local hero and everyone's favorite muscular optometrist Dr. Kevin Lenahan, one of the evening's sponsors.   Here's a dance off held to determine who would win a pair of Lenahan's Ray Bans.

If you're like us, you celebrated the combination of Earth Day and 4/20 on Saturday by getting totally baked and heading down to South Park for the Earth Day festival.   In retrospect, the "Boat Responsibly Beaver" had a lot of important things to say about boating safety, and we apologize to him for our constant giggling during his lectures.

Chip:  "I hear there were a lot of other furry beavers at the festival, if you catch my meaning. And probably armpits too.  Silly hippies."

Saturday night we attended the first round of the Farmer's Ball at the Bottleneck and witnessed the first five of the evening's eight bands, including a rousing full-band performance from Y(our) Fri(end), a spacey 4/20-friendly set by Spirit is the Spirit, a Pink Royal ruckus with a wildly gesticulating frontman, a rocking and occasionally trip-hopping Forrester performance, and Brain Food's boisterous and bouncy tunes (special shout-out to the keyboardist in the Royals shirt and the energetic frontwoman who's got a bit of a sexy-librarian look going on).

As we predicted here a few days ago, the well-known entities Y(our) Fri(end) and Spirit is the Spirit easily (and deservedly) advanced to next weekend's finals despite the fact that most of their voters weren't actually in attendance to see their early-evening sets. As always, voting for Farmer's Ball remains a preposterous process that often excludes the well-informed scenester electorate who leave early, like us.

The other winners:  our "dark horse" pick Brain Food, along with Forrester.

All in all, Farmer's Ball remains a great, inexpensive way to sample the diversity of the burgeoning scene.  But we can't resist one more critique.  We spent a few minutes with a friend lamenting the lack of any kind of MC to step up during the set breaks to keep the crowd hyped and most importantly to offer basic information such as who's on next, what genre they belong to, why we should stick around, how does the voting work, etc (apparently there's a jury element next weekend?).   It's an easy fix that would greatly advance the professionalism of the whole affair.

Below is a KJHK pic of Forrester we've snagged (hope they don't mind).  Forrester is green as a forest!! Visit the KJHK Instagram page here for a few more pics.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Weekend Picks: Radkey, Ritter, and Record Store Day (and Fourth of July and The Devil)

If the scenester circuit ever gets bored with Radkey, it's going to seem extra cruel.  They're just kids, for goodness sake!  Luckily, the band still seems to be surging in popularity, with a new 7" on Replay Records and a record release show at (where else) the Replay tonight along with Stiff Middle Fingers and Ponyboy (did you read our recent piece on Ponyboy's Dick, Dick, Dick? If not, go here.).

Visit the FB event page for tonight's show here.

Fourth of July continues pimping their new record over in KC this weekend with a fine triple-bill on Friday that features Ghosty and The Devil (you can also catch Fourth of July at Vinyl Renaissance in KC on Saturday for an afternoon Record Store Day show).

Chip will never forget our first sighting of The Devil at the Replay a few New Year's Eve's ago (Chip: "One of the top eight erotic moments of my life").

And Saturday is Record Store Day.  Make sure to check out Love Garden's FB event page  here so you fully understand the rules and don't look like a fucking rube.

Richard:  "I can't wait to push someone down in order to get my copy of The Last Waltz on vinyl, not to mention Big Star's Nothing Can Hurt Me."

Chip:  "I wish there was a Record Store Day release of a special edition of Brad Paisley's "Accidental Racist" that's even MORE racist."

Record Store Day isn't just a feast for the ears. There's eye candy, too. The April 20 rollout of limited-edition releases at independent record stores nationwide includes a splashy variety of color and picture discs, available nowhere else in no other format.

And Josh Ritter returns to Liberty Hall on Sunday.  He's not hip, but he can write better songs than you.  Plus, he's forever okay in our book for penning the "Lawrence, Kansas" song.  Read a piece on Ritter at L.com here which also contains a great picture of Josh and a dog:

 Photo detail

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Secret Pick of the Day: Wonder Fair's Black Diamond Concludes / Our Picks for Saturday's Farmer's Ball

Those of you who've been playing along with Wonder Fair's Black Diamond secret society/scavenger hunt will know that it concludes tonight, somewhere in LFK, apparently from 9:00-11:30.  The FB event page is here and contains appropriately scant details.

Chip: "I fear that it will culminate, as many cults do, with mass death.  You've been warned.  If they ask you to put on your running shoes and fill your pockets with quarters, chances are you ain't goin' to the Replay."


The annual Farmer's Ball kicks off this Saturday at the Bottleneck.  That's 4/20, so smoke up beforehand (as if you wouldn't).   The finals arrive the following Saturday.

This year's bands are:

- Pink Royal
- Haunt Ananta
- Forrester
- Brain Food
- Bellafonte
- Real Sugar
- Y(our) Fri(end)
- Spirit is the Spirit

Our best guess is that Y(our) Fri(end) or Spirit of the Spirit will be taking home the sweet, sweet PBR money this year.  Our logic:  both acts are already reasonably well-known in scenester circles and have a good support system.  Also, both acts are rock solid.   Watch Y(our) Fri(end) performing at the recent MOTM Fest via I Heart Local Music here .

But who is our dark horse pick?  Well, keep in mind that this is based on very little research, since we're lazy.  But let's say Brain Food.  We can dig their "bombastic beats."  Give them a "like" on FB over here.   

Aren't they a brainy looking bunch?  Attractive too.  These kids will go far.  Probably.

Visit the Farmer's Ball FB event page over here.  And study this cool pinball flyer.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Scenester Pick: Gun Outfit and JOCKS at Replay / Plus, A New BARRR?

It's Tuesday.  It's cold outside.  The news out of Boston is fucking terrible.  You might as well go and sit around the Replay's fire pit this evening and step inside at some point to check out Olympia's Gun Outfit.  They're on the Post Present Medium label, for those who pay attention to such things (which we assume is most of you).

Here's an excerpt from the fairly baffling and poorly edited record label blurb (read it in full here):

"They think they are playing folk music because rock is folk music now, and anyway... they're country educated. Warm tones, heavy vibes. Although they drink the same water as the real believers of the past 40 years like Great Society, Relatively Clean Rivers, Meat Puppet and Lucinda Williams, Gun Outfit don't get too comfortable with the past, because they've got their own strange moment to capture."

The new record cover is pretty cool and Chip thinks the odd title may be some sort of sexual innuendo.  Take a listen to "Flyin' Low, Maria" via Pitchfork here

Also on the bill tonight is LFK's JOCKS, which is yet another band containing members of the Rooftop Vigilantes, Mouthbreathers, and Dry Bonnet (oh, those incestuous scenesters!).  Give them a "like" on FB here

While we were perusing the PPM label site, we also discovered an artist named Barr, whose description eerily reminds us of LFK's own beloved BARRR:

"He is a public speaker or a talking person and an artist making sounds. Barr´s very personal works hang on the edge of being positively reinforcing but at the same time can be uncomfortable. Barr is one person, Brendan Fowler, or at least right now it is one person. The beautiful thing about it, is that it can become 20 people and it would still make sense as Barr."

BARRR is most definitely "a talking person."  But is he the same person as this Barr?  We're going to go ahead and say yes.

Read about Barr at PPM here.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Scenesters Discover Fire / Truckstop Darlin at the Replay / Dean Monkey and the Dropouts Deliver a Love Load

Readers, when we saw Fally's Twitter pic (below) of the new Replay fire pit, we were so, so happy!  Sure, it blocks the stage damn near entirely if you're standing at the back bar, but still...it's fire pit...full of fire...in the middle of the Replay!  At least one of these three is absolutely mesmerized by it.

So of course we had to go down and witness it with our own eyes during yesterday's Replay matinee.

 The fire pit added a delightful campfire sing-a-long feel to the opening set of pickin' and grinnin' by The Ready Brothers (not that anyone actually sang along with tunes such as a nice cover of Guy Clark's "Homegrown Tomatoes," but they SHOULD have).  And then Portland's Truckstop Darlin took the stage for a set of hard-rocking Americana--very Lucero-y vocals--that was accented by remarkable, sometimes almost psychedelic, pedal steel work.  A lone dancer loped around the foot of the stage, at one point using a trash can as a dance partner.  This behavior was quickly stopped by the doorman so, for future reference, do NOT attempt to dance with the fucking trash cans at the Replay! 

Give Truckstop Darlin's 2012 Hope and the Heart It Breaks a listen on Bandcamp here . They seemed like good dudes.

Here's a pic of the band through the fire pit (pedal steel player is not really visible on the right!).


We've loved the doo-wop hijinks of Dean Monkey and the Dropouts ever since we first saw the legendary video of them playing a show in their underwear in that hole behind the train station.  Watch it below if you dare.  Now we're especially pleased to announce that Chip's favorite Dean Monkey song, "Love Load," is finally immortalized on record for your perpetual listening pleasure ("Cover your eyes and open your...heart / Tonight my love's on you.")

We think it's safe to say that they'd be very pleased if you listened to it while fucking.

Visit Bandcamp here to check out the five sweet tracks of Dean's Steak House.  And reread our Dean Monkey interview here in which we ponder the Church of Malt Liquor, blue balls, and the band's future shenanigans (but did they ever actually play a set where they were all on horseback?  we don't think so!).

 Dean's Steak House cover art

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nerd Nite 16 Recap: Getting Shiggy With It / Canuxploitation Pick of the Week: Sexcula / Weekend Picks for Hippies, Scenesters, and Bronies

If you so much as mention the term "secret societies," nerds will materialize as if out of thin air, wanting to know more.  Last night's "Cults, Clubs, and Secret Signals" installment of Nerd Nite drew what appeared to be the biggest crowd yet to Pachamama's ballroom.

After the "origin" story (the essential repetition of which makes Nerd Nite itself a bit of a club), the evening began, appropriately enough, with a "secret" speaker, Wonder Fair's Meredith, who illuminated us about the Bavarian Illuminati and promoted her gallery's current secret society/scavenger hunt project "The Secret Order of the Black Diamond."  Meredith quickly proved that many nerds aren't well-suited to secret societies, since half the audience raised their hands when she asked if they belonged to a secret society.  This was all followed by a classic, Oprah-style, "look under your seat" moment in which we received, well, not a new car, but a mysterious black card printed with nearly indecipherable black images serving as clues to...whatever the fuck this Black Diamond business is all about (we still have no idea whatsoever).

First up for the official presentations was Audrey Coleman's look at the anti-cult movement of the 70's.  As Senior Archivist at LFK's Dole Institute, Audrey was able to provide an insider's look at how the government kept tabs on such groups as those pesky Moonies as well as what one memo referred to as a "baker's dozen of destructive cults."  It all seemed like so much hysteria until we arrived at...Jonestown.

Sadly, Bob Dole was not able to make an appearance at Nerd Nite, but Audrey shared this sexy pic of Bob stroking his cannon .  Were cannons often used in the battle against cults?

Next up was the eagerly awaited Courtneybelle, an original member of PBR Book Club, occasional LC-columnist, and all-around Lawrence treasure.  Her presentation took us deep inside "numbers stations":  shortwave radio broadcasts (usually of number sequences) that are assumed to be coded messages from intelligence agencies.  We listened to some of the more well-known examples (such as "the Lincolnshire poacher" and "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot," which is more than just a Wilco album, scenesters!) and laughed along with Courtney's clever visual clues (a picture of a mogwai accompanying a list of "numbers station" rules: get it??).

Here's Courtney preparing to get nerdy.  This photo is from Karen at Larryville Artists: go here for a full gallery of great shots from last night's proceedings along with a brief recap of the presentations.

And the evening closed with arguably the funniest presentation in Lawrence Nerd Nite history--and certainly the most vulgar--as Chad ‘PoFo’ O’Bryhim spilled the secrets of the Lawrence branch of the Hash House Harrier's, "the world's largest non-competitive running club," an international organization seemingly dedicated to heavy drinking, outrageous rituals, secret language, and, oh yes, running (through "shiggy" territory as opposed to typical running paths).   PoFo opened with the acknowledgement that, since secret societies aren't really known for producing reliable source work, his citations would primarily be drawn from people with names like "California Creamin'" and "Twatzilla."

Highlights of the presentation: 

--did you see that "subliminal" message from Wonder Fair's Secret Order of the Black Diamond embedded in the power-point??

--two other members of the Lawrence Hash House Harriers took the stage to "play a scene" that illustrated some of the club's lingo:  for instance, "blowjobs" refer to "trails that don't really go anywhere"; an FRB is a "front-running bastard"; BN is code for "beer near"; etc). 

--The presentation ended with sing-along drinking song consisting of repetition such as "cunt, cunt, country."


For a secret society, LFK's Hash House Harriers aren't that hard to find.  They even have a FB page right here. They run every Thursday and you can join them tonight starting at 6:30 at Crimson and Brews.

And here's one more photo from Larryville Artists.  We're not sure anyone has ever been more excited to be interviewed by KPR than our pal Punnilingus (he's the bearded one)


After a year of searching, Chip may have finally found a subject near and dear to his heart that will also make for a great Nerd Nite presentation:  Canadian horror-porn  ("Canuxploitation").  One of his favorites, Sexcula, is just out for the first time ever on DVD from Impulse films.  Just look at the tagline:  "She'll suck more than your blood." 

Here's an excerpt from Harry Knowles' gibberish review from AICN (read the full piece here). Is anyone worse with commas than Knowles?

"Yeah, this is porn. It starts off, kind of incredibly hot. That beautiful painted gorilla, in the movie is a guy in a very bad monkey suit, not really ape or even gorilla. There’s an erotic scene with him and a girl that gets… REAL FUCKING WEIRD." 

That excerpt is pretty much exactly how Chip's presentation will sound.  But will Nerd Nite allow for clips of this material?  We'll find out.



Tonight, Akron/Family will try to unite the hippies and the hipsters at the Jackpot. For our money,
 Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT remains their masterpiece.

On Friday, you are REQUIRED to attend this show (also at Jackpot):

And tonight and Saturday over at Alamo KC, all you Bronies can catch the documentary "Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony" at the Kansas City FilmFest (held this year at the Alamo Drafthouse).  Chip is pretty excited.  Also, this would be another possible Nerd Nite presentation topic.  Visit the KC Film Fest site here .

 And here's the trailer: