Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Our LFK Halloween Picks: Booze, Blues, and Boos (Get It??)

Halloween is nearly upon us and we haven't even evaluated the best party options yet.  But most of you have probably already committed to your venue of choice at this point.

Kick things off tonight at the Jazzhaus (what??) with a farewell show for Tyler Gregory who's flying south (or maybe west) for the winter like some kind of glorious, bearded, folksinging bird.

The Replay serves up a diverse bill of doo-wop (Dean Monkey) and pretty pop (The ACBs) and spirituals (Spirit is the Spirit) and rock and roll (Stiff Middle Fingers).  Plus, the best Halloween people-watching in town.

Delta Saints bring their boozy, bluesy hijinks to the Bottleneck for the 3rd straight year.  Reread our interview with the band here.

The more hardcore among you will attend the "Punk Rock Black Mass" at Frank's North Star, which features Ask an Adult and Brownbackistan.  The FB event page is here.  And here is the featured image on the page (which looks like pretty much any given night at Frank's) :

Dumptruck Butterlips hosts the annual "costume ball" at the Granada.  It's your best bet if you're into Halloween hula-hooping.


And the Jackpot has...a Jerry Garcia Band cover band (presumably NOT to be mistaken for a Grateful Dead cover band).  Also on the bill: a band with the delightful name of Sweet Knievel.  Is weed permitted at this show?

If the bars are not your thing, how about the LAC's production of Sweeney Todd, which has a late Halloween start-time of 9:00.  And the damn thing is 3 hours long already!  That's intense.  We're hearing good things.

Less professional, but very popular and much more scenester-friendly (in pricing) is EMU's annual Horrorshow, also going on at the LAC on Halloween and through the weekend:

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Berwanger Interview: "Handclaps are fun."

Josh Berwanger doesn't need much of an introduction around these parts.  You loved The Anniversary.  You loved The Only Children.  And now you'll love his new project: The Josh Berwanger Band (often billed as simply Berwanger, which is our personal preferred nomenclature).  

Perhaps you heard him rocking some of the new songs live on KJHK last night and turned it up so fucking loud the neighbors were displeased.  Or maybe that was just us?

And this Friday brings the big LFK record release show at the Replay with opening act The Dead Girls.  You'll explode in a pure rock frenzy or your money back.*

[*Statement not endorsed by Replay Lounge.  They're almost certainly keeping your $3 no matter what].

Check out Berwanger's official website here, give him a "like" on FB here, and enjoy this interview in which we talk about his new sound, Tom Petty, the punks who recently stole all his shit, CMJ, the importance of hand claps in rock music, and much more.

Richard:  You’ve been part of some pretty high-profile local bands in the past, and it’s interesting that the new band name is simply Berwanger.  What does this mean?  Does it suggest that only now we have discovered the REAL Berwanger? Or is it just because Berwanger is a damn fun name? Also, how would you describe “the Berwanger sound,” ideally in some unusual fashion.

Josh:  It's hard having a cool, original band name these days, and when you finally come up with one there are already ten other bands with that name. I also feel if you have a band name you should be a band. I've seen bands come through town multiple times over the years and they always have a new member or have replaced someone with someone else. Calling it by my name was the easiest way to go.

Our sound is rock n' roll music. For this first record, Strange Stains, we really worked on keeping the music upbeat and direct. Imagine Spuds Mackenzie walking into your favorite bar: once he sets his first paw in the door you know its going to be an out of control rager!

Chip:   Tell us about the CMJ experience.  Were audiences receptive, or was it just a bunch of scenesters scowling at you and wishing you’d play some damn Anniversary tunes?  Also, tell us about getting your equipment stolen, and feel free to use this space to call the thieves a bunch of pussies.
Josh:  Yeah, there were some Anniversary fans there. Anniversary fans fucking rule and are so receptive to all the new projects each ex-member is working on. Anytime I get a chance to talk to one of them they express how excited they are to hear the new stuff. People seemed to dig our set. Maybe they were refreshed by the real humans playing instruments–it seemed most of the other bands had laptops on stage and played to backing tracks. There's a great article Dan Ozzi wrote about this year's CMJ that sums it all up quite well.

When we were in the club in D.C. it was daylight.  Our photographer, Sid, went to get something from the van and it was broken into. Two laptops, a digital SLR, video camera, prescription glasses and a few other personal things were gone and they also got half of Sid's camera equipment. More importantly they stole my Stephen Pearcy book, Sex, Drugs, Ratt & Roll. Honestly, I am thankful I get to tour and play music, plus I'm fortunate I am able to afford a computer. I don't want to call the thieves any names. I'll meditate on it and hope that one day they change their way of life. 
Richard:   One of the things I love about these songs is that there are plenty of handclaps included.  It just makes you happy to hear it.  Want to expound on the importance of handclaps on this record?  Also, do you have much luck getting crowds to clap along?
Josh:  Handclaps are fun and we all learned that from the new hit television show Friends' opening theme song. When trying to get the crowd to participate we have the best luck getting them to check their cell phones.
Chip:   I’ve been listening to "Baby Loses Her Mind" at least six times per day since I first heard it and I haven’t gotten tired of it yet (to be honest, I thought it was a Tom Petty song for the first few dozen listens).  Is this Jenny a real chick, or is she based on a real chick, or is she a composite of a bunch of crazy chicks?  What’s the story behind this catchy damn thing?
Josh: Thank you! Being compared to Tom Petty is very, very flattering. Jenny is just a name I used and she could be anyone. The theme is simple–a relationship. Trying to make one work, the doubt while in one, and the death of one.
Richard:   Leave our readers with a blurb that convinces them that they absolutely MUST attend the Replay record release show, and keep in mind that most of them are going to be hungover as shit because it’s the day after Halloween. 
Josh:  Usually for our shows the excuses people have is we aren't hip enough and they would rather sit at home and watch Moesha on TV. It has nothing to do with being hungover. At least people are honest though. We've just come off tour, so those who can afford to miss one episode of Seinfield will experience a tight, high-energy performance of "Dad Rock," replete with ripping guitar solos, thundering drums and vicious bass slaps. I also may or may not be wearing my Chief's Zubaz pants and there have been rumors of free Zima and Butt.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Our Spooky Halloween Interview With The Delta Saints: "There'll be booze, pretty girls, high fives, tomfoolery, loud music, and a mess of fun."

Most of this blog's readers spend each Halloween at the Replay (or maybe Frank's) and are blissfully and drunkenly unaware that other bars also celebrate the holiday.

At the Bottleneck, for instance, Nashville's The Delta Saints have headlined a Halloween-party for the past two years with their "bourbon-fueled bayou rock." And they are ready to do it again this week, with LFK's own Middle Twin (AKA, the artist formerly known as Brain Food).

Visit the Delta Saints' website here and give them a "like" on Facebook here . Crank up some tunes from their recent album Death Letter Jubilee  via Bandcamp.  Then commit to the fun at the FB event page, which offers a clear explanation of what you need to do for the Halloween show: "Dress up. Fill your body with cheap liquor. And get ready to dance your costumed buns off...".

Check out Middle Twin on FB over here.

We had a nice chat with the Delta Saints' bass player David Supica (a Kansas native!) about the band's take on the roots scene, the power of dobros, hippie festivals, and what to expect on Halloween at the Bottleneck. Enjoy.

Chip:  First off, let me say I’m glad you boys lean more toward the gritty, bluesy side of the current wave of rootsy-Americana bands because, frankly, I’m getting a little tired of all the Mumfords and Avetts and Lumineers.  But can you tell our readers what separates your sound from other bluesy/rootsy acts like, say, Black Keys or North Mississippi All Stars?  And then can you please define your sound for us using the classic “we sound like _________ meets ________” technique (and ideally filling in those blanks with unexpected or obscure choices).

David:   They don't normally let me do the talking, but I'm a Kansas native so they made an exception on this one. First off, we're stoked on the re-emergence of Americana/bluegrass. But we also know that growing a beard and having our singer stomp on a kick drum is a slippery slope, so we try and draw the line between "us" and "them" as much as possible (thank you for noticing). We pull influences from a lot of different places so it's always a bit hard to do the traditional pitch. The best I can come up with is this: Joe Cocker and Derek Trucks had a love child that hired the Black Keys... and they like to get funky. I'm sure if you asked the other guys, you'd get five very different answers.

Richard:  I love the repeated line “Don’t dip your feet in the devil’s creek” from the new album Death Letter Jubilee. It seems like solid advice!  Tell us a little bit about the album as a whole, and do you have a particular favorite line/lyrics from the album. 

David:  While the writing process is a very collaborative process, Ben Ringel (singer) writes all of the lyrics. That allows me to step back, play bass, and actually be a fan of his writing. And my favorite writing that he's done is our acoustic ballad "Out to Sea." It's a bit of an outlier from our usual volume-cranked songs about booze and women, but "Out to Sea" offers some of what I consider Ben's best writing. That line in The Devil's Creek is actually about a hangover we all shared in Germany. It's a nice reminder of some solid advice.

Chip: The dobro at first seems a bit unusual to encounter amidst your bad-ass blues squall.  Tell us about the use of that instrument in your sound  Also, I promise not to get drunk and yell for Skynyrd’s “Freebird” but I can’t promise I won’t yell for their song about the dobro player Curtis Loew!  In fact, I almost certainly WILL get drunk and yell for it.  Will you be prepared for that to happen?

David: We're used to people hollering at shows. In fact, in East Tennessee it's not uncommon for someone to toss an entire pitcher of beer onto us mid-set. We definitely prefer drunk and rowdy to quiet and bored, so yell "Freebird" all you want! As for the dobro, that's all Ben Ringel. The dobro is a salute to the delta blues and offers a badass timbre that layers on to the funky blues rhythm section and can stand out where an acoustic would get lost in the mix.

Richard:  Arkansas is my old stomping grounds and I see that you’ve played the Wakarusa Festival on Mulberry Mountain a few times.  Can you tell us a few funny festival tales?  As you surely know, Wakarusa Fest began here in Lawrence, before The Man hassled the poor hippies so much that they all packed their shit and headed for the hills.

Chip:  Bonus points if those tales involve sexy hippie chicks, skinnydipping with hippie chicks, drugs, or some combination of the three.

David:  Yes, I actually attended the first few Wakarusas at Clinton lake until that big controversial thing happened. Damn the man!  The first one we got to play was last year. Needless to say, it was a fantastic debaucherous time. I'm not allowed to disclose our funniest festival stories, but they will be compiled on our "Too Hot for YouTube" compilation to be released at a later date. We did lose a member in M√ľnich, Germany 2 years ago at Oktoberfest (which would later be the inspiration for the "Devils Creek"). It's about a 45 minute story when told right, so I encourage you to track one of us down at the Bottleneck and ask. Preferably after beer 5 so you get the good details.

Chip:  So your show at the Bottleneck is on Halloween night (holy shit!) which means the crowd is going to expect hijinks of some sort.  Will you all be in costume?  And can you leave our readers with a blurb that convinces them that they absolutely MUST attend this show instead of any of the other Halloween shows going on that night?

David:  Yes of course! This is our 3rd annual Halloween show in Lawrence so folks there can attest that it's always a wild night. And it's something we look forward to every year. If you spot one of our posters around town, you'll get a clue as to our costumes.

Richard: One final thing.  Your bio calls your sound “Bourbon Fueled Bayou Rock.”  What’s your bourbon of choice? (in case some of our nice readers want to send up a Halloween shot for you, hint hint).

David:  Halloween shots are always welcome. We stick with the basics. Jim Beam is the finest shooting, sipping, or mixing whiskey anyone could ask for. As long as it's not Jack, we're happy.

Death Letter Jubilee cover art

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Weekend Picks: Jokes, Music, and 20th Birthday Celebrations at Replay

The LFK comedy scene is all abuzz about tonight's comedy show at the Replay with headliner Timmy Williams of The Whitest Kids You Know.

But who are the lucky LFK jokesters opening up?  Maggie Allen has a slot.  And Sam gets to come out from behind the bar and make some quips.  You'll laugh a bunch.  The PBR helps.


We were going to suggest you take a break from the Replay on Friday but that's just silly.  After all, there's a matinee show featuring a Colorado band called Bearsnail which sounds very much (too much really) like The Mountain Goats.  Check out a few Bandcamp tunes here.



Saturday, of course, is the huge Replay 20th birthday bash.  What in hell did people do in Lawrence before the Replay opened?  We were hoping the bash might bring back some LFK bands from the days of yore, but it looks like the billing is mostly just the bands that still play at the Replay every night.  Even so, it's a solid slate featuring The Hips, OILS, CS Luxem, and Paper Buffalo.  Plus, there's food from Terrebone (during the patio portion of the evening we're guessing) which provides a rare Replay opportunity to eat hushpuppies with your PBR. It's a fucking sweet combination, we assure you!  And also "games."  Hopefully there are free PBRs for the victors of these games.

Here's a cool pinball-themed poster:


And if you're still alive on Sunday after the party, there's a matinee with the always-impressive Hearts of Darkness from KC (with Approach opening) and a late show with Kid Congo Powers.  

Here's to another 20 years of PBR and music!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Deeper Into Movies, Starring Michael Fassbender in Two Huge Roles Plus Rosemary's Baby and (of course) James Franco

Oh shit, we forgot to write the movie column last week.  But here's a quick look at some stuff you can (and can't) see this weekend.

If you live in Kansas or Missouri, you CAN'T yet see Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave (looks like it might hit KC on Nov. 1).  But you can certainly read a wealth of online commentary, most of which uses the phrases "instant classic" or "best film ever made about slavery."  The last film that McQueen made was almost entirely about Michael Fassbender's dick, but apparently he's moved on to even bigger subjects this time around (but still featuring Michael Fassbender, who seems to be McQueen's muse).

Despite the frustrating wait for 12 Years,  you CAN get a Fassbender fix at the multiplex this weekend, since the actor is also in Ridley Scott's The Counselor (along with a star-studded cast).  This thing is written by Cormac McCarthy for some reason (apparently reclusive novelists will emerge to write action films on occasion).  But why didn't they call him in to write Prometheus?

If it's boner jokes you need, we expect plenty in Bad Grandpa, the new movie by Johnny Knoxville and the Jackass gang.  And we hear the fart humor is also absolutely stellar.  Chip is practically beside himself with excitement.  We suspect it will be a huge hit because, well, have you heard audiences laughing at that obnoxious fucking trailer for the last few months?

Your best bet for a great film this weekend is almost certainly JC Chandor's All is Lost, which is also being greeted with superlatives claiming that it's the best role of Robert Redford's career.  Apparently it's a near-silent film (except for a few curse words) with Redford (the sole cast member) lost at sea.  Speaking of lost, we were completely lost by the business jargon in Chandor's first film Margin Call but, even so, we still liked it quite a bit.  So this is easily our pick of the week.  It opens in KC on Friday.

But what about Halloween options?  Why isn't there yet another sequel to Paranormal Activity in your multiplex to make you squeal?  Guess you'll have to settle for the Carrie remake or, if you're wiser, just stay home and watch The Conjuring again. It's this year's best horror film and it just hit DVD this week.


Or, better yet, trek to KC on Saturday for a Film School matinee of Polanski's great Rosemary's Baby at the Alamo Drafthouse. Look at the tagline below:  "It's not what you're expecting."   Haha.  Get it??  Details here (the blurb calls it an "ungodly masterpiece").

What else?  Well, we hear James Franco's adaptation of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying may arrive OnDemand next week, and we hope to present a full review from resident Faulkner scholar Punnilingus.  As scared as we are to see this film, we actually really love the casting of Tim Blake Nelson as Anse.   The NY-Times review calls it "serious and worthwhile" but they also recently published an article that favorably compares Katy Perry to Bob Dylan, so what do they know?  Anyway, we're certain this is going to stink, and we'll be holding a big watch party.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Final Friday Picks: Moderate Nudity, Tributes to the Dead, and More

Finally, an art event that even Chip can get excited about!  Wonder Fair's Final Friday offering is called "The Undressing Room" which involves a performance piece from a KU artist that "may contain moderate nudity and/or free Popsicles."

The description of her previous work certainly sounds intriguing:

"...the artist stood with bare legs emerging from beneath a lumpy, ponderous potato sack of lycra stretched to the ceiling. Fixed in place, the artist spent two hours "inviting" viewers to approach and reach their arms into a series of tunnels neatly stitched into the costume's exterior, withdrawing to find the artist had placed in their hand a small, hand-stitched gift: a reward for the wantonness and bravery of their interaction."

That sounds like some Maria Abramovic-type shit right there!  We're as terrified as we are aroused just thinking about what might happen on Friday.

Visit the FB event page here.

Also, have you made your reservations yet for Wonder Fair's Halloween Night Dead End Diner Dinner, featuring a "four-curse meal" (get it!!) and three specialty-paired cocktails and entertainment and more?  It costs $40 bucks but it's surely weird enough that you'll remember it forever.  There may be a couple of spots left.  Details here.

We stopped by the Dead End Diner during last month's Final Friday for a "casket of fries" and some "Red Rum Raisin Ice Cream." 


Image of Dead End Diner Dinner


Across the way, the Percolator gang is getting ready for their annual Dia de los Muertos processsion (Nov. 2) with a Final Fridays event this week in which you can decorate an altar.  Facebook event page here.

Then make your way to ELFK for Ben Ahlvers' show at Invisible Hand (details here) followed by some rock and roll at SeedCo with Sobriquet, Paper Buffalo, and Dead Monkey and the Dropouts (details here).

So there you go.  Now you've got yourself a pretty nice little Final Friday planned.  (That last sentence was written by Chip as a strange reference to Will Ferrell's "pretty nice little Saturday" speech in Old School).

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Scenester Pick: Conor Oberst in LFK / Spooky Picks of the Week: Max Brooks Talks Zombies; Witch Jail Makes Its LFK Debut; Shatner and Spiders

So Conor Oberst has decided to reassemble his loud political band again and hit the road, with a stop in LFK tonight.  Will he draw a crowd?  Liberty was giving away a big stack of comp tickets last week during the Neko show. Does that mean Conor's show is selling poorly?  We don't know.  Anyway, head down there and thrash around like it's 2002, why don't you?


People just won't quit caring about zombies, apparently.  World War Z author Max Brooks speaks at KU on Wednesday with tips on how to survive an attack.  

Visit the Facebook event page here.


Later on Wednesday, LFK's Witch Jail makes its long-awaited debut.  You certainly know Count Blastov as a flamboyant frontman, but we hear that he (and both of the other two band members) all learned to play instruments especially for this new project.  It's going to be like watching newborns take their first steps (only much much drunker and louder).   Show up and find out how well they learned. 

If you miss them this week, note the other shows coming up that are listed on the second flyer, one of them with a band that is gloriously called Satan's Gay Acid Bath.


KU Natural History Museum's Myths and Mayhem film series returns with a Shatner-iffic Halloween treat on Thursday: a screening of Kingdom of the Spiders.  We love the Shatner pic on the flyer below.  It's at 7:30 on Thursday.  More info here.

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