Monday, July 30, 2012

Columbia and Kansas City 7/29

Last night we had the pleasure of playing in Columbia, MO for the first time at a great place called the Bridge. It's a real cool place, and real cool folks run it. (They also had this rad Bob Hartzell poster on the wall, check it out!) We had a great time playing there and got to hear the beautiful voices of Nicki Scruggs and Hilary Scott and the New County Line for the first time too. Good stuff!

Friday night was Kansas City, and just as before Kansas City was like a movie of a good night on tour. We played at one of our favorite venues Riot Room. La Guerre kicked off the night in blue and green stage lights that matched Katelyn's blue and green hair. We've been fans of Katelyn and her voice since last year when we toured with her other project Cowboy Indian Bear, but this was our first time hearing La Guerre.

It's always impressive (and enjoyable) to hear great voices and great singing, but there's something really special about hearing a voice like hers in a place like the Riot Room. This is a girl in a rock club, while people are drifting in and out getting their beers, singing. She clearly knows her strengths as a vocalist, but most apparent is that she was born with a beautiful voice– a gift, and she shares it so effortlessly with everyone listening during a 35 minute set. I was expecting a great voice and this still caught me off guard; this isn't Neko Case at the Pageant or Felicia Boswell in Memphis at the Fox where there's a degree of ritual built in that leads to high expectations, but a show you can just walk into off the street on a Friday night for $7. It feels like it opens so much up, and reminds me that there's all this potential in music in general. I feel lucky to have witnessed that set, so casually, so close up, and so completely.

So, the bar was set pretty high for the night. And Palace was next! Evan and I went to the van to make our set list, and did some vocalises on our way back. As I crossed the street doing "zing-ahhhhs" a man walking towards us gave us a funny grin. I smiled big and sang louder. As we passed each other (me still singing loudly), he looked over his shoulder and kept smiling and I snapped and pointed at him. For that moment we were Fred Astaire and Leroy Daniels.

We got back in the club and Palace was on stage. You'd have to be trying pretty hard not to crack a smile during a Palace set, and I don't suggest you try that. Sleepy Kitty loves Palace. They won our hearts on the patio of Copia at the RFT Music Showcase in June and we were looking forward to watching them win the hearts of everyone at the Riot Room. The phrase I keep returning to for describing their set is "simply delightful" and five people deep, they're enough of a crowd to show the room how to feel. With every high note you could feel the energy on stage rise, triggering the energy in the room. Palace sounds like Queen, if Queen had formed post internet and post major label economy. There is baroque-technicality on display but again, we're not in a stadium or studio in LA with a pre-Napster major label budget. We're in Kansas City and this band just drove 5 hours today and loaded in all their gear to do this for whoever showed up.

I feel very fortunate that Sleepy Kitty's been able to play with so many great performers. It's such a good feeling to take the stage after watching a band you love, let alone two bands you love, perform a great set and Friday, was just that. We took the stage in a good mood and the room felt like it was in a good mood too. The stage lights were bright, white, and hot and that stage felt just as good as we remembered it. It was that kind of show that feels like a party, and being in the practice space at the same time. I felt like I hit a new personal best on Seventeen, (I think I learned a lot at Camp Jam, from the students and the other teachers.)

The final band of the night was Soft Reeds. I'd love to say I saw more of their set, but that same thing happens every time where by the time you load off the stage, deal with your gear, wipe the sweat off your face, drink a glass of water, and then another one, you go inside and when did they start?! and how long have they been playing? Luckily, there was still a large portion of the set to catch and the dance party that had been brewing all night was in full effect. They kind of had a fresh take on the Talking Heads and the B52s and everyone was feeling it. It was the perfect closer to a great night and another good reason to play in KC.