Posts tagged with The Bottleneck

Spencer Mackenzie Brown releases new EP, throwing free show on Saturday

Spencer Mackenzie Brown

Spencer Mackenzie Brown by Fally Afani

Spencer Mackenzie Brown has had a wild year.

He has a knack for this type of thing. In April, we noted the nonstop series of very fortunate events his musical career experienced, including playing the SXSW and Middle of the Map music festivals. Since then, the folk-rocker's life hasn't slowed down. He rocked yet another festival stage at Boulevardia over the summer, and next week he'll be playing alongside Leon Bridges and Houndmouth on the Midland stage in Kansas City.

Without a doubt, Brown is finishing 2015 strong. But first, he'll be celebrating the release of Brown's sophomore EP with a free Bottleneck show at 8 p.m. Saturday. KJHK is hosting his EP release party with some of the bigger names in the Lawrence indie scene, including Hembree and Bonzo Madrid.

"We've been working incredibly hard to not only finish this EP and make sure it's something worth listening to, but to encourage people to come out to our show and see if we're living up to all the hype," Brown says. "We want people there because it's a huge party for us. If we're going to do it, we want to be surrounded by people we love and the community in Lawrence."

The show looks to be fairly festive this holiday season. Anyone who shows up is encouraged to wear their best (or worst) sweater. Additionally, Hot Box Cookies will be supplying hundreds of free cookies at the show.

Before you head to the show, you can listen to Brown's latest single here.


Real Adults can get real experimental

Real Adults

Real Adults by Fally Afani

KJHK threw a rager at the Bottleneck for its 40th birthday on Friday, and that included introducing Real Adults to a good portion of the scene.

Even with just a handful of shows under their belts, the band comes loaded with experience thanks to its all-star cast (including members of No Cave, Paper Buffalo and Middle Twin). Real Adults likes to noodle around on the guitar, but in a way that’s palatable to a younger audience (think jam bands but without the boredom).

The frontman, standing well over 6 feet tall, enjoys making wild eyes and expressive faces at the audience, which reminded us a great deal of Oils (students were fond of that band as well). He also sports a very unique voice that runs freely between genres and dabbles in various yelps and noises.

Like many of their peers, the musicians in Real Adults enjoy the world of psych rock without any pretense. They can get as experimental as they want to be, free of boundaries, and it only propels them further with the audience.

Here’s a sample of what they sounded like on Friday:

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit


Radkey returns to Lawrence, immediately melts faces

Friday was one for the books at the Bottleneck.

Radkey, a band of brothers that got their start years ago in Lawrence when they couldn’t book shows anywhere else, returned to the city full of LFK love. This was a special night for Lawrencians because the band’s popularity has grown so much that they had to move up to a stage the size of the Bottleneck’s. Turns out, this was a special night for Kansas City-based Radkey as well. After years of touring the world and playing famous festivals, they’re finally out on their first headlining tour in North America.

They didn’t come empty-handed, arriving with loads of new music from their new album and a well-thought-out performance. Radkey doesn’t mess around. It takes all of two minutes to come out and set their pedals onstage and check their mics. Then, they immediately dive into the rock, interjecting only to make comic book references now and again.

Radkey is a band that grew up on Lawrence music, and in return many of the local musicians they love came out to support them. This resulted in a hodgepodge of rockers in the audience, gleefully recounting former bands and past shows while sipping their drinks and nodding their heads to the music.

With every return to Lawrence for a show, Radkey’s stage presence grows more impressive. Drummer Solomon Radke bangs the drums a little faster, bassist Isaiah sprints back and forth across the stage a little wilder, and guitarist Dee’s backbends and splits get a little deeper. In essence, the town of Lawrence is watching this band grow up right before their very eyes. But you can’t get too emotional about it yet, because you know they’ve got an even wilder journey ahead.

Gnarly Davidson, as promised, brought it (and brought it big). The crowd for Gnarly Davidson was wall-to-wall with gruff dudes clad in black band shirts. They were burly and they were surly… and a band like Gnarly Davidson was really just MADE for them. Even the smokers outside were chatting excitedly, talking up the brutal vocals from both guitarists.

The People’s Punk Band, one of the most unruly acts in town right now, opened up the night. This band will not only thrash with you, they’ll thrash with each other. We don’t know how the hell this is even possible, but somehow they’ve grown even more menacing on this bigger stage. Between the glorious hair of the steady drummer and the guitarist stomping back and forth across the stage, there’s no reason anyone can’t enjoy this classic sound from a classic band.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit


Major hip-hop show to bring together Stik Figa, Approach, Barrel Maker

One of the most celebrated rappers in the state is finally going to perform Lawrence.

Stik Figa is a wizard with words, a magnetic performer, and knows exactly how to make the locals get emotional. The Topeka rapper, who has been cited as a major influence on locals such as Ebony Tusks, will finally be coming out of hiding to play the Bottleneck this Friday. He'll be joined by two of the most admired hip-hop heads around: Approach and Barrel Maker. In between, the audience will also be treated to DJ Johnny Quest and D/Will.

There are a few reasons this event is so celebrated, but it's important to note that Stik Figa is from Topeka, Approach is from Lawrence, and Barrel Maker is from Kansas City. That means this performance could attract music fans from all three cities along I-70 together for one night. Nobody is better at singing about where you come from than rappers, and this will surely be a show that will leave audiences swelling with hometown pride.

These three performers tend to be close, and Barrel Maker is a celebrated video artist who has directed a fair share of music videos for both Stik Figa and Approach's other project, Lincoln Marshall.

The Bottleneck show starts at 8 p.m. Friday. In the meantime, enjoy one of Stik Figa's many music videos below (directed by Barrel Maker).

Some classic Approach (also directed by Barrel Maker):

And here's a taste of Barrel Maker's own music video:


Watch La Guerre spread her wings at the Bottleneck

It's been a while since we checked in with La Guerre, but it was worth the wait.

Watching La Guerre is like watching a butterfly emerge from a cocoon. It's wonderful seeing how an artist like this matures, both personally and musically. The full band she's assembled to accompany her soothing synth skills is top notch, and she even brought along a brand new drummer for their Bottleneck show Saturday night.

Along with this new sense of maturity, there's something awfully comforting about Katlyn Conroy's lyrics and the way she executes them. It's like a mother patting you on the back at the end of a long day while you cry into a pillow about a boy. Somehow, mother knows best... most likely because, honey, she has BEEN there.

Conroy's perfect pitch is still exquisite to listen to, as was evidenced by the flock of fans who scuttled up to her after the set to compliment her singing. Conroy is also one of the few musicians capable of carrying out perfectly executed a cappella bits in her songs.

You can watch a video of her performance below.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit


Tyler Gregory to reunite old band for weekend hootenanny

Get ready for a hootenanny this weekend.

For the first time in two years, Tyler Gregory will be joined by The Bootleg Band (formerly the Bootleg Bandits) for an actual stage show (and not just a casual jam) at the Bottleneck this Friday.

This is significant because when Gregory is joined by an entire band, fans tend to get down big time. "We're going to decorate the stage," he says. "It's going to be a lot of old friends playing the old songs that I don't play anymore."

The show will also be unique because it brings several of the Mudstomp Mondays revelers together in the same room for one big event. It's been a while since that happened, so Gregory decided to get the old band back together for this one-time event.

"I think I just missed them," he admits. "It's fun playing with those guys. It's really enjoyable. I know a lot of people ask me, 'Do you play with those guys still?' It's been asked about a lot. So you know what? We're going to do it."

This fall, Gregory will fly west for the winter. It's a yearly tradition that sends him to warmer weather for nonstop touring, and he doesn't return until the weather gets warm again in Kansas. So this may be one of the last few opportunities to see him get an entire audience boogying.

Tyler Gregory and the Bootleg Band will be joined by Rolling Foliage (and their new drummer!) this Friday at the Bottleneck at about 10 p.m.


Radkey releases new music video, announces Lawrence show

Not a lot of people will remember this, but an important part of Radkey's beginning was right here in Lawrence.

The punk-rock thrashing, anime-loving, and overall badass trio of brothers used to play venues here before they were legally old enough to enter them. Now, they sell out venues in Kansas City and tour the world. But in the midst of all these tours and continental travel, they've released a music video and scheduled a Lawrence show.

The video for "Love Spills," a track off their upcoming album "Dark Black Makeup," revolves around the adventures of a group of skateboarders. The album is set to come out Aug. 21, and shortly after they'll be hitting up The Bottleneck, a stage they haven't played since Lawrence Field Day Fest a couple of years ago. That show is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 25, smack dab in between European tour dates. Tickets go on sale Friday.

The video is NSFW due to vomiting.


The Blackbird Revue provides your dream pop for the summer

It feels a little wrong to discover a band so perfect for lazy summer days toward the end of the season.

The Blackbird Revue are a husband and wife dream pop duo from Kansas City. The accomplished multi-instrumentalists hit the Bottleneck and Saturday, and grabbed everyone's attention from the very first note.

These two remained perched at their stations, one behind a guitar and the other behind whatever she darn well pleased (synth, laptop, ukulele). They did a fantastic job of making their music sound so dreamy without drowning it in reverb.

Their soaring harmonies helped lift them to all those impressive high notes, all while they occasionally stole glances from each other. Half the time, their lyrics revolved around a level of heartbreak that could very well bring you to tears, but their sounds were just too satisfying to turn away.

Here's a sample of the alluring duo's hazy and whimsical performance sounded like:

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit


Watch psychedelic rockers No Cave entrance a crowd at the Bottleneck

We really didn't think No Cave could get any more psychedelic.

The Lawrence band has been keeping busy with a steady stream of shows since winning Farmers' Ball last month. They added a synth player and debuted their new lineup Friday at the Bottleneck, where they shared the stage with Major Games and Paper Buffalo.

No Cave is deserving of all the attention and praise. They've got an entrancing stage presence that keeps even non-psychedelic fans fixated on their maneuvers. It's hard to ignore statuesque frontman Ross Williams as he hops around the stage and even leans into the crowd a little bit. We normally see him do this at the Replay, but he took full advantage of the bigger space at the Bottleneck. No Cave also seems to constantly be developing their songs, introducing new ideas of rhythm and layering to their experience.

Williams' dizzying vocals are heavy on the reverb, and the singer isn't afraid to just forgo actual words and indulge in a few whoops and rhythmic yelps. Wild drummers are a must in psychedelic bands, and this band's got that trait nailed down.

No Cave was a bit of a wild card this year. Lawrence has seen a lot of psychedelic influence in local music, and there's no concern that the scene could get weary of it with bands like No Cave keeping the intrigue high.

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Why local musicians shouldn’t miss the MixMaster 2015 Music Conference

If you are in any way involved with local music, you might want to sign up for an upcoming conference.

MixMaster 2015 is an event that helps local musicians connect with industry professionals such as journalists, record labels, promoters and more. The conference helps musicians learn about anything from copyright issues to production.

Speaking of which, this year's conference is adding production workshops at the Lawrence Public Library's Sound + Vision studio on Friday, May 1, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Producers and engineers will share their knowledge with attendees. Later that night at 7 p.m., Five Bar & Tables will host a Songwriter Night.

The actual music conference takes play the next day on Saturday, May 2, at the Bottleneck from noon to 5 p.m. The venue will also host a live showcase later that night.

I Heart Local Music attended MixMaster 2015 last year and was thoroughly impressed with the plethora of necessary knowledge available to local musicians. We encourage anyone to attend conference and showcase, spearheaded by Silly Goose Records.

You can RSVP to the event on Facebook here, or go to MixMaster's website here.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit