Ad Astra Arkestra


If the three-ring circus that is Ad Astra Arkestra comes and plays ANYWHERE near you, for the love of God GO TO THE SHOW. No questions asked!

On December 4 I stepped outside my comfort zone (the Lawrence bubble) and headed to (gasp!) Johnson County Community College for a show.

First of all, they had an enormous stage to play with, which is good because evidently they're an enormous band. At least on this particular night. Why? Because they had a choir.

What set the mood from the very beginning was the way they introduced this choir. When the venue dimmed the lights, just a handful of the band came on stage (with a cellist) and started singing an eerie acapella bit. Then I heard voices all around me. I thought people in the audience were singing but when I looked up, there was the choir, in a single line, wearing hoods (but not robes), continuing the eerie and spooky singing while slowly marching toward the stage. I'm not gonna lie, I was a bit spooked.

But as soon as the acapella bit finished, it was straight-up a party. From another dimension.

See for yourself:

The choir had a conductor (complete with tuxedo tails), whose top-hat descended from the sky (not even kidding) as they kicked the show into gear.

As you can tell from the clip, the theatrics were in high gear. The audience wasn't expecting this. They sat a little stunned that a band (a LOCAL band) could be this entertaining.

I was on Cloud 9. For too many reasons to list. One of them being that percussionists were abundant (and as you may know, I LOVE percussion). There were always at least three percussionists on stage at one time.

In between songs one of the band members read short pieces of prose or poetry (in an eerie voice, of course).

Even though the songs were pretty lengthy (upwards of six minutes) there was never a dull moment. From the theatrics to the choir to it just being GOOD MUSIC, Ad Astra Arkestra had you wrapped around their little finger. I was grinning from ear to ear throughout the entire show. Heck, I even went to bed with a grin on my face. And then proceeded to harass the friends I knew who DIDN'T come to the show because it was at JCCC. One of the friends who went to the show with me said "I can't believe it happened in Joco!"

One of the most hilarious parts of this experience? Ad Astra Arkestra was the opener. We all definitely felt sorry for the band who went on after them. It's a little hard to follow that show.

At the end of the set, the choir went crazy and then proceeded to "murder" the band. I wasn't kidding about those theatrics.

I'm not sure if the band will ever put on a show as wild as this again. But even if they don't pull out the theatrics, you should definitely go because the music is just fantastic. Hopefully you'll find yourself grinning from ear to ear during the show as well.

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