Entries from blogs tagged with “LFK”

Watch: Ryan Wise performs acoustic cover of ‘Milkshake’ at Henry’s

Mondays are normally not the time for live music in Lawrence, but Henry’s has been doing fairly well with their acoustic Monday sets. Considering it rained ice from the sky all day, the turnout on Monday was impressive as Ryan Wise and Joel Bonner took the stage while frozen revelers huddled around the fireplace.

Wise, more formally known as the frontman for Lawrence duo The Sluts, is no stranger to sexual innuendo. His songs are full of them. But on this night, he decided to take a break for his own dirty lyrics and cover a few others.

Here he is covering M.O.T.O.’s “It Tastes Just Like A Milkshake.” Don’t let his slowed-down version of the song fool you — Wise stays true to his band’s reputation.



LarryvilleLife’s Picks: New Year’s Edition

Here it is, readers. This is not only our last column of 2015 but also our very last column here at LJ-World/Lawrence.com. Remember that you can always find us on Twitter @LarryvilleLife (without ever being asked to take a pesky survey). Happy New Year!

Split Lip Rayfield/Rolling Foliage/Sugar Britches, 7 p.m. Thursday at Bottleneck

As reliable as Santa on New Year's Eve, the legendary rascals of Split Lip Rayfield descend on the Bottleneck each New Year's Eve to ring in the new year in raucous fashion. This year is extra-celebratory, as the trio has a new album called "I'll Be Around."

Joining this year will be Rolling Foliage and the ladies of Sugar Britches, who have made perhaps more appearances in this column than any other local band. But why not? They've had a hell of a year.

The Facebook event page is here.

Mouth/Hearts of Darkness/Pink Royal, doors at 7 p.m. Thursday at Granada

You can certainly dance to the lightning-fast bluegrass of Split Lip Rayfield (we've done it), but perhaps you're needing a smoother funk groove for New Year's Eve. The Granada has you covered with this big evening. Start your party early with the funky sounds of Mouth (their farewell show) and KC's always-stellar outfit Hearts of Darkness and end your evening with a late-night DJ set from Kimbarely Legal.

"May the Funk Be With You," proclaims the excellent Star Wars-themed poster from the Facebook event page, which also announces that this will be a Star Wars costume party. Droid, please! We're totally going as BB-8 from "The Force Awakens."

Gnarly Davidson/Arc Flash/Approach/The Fog, 10 p.m. Thursday at Replay

Let's face it. There's a certain contingent of our readers who wouldn't consider doing anything else on New Year's Eve (or Halloween) except going to the Replay. For this crowd, it's not even that important who's playing there (and you can probably pretty much guess anyway). For the rest of you: Thursday's bands are the ones listed above. You'll like them. If you don't, you'll be drunk enough to believe that you do.

The Facebook event page is here and features the above picture of Gnarly posing with an "interesting" friend.

Foxy by Proxy NYE Revue, doors at 9 p.m., show at 10 p.m. Thursday at Liberty Hall

In the mood for a bigger space on this crowded holiday? Prefer scantily-clad women to live music? The Foxy by Proxy crew only needed four words to convince us their Liberty Hall NYE event was worthy of inclusion here: "Surprises! Sparkles! Nakedness! CHAMPAGNE!"

The Facebook event page is here.

'When Harry Met Sally,' 4 and 7 p.m. Friday at Liberty Hall

Liberty Hall has the most comforting cure for your New Year's Eve hangover: two screenings of one of the great modern romantic comedies. Perhaps they'll team with Ladybird Diner to serve pecan pie (if you catch our reference)? We'd certainly be pleased to partake of it. Or perhaps a contest to imitate Meg Ryan's classic diner scene (You know the one. Can we say "orgasm" here? We'll try, since this is our last column).

These things won't happen. Nevertheless, sitting in a dark room and laughing with your friends and lovers will soothe your soul (and aching head). Find more details at the Liberty Hall website.

Thanks for reading our column this year, and hopefully you'll be able to find things to do in LFK in 2016 without us! We have faith in you. And remember: if all else fails, head to the Replay.


Duncan Burnett spreads the gospel with ‘Soulcially Conscious’

Every rapper holds a goal of spreading a message. It just so happens that Duncan Burnett pulls it off properly.

Right off the bat with his latest release, "Soulcially Conscious," you know where he’s coming from. In fact, within the first two minutes of the first track, “Olathe,” you know where he was raised, who his family is, and the struggles he faced growing up. Throughout the course of the song, he hits you with his weaknesses and a few words of wisdom. “Sometimes you’re gonna be wrong/ take chances/ don’t take anything for granted because nothing is forever, y’all,” he warns.

Being upfront about who he is makes a difference, because then he spends the rest of the album touching on very pressing social issues, such as Mike Brown and Eric Gardner in “3 Sides.” There’s a killer line in that one: “There’s three sides to the story, there’s mine and the truth.” Every time he says that line, it hits us right in the gut.

Throughout the album, Burnett is using a full band. You can hear the bass loud and clear, the funky guitars, the drums, the keys — all of it. His samples are noteworthy as well, particularly his use of Portishead in “H.M.F.Y.S.” This is where he calls out rappers that are all style and no substance, and the criticism he faces as a “Christian rapper.” Approach shows up in the middle of the track to back him up with lines like, “I know no limits to your growth and potential.” It’s like a good pat on the back encouraging him to make it through the rest of the album.

"Soulcially Conscious" is worth your time not only because you get to hear real instrumentation and talent but also get treated to a series of life lessons from Burnett. He’s been busy in recent months, spreading his gospel across Kansas City (and sometimes Lawrence). If he keeps it up, 2016 will be a year for his rise. Burnett knows this, and it could be why he ends on the ever-positive note at the end of “Tobin Frost” by listing his abilities and qualifications. “I’m a drummer, a rapper, an artist!” It goes on with the list until the music suddenly drops out and he declares, “I’ma do whatever I want, man. Ain’t nobody going to stop me, you dig?”

We dig.


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 iheartlocalmusic.com.


Introducing grunge-rock trio Sunday Heroine

With it being the very last Saturday before Christmas, Lawrence was out in full force and ready to party over the weekend. The Replay was brimming with excitable revelers donning Christmas hats of every shape and size when a brand new band took the Replay stage for the first time.

Sunday Heroine is one of Lawrence's newest bands with a very bright future. The trio, fronted by Max Lock, specializes in all your '90s grunge dreams. Lock is a teenager who just finished high school this semester, but we've had our ears on her musical talent for a few months now.

The guitarist is joined by Chris Maddox on bass and Max Allsbrooks on drums. Together, they give us that alternative sound that's been making a raging comeback, laced with just a taste of riot grrrl attitude.

They're completely likable and made a fantastic debut at the Replay. We expect to see a lot from them in 2016.



LarryvilleLife’s Christmas Week Picks: Jazzhaus Xmas Jam; Massholes; Boogaloo 7; Singles Going Steady; Monday troubadours

With Christmas on a Friday, pickings are a little slim. Lucky for you, we found a few options to get you out on the town if holiday cabin fever sets in.

Jazzhaus Xmas Jam, 10 p.m. Friday at Jazzhaus

We weren't entirely sure we'd find a Christmas-themed event for Christmas night aside from sitting on a barstool escaping your family, but then along comes the Jazzhaus and their "Xmas Jam." Who will be jamming? We're not exactly sure. But, hey, you're out of the house for a few hours with live music playing.

The Facebook event page is here.

Massholes trivia, 8 p.m. Saturday at Eagle's Lodge

Perhaps you're thinking, "What's the most absolutely townie thing to do in LFK on the night after Christmas?" Look no further. The Massholes gang returns with another sure-to-be-raucous evening of locally-themed trivia and comedy. Expect a lot of ex-mayor jokes and some potshots at the developing Oread tax scandal.

The Facebook event page promises this edition will be "delightfully vitriolic," but let's hope the bitterness will be balanced out with some of those sweet "brownies for townies" that guests can win through audience participation. And make sure to wish Massholes regular (and LFK trivia guru) Andy Morton a happy birthday while you're there.

Boogaloo 7, 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Eighth Street Taproom

Need a Massholes nightcap? The Taproom basement is a cozy little jazz spot on occasion, and Saturday's performance by the Boogaloo 7 (a stellar KC 7-piece soul/jazz/funk outfit) will be a good place to relax and let off a little post-holiday steam.

Bandleader Chris Hazleton recently had most of his boogaloo equipment stolen from his place in KC, so feel free to kick in a few extra bucks for the band if you're still in the giving spirit.

The band plays every fourth Saturday at the Tap and has a standing Friday gig at KC's Green Lady Lounge so, if you miss them Saturday, catch them somewhere down the line.

The Facebook event page is here.

Singles Going Steady round-robin record party, 8 p.m. Sunday at Frank's

Here's an unusual, low-key event to wrap up your long holiday weekend. Head to North Lawrence to sit around, drink and play your favorite 7" singles with some of LFK's geekiest music geeks. Will you be judged for your music tastes? Of course you will. So plan accordingly. If you play just the right song, perhaps you'll be "going steady" with someone by the end of the evening.

Eddy Green/Tyler Gregory/Nicholas St. James, 6 p.m. Monday matinee at Replay

Well, this seems like unusual scheduling. Monday matinees at the Replay aren't unheard of for touring bands, but at least two of these three jokers play the area quite often. Even so, why NOT recover from the holidays with three great troubadours? Maybe they've already written some new tunes about their respective weekends.

The Facebook event page is here.

Tweet us @LarryvilleLife.


Watch CS Luxem debut a new song

Normally when a band debuts a new song, they're still working it out. It's (understandably) a bit nerve-wracking if you're onstage testing your new art on an audience. But this isn't the case with CS Luxem.

The king of relaxed onstage demeanor busted out — much to the delight of his fans who know the words of all his songs — a brand new number at the Replay Friday night. He beautifully crooned his way through it. This one is a bit more sway-worthy than his usual work, so it's nice to see him go outside his comfort zone. But there are still those signature Luxem wails, looping arpeggios, and (of course) his perfect, reverb-laced pitch.

Luxem consistently holds his reign as the person most likely to get the audience to close their eyes when they listen. This new song is only further proof of his royal highness' hold on his colony of adoring fans.


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 iheartlocalmusic.com.


Library to host electronic music meetup this weekend

We've been seeing a stronger interest in electronic music lately (thanks to bands like Debra, Monster and Narkalark), and the Lawrence Public Library has been helping musicians with that interest.

The library's SOUND+VISION studio, more famously known as the free and accessible recording studio for the Lawrence community, has been hosting electronic music meetups since August. This weekend, they'll be holding their third one of the year.

Anyone who attends will get a firsthand lesson in electronic music gear, sound design and patch theory. Organizer Ed Rose, who spent years as the recording engineer at Black Lodge Studios, says attendees get to learn about modular synths and different modules, as well as learn some new techniques. Rose recommends attending the meetup to "play with cool, vintage synths and meet other folks interested in making electronic music."

The event starts at 1:30 p.m. and runs through 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The meetup even ends with a couple of performances from ADAMON and NARKALARK, with a chance to ask the performers questions after their set.


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 iheartlocalmusic.com.


LarryvilleLife’s Picks: Early holiday edition featuring Ashley Davis, Crock Pot Luck, a big band tradition at Jazzhaus and ‘A Christmas Story’

Season's greetings, constant readers! This week we're focusing on a few traditional holiday events, a few off-the-radar events, and a few of our personal holiday favorites. Have you ever seen a more culturally-jampacked Saturday??

Ashley Davis: The Christmas Sessions, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at Lied Center

Kansas-born and internationally renowned, Ashley Davis returns to Lawrence this week for her annual show. Actually: shows. An extra has been added since last year's event sold out quickly.

Davis melds Celtic and Appalachian influences into her sound, and the Facebook event page promises that she'll be playing plenty of material from both her new Christmas album and old favorites from "Songs of the Celtic Winter."

Be smart and purchase tickets in advance via the Lied Center. For more on Davis and her new album, check out Joanna Hlavacek's Out & About blog on Lcom.

America's Got Spelling and Crock Pot Luck Dinner, 7 p.m. Saturday at Frank's North Star

This is surely the coziest little cultural event of the week. Guests are invited to bring their favorite slow-cooked meals to Frank's (can someone please bring chicken and dumplings for us?) and then participate in a spelling bee at 9 p.m. hosted by LFK teacher/music guru Jon Harrison. Well, why not? Surely drunk people trying to spell big words will be quite entertaining.

This isn't a holiday event necessarily, but it sounds pretty merry to us, and we can easily spell PBR, which will surely be flowing during the festivities.

Visit the Facebook event page here, which really needs more guests. The event page photo (above) is pretty clever, don't you think?

Free State Brewing 4th Annual Holiday Show (featuring the Phantastics), 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Granada

This holiday bash is free (if you're over 21) and features the stellar funk groove of KC's Phantastics, a band that impressed most of the population of LFK over the summer when they opened up the epic free George Clinton show outside the Arts Center.

LFK's Carswell and Hope kick off the evening at 8:30.

The Facebook event page is here.

I Heart Local Music Showcase: Bummer, Stiff Middle Fingers, Vedette, 10 p.m. Saturday at Replay

Our hard-working friends at I Heart Local Music are throwing their last bash of the year on Saturday. Don't expect a light-hearted holiday romp, however. The fans of these three rowdy acts are far more naughty than nice. We predict a holiday mosh pit.

The Facebook event page contains memorable descriptions of each band, ending with a promise that the show will "light your crotch on fire." Merry Christmas!

And remember that you can always access the prolific I Heart Local Music directly at their website in 2016.

Jazzhaus Big Band Christmas Formal, 10 p.m. Saturday at Jazzhaus

But perhaps you DON'T want your crotch lit on fire while gyrating to the Devil's music? Then find yourself a nice date, get dressed up in elegant fashion, and hit the dance floor at the Jazzhaus to the smooth sounds of a 17-piece big band orchestra playing jazz standards and holiday favorites.

Last year was our first time attending this long-standing tradition. Verdict: delightful! Make sure to chat up some of the folks who have been attending for many years. And if you're worried about the dress code, don't. They'll let you in whether or not you are dressed to the nines.

The Facebook event page is here.

'A Christmas Story' screenings, 4 and 7 p.m. Sunday at Liberty Hall

Yes, you've seen "A Christmas Story" 117 times and it is almost certainly currently playing on television even as we write this (and at whatever time you happen to be reading this). Even so, movies are a communal experience, especially beloved cultural touchstones. Come out. Be with people. Laugh. Try to avoid getting your tongue stuck to a pole if it's cold and snowy outside after the film.

[Side note: we recently purchased a miniature leg lamp at an LFK yard sale].

Find more info at the Liberty Hall website.

We hope you've enjoyed these last few months of cultural guidance, since we will be retiring this column from Lawrence.com after the new year. But don't worry. We vow to remain ever-vigilant and helpful if you follow us via Twitter @LarryvilleLife. We'll be back for two more columns of Christmas and New Year's picks.


Feel-good Everything: Schwervon! brings holiday cheer to the Replay

When Schwervon! comes to town, it’s like when that cool aunt and uncle everybody likes come around for the holidays.

They were especially dapper when they hit up the Replay on Friday night. The chipper indie-pop duo are really just the life of the party. First, they brought snacks (cookies loaded with butter and sugar to feed “the dancers,” because every Schwervon! show has dancers). Then, they dived into one delightfully catchy and instantly memorable song after another. Nan’s voice reminds us of everything cool about the B-52′s.

But what really seals the deal on visits from Uncle Matt and Aunt Nan is the poetry segment. The two have consistently performed spontaneous poetry segments at every show. Matt will throw on his reading glasses and read from a small piece of paper or his phone, while Nan dons the tap shoes and jumps into the audience. “Merry Fascism!” Matt proclaimed while Nan arched her back and threw her arms into the air. This poem was holiday-themed.

Schwervon! are the producers of poppy goodness and feel-good everything. Every visit presents a little more bonding time with their Lawrence audience, and they’re becoming as familiar and comfortable as Matt’s dad sweaters.

Here’s a new song they played on Friday night at the Replay (totally sexy spy movie material):


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 iheartlocalmusic.com.


MilkDrop releases new single with Approach, DJ GTRAIN

In an ever-developing revelation of his musical identity, we now bring you the next chapter in the development of MilkDrop.

The local lyricist just dropped a new single with the help of a familiar powerhouse last week. The moment "Welcome Home" fires up, you find yourself somewhere familiar with DJ GTRAIN's signature scratching. The song, produced entirely by local hip-hop mastermind Approach, features the poetic and lyrical skills of MilkDrop. If you've been paying attention to the local scene, you know that instantly recognizable synth sound Approach has become famous for. The man has a strong hold on any music he puts out, never sampling and always creating.

MilkDrop has been crafting an image as the idyllic rapper, romanticizing all his thoughts into rhymes. He's been plugging away at his craft over the last year, and the strength behind his vocals are showing on this track.

To show that this is a collaborative effort, MilkDrop eases off the gas at about two minutes in and lets GTRAIN and Approach carry him home (much like how they've been there backing him up throughout this venture). "50 dollars in my pocket isn't much to get through the week," he declares before trailing off, leaving you a solid minute of music to think on that statement before the song ends.

You can catch both Approach and MilkDrop at Josey Records in Kansas City on Saturday, Dec.19.


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 iheartlocalmusic.com.


LarryvilleLife’s Picks: ‘Star Wars’ Nerd Nite; Decembern; Toys for Tots fundraisers; Conquerors and Berwanger release show

This week's column starts on Wednesday in a galaxy far, far away but also touches down in some familiar locales closer to home, such as the Replay (although, as a friend often notes, the Replay is really not so different from the cantina scene in "Star Wars"). We've also found room for THREE different events that benefit Toys for Tots, so you can feel good about yourself this week while drinking your booze.

Nerd Nite XLIV: A Nerd Awakens, 8 p.m. Wednesday at Maceli's

The premiere of the new "Star Wars" film is still over a week away, but most nerds already have tickets in their nerdy little hands. It seems only natural that LFK's Nerd Nite would latch onto the mania for this month's installment.

Two of the night's presentations actually center on "Star Wars": one explores the fascinating idea of "three-dimensional fan-fiction" (fans who design their own plastic models based on the Star Wars universe) and the other tackles the perennial questions of whether "Star Wars" should indeed be classified as "science fiction" and to what extent it has marred public conceptions of the genre. The third presentation focuses on dark matter (hopefully with a few references to the "dark side" along the way).

Find full titles and descriptions of the presentations along with presenter bios at the Facebook event page here. We're hoping the Nerd Nite co-bosses stage light-saber battles between presentations.

Decembern: Bernie Sanders benefit show, doors at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Bottleneck

Want to rock out in a room full of young socialists? Stop by the Bottleneck on Wednesday night and catch four great LFK musical acts (La Guerre, CS Luxem, Arc Flash, and Westerners) joining forces to support Bernie Sanders.

The Facebook event page promises there will be plenty of Bernie merch and info about how to get involved, along with voter registration. Perhaps there should be a Bernie imitation contest? Or a contest to imitate Larry David imitating Bernie?

Will a comparable Hillary benefit (with a comparably cool flier) emerge in a future month? Perhaps an April event called "April-lary?" Guess we'll find out.

Schwervon! 'Holidaze' Show, 10 p.m. Friday at Replay

We're not at all certain that this event will actually contain a lot of holiday-themed activities, but guests are encouraged to wear bad holiday sweaters and the Facebook event page promises cookies. Plus, when it comes right down to it, any given show from KC's raucous duo Schwervon! is a festive affair that usually contains a bit of Nan's tap dancing.

LFK's noisy Arc Flash and ramshackle Youngest Children join forces for this shindig where guests can take comfort in the fact that the actual holiday and all of its stress is still a few weeks down the line.

The Conquerors/Berwanger/Psychic Heat, 10 p.m. Saturday at Replay

KC's The Conquerors are certainly poised to conquer the weekend with not one, not two, but THREE release shows for their new 7" "You Must Be Dreaming" on High-Dive Records (watch a cool retro video for the single here). The third of these shows is a sure-to-be-rowdy triple bill alongside Berwanger's bursts of power-pop and Psychic Heat's psych-rock groove.

According to The Conquerors' wild, funny, boastful bio, their gritty garage and psychedelic pop sound has induced at least nine births during live shows! Can the Replay make it 10?

Busy Berwanger also has a new EP, "Demonios," out on High-Dive. The title track is reputed to be modeled specifically on Guns-N-Roses' "Lies." You can listen to the EP in full this week via Consequence of Sound.


(1) Good Time comedy Toys for Tots benefit, 7 p.m. Thursday at Replay

The jokers of the long-running Thursday night Good Time comedy event do a lot of silly things. But occasionally they also do GOOD things, such as Thursday's Toys for Tots benefit. Guests are asked to bring "a new unwrapped toy or a minor cash donation" as entrance to this evening's affair, which features a slate of performances from LFK comedians such as Ed Parker, Michael Pope and Amber Lehman.

Will there be any foul-mouthed child performers at this event? It's possible. And you know it's always funny when children curse! Find more info and a larger list of performers at the Facebook event page. We're also told this will be the last Good Time event of the year before resuming in 2016 under "new management."

(2) Outlaw's Christmas Extravaganza (benefiting Toys for Tots), 7 p.m. Saturday at Bottleneck

Still in the giving spirit? The $5 cover and proceeds from CD sales for Saturday's Bottleneck show also go to Toys for Tots. Better not bring the kids along, however, as this show is a CD release party for Outlaw Jake's second annual collection of "X-rated" Christmas songs.

Along with a star-studded lineup of local musicians, the Kansas City Cabaret will be on hand for the saucy fun, and the bands will be auctioning off two life-size "Frozen" cut-outs after "partying with them" on stage. The Facebook event page with more info on the musical line-up is here and you can stream a (rather tame) track from the CD called "Under the Mistletoe" via Soundcloud.

(3) Noise for Toys benefit, 9 p.m. Saturday at Record Bar

STILL in the giving spirit? Head over to KC for The Noise FM's annual Noise for Toys fundraiser at the Record Bar on Saturday.

Alex Ward sends along his usual X-mas message:

"This will be our 7th year (!) hosting Noise For Toys, a benefit concert we started while living in Lawrence. In typical Noise FM fashion we waited too long to book a venue in Lawrence this year so the event is being held in Kansas City at RecordBar, which we’ve always said is the most Lawrence-y of the KC venues. Audience members can expect lots of tacky Christmas decorations, ugly sweaters galore, good bands (including Lawrence’s Bonzo Madrid and Kansas City’s The Author and the Illustrator) and poorly rehearsed Christmas songs. The show starts at 9:30 pm, is ages 18+, and is only $5 admission with the donation of an unopened toy."

The Facebook event page is here and check out the band's awesome new stop-motion animation video via Youtube.

Tweet us @LarryvilleLife.

Reply 1 comment from Erin Keller

Sam Billen’s annual holiday compilation a jolly good time

For the last 10 years, musician Sam Billen has rounded up musicians to help him release a compilation of holiday music.

For the last 10 years, musician Sam Billen has rounded up musicians to help him release a compilation of holiday music. by Fally Afani

You could say Sam Billen is holiday happy. The Lawrence musician is fond of festivities, and crazy about Christmas. For 10 years in a row, he has rounded up musicians to help him release a compilation of holiday music.

This year's album, "Jolly TIme!", just arrived and sports a fairly impressive roster. Billen recorded a couple of tracks, and rounded up artists from across the globe (as far as Finland and Tokyo) for the rest of the album. Andrew Connor, formerly of Ghosty, makes a delightful Beach Boys-esque appearance with "Little St. Nick." Justin Klaas, another Lawrence expat, channels his delicate harmonies for "She's Not Comin' Home For Christmas."

The album is an adorable little indie-pop smorgasbord. Additionally, in the spirit of Christmas, it's free to the public. Billen tends to this every Christmas. But, should you choose to donate some money for the download, all donations go toward water.org.

Download the album here courtesy Sam Billen and Friends and listen to some of the music 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 iheartlocalmusic.com.


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.


LarryvilleLife’s Picks: Baroness; ‘Flesh, Flash, and Frank Harris;’ Santa rescue. second attempt; Ashes to Immortality; ‘Home Alone’

Thanksgiving is over, which means that (by today's cultural standards) it's pretty much Christmas. Expect to see a holiday event or two popping up in most of this month's columns along with the usual array of music, movies, art and theater.

Baroness, 8 p.m. Wednesday at Jackpot

Most shows at the Jackpot fly under our radar these days, but occasionally we spot a worthy show popping up there. Wednesday's Baroness gig certainly qualifies.

The highly-acclaimed Southern sludge/metal/rock band rolls into town in advance of a new album called "Purple," which drops on Dec. 18 (add it to your collection alongside the band's other albums, which are titled "Yellow and Black," "Blue" and "Red," all of which received very-high 8.5 or 8.4 ratings from Pitchfork).

Baroness got a lot of press in 2012 following a terrifying bus accident in England, which resulted in a few members leaving the group. However, singer John Baizley vowed in Spin magazine that "Baroness doesn’t stop because we got hurt on the way to work." Looks like he's true to his word. Head to the Jackpot and celebrate their return to Lawrence.

Numerous shows are listed as sold out on the band's tour date page, but we're guessing you'll be just fine at the Jackpot.

"Flesh, Flash, and Frank Harris" staged reading, 7 p.m. Thursday at Lawrence Public Library

Prepare yourself for a sentence full of acronyms. LPL has teamed with Card Table Theatre and LFK theater legend Paul Stephen Lim (PSL), the founder of EAT (English Alternative Theater), for a series of one-act plays. Thursday's play is the second in the series, and it looks particularly intriguing.

Written by Lim, "Flesh, Flash, and Frank Harris" follows the infamous writer and editor from his student days through his friendships with theater luminaries Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. Harris' autobiography, "My Life and Loves," was banned as pornography in both England and the U.S.

Lim's play has an interesting backstory of its own: first performed in 1980 at the old Lawrence Community Theater downtown, it went on to have a successful Off-Broadway run.

Find more info at the Lawrence Public Library website.

Santa rescue (second attempt), 6 p.m. Friday atop Weaver's

Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, jolly old Saint Nick finds himself stuck on top of Weaver's Department Store at Ninth and Mass. for reasons we've never exactly understood. Is there a mythology behind this tradition? Did he wreck the sleigh? Is he drunk and suicidal? We simply don't know. But every year the fire department shows up and helps him down their ladder to greet the good little boys and girls of LFK.

But this year it... didn't happen. Mother Nature, with her terrifying "wintry mix," led to a cancellation and rescheduling to prevent the fat man from sliding off the roof and traumatizing several future generations of Lawrencians. We're guessing Friday will be more successful, as warm temperatures are predicted. But, let's be honest, there's always a surprising element of danger to this weird event. Have any Santas ever perished? We'll consult the archives.

Find more details via Downtown Lawrence here.

Ashes to Immortality, free show (if you're 21; $5 for under), doors at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Granada

It's the five-year anniversary of the raucous, many-membered bluegrass/Americana outfit Ashes to Immortality, and they'll be celebrating with a Boulevard-sponsored bash Saturday that's free for those 21 and older. We'll assume the Boulevard beer is not free!

Joining forces for the evening will be the great voice of Bayley Kate (with her band The Running Late) and LFK pickers and grinners Signal Ridge. The Facebook event page is here.

Free shows are always a winner for us (especially during the pricey holiday season!). In fact, we've already got our eyes on a free Free State-sponsored holiday show from the funk-masters of the Phantastics coming up on Dec. 19.

'Home Alone' screenings, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday at Liberty Hall

Liberty Hall is giving the people what they want this holiday season: screenings of classic Christmas comedies.

The series kicks off with "Home Alone," and it's a safe bet that the theater will be full of raucous kids, perhaps especially at this matinee screening. Let's hope there aren't too many re-enactments of the film's wild slapstick which, in real life, would only result in emergency room visits. Best to just stick to safe Macaulay Culkin imitations.

Visit the Liberty Hall website for more info and mark your calendars as well for "Scrooged" (Dec.13) and "A Christmas Story" (Dec. 20).

Tweet your Christmas wishes to us: @LarryvilleLife.


The wild world of Wides

"Experimental" may not be a strong enough word for Wides.

The band, fronted by Paper Buffalo's drummer, started as a two-piece and has now fleshed out their tone with a third member on synth. Drummers tend to be animals that are contained to the kit. So when that animal moves to the front and you give him a mic, all hell breaks loose.

In a town where psychedelic is still ruling hard, Wides has grown into an animalistic psych-rock jumble. The turmoil Wides seeks to achieve can be great fun when they're playing around with tempos and flirting with jazz. Wides wants to do it all, and they're wild enough to the point where nobody will stand in their way if they do. With the flailing, the hair, and the mayhem-themed scratchiness in the frontman's screaming, it's no wonder the kids love them so.


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 iheartlocalmusic.com.


For rockabilly riffs, turn to Kansas City

There really isn’t much in the way of rockabilly here in Lawrence (unless it’s worked into a bluegrass act). So when you want to see lively and deliriously fun rockabilly music, you have to rely on Kansas City bands.

The Thunderclaps and the Quivers are two of those gems. To our delight, both hit the Jackpot last weekend. This was the first Lawrence show for the Thunderclaps. They whooped, hollered and rocked the stage with surf-infused rock riffs. We always hold a fondness for two-piece acts, especially when they conjure up such a wild sound (one that positively thrills you). The drummer made it look easy, barely adjusting his posture while he beat away on the kit and sang along on the mic.

Even with a fairly hoarse voice and a cold, The Quivers’ frontwoman would end up slaying during their set. What a command she holds over everyone! With an unrivaled bass face, and a keyboard player that sports endless swagger, we were quickly reminded how much we miss seeing this group around these parts.


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 iheartlocalmusic.com.


One-man band Monster masters beautiful buildups

If you’ve ever been fascinated by the art of building a song, Monster’s a great place to start.

The one-man-wonder treated the Replay to one of his yearly performances on Friday night. The sole performer — armed with a set of keys, buttons, mics, guitars and a highway system of wires — is grand fun to watch. You’re there for every step as he constructs a song, starting with repeating keyboard bits and drumbeats, then eventually looping in guitar rhythms and vocal harmonies.

On this night, his dreamy synth numbers were backed by accidental yet appropriate percussion, courtesy of the bleeps and bloops of the pinball machines behind him. Monster’s music is exquisitely ethereal, so all the space noises from those pinball machines were nearly mistaken as part of the act.

Here’s a clip of one of his songs, featuring his knack for beautifully subtle buildups.


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 iheartlocalmusic.com.


LarryvilleLife’s Picks: McCollum Hall implosion; Franksgiving; Bizarre Bazaar; Culinaria Supper Club; post-holiday rock ‘n’ roll

Thanksgiving approaches, but there's plenty to do in LFK for those who aren't trekking to parts unknown.

Alongside our more traditional selections, we also recommend that you watch a landmark crumble, be a brave pilgrim and attend the first-ever Franksgiving celebration at Leeway Franks, and opt for Culinaria's Korean feast instead of boring old leftovers on Friday.

McCollum Hall implosion, Wednesday at 9 a.m. sharp!!

OK, this is a bit of an oddball choice to kick off this week's cultural picks. However, we know quite well that numerous long-time Lawrencians are anticipating this 18-second event with the fervor of children waiting for Christmas morning.

KU's largest dorm opened in 1965, so it's biting the dust on its 50th anniversary. This is the kind of event that's bound to attract plenty of gawkers, though we're hesitant to advise on the best viewing locations. When plotting your spot, remember that many nearby streets, including parts of Iowa, will be temporarily closed prior to and following the implosion. Less ambitious voyeurs can watch the implosion streaming online at LJWorld.com.

In the meantime, consult this LJ-World story for all the technical details on the implosion and a full list of street closings for responsible citizens who need to get to work and don't have time to stand around waiting for buildings to implode. The KU Housing website is collecting great student memories from McCollum's long history, which is worth a look to learn about various pranks and "panty raids."

Franksgiving, 3 p.m. Thursday at Leeway Franks

Don't want to cook on Thanksgiving and tired of the more traditional options in town? Then reserve your Thanksgiving afternoon and evening for the first-annual celebration of what's likely to become a long-running LFK tradition: Franksgiving.

What exactly happens at Franksgiving? Well, we're not sure. But we're hoping it's something along the lines of "festivus," but perhaps with less "grievances." Maybe participants can offer Franksgiving blessings for all this town's odder elements. For instance, we're perpetually thankful for unusual true-crime tales such as that of Jimboy getting stuck in the Munchers Bakery ceiling, just across the way from Leeway.

What we do know is this: Leeway will be "serving some delicious crispy bird, stuffing, sides, sausage [obviously!] drinks & [board]games starting at 3 PM." Visit Leeway's Facebook page for info and updates.

Bizarre Bazaar, Final Friday and all day Saturday at Lawrence Arts Center

We're not fans of the Black Friday mayhem of Christmas shopping and shoving but, if you MUST participate, why not keep it local and buy strange things at the Bizarre Bazaar (or BizBaz, as it is affectionately termed by long-time attendees).

The long-running post-Thanksgiving art/music event has (wisely) expanded to Friday night in recent years to capitalize on crowds already downtown for Final Friday and the annual Santa rescue/lighting ceremony at Weaver's. Expect big crowds both days as usual. Hours are 5-9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.

The Facebook page of BizBaz is here.

Culinaria's "Supper Club Korea," 6:30 p.m. Friday at Culinaria

Our foodie friends have been buzzing about Culinaria's food and wine events, so consider Friday's "Supper Club Korea" as an intriguing alternative to the cheap wine and crackers on hand at your usual Final Friday gallery stops.

The event costs $35 per person (not including booze) but the menu looks like a great opportunity to impress a date by pretending you know how to pronounce such items as Dakgangjeong (crispy fried chicken) and Kimchi Bokkeumbap (kimchi fried rice).

Check out the full menu and RSVP here.

Gnarly Davidson/Nicholas St. James/Dean Monkey and the Dropouts, 10 p.m. Saturday at Replay

It's Saturday night after Thanksgiving and even the stragglers are straggling back to town at this point, full of leftovers and sick of relatives. There's really nothing left to do with your weekend at this point but listen to some loud music, and this blast of dynamic performers should do the trick. So kick back and soak up the "beer-rock" fury of Gnarly Davidson and the powerful yelp of Nicholas St. James and the raunchy doo-wop of Dean Monkey.

Despite the holiday ornaments on the flier, we don't expect a lot of Christmas cheer at this event, unless it's some kind of prank from these tricksters. We did see Dean Monkey and gang dressed as the Nativity scene one time, after all. The Facebook event page is here.

Tweet us @LarryvilleLife.

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Sugar Britches to boast new lineup at fundraiser tonight

Some midweek merriment is in store for Lawrence.

Our favorite foul-mouthed songsters, Sugar Britches, will be playing a benefit show on Wednesday for the Lawrence Community Photo Studio. The studio has had a tight relationship with the band, and even hosted them for a popular Final Fridays event over the summer. In return, Sugar Britches will be helping raise funds for the studio with a performance there.

The band will come armed with a new lineup. Previously, they performed as a four-piece, but have now added some percussion via Kimberly Simonetti. They've told us this is a permanent fixture.

The studio currently acts as a space for up-and-coming photographers, darkroom classes, gallery shows, equipment workshops and more. But it also has served as a strong ally to the musicians. "The folks at Lawrence Community Photo Studio are good friends of ours, and they have helped us out in the past," says Sugar Britches' Monica Greenwood, who also admitted the band "jumped" at the opportunity to return the favor. "We really liked the idea of giving back to the Lawrence community that has given us an overwhelming amount of support this year."

You can catch the benefit show this Wednesday at the studio, 720 E. 9th St., Suite 6.



LarryvilleLife’s Picks (Nov. 17-23): Benefit for Lawrence Community Photo Studio; Anti-Holidays Happy Hour at Frank’s; Black Friday play; Night at the Museum at the Museum; Kathryn King EP release; Trading Places

The holidays approach, like it or not, and we've got holiday and anti-holiday options below, as well as plenty of stuff that has nothing to do with the holidays whatsoever. Those are good, too.

Benefit for Lawrence Community Photo Studio featuring Sugar Britches, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Lawrence Community Photo Studio (720 E. 9th St.)

Yes, yes, we know that this column covers the Sugar Britches a lot. Maybe too much. But they're just so prolific! And they're often doing good things, like this benefit show for the new Lawrence Community Photo Studio in East Lawrence, an excellent community resource which could use a little support.

The suggested donation is $5, refreshments will be served (we assume this includes beer), and the Sugar B's have a drummer now. It's the most fun you're likely to stumble into on a slow Wednesday. The Facebook event page is here.

Beecher's Magazine Presents: An Anti-Holidays Happy Hour, Friday at 7 p.m. at Frank's North Star

Grinches like us believe Christmas shouldn't be mentioned until at least after the Thanksgiving table has been cleared. And don't get us started about Lawrence keeping the Christmas lights on this month PRIOR to the official lighting ceremony.

Perhaps the good folks at the Lawrence-based literary magazine Beecher's share our views. Their "Anti-Holidays Happy Hour" at Frank's looks to be an intriguing mix of literary activities, "secular vintage dance tunes on vinyl," and the one thing that both holiday and holiday-parties can't do without: booze.

Visit the Facebook event page for more details on the event.

Black Friday, a play from Orange Mouse Theatricals, Friday at 8 p.m. at Taproom and Saturday at 8 p.m. at Replay (also Friday Nov. 27 at Taproom)

Orange Mouse Theatricals is becoming known for staging their works in unusual locations. They tackled Mamet in the confines of Aimee's Coffeehouse recently, and now they're taking an original play called "Black Friday" into two rather unexpected venues: the Taproom and the Replay.

A short synopsis from the Facebook event page provides a feel for this sure-to-be-unusual event: "Ardent shoppers wait in line for the best deals the universe has to offer in order to salvage their complicated, dysfunctional lives. As they psychotically defend their turf and plot their wacky strategies the game keeps changing.

We've long hoped that a daring local troupe would eventually perform a site-specific version of O'Neill's classic "The Iceman Cometh" set in a local bar. Perhaps Orange Mouse will be the ones to eventually rise to the challenge! In the meantime, this will suffice.

"Night at the Museum" at the Natural History Museum, Friday, tours at 7:30 p.m. and film at 8:30

Speaking of intriguing site-specific events, KU's Natural History Museum offers a free screening tonight of the popular family-friendly Ben Stiller comedy "Night at the Museum," preceded by free tours of the museum.

Will the museum's legendary horse Comanche spring to life like the exhibits in the film and chase guests around the collection? Let's not rule it out.

The Facebook event page is here.

Kathryn King EP release show, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Bottleneck

Yes, this is a rare early evening rock show at the Bottleneck, and it's a solid triple-bill of new and old.

The indie-pop of Kathryn King and company may be largely new to local ears, including ours, so we reached out to Kathryn to get the scoop on why music fans NEED to show up early on a Saturday. She says: "Part of the fun is that my band is made up of almost all family members. Some might call us a contemporary twist on the Von Trapps, minus any yodeling. Also since this is my EP Release, those who come will be the first to hear these songs played full band, as they are on the EP!"

Balancing out the newcomers will be local doo-wop stalwarts Dean Monkey and the Dropouts, providing a familiar sight as their many members pack the stage. And John Benda is likely to be recognized by many as the drummer from various local projects such as Spencer Mackenzie Brown's band. He'll step to the forefront tonight with his outfit John Benda and the What For.

The Facebook event page is here.

Trading Places screening, Sunday at 7 p.m. at Liberty Hall

Need a few big laughs before a stressful week of holiday travel and obnoxious relatives? Stop by Liberty for a screening of the 1983 John Landis-helmed holiday comedy "Trading Places," which has been deemed by certain internet scribes as " the pre-'Bad Santa' hard-R holiday movie to beat."

Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy star in this wild variation on the "Prince and the Pauper" story, which also features a terrific performance by Jamie Lee Curtis as well as the great Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy as business tycoon brothers.

Though a less obvious holiday selection than "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" (which Liberty has previously screened prior to Thanksgiving),"Trading Places" provides the necessary uplift alongside some welcome raunch. Find more info at the Liberty Hall website.

Tweet us @LarryvilleLife.