Sounds Good: Bon Iver@Uptown, Blink-182@Sandstone, Crossroads Music Fest


I’m kind of confused…

My friend says that Wilco is soft – at least anything post Ghost is Born. Really?

I mean, yeah, Wilco (The Album) kinda sucked, as did Sky Blue Sky to a certain extent, but does liking those albums automatically make me a pussy?

I’m asking.

He also says that the best new stuff around is Bon Iver. (Say it like you’re French, like "bone eve-air," squares). You know, wispy, high pitched vocals, songs about lost loves, and stuff like that.

And Wilco’s soft?

No, they’re not soft I keep telling myself. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, right? He’s the one who, after the My Morning Jacket show said, "Well, they’re no Bon Iver."

What does that even mean? I kind of want to release my "friend’s" contact info to the infamous KCC commentariat to do with it what they will. Hmmm…

Side note: Wilco is coming to the Uptown on December 3rd just shortly after the release of their new album, that I hear is not "soft" at all. Nor crappy like the last two. So to recap that’s: 1) new Wilco album and show at the Uptown; 2) not soft; and 3) not crappy.

On to this weekend’s picks…

Friday, September 9th

Bon Iver at the Uptown Theater in KC

The brainchild of Justin Vernon, Bon Iver has come a long way in a short amount of time.  Their debut album was released in 2007, and indie folks took notice immediately.  That album was recorded mostly while Vernon was isolated in the north woods of Wisconsin at his father’s cabin, which also served as the basis for the band’s name – "bon iver" is a rough translation of "good winter" in French. 

The band’s most recent effort, the self-titled Bon Iver, was released this past June and instantly made hipsters, coffee shop people, and artsy folks cream their jeans. Pitchfork’s Mark Richardson gave the album an unheard of 9.5 rating, and, commenting on Vernon’s unique vocals, gushed, "He sounds centered and clear while taking stock and allowing memories to be mixed in with the details of the present. His conflicted vocals trigger a half-dozen feelings all at once before releasing the tension with a refrain that finds the fleeting moment where the world seems right…"

Uh, get a room you guys. 

But seriously, this is one of the shows I’ve been most looking forward to, even though I wouldn’t consider myself a real Bon Iver fan, per se.  Not only has the band been repped by the hippest of the hip, all the in-the-know new hit makers, and even Kanye.  But the band’s sound is simply unique right now, combining lush arrangements, heavily layered falsetto vocals, and intricate instrumentation. 

If you can still get a ticket to the Uptown for this Friday I highly recommend you do so because it should be a unique show. 

I’m putting the over/under on audience members telling each other to shut the fuck up and listen to the music at 5 1/2 for this show.    


Blink-182 at Sandstone Amphitheater in Bonner Springs

These Cali pop punkers know how to sell an album or 20 million.  And they seem to have a good time doing it, running around naked, making prank phone calls, and generally acting like teenagers with bad attitudes.  Their breakthrough album, Enema of the State, was released in 1999 and contained a ton of singles including What’s My Age Again?, All the Small Things, and Adam’s Song.

Since then, Blink have released several more albums, sold a ton more records, fired a drummer, hired a drummer, broken up, gotten back together, and been in a plane crash.  And yet, here they are, ready to rock KC’s punk ass out at what should be a great show with perfect weather. 

The other headliner at this show is My Chemical Romance, an emo pop alternative band that reached its height probably a year or two ago with the release of The Black Parade, which received heavy air time on alternative and modern rock radio. 

Also performing is Matt & Kim, an up-tempo dance electronic weirdo duo from NYC that tore up the Beaumont a few months ago. 

Oh, and KCC photog Katie will be out there, so try to look presentable for once. 

Saturday, September 10th

7th Annual Crossroads Music Festival featuring The Grisly Hand, Fourth of July, My Brothers & Sisters, and many more at six different venues in KCCrossroads Music Festival

Saturday afternoon and evening looks like it will be the perfect time to wander around the Crossroads Arts District stumbling from bar to bar and catching a ton of great local music.  The venues involved are Crosstown Station, Press Bar, Czar Bar, The Brick, Mercy Seat Alley, and Kansas City Café. 

With so many bands, I’m going to take the opportunity to check out some acts that I’ve been meaning to see for a while now, like Dollar Fox, The Latenight Callers, Thee Water Moccasins, and Sons of Great Dane.   

Here’s the full schedule:

Vinyl Renaissance

2 to 4 p.m.: Pre-festival, in-store performances by Deco Auto and the Safes

Crosstown Station

7:30 p.m.: My Brothers & Sisters

9:30 p.m.: Grisly Hand

11:30 p.m.: Sex Police

1:30 a.m.: Reach, Milkdrop, Headfella, Dutch Newman and DJ Ataxic

The Press (top level) at Crosstown Station

6:30 p.m.: Supermassive Black Holes

8:30 p.m.: The Columns

10:30 p.m.: Fourth of July

12:30 p.m.: Latenight Callers

Czar Bar

6:30 p.m.: Silver Maggies

8 p.m.: Sara Swenson & Pearl Snaps

9:30 p.m.: Atlantic Fadeout

11:15 p.m.: Dollar Fox

1 a.m.: Thee Water Moccasins

The Brick

7 p.m.: The Rural Grit All-Stars

8:45 p.m.: Victor & Penny

10:30 p.m.: The Safes

12:15 p.m.: Sons of Great Dane

1:45 p.m.: New Riddim

Mercy Seat Alley

7:30 p.m.: Roustabouts

9:30 p.m.: Faster Than Hell

11 p.m.: Cherokee Rock Rifle

Kansas City Café

6:45 p.m.: David George

8 p.m.: Brian Frame and Andrew Haywood Luker

9:15 p.m.: The Dim Peepers

10:30 p.m.: Nicolette Paige

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6 Responses to Sounds Good: Bon Iver@Uptown, Blink-182@Sandstone, Crossroads Music Fest

  1. Merle Tagladucci says:

    Wilco started to get soft right after Tweedy and Bennett parted ways. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was a classic and the finished product had Bennett’s fingerprints all over the songwriting, direction and production. Even the YHF demos are fantastic. After Bennett was gone, Tweedy’s approach seemed to become more and more diluted and his songwriting seemed to get melancholy across the board. Overly long, drawn out arrangements with slow, meandering, boring songs eventually became the Wilco brand as the punch, bounce and grit that Jay Bennett brought disappeared. Sonically the modern day Wilco is fantastic, just minus the big hairy balls they used to sport. Jim O’Rourke also deserves as much credit for influencing a change in Tweedy as anybody. Glenn Kotche should be sending O’Rourke a Xmas card every year.

    Nels Cline is a bad man on the axe but the intentionally sloppy, shredding leads have become a bit redundant and predictable in a live set. For old school Wilco and Uncle Tupelo fans like myself, we miss the old days when they could flat out rock in all their bar band glory and yet still sound as if they were onto something fresh. Some people argue that the change in Wilco’s sound has as much to do with Tweedy’s sobriety as anything. Some of his lyrics are still instantly forgettable and meaningless, almost intentionally nonsensical, which lends to the detachment some of his more recent meandering arrangements have. He can still deliver songs right to your front door though, as “Hate It Here” is easily one of the best compositions Tweedy has ever written.

    These days though it seems like there are two kinds of Wilco fans: The ones who were there in the old days but bailed when the entire band lineup and sound changed – and the ones who were sleepwalking through life until the early 2000s when YHF got a bunch of buzz. Wilco went from being kind of a cool underground secret to this sudden overnight hip thing to be into. Next thing you know, their songs are in Volkswagen commercials selling cars. Somewhere around that time, old school fans went, “Well, it was fun while it lasted.” And it was. If you were at the Beaumont in ’99, you know what I mean.

  2. PB says:

    Good post, Merle!
    Pretty much spot on although I must confess, I fall into a third category, someone who loved Uncle Tupelo/early Wilco (was actually more of a Son Volt fan after the split), but one who still enjoys their music even thru their evolution. Agreed though, recent output has been uneven and the last live performance that I saw at the Crossroads, while solid was a bit underwhelming.

    As for this weekend’s shows, the BEST of the bunch will most likely be the Knuckleheads show on Saturday featuring Anthony Gomes, Ana Popovic and the stellar Walter Trout closing. Three really good blues/rock acts for the price of one. Gotta pimp those advertisers.

  3. Matt says:

    I like Hate it Here as well, but “one of the best compositions Tweady has ever written”?
    Personally, I wouldn’t put it in the top 20.

  4. Merle Tagladucci says:

    Hey that’s cool, too.

  5. randy raley says:

    jesus of cool
    Fuck Wilco. Nick Lowe is opening.

  6. PB says:

    Jesus of Cool
    I hadn’t seen confirmation of Lowe opening in KC as he is in St.Louis and some other selected cities. Do you know this for fact, Mr.Raley?

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