After an epic headlining set by My Morning Jacket at 2011’s Wakarusa Festival, I stumbled my way onto a local wine booth.
The wine guy was super friendly, offering liberal tastes to parched campers. He explained that Arkansas wine is pretty good, and that the market is up and coming.
It all tasted great to me, and so I lingered to get a photo and the guy’s info for inclusion in my story. As I was telling him about KC Confidential, I think a bomb went off somewhere behind me. Except instead of fleeing, people were running toward the furious sound.
I squinted through the starlight.
Is that stage on fire? Turns out, it kind of was.
But not in a bad way. It was just one aspect of the show put on by Quixotic Fusion.
"It’s a visual and sonic experience," explained Associate Artistic Director Mica Thomas. "Kind of where performance art meets a concert."
Indeed, Quixotic’s shows are an assault on the senses. From the pounding rhythms cranked out by local drumming evil genius Brandon Draper, to the innovative lighting and video effects, to the aerial acrobatics of professional dancers, if you aren’t already on something, the aural and visual overload that is a Quixotic show will make you feel like you are.
And if you already are, well, all I can say is hold on tight.
The local group is gearing up for ONE!, their huge show at the Midland this Saturday, so I tracked Thomas down for a few minutes in between rehearsals to get the inside scoop on what to expect.
"Once a year we do a big show based here in KC," explained Thomas. "We put on a big production to share with the community all the new stuff we’ve been working on. We have a whole new album that (Founder/Artistic Director) Anthony (Magliano) and the other composers worked on to create a whole new soundtrack for the show."
If you go to Quixotic Fusion’s Facebook page ASAP, I believe you can still download the new album for free, entitled AXIS.
"It’s kind of like electronic music meets world music," said Thomas. "It’s pretty aggressive, but it also has that world music, lots of percussion and instrumentation, taking multiple things and putting them together."
And while the album is strong on its own, you really need to see Quixotic live to get what it’s all about.
For example, will there be dancers flying through the air, lasers, insane lighting effects, and crazy beats?
"Yes, there will be," promised Thomas.
Please tell me there will be fire?
"Unfortunately, probably no fire due to the show being indoors in the Midland," Thomas deadpanned. "But we do have some new fire acts that we’re going to be breaking out at Waka."
Besides this Saturday’s show and the Wakarusa Festival in Arkansas, Quixotic has a bunch of other shows lined up around the country this summer, due at least in part to their performance at the TED Conference a few months ago that surprised more than a few people.
They’re hitting up the Ulrich Museum of Art in Wichita, then after Waka they’re flying off to Vermont to do Wanderlust, then a bunch of ski resort towns like Whistler and Tahoe and Copper Mountain.
Thomas understands the springboard that worldwide events like TED can be for performers; opening doors that can help the group connect to different kinds of audiences that might initially be assumed to be outside the demographic of your typical Quixotic fan.
"TED was amazing, we were really well received," Thomas recounted. "One of the most exciting things for us is that people were talking about how they don’t normally go see bands or performances, but in this context they felt they understood it and it became more relevant. So it was great to present the art form in a different manner that people could grab on to."