Monday, September 12, 2011

Review: Crossroads Music Fest

Spontaneity isn't my specialty. I like plans and schedules. So when the Prairie Village Jazz Festival was washed away by a storm Saturday, I was temporary at a loss. (Here are my notes on that debacle.) The Jackson in my pocket would have been more than enough to get by at the free festival headlined by Bobby Watson and Deborah Brown, but it wouldn't necessarily get me far elsewhere.

I considered catching Clint Ashlock's jazz band at a coffee shop in the southern suburbs, New Ear's avant-classical concert, Steddy P.'s IndyFest at tbe Riot Room and a blues-based benefit at BB's Lawnside BBQ before biting the bullet at Crossroads Music Festival. The $15 cover immediately left me cash poor. After splurging on a $2 PBR at the Czar Bar, I mooched off friends.

I saw about four inferior acts and four good bands. Here's what I liked:

The Columns did a straightforward rock-meets-R&B thing that just felt good. (That's event organizer Bill Sundahl on the far left of the top photo.) The Silver Maggies received invaluable contributions from Terrence Moore and Amy Farrand. Its hearty goth-tinged twang was similarly satisfying.

Faster Than Hell (middle photo) played in an alley behind a tattoo parlor. Perfect! A friend warned me to steer clear of Victor & Penny, but I was charmed by its throwback routine. The best surprise, however, was My Brothers & Sisters (bottom photo), a 15-piece collective led by Jamie Searle. The ensemble included a string quartet, four female vocalists and a three-piece horn section. The glorious mess reminded me of a David Byrne project.

Kansas City rewards improvisation.

I don't go to movie theaters but I'd make an exception for Sounds and Silence, a documentary about the ECM record label. Here's the trailer.

Confession time: Coldplay tickles my ears. I genuinely like everything I've heard from the forthcoming new album.

Is it normal to study the schedules of music festivals you're not attending?

Kansas City Click: Robert Earl Keen sings his songs Tuesday at Knuckleheads. (I love this song.)

Molotov and Making Movies perform at the Beaumont Club on Wednesday.

Alison Krauss appears Thursday at The Midland Theater.

(Original photos by There Stands the Glass.)

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