Friday, December 06, 2013


Here's yet another confession that reflects poorly on my character.  During Vusi Mahlasela's performance at Yardley Hall a couple months ago, I kept wishing that the South African would focus on showcasing his rapturous singing rather than talking at length about Nelson Mandela. 

My companion didn't share my frustration.  She's since repeatedly reminded me of the Mandela-inspired ideal of forgiveness that Mahlasela spoke of that night.  Furthermore, it was apparent that Mahlasela viewed art and politics as inseparable parts of the same entity.

Much of my anxiousness derived from the fact that so few performers from the African continent appear in the Kansas City area.  The only African musicians I saw in 2013 were Mahlasela and the Malian kora master Yacouba Sissoko.  It wasn't always this way.

There was a glorious, twerk-filled era- I'll estimate that it spanned the years between 1985 and 1995- when African musicians regularly toured the midwest.  I frequently caught acts like Congo's Kanda Bongo Man and Nigeria's Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey in clubs.  These types of shows were so common that I can't recall if I ever saw Congo's Tabu Ley Rochereau.  I do remember that the pictured CD was in heavy rotation in my apartment in 1994-95.  Such joy!  Tabu Ley, one of the originators of soukous, died on November 30.  (Initial tip via Big Steve.)

"Toyokana," Tabu Ley sings on "Requistoire"We must understand. 

My review of Tuesday's under-attended concert by Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar became a meme.  Reddit (over 4,000 comments), the Drudge Report, Radar, the Huffington Post and Gawker are among the outlets that picked it up.  As the most read story at The Kansas City Star's site for several hours, it's racked up over 800 comments.  The general consensus: 80% hate West, 15% defend West, 5% think the reviewer is an idiot. 

The Kansas City Star published a few year-end top ten lists, including my own.  Fear not, There Stands the Glass readers- an expanded list will appear at this site soon.

I reviewed Bobby Watson's Check Cashing Day at Plastic Sax.

Here's Tim Finn's wrap-up of the "best local music of 2013.

Billboard published a breathless profile of the Strange Music empire.

Akkilles' video for "Your Only One" works for me. RIYL: Sea Change, stock footage, Wilco.

"Blind Tiger", the latest video from L'Orange and Stik Figa's collaboration, is excellent. RIYL: J Dilla, backpacks, Gang Starr.

Radkey's video for "Start Freaking Out" is representative of the band's shows.  RIYL: The Misfits, teen angst, Danzig.

DJ and producer Wrillez Basics is profiled in a five-minute video. RIYL: awkward dudes, basements, EDM. (Via Tony's Kansas City.)

"Wanna Go" is the latest video from Chase Compton.  RIYL: Tyga, marijuana, Mac Miller.

Junior Murvin has died.

Dick Dodd of the Standells has died.


Last week's Soul Train Awards may have been a crass vehicle to promote programs on BET and Centric, but the music was excellent.  I loved performances by Big Daddy Kane, Ron Isley, Bobby Caldwell, Slick Rick and Tamar Braxton.

Phox may become huge.  The band recently appeared at Lawrence High School's Classroom Sessions.

Doomtree is "Team the Best Team".

Albums discovered via 2013 year-end album lists:
#1-Charlie Parr's Barnswallow, RIYL: Split Lip Rayfield, the real deal, Dave Van Ronk.
#2 Oblivians' Desperation, RIYL: The New York Dolls, body odor, Fidlar.
#3 Dawn of Midi's Dysnomia, RIYL: headaches, Philip Glass, metronomes.
#4 Karnivool's Asymmetry, RIYL: Tool's first album, Tool's second album, Tool's third album.
#5 Suun's Images du Futur, RIYL: Deerhoof, motion sickness, Spiritualized.
#6 Violent Soho's Hungry Ghost, RIYL: Wavves, nostalgia for 1993, Silverchair.
#7 Tim Easton's Not Cool, RIYL: Wayne Hancock, new sounds from artists you'd pigeonholed, Nick Lowe.

Kansas City Click: My official picks are published here.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)


bigsteveno said...

I hope you enjoy the media firestorm. It's amazing how many people can't stand Kanye's music who have not listened to a minute of it. Even though he's not to my taste, early on I briefly tried defending him in the Star comment section, because ignorance bothers me, but when I checked back later it was up to 300 and I gave up. I've never seen a Star article with that many comments. Don't let it go to your head and start marrying Kardashians or something.

Btw did you read Lou Reed on Kanye?

Happy In Bag said...

I continue to bite my tongue, Steve.

Lou Reed fans who don't recognize Kanye West's brilliance don't fully comprehend Reed's artistic vision.

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