Sunday, April 08, 2018

Concert Review: Radar State and Jake Wells at the Homegrown Music Showcase

The promotional might of the #13 radio station in the Kansas City market and a nominal $5 cover for appearances by two dozen locally-based indie-leaning bands attracted just a few hundred people to 96.5 The Buzz’s Homegrown Music Showcase in the Power & Light District on Saturday afternoon.  The light attendance made bouncing between six stages a breeze during during the 150 minutes I spent at the event.  Two acts I hadn’t previously seen perform caught my attention.

The so-called supergroup Radar State played for a few dozen people who braved the chilly conditions at the outdoor stage in the courtyard of the entertainment district.  The grizzled veterans of the Anniversary, the Get Up Kids and the Architects sound precisely like their auspicious lineages would suggest. 

Unfortunately, the quartet’s punchy three-minute songs were mangled by an abysmal mix.  A friend quipped that an inaudible guitar solo “looks like it sounds amazing.”  The band’s amusing banter between songs, consequently, was as appealing as its music.  After noting that his daughter was a fan of the California group Mom Jeans, Matt Pryor suggested that Radar State might be renamed Dad Jokes.

I still don’t have a handle on Jake Wells even after catching his entire set at McFadden’s Sport Saloon.  Is he the next Ray LaMontagne?  A low-rent Amos Lee?  An indifferent party bro who happens to possess a wonderful voice?  Beats me.  The indeterminate set by Wells and an overeager band included his minor hit “Rolls Like Thunder”, a tiresome cover of Oasis’ “Wonderwall,” a funny interpretation of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” and a delightful reading of Lupe Fiasco’s “Superstar.”

(Original image of Radar State by There Stands the Glass.)

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