Sunday, August 05, 2018

Concert Review: The S.O.S. Band and Avery Sunshine in the Jazz District

Doggone it!  The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s Heart of America Hot Dog Festival fundraiser was a massive disappointment.  I made my way to the Jazz District to hear Cameo, The S.O.S. Band and Avery Sunshine on Saturday.  The festival grounds on the spacious median of Paseo Boulevard north of 18th Street were packed.  Attendance appeared to be well over 5,000. 

I was glad the entertainment lineup ran about an hour behind schedule.  I stood in line 20 minutes to pay $20 admission at the gate and 30 minutes in another line to purchase cold drinks.  I strained to hear the jazz-tinged funk of Marcus Anderson as I waited. 

The faint sound was a big problem.  When I finally made my way to the closest spot to the stage the hoi polloi were allowed, I saw that only the few hundred people in the cordoned-off V.I.P. section were able to properly hear the performances.  It wasn’t all good for them- the fortunate few had to endure the glad-handing of at least one Kansas City councilman.

The clamor of the crowd and the aggressive policing that prevented music lovers from sidling up to the edge of the V.I.P. section caused the event to resemble a massive political rally more than a concert.  Even though I’m familiar with Sunshine’s repertoire, it was often difficult to discern which song she and her band were playing over the constant commotion.  I couldn’t even say if the setlist included “Call My Name”.

The din of the crowd and the inadequate amplification compelled me to take desperate measures.  I abandoned the festival grounds to watch the S.O.S. Band play hits like “Take Your Time (Do It Right)” from behind a chain link fence about 50 yards from the side of the stage.  The vantage point was an improvement, but not good enough to compel me to stick around for Cameo.  Maybe that’s a blessing- at least I didn’t get shot.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

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