Middle of the Map Fest: Day 1

  It has been a few weeks since Middle of the Map actually occurred. Bad habits are hard to break, as well as strings of misfortune. I had a series of dramas unfold in my lap and I was annoyed enough to forget several things; including blogging. Apologies to myself.

On with the events:

     Friday April 24th: Pretending to be fully fledged adults, Zeb and I managed to set our wheels on the road before noon. It rained most of the way, but fortuitously stopped as we found a parking space. Immediately, found a coffee place: Westport Coffee. This place had rave reviews online, nice ambiance, arcade games, but coffee was 'meh.'

   The Westport district is the oldest established community in the KC area, it has several points of interest: including food, entertainment, shopping, and historical points. We scoped out the main stage area. Which took a while to find: because they started setting it up at 2pm. Asked one of the crew where we get our wristbands. That location had changed to the Uptown Theater and the venue for the bands had been moved there as well. Tried to find the other venues in the area, but the MOTM website was not helpful.

   Most of this negativity stems from the frustration of trying to find parking and see more than one venue (and having a bad cup of coffee to start the day). The volunteers and crew were incredibly nice and eager to get us to the right place.

  Once that was sorted we roamed around to the Nelson-Atkins art museum (amazing!) and then hit Westport again for some famous Mac n' Cheese at McCoy's (not sure if that was the name of the place). With our belly's full we walked over to the Uptown theater, gathered some swag, and caught the tail end of Ghastly Menace (I did not hear enough to give an opinion). There were about 60 people milling about the open area of the theater and about a hundred more in the lobby and outside the theater. You did not get the sense that this was a festival with a lot of hype.

    Hembree was on next. With the preliminary listen of their music, I was intrigued by their vaguely '80's synth pop feel combined with hints of Americana. Missouri seems to home grow these indie bands (i.e. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin). It was not hard to get up to the stage, there was room to swing your arms and easy enough to get drinks and come back to the exact same spot. Hembree was a good performance, they played well live.

   In between Hembree and Lord Huron was a 90's punk band that had recently reunited: Shiner. And from what the Shiner fanatic told me, they were huge at one time and likely were performing at this festival as a precursor to a new album. Good for them. I did not enjoy their music, but they had a decent stage presence.

  Next up was Lord Huron! This band is the only reason I attended this festival. This band was created from the depths of front man, Ben Schneider's imagination. Their debut album, Lonesome Dreams,  is the perfect combination of sci-fi, spaghetti western, and haunting indie music. Their sophomore album, Strange Trails, is the perfect combination of sci-fi, zombies, rockabilly, aliens....Lord Huron is one of the most creative artists I have experienced.  They also proved that they are amazing live:
video

As you can see I almost dropped the camera. It was worth the ordeal, I ended up having a blast. I will wait a few years for the festival to establish itself more before I return though.




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