Boulevardia - Saturday
Rabble In Arms started off I Love KC Music's day right with some firey soul grass. There's something about Shannon that catches a spark in the audience. Josh sings and plays with an intense passion grabbing the audience further into the music.
It was early in the afternoon and the sun was beating down fiercely on the main stage as Mama’s Boys pulled the crowd in. Their groovy surf rock had the crowd rocking along. Their beachy vibes and dreamy voices were a sweet way get into full swing of the festival.
Nicholas St. James’s (Lawrence, KS) deep voice filled the indoor stage as he sang to a packed room. It has been a while since he had played in Kansas City and it felt so good to hear his music again. Heads were bobbing along to his stories in song form as they cooled off and had an ice cold Boulevard.
Back out on the main stage, Me Like Bees was tearing it up with their rock. There energy was high as the crowd danced along to their catchy tunes. The band danced about the stage with an energy that almost made you forget how hot it was. The crowd was full of lots of long time fans who were singing along to all the songs. They played a bunch of their newer singles and they’re so good.
Over on the homegrown stage Duncan Burnett played with an unstoppable energy. You could feel the hype build throughout the set. Duncan’s live set is like an awakening of conscious with the amount of pure heart that is poured out on the crowd as he raps about life. It was unclear if the heat felt was was from the weather or what was flowing off the stage. Duncan is a must see live act.
Hi-Lux brought the soul to the reggae and jazz beats on the main stage. Julia’s incredible voice pulled the crowed to the stage and band had the beats to get the crowd swaying (it was pretty hot for a full out dance party). Be warned, if you listen to their music you may never want to stop.
Calvin Arsenia's music is so unique, that it drew in so many who were passing by outside this intimate venue. Calvin put so much emotion into his performance, the feeling of vulnerability that the crowd took in with hungry eyes. Truly expressing soul in each string being plucked on the harp, the high range of vocals expressed, and the band harmonizing beautifully made a lasting impression.
Yes You Are has a vibrant energy on stage; you can tell they’re having fun playing. Kianna’s voice is amazing, but when they harmonize you hear the chemistry taking it to the next level. When they played Come Back Home I got chills.
Duncan Hill and the Electric Prairie Surfers played an interactive set of roots music. In a room of many people Duncan created an intimate vibe. As he told the in depth stories of songs he connected with the audience making it feel like he was just telling you the stories. There was a real chemistry on stage as the band had fun interacting with each other. As solos happened you could feel the crowds energy lift. There was both a peaceful and fun energy in the air.
Back in the bright sunlight a large crowd had gathered at the main stage. Hembree blasted the crowd with a wave of rock infused with eighties synth vibes. The crowd looked like happy waves bobbing up and down in a sea of infectious energy as Hembree belted out crowd favorites like "Had It All," "Can't Run Forever," and "Holy Water." The also gifted the audience with a new song.
Lorna Kay's One Night Stand provided a respite for the heat outside with a set of music honky tonk music. Watching them play you could see a band who had fun playing together as they smiled and joked a lot in between songs.
All eight of the Phantastics had so much positive energy as they created a funky, groovy vibes. The crowd got into it -swaying together and getting down! The Phantastics got into the dance party too throwing around genuine smiles and playing intense solos. They were beautiful. Their set was great; I didn't want to leave! Their sound is unique incorporating hip hop, funk, rap, rock and soul! Their interesting sound caught the attention of staff working, people gradually walking along the street drawing in a crowd.
As Sir Sly approached the stage, their faces lit up at the crowd. Looking at one another they begin getting pumped and amped up. Jumping and jamming together, Landon giving his all into the meaning of the lyrics he’s expressing to the awed crowd. As the set progressed the audience get more amped, Sir Sly gets more into it with the crowd. You can see their eyes glisten as they can’t believe the response they are getting from the fellow Boulevardians.
A confiedent smirk turned into an all out grin as Alicia Solo stormed the stage wearing a giant red hat reminiscent of the Burger King hat reading "Beer King." Dancing around the stage she slammed a can of Boulevard from one of the cans attached to hear dead. Soon after ditching the hat she jumped into the photo pit goofing off for the photographers. Alicia rattled the metal gate and scolded the separation between her and the crowd. The people gathered in closer leaving the chairs. She hopped back on stage and preformed with a nonstop energy. It was sweet when she brought out her back up singers; her five year old neices. She beamed with pride as she sang with them. This was one of those sets the sticks with you for a long time.
It's hard to top Guster's performance in a parking garage during a torrential down pour last year, but this year was a great set too. Kansas City loves Guster and Guster loves Kansas City. When they spotted a sign that said "Kansas City loves Guster" they pled the very excited fan to the stage to enjoy the rest of the show on the stage with them. As they played the crowd favorites you could hear the citizens of Boulevardia singing along.
The count down to Run With It's final show was on. The feeling in the room felt more like a family party with so many long time fans in the room. It had been a long day in the sun, but the energy from the band was turn up high. It doesn't matter how many times I've heard Miguel share his story behind the song "One More Fight" and his mental health struggle it moves me. Run With It creates an environment of love as they play. Emotions were high as they jump in the crowd to sing a cover of Vance Joy's Riptide. You could hear the crowd sing along.
The crowd for Bleachers had grown quite large and you could feel the energy flowing between the audience and the band. Guster wasn't the only band professing their love for Kanas City; Bleachers made his love for KC known. Watching Bleachers own the stage was seeing a band full of all out passion. Their music felt like having the boost of an energy drink as Jack Antonoff bounced all over the stage rocking out with his band and engaging with the crowd.