Story by Hank Wiedel, Photo Gallery + Poster by Nick Howland, Video by Max Griffith
While recent weather may have suggested otherwise, Spring-time was in full effect this past weekend during Middle of the Map Fest, one of Kansas City’s most highly-anticipated music events of the year. With blue skies and warm temperatures, the always-vibrant atmosphere in Westport on Saturday afternoon only added to the excitement as day 3 of the festival commenced at Mills Record Company for their MOTM day-party, hosted by Playlistplay & Sofar Sounds KC.
Heidi Lynne Gluck was the first act of the afternoon. Exhibiting passion, professionalism, and poise, the band was stacked with incredible musicians, including scene veteran Michelle Bacon on bass, and to the surprise of many, an accordionist (could not find her name, but…nice touch, might I add). The group’s pro-level musicianship was unquestionable, and although the 1st slot can seem daunting, their execution was flawless as the crowd grew throughout the performance. She was thankful and excited, a combination that will only bring bigger and better opportunities for this band.
Up next was Sofar KC alumni Chloe Jacobson, a new and already-buzzing addition to the KC music community. With soft vocals akin to Florence Welch or Tennis’ Alaina Moore, she maintained – no… commanded the attention of the audience, turning heads with her introductory cover of Blink 182’s “All The Small Things”. After performing at Sofar NYC and the New Jersey Folk Festival, Chloe is making leaps towards what is surely going to be a promising career.
Following suit was indie trio Scout Alexandria. If there were ever a time during the afternoon that angst-y rock was most-appreciated, it was during Scout’s set. Restless and overheated attendees couldn’t help but let loose a little and as the weather got warmer, nobody seemed to notice or care; all eyes were on the group as they powered through a fun and invigorating 40-minute performance. Many thanks to Scout for providing everyone in the venue a reason to party on.
Jessica Paige, host and performer at Sofar Sounds KC back in February, took the stage immediately after, accompanied by one of the most impressive backing-band lineups currently active in the KC music scene. While many attendees came and went throughout the afternoon, it was apparent that she had a loyal and diverse audience, as the venue filled up quickly before her set. Her smooth soul/jazz-infused indie pop took on a mood of its own, embodying the spirit of MOTM Fest, which only encouraged audience members to dance, laugh, and share in the exuberance of joy that Jessica carries with her wherever she goes. Her performance was highlighted by an incredible cover of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie’ and a drum solo thrown in for good measure. A true KC favorite.
Rounding the event out as the evening approached, La Guerre ended the day-party with an exciting catalogue of indie/electro originals. The duo just released their most recent Daytrotter session, after performing at Sofar Sounds KC in January. Katlyn Conroy, lead singer and songwriter, was a founding member of Cowboy Indian Bear. Although those days are sadly behind us (fingers crossed for a reunion), she has only grown as a musician, songwriter, and influential figure in the KC music community. Their performance was both haunting and hopeful, something not easily accomplished but somehow she makes it sound so good. Generally speaking, she is easily one of the most unique and ever-evolving songwriters that KC/LFK has ever seen, and this performance only reaffirmed our belief in La Guerre’s potential and ability to ‘capture the moment’. If you have not had the pleasure of seeing this duo live, consider this your invitation to do so immediately.