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THE NIGHT THE BUZZ STOLE XXMAS, AS TOLD BY COLORS

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On December 15th, 96.5 The Buzz radio station presented Milky Chance, Marian Hill, Banks & Steelz and SHAED on night #2 of their annual four-day event, The Night The Buzz Stole XXXmas at the Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland. Each set had its own unique sound and feel that painted the stage a new color, and maybe the literal stage lighting had something to do with it too.

RED | SHAED, a DC-based alternative/indie trio, kicked off the night with their self-proclaimed “colorful music.” Twins Spencer and Max Ernst backed vocalist Chelsea Lee with production. Lee’s clear, ultra-feminine, breathy yet strong voice made the difficult notes she was consistently hitting sound easy. Almost all of SHAED’s songs require powerful vocals, yet Lee effortlessly moved through their 5-6 song set. SHAED’s sound is an uplifting mix of electronica, pop and R&B. Songs like “Perfume” have an upbeat, dancey, almost tropical feel, while “Just Wanna See” slows town the tempo while maintaining a light electronic sound. Lee crooned in a sheer black outfit, enveloped by red lighting and encouraged by a supporting crowd’s cheers.

BLUE | Banks & Steelz is a collaboration between Interpol’s Paul Banks and Wu-Tang-Clan’s RZA. The crowd of Kansas City’s Buzz-listeners, which ranged from children to middle-aged adults, but primarily consisted of twenty-somethings, had grown much larger by the time this duo took the stage. It was an interesting mix of hip-hop and post-punk that the audience didn’t quite know what to do with at first. Most of Banks & Steelz’s songs were heavy and down-tempo, which seemed to discourage the audience from dancing. The energy seemed to pick up when RZA shouted “cash rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M., get the money,” to which the crowd eagerly responded “dolla dolla bill ya’ll.” They also covered Frank Ocean’s “Nikes,” which had Banks’ unique post-punk touch. The audience responded best to their radio-hit “Giant.”

PURPLE | Marian Hill certainly changed the mood of The Midland with their seductive, minimally electronic sound. Vocalist Samantha Gongol’s super soft, sexy voice and glittering black blazer demanded the attention of the room. Producer Jeremy Lloyd balanced Gongol’s presence with funky, booming electronic bass. Gongol floated around the stage in a cloud of purple smoke and sang a slow, almost melancholy cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Perhaps the best part of the set was when saxophone player Steve Davit took center stage to solo on songs like “Got It.” Marian Hill’s R&B, jazz-influenced, electronica sound definitely put Kansas City in the mood to dance.

GREEN | Milky Chance is a German folk/alternative rock group that has topped charts in multiple countries and never disappoints live. Last night was no exception. They last played at The Midland two years ago, and since then have been established as a favorite on 96.5 The Buzz. Milky Chance had the entire venue grooving in green stage-lighting as they played bongos and harmonica. Front-man Clemens Rehbein’s voice is so unique that it almost sounds distorted, but his deep gravelly sound is raw talent. Overall, Milky Chance had the best sound and stage presence. The crowd danced constantly, to which Rehbein expressed his appreciation.

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