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Photo gallery by Anna Selle, Story by Lily Grant, Poster by Nick Howland
It was an upliftingly warm February night on Sunday when a diverse crowd of Kansas City locals met at Temple Sounds recording studio for Sofar Sounds Kansas City’s fourth show. It featured La Guerre, Dylan Guthrie & The Good Time Guys, and Your Friend. Some members of the Sofar Sounds crews in Boston and Cleveland even showed up to check out the scene in KC.
La Guerre kicked off the night with a set that immediately had the crowd grooving. Band members Katlyn Conroy and Orion Dollar played original songs “Comeback,” “Man!” “Love is a Petty Bourgeois Motion,” and “Two Hits.” Since La Guerre’s drummer isn’t touring with them currently, Dollar operates a drum machine from the 80s, which he found in his dad’s basement. He also uses a microKORG and, of course, his guitar, to create the music. Conroy is the vocalist and also operates a synth and keyboard. They call their sound “apparition pop,” because of the “undeniably poppy,” “spooky minor chords,” and “sad themes.”
“My goal is to make people so emotional that they become invested in the music, and that it really means something to them, because that’s what my favorite artists have done for me,” Conroy said.
Dylan Guthrie & The Good Time Guys is a six-piece band, or “a group of tough guys,” as they joked in their interview. They certainly have the personality of a group of friends who are always joking and having a good time. They describe their sound as soulful rock. Front man Dylan Guthrie is the lead singer, plays the guitar, and is the mastermind behind many of the band’s songs.
“Everything comes all at once for me when I’m writing,” Guthrie said, adding that he’s trying to make music that makes you snap your fingers and feel something.
Alongside him are Vik Govindarajan (keyboard and vocals), Cody Stuber (percussion and vocals), Olie Bowden (bass and vocals), Alex Hartmann (percussion), and Lucas Parker (guitar). They’ve only been playing together for about a month and a half, with their first show being at the Jazzhaus on December 30.
They played “The East,” “Never Wanna Fall,” “Nicole,” “Dear Mr. President,” and “Dreaming of Love,” which they involved the crowd in. Of the Sofar Sounds atmosphere, Guthrie said it’s “pretty groovy,” and has an “everything’s just fine” vibe.
Taryn Miller, who performs under the moniker Your Friend, captivated the audience with four slow, beautiful, and melancholy original songs. She played “Gumption,” followed by a brand new, unreleased song, tentatively named “Lower Hand,” “Heathering,” and “Tame One.”
“Writing songs feels very self indulgent, because I feel like it’s necessary for me just to function,” Miller said.
The first time Miller referred to herself as “Your Friend” was in a Facebook post in 2011, back when Facebook statuses began with “is…” by default. Miller recalls that some of her most profound interactions have been with strangers, which sparked the idea to call herself by the moniker, Your Friend, and that was when the project began.
Miller mentioned to the audience that she’s currently living in a barn in Dexter, Kansas, with no Internet. Until recently, she’s been living in Austin, Texas, playing with other musicians and performing with the band The Dan Ryan. She said that she’s been “ungrounded” and “plugged in” after moving around so frequently, so living and helping out on the farm with her dad is a way of getting solitude and headspace, which she hopes will reflect positively on Your Friend’s next album.
“[Your Friend] is not a persona, and I think that’s what’s kind of dangerous about it too, it’s not something that I get a break from. I give a lot of myself to people. I get a lot of messages and really amazing things, and I have to be careful sometimes not to take on a lot of it, because it’s heavy, but that’s what’s so beautiful about it,” Miller said.
Since she’s been in Austin lately, Miller hadn’t played music in the pure, stripped-back manner she did at Sofar Sounds for some time. She said the experience was “rewarding,” and expressed her appreciation for people who buy physical music and go to shows.
“The thing that I want most out of [making music], and I feel like I’ve been able to be consistent about, is making something that’s relatable. If it’s accessible for someone else to take away what they need from it in that moment, then I’ve done it,” Miller said.
For your chance to have an intimate musical experience with local artists, connect with other music lovers, and see live music in a unique and refreshing way, apply for your tickets to the next show here
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