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Photo gallery by Anna Selle, Story by Steven Ervay, Poster by Nick Howland

A favorite KC summer past-time, dodging the heat by any means necessary. That became increasingly impossible Sunday night at July’s Sofar Sounds Kansas City. The crowd of nearly 70 people eagerly shuffled into the quaint Brookside residence where Will Evans, The Sextet, and Smokey James & The Avalanche had set up shop.

Will Evans, a Lawrence native, Brooklyn transplant kicked off the evening. His honed-in style, a mix of folk and stuff that would make you sad (think Pinegrove) immediately drew the attention of the house. As the temperature inside began to rise, the attendees were fixated on Evans. The house was notably silent. Every creak of the floorboards or sip of beer sounded like a thunder clap. Evans was met with loud applause and many new fans after his four-song set.

Shifting the mood in a big way, the Sextet set up. The relatively newer act in Kansas City, as they’ve relocated from Portland, is a (wait for it) six-piece (there it is) jazz routine. Like all masterful jazz acts, the group makes use of light, swift drumming, prominent clunky bass, and of course, all the shiny brass and woodwind you can handle. Estarah Berciunas joined in to perform vocals on “Colors Of The Wind.” Yes, as in “what’s the best song on the Pocahontas soundtrack?” “Colors Of The Wind.”

Taking the energy (and collective body heat) in the room to the next level, newer Kansas City act Smokey James & The Avalanche closed out the steamy Sunday evening. Having only a handful of shows under their belt, the R&B-soul-pop quintet brought an absolute house party. And I don’t say that lightly. The crowd, some standing, some sitting, couldn’t help but to at least wiggle as the band played. For a band who’s played so few shows, you certainly can’t tell by their enthusiasm and gusto on ‘stage.’

There’s always something special about hosting Sofar Sounds shows in someone’s home. Right from the beginning, Sofar has a community vibe to it. For the 3 hours we’re all together watching this magical musical moment, we’re all friends. That vibe is exponentially increased during house shows. The crowd slowly trickled out of the home, slower than usual, on this Sunday night.

Sofar Sounds Kansas City would like to thank the following: Playlistplay, Do816, the artists, and the attendees. Sign up for more information on Sofar Sounds Kansas City and download the DoStuff app to find out what’s going on in your town.

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