Electric City Presents
Be/Non, Soft Reeds
Kansas City, MO, 64111
This event is 21 and over
Watch & Listen
"Perhaps the best debut album of 2011 came by way of BRONCHO, a garage-punk quartet from Norman, Okla. Frontman Ryan Lindsey is better known as the keyboardist for the Starlight Mints, but this side project has been touring the Midwest since early 2010. Can't Get Past the Lips hit stores this August, and "Try Me Out Sometime" was an instant standout. It's not a complex song, by any means, and the simplicity is fantastic because the execution is so strong. Three chords are plenty enough backdrop for Lindsey to yelp out the hooks. Watch the excellent music video, in which the band barges into unsuspecting, unlikely venues — stores, major intersections, a college classroom — and performs increasingly disastrous versions of the song before darting out. BRONCHO has never played a show outside a narrow corridor from Austin to Chicago, so coast-dwellers will have to cross their fingers for that to change soon." --NPR Music
Harkening back to punk rock's glory days of the 70s, Oklahoma outfit Broncho captures the aggression, DIY authenticity and youthful exhilaration of a bygone era and then drags it by the hair into the Here and Now, creating a fresh sound that's unlike anything being played today. With echoes of The Replacements, Iggy and the Stooges and The Ramones, Broncho's exuberant ten song debut Can't Get Past the Lips is a blisteringly cathartic 20 minute flash of gritty, crunching guitar work supported by an assaultive rhythm section and made whole by songwriter Ryan Lindsey's aggressive, yelping vocal work.
Lindsey's vocals and guitar are supported by Johnathon Ford (bass), Ben King (guitar) and Nathan Price (drums). The project began as an off-the-cuff recording session for Lindsey (who also plays keys for Starlight Mints, in addition to performing as a solo artist). He quickly laid down early versions "Pick a Fight" and "Losers" with the assistance of King (Cheyenne) and Price (Native Lights), and then sent them to Ford (Unwed Sailor), asking for feedback. Ford loved the songs so much that he suggested they begin playing shows as a band.
"The next thing I knew, Johnathon had a show booked in Tulsa," Lindsey says.
That first show, a manic, ultra-lean showcase of six songs that clocked in at less than 15 minutes, occurred in February of 2010, since then the band has performed in Chicago, Austin, Dallas, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, etc, and has released their debut album, Can't Get Past The Lips to international acclaim.
The collective talent and cumulative experience of all involved with Broncho has resulted in an album that, for all its dirty-dishwater punk roots, is a masterwork of garage/pop simplicity. Speaking of the band's reference points, Lindsey says "We all love the way those records sound so we naturally went in that direction, as far as fidelity goes. But more than anything, it's the attitude of an era that I wasn't around for, but feel a connection with. We didn't set out to recreate a record from that era, we just took on that message and made it our own."
Be/Non is a band out of time. Disciples of Zappa, the Beatles, Bowie and Waters (Roger, not Ethel), the four men of Be/Non forge a sound that refracts classic prog through a perception-warping prism of futuristic electronic psych and hard-charging space rock.
Unless your weekend routine typically includes munching shrooms while playing Metroid 2: Return of Samus, parsing metaphysics with the ghost of Arthur Lee, then unwinding to late-60s Canterbury Scene LPs, you've probably never experienced anything like Be/Non.
Be/Non was founded 15 years ago by Brodie Rush, then an epically inspired midwestern teenager who would grow up to become possibly the most simultaneously in-demand and enigmatic figure in the Kansas City/Lawrence music scene. Rock experimenter, burlesque performer, karaoke host and musical theater actor – nothing is out of Rush's range.
With Rush at the helm (on guitar, keyboards, percussion and lead vocals), Be/Non is rounded out by veteran musicians Jeremiah James (guitar, trumpet, keys, percussion, vocals), Ben Ruth (bass, keys, vocals, sousaphone) and Ryan Shank (drums, vocals, iPod).
Be/Non's latest album, A Mountain of Yeses, was released in May 2009, and the band is still finishing up the homemade, feature-length film that tells the story of the album in a combination of real footage and bizarre animations.
Musically, Mountain is Be/Non's boldest, most conceptually ambitious work to date – and the most cohesive. For a band that's been known to jab daggers of free-jazz experimentation into the flanks of riff-centric pop-rock while singing about mystic unicorns and human suffering in the same breath, that's saying something.
Those who summit A Mountain of Yeses do not return unchanged.
As Be/Non works to wrap the Mountain of Yeses movie for a late-2010 release, the group is also frequently in the studio recording tracks for the follow-up. Planned as a double injection of trans-dimensional rock, the next Be/Non record will likely be released on vinyl as a 12-inch, song-oriented vinyl LP packaged with a 10-inch EP of "atmospheric noise," according to Rush.
Until then, the formula remains: A band. A plan. A mountain. Be/Non.
Though their debut album would like to suggest otherwise, Soft Reeds really aren’t bastards. Born of a twelve-year labor of heartache and love, Soft Reeds is the brainchild of Ben Grimes (formerly of Astralwerks' The Golden Republic), a Chicago native whose roots grip firmly in the ’77 Berlin sounds of Brian Eno, David Bowie and Iggy Pop, while embracing the richness of American indie rock. Originally started in 2007 as Grimes' post-TGR solo project, Soft Reeds became a full band in 2009, and released the critically acclaimed 'Soft Reeds are Bastards' in 2010.
The band features a diverse group of players, anchored by the talented rhythm section of drummer Josh Wiedenfeld, an Austin, TX native who moonlights as a wizard of studio production and arrangements, and bassist Beckie Trost, a fellow Chicagoan and childhood friend of Grimes. Filling out their sound are Kansas City natives and sonic magicians Dan Talmadge, on keys and guitar, and saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire John Mitchell. Together, they fashion a wall of sound that resonates behind Grimes’ signature vocals, which are often compared to the likes of Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music) and David Bowie, yet manage to stand uniquely apart.
Soft Reeds continue to reap the benefits of Kansas City’s tight-knit music community, while building an impressive national and international reputation following high-profile appearances at SXSW and CMJ, buzzworthy headlining shows in Brooklyn and NYC, and several major television placements. With the help of a great label, The Record Machine, and with a new album in the works for 2011, they will continue to forge ahead with their uniquely artistic indie-rock sound, relying on their strength of collaboration, a unique sonic vision, and a shared interest in the roots of art and popular music to find new and beautiful ways to bring you aural delight.
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