There aren’t many places in Manhattan where you can find men in their 60s wearing Beatles t-shirts, high school kids with gel-slicked hairdos and denim jackets, and everyone in between, all trying to be cool in the same place at the same time. But in Kansas City’s very own Westport community, a hodgepodge of cool kids/elderly people take to the streets for a very special weekend known as Middle of the Map Fest. This once a year event draws a diverse crowd of Kansas City dwellers and all sorts of strange and interesting folks from the surrounding area to a plethora of venues sprinkled throughout Westport, including Record Bar, Riot Room, the Uptown Theatre, and more. Over 100 bands come from various parts of the midwest and beyond to perform over four days during this festival.
Many of whom were local bands that are played on KSDB’s local music show, The Garage. Our Production Director and fellow Garage host, Willy Evans, and I marched up and down Westport Road on Friday and Saturday of this festival to bring you some of the highlights from our favorite bands, local and beyond.On Friday night, Bass Drum of Death played a ferocious set at Ernie Biggs, while Atmosphere dug up some classics from previous albums for a special show at the Uptown. Saturday was the biggest day for local musicians. Arc Flash from Lawrence, Kansas got things rolling at Riot Room with an intense show. The lead singer was dressed in what looked to be a cross between a dress and a turtleneck made out of blue wool, while the bassist wore a pair of overalls, sans shirt, and a ski mask. Despite these wardrobe oddities, they had no problem shredding through a pretty fun set. Up next, we saw Spirit is the Spirit, another Lawrence band, playing at the outdoor stage. After power-walking up to Record Bar to catch La Guerre play a few tracks, we hurried back to the outdoor stage to catch our friends and Classroom Series participants, Westerners, who had just played a show at Aggie Central Station the night before.