Musicality – HRC Battle of the Bands, Swing Out Sister, Kwanza Jones

If you went to the 4th annual Kansas City HRC Battle of the Bands last month, then you witnessed two floors packed with wonderful performances and with people who were all there supporting similar causes — music and equal rights. If you missed it, then I’m here, as a friend, to stir up your envy and tell you all about it.

The event at the Cashew was hosted by Dirty Dorothy and Genewa Stanwyck, who is also known as the Whore of ‘84. Between sets, they filled in with hilarious commentary. Much of it dirty – thanks, Dorothy — but that is exactly what we love.

On the acoustic side, there were myriad great performances, including Ashley Kendrick, Amanda Hughey, The Voice Issue, Camry Ivory of the Sexy Accident, Fashionably Late, Summer Osborne, and Steady Brother. On the electric side were Grenadina, Cadillac Flambe, Holmes Street, and The Clementines.

Summer Osborne came out as the grand prize winner of the acoustic floor and won $300. Amanda Hughey won as the Audience Choice winner of one of the two custom ukulele guitars painted by Bob Bond. On the electric side, the grand prize winner of $500 was Cadillac Flambe, and the Audience Choice winner, who took home the other custom-painted ukulele, was Holmes Street.

I would like to highlight a few acts that won my heart but didn’t win a prize. On the acoustic floor, I really enjoyed Fashionably Late, who were lighthearted, bouncy, and a bit folk. I liked how their voices were soft and harmonized well.

Grenadina did a stellar opening to the electric side. They have been featured in my music column recently, and I finally got to see them live. They did not disappoint one bit. I already can’t wait to see them again. Also on that floor, The Clementines rocked the house. This was my absolute first introduction to them, save for their drummer, who I had seen perform in past HRC Battles of the Bands with The Cave Girls. The Clementines are a difference planet of music, and I’m keeping my eye on them.

The evening was closed out by the popular KC band called the Beautiful Bodies. They were recently in Los Angeles playing the final round at the House of Blues for the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands for Warped Tour — and they won out of the 32,000 bands who initially entered the contest. Every alternative band should be jealous. Much of the crowd was pretty well liquored up by the end, and the Beautiful Bodies were more than ready for them. They came out bursting with energy and ended this great event with an amazing performance.
Swing Out Sister
Private View: Special Souvenir Edition
(Shanachie Entertainment)
Swing Out Sister is celebrating 25 years of making music with a new deluxe CD. I’ll be honest — I don’t have a whole lot of exposure to Swing Out Sister. However, I really enjoyed this. It’s gentle on the ears and has sort of jazz lounge feel. The quality of recording is superb, and there isn’t really anything bad to say about it unless you aren’t a fan of this kind of music. If you like smooth jazz, piano, and good, soft vocals check this out. Some of the songs have a slight Latin edge to them, especially with the style of guitar. This is definitely high quality and deserves a shot. My favorite songs are “Incomplete Without You,” “La La (Means I Love You)” and “Am I the Same Girl?”

Kwanza Jones
Supercharged: The Remixes
(Innovation Entertainment)
I like this single by Kwanza Jones. I wasn’t a huge fan of one of her previous singles, but I really like this one, and it is now my favorite song from her. It makes me want to move around and go to the club. Dance music really needs a good backbone in the background rhythm; if it doesn’t have that, then the vocals don’t keep your attention. Here the beat is fantastic, so the vocals pair well. The remixes are great. My favorites are the “Dave Aude Radio Edit” and “Gustavo Scorpio Radio Edit.”

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