The Yawpers

The Yawpers

Chris Meck & The Guilty Birds, Violent Bear

Thu, September 21, 2017

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$12.00 - $15.00

Tickets at the Door

This event is 18 and over

The Yawpers
The Yawpers
The Yawpers’ third album Boy in a Well is a sensational tragedy set in World War I France about a mother abandoning her unwanted newborn child. But, like the band itself, there’s so much more roiling beneath the surface.

Recorded in Chicago by Alex Hall (JD McPherson, Pokey LaFarge, The Cactus Blossoms) at Reliable Recordings with production assistance and instrumental contributions from Tommy Stinson (The Replacements, Bash & Pop), Boy in a Well stretches The Yawpers’ sound and ambition in challenging, impassioned, and dynamic directions. To follow up their 2015 Bloodshot debut American Man — which Rolling Stone described as mixing “high-brow smarts with down-home stomp” — the trio left the comfort zone of their Denver hometown in September 2016 to record in a city they’d only briefly visited before.

The story-vision was initially conjured by lead singer Nate Cook, after a reckless combination of alcohol, half a bottle of Dramamine, and an early morning flight. The delusional result is an album of complete immersion and instinct, with personal background (the story removes shrapnel embedded from Cook’s failed marriage) meeting psychological fascinations (German realpolitik, Freud, Oedipus, and the lasting social and cultural fallout of WWI… you know, the usual rock ’n’ roll stuff). Structured, composed songwriting from the band’s freakishly tight backbone — guitar prodigy Jesse Parmet and bulldozing drummer Noah Shomberg — blend with the impulsiveness of their wild-eyed, punk-reincarnation-of-Elvis frontman.

Boy in a Well sounds like Alan Lomax using his field recorder to capture Mance Lipscomb ripping a laced joint (or something much more potent) with The Cramps and strapping their instruments on to let that shit fly. But while the band dials into the finest, frenetic trucker-speed induced scuzz blues, there is patience and dark soul within and between songs much like the blank space between paragraphs and chapters. Each track is a division of the plot — paired visually with an accompanying comic book, illustrated by J.D. Wilkes of The Legendary Shack Shakers — that seamlessly blends into the next.

“Armistice Day” slowly awakens in an altered reality with distant echoing piano, ghostly harmonics, and menacing chants, leading way to “A Decision is Made”, the feverish rockabilly-cum-muscular blues and fuzzed out, grungy, bottleneck slide acoustic guitar force of Parmet. The kinetic “Mon Dieu” reimagines the Dead Kennedys three decades on with its fiery cosmic psychobilly and retro R&B/garage tones. There are solar flashes of surf (“No Going Back”), Bo Diddley’s shaker man shufflin’ groove (“Mon Nom”), the punched out, funky drumming of the Blues Explosion’s Russell Simins (“Face to Face to Face”), and a sulfuric, slicked-up Carl Perkins for the modern world in “Linen for the Orphan.”

Later, “Room with a View” is a lonesome ballad that tells the story of the unwanted child growing up in the well where he was abandoned. It’s a touching, melancholy, moral take not typically characteristic of the group. Similarly, a contrast is present in a softer, stripped-down picked-acoustic side in “God’s Mercy”, “A Visitor is Welcomed”, and “The Awe and Anguish” — the latter of which sounds like a lost track from a 1940s Smithsonian Folkways album. Finally, “Reunion” paints a vision of The Who’s Tommy, a fitting bookend to the concept and aural diversity.

The Yawpers’ Boy in a Well is complex; it’s a manically conceived, historically situated, emotionally underscored, plot-driven fictive universe. It’s demented, unpredictable, taboo, ambitious, and yet distinctively cohesive.
Chris Meck & The Guilty Birds
Chris Meck & The Guilty Birds
When you listen to Chris Meck play guitar, it’s almost as though you’re listening to someone speak. He plays his instrument with finesse, thoughtfulness and passion. Sometimes it shreds, sometimes it weeps, sometimes it lacerates.

Meck has made a considerable contribution to Kansas City’s music scene over the past two decades as a founding member of Americana rock bands Tiny Horse, Atlantic Fadeout and The Gaslights with his wife and musical partner Abigail Henderson. He’s also lent his abilities to acts like Alejandro Escovedo, The Architects, Jon Dee Graham and Kristie Stremel. After his wife’s passing in 2013, Meck formed Chris Meck and the Guilty Birds, his first project as frontman and primary songwriter.

Now a soul and roots rock-influenced power trio, Chris Meck and the Guilty Birds have earned coveted spots on festivals such as Middle of the Map and Boulevardia, along with support slots for prestigious touring acts including Los Lobos and Band of Heathens.

With the early 2016 release of their debut full-length album, "It's 4 AM Somewhere," the Guilty Birds have received high praise for Meck's salient guitar work and girl group harmonies from the lock-step rhythm section of Calandra Rene (bass) and Michelle Bacon (drums). The album is currently in regular rotation on over 50 stations across the country, including KTBG 90.9 The Bridge (Kansas City, MO), KBOO 90.7 (Portland, OR), and WAER 88.3 (Syracuse, NY).
Venue Information:
1520 Grand Blvd
Kansas City, MO, 64108