KC Psych Fest Turns Four

KC Psych Fest has become, in the past four years, not only a showcase for the best local psych acts but also one that draws national and international talent to the Kansas City area. With a schedule that has stayed strong year after year, KC Psych Fest is the woolier, more adventurous ancestor to some of the other great music festivals that have popped up in Kansas City as of late. And this year will be no different–as we all know after getting a taste at the Haymaker Records Summer Showcase. Featuring garage punk to DJs, from math rock to hot droning, KC Psych Fest’s August 1st show will have something for everyone.

Garage punk trio, Drugs + Attics have a sound that is fun and also refined. Under the band’s distorted guitars and growling vocals is an energy that is infectious. Moving from quick and messy The-Strokes-meet-Dick-Dale songs to the slower Jack-White-makes-a-doo-wop-song sound, Drugs + Attics never lag. The trio’s sound is as compelling on record as it is on stage–where the band seems most at home.

Likewise, Psychotic Reaction’s songs shimmer with a fuzzed over passion. The Oklahoma-based band mixes trucker-like grime and fast punk rolls to make songs that absolutely stun. Part highway diner jukebox, part CBGB mixtape, Psychotic Reaction has a sound that boils on record with enough energy to power a small city. The band blends huge walls of sound with punishing drums and vocals that blister through their catchy melodies.

Moving away from conventional time signatures and continuity, HMPH! makes math fun with their hot, riff centered songs. The Kansas City two-piece makes enough sound for an entire orchestra. Blending disparate parts into an entire tapestry of music, HMPH! seems to collage a thousand songs together instead of setting out to make a single, linear progression. The result is a sound that is ever-changing and never boring.

In the same vein of mixing various parts into one whole, Mod Professor does something similar by piecing together several bits of music together. The Kansas City DJ blends funk staples and samples lost to time with salsa/dance back beats. A little disco, a little electronica, a little funky soul gives Mod Professor an aural arsenal to make anyone dance. Not convinced? Check out his 90 minute set here for a preview of his sound.

Moving through their hazy psychedelia, Mysterious Clouds has a sound that is part sci-fi soundtrack and part jam meandering. A super-group of members from Monta at Odds, Expo 70, and HMPH, the Kansas City band ventures into territory that few musicians in the area or nationally explore. That said, Mysterious Clouds ties their more disparate parts together with solidly catchy riffs and musical progressions that leave the listener wanting more.

Similarly, the UK duo, Ancient River, makes songs that are adventurous and wonderful. Less heated than Mysterious Clouds, Ancient River sounds like a Gregorian chant in a field on Mars. The band’s laid back vibe is punctuated by bursts of incendiary guitar. With lyrics mired in the haze of their own whispering and drums that are just out of reach, Ancient River creates soundscapes to get lost in.

The Saturday show will feature some amazing bands and be a great first installment of KC Psych Fest’s fourth year. These six bands at The Riot Room will all but guarantee a night of great music and sonic adventures. Doors are at 8pm and the show is 21+.

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