The Leo Project @ Beaumont Club, KCMO

It was a night of happiness, fun, and sadness.  The party was large, the crowd was very close to sell out if not sold out, and the Kansas City music scene will never be the same again.

On June 17, 2010 the final show for the band “The Leo Project” was performed in high fashion in the Westport area of Kansas City, MO at the Beaumont Club.  It was a 5 band blowout that was one for the history books.  Despite small technical glitches with the sound throughout the night, the performances could not have been more entertaining and there could not have been a better crowd for a sendoff.

Band Reviews:

Dora Dank  (Performance Rating: 3/5 with 5 being best):
First to take the stage was Dora Dank promptly on time which is a major rarity in the entertainment industry.  I actually missed the first song because I was outside talking with people, and expecting the fashionable 15 minutes late start time.  Dora Dank really got a bad spot on the bill though because at the start of their set, there was only at most 100 people in the venue.  Overall Dora Dank’s show was exactly what you would expect from them, bringing high energy, loud quality rock.  Unfortunately from the last time I saw this band play to now, there is nothing really “new” about them or their show.  This could be a disadvantage to them in the long run as I felt I had already seen the same show 5 times before, and there was nothing new.  It could also be they were the night opener and only had 20-30 minutes to show what they had.  This was also the only band besides “The Leo Project” that was given a true soundcheck before the night started, which showed in the quality of the blasting PA.

Maps For Travelers (Performance Rating: 4/5 with 5 being best):
Before this moment of them taking stage I had never heard of “Maps For Travelers” (MFT).  There is not alot known about this band, and even talking to various people in the crowd it seemed nobody has heard of these guys.  Even doing a Google search for them yeilded no results.  When they took the stage I assumed this band was just a time filler, and was not going to be that good.  In fact, I almost turned away and retreated to the changing rooms to talk with the bands that I did know.  When MFT started their set, they hit with a heavy bass line, and a barrage of drums that immediately caught my attention.  The energy and stamina this band showed was amazing, and the sound of their music was very ear pleasing.  MFT does rotate between two singers, and in my own opinion, they should just stick to one.  I apologize for not getting names, but as I stated, I really kinda blew these guys off before I heard them.  The center stage singer has the pipes and the drive to pull the crowd into the show.  The bass player that also sings and does more of the “growl” songs, really should stick to the growls.  Overall, if I can find these guys again and see them on a bill somewhere I would pay to see them perform again.

Dreams Are For Rookies (Performance Rating: 2/5 with 5 being best):
The third band to take the stage was Dreams Are For Rookies (DFR).  Once again this was another band that I had not heard of, nor could I find people that were at the event that could give me feedback.  The performance side of DFR seems to be very much in development still, as it seemed very “clubish” and garage style.  One thing that was very disappointing was the mic etticut that everyone in the band seemed to disregard.  For one example, they would play the harmonica, trombone, and various other non traditional rock instruments throughout the show which did offer a welcome change of pace.  The problem is vocals would be 6-8 inches from the mic, then they would go to play the harmonica but only leaving less than 1 inch from the mic.  This caused huge changes in volume making it hard to stay focused on their show and what they were doing.  This also caused the sound engineer to work hard enough that he deserved a raise.  I never could pick up on who the influences are for this band as it seemed very sophmoric and ranging the spectrum of rock from emo to metal.  In fairness of this review, I will track down this band again in the future and revisit them to see if I just got a bad impression or if they really got what it takes to earn my dollars.

Changing Faith (Performance Rating: 4/5 with 5 being best):
Coming up 4th to rock the Beaumont was some old friends of mine, Changing Faith (CF).  With that said, even though I have known these guys a long time, I am not going to not be soft on the review of their show because of that.  CF was billed as the “sub headliner” for this show, and rightfully so.  There was some drama revolving around this show dealing with CF because the drummer “JJ” is making his stage right exit from the band and this was the final show he would play in Kansas City.  His ultimate final show is the next one in Des Moines, IA where he will make his true exit.

When Changing Faith took the stage, they wasted no time getting in and rocking hard.  With the venue packed by this point, CF was the first band to try and play to a rock eager crowd that wanted to (as was said to me) ”just get to The Leo Project already”.   Early on the timing was off between everyone in the band, but that was tightened up by the second song.  Kara on vocals has come a long way since the last time I saw this band play here in Kansas City at the Power and Light District, ironicly opening for The Leo Project then too.  One main difference that I noticed is when Kara took the stage this time, she was not “bouncing off the walls” and trying to do too much.  She worked the stage, but making vocals a priority this time.  This caused for a much better performance overall.  Kara was also off vocally at times throughout the set, but to her defense, she went onto stage with a headache that a bottle of asprin would run from.  As bad as she was hurting, I personally was shocked that she took on performing still.

Once the band got into their groove, it was pretty smooth sailing the rest of the set.  Rough starts can turn away a crowd if you are an unknown, but CF has long shaken that identity and has become more of a staple in the music scene in KC.

Overall the show was great, for Changing Faith.  I still see alot of room for improvement on the timing of a live show, but this can also be said for many.  I would not hesitate to pay to see these guys anywhere, anytime as they have the talent for music.  The energy they show on stage, and the stamina to keep that energy at such a high level from start until end really brings the crowd into the show with them.  They are also one of the few bands left that once they hit the level they are at, still go into the crowd and meet the fans.  The rule of “the bigger you are, the smaller you act” is very much alive with CF still.

The Leo Project (Performance Rating: 4/5 with 5 being best):
Headliner The Leo Project came out and from the word go rocked the venue from start to finish.   The light setup was awesome, and despite a few sound glitches through their set, they kept going.  You could tell that TLP was on stage more to have fun, than to go out with a solid heavy performance.  This, they deserved though as they gave 100′s of solid shows that would easily be a 5/5 rating through the years.

The night started with very high energy, the crowd singing lyrics, and yes, crowd surfers inside the Beaumont.  (I had never seen people crowd surf inside the Beaumont before, but they pulled it off.)  Creighton Bibbs, now guitarist for Adelitas Way, has been on the road for months and you can see a massive stepup in his show and what he brings.  Lance Bennett; Drums; was beyond phenomenal  as usual.  The new bassist to replace Sean was in my opinion, just kinda there.  Tyler was throwing down having fun, but was off vocally from what we have come to expect from him pretty much all night.

The Leo Project was one of those bands that you never even thought if they were worth the money to see.  It did not matter if it was the last $10 you had for a month, you paid it to see them.  Even on the brink of major sucess over the past couple years, doing things such as touring and opening for Tesla, Sevendust, and many more, they just never got over that last hill.  Did they deserve to make it, yes.  Why they never did is always going to be a question in my mind.  It seemed as if every show they did, every time they hit the stage, or even if they were on a radio program just doing an acoustic, perfection was the minimum they would accept.

This was The Leo Project’s final show, not only in KC, but for good.  That is how it was promoted, that is what they still claim even after the show was finished when talking to them as a group.  Truth is, after talking to them individually and apart from each other, they all had different stories.  It seems as if the Tyler, Lance, and Creighton all feel they will continue to do shows together as they are in town and it is possible.  Does this mean that The Leo Project is not really gone?  No.  The Leo Project IS gone as we have known them.  They will not be the force in the music scene anymore, they will not be the band that you wait for their next CD just to see what they came up with, they will not be developing music with other artitst groups, they are gone.  You might be able to see the group called The Leo Project a few more times, but it will just be the show.
At the end of the night, there was a long goodbye from the group to the crowd.  All members were very emotional and yes, Lance does have the ability to cry.  As TLP left the stage, the crowd contined to chant “TLP.. TLP” until it was clear that it was really over.  For an “unsigned” band, they touched many people and many hearts.  I have seen bands break up and do final shows, and it is nothing more than just another night.  This night was different.  The band cried, the crowd cried with them.  The band sang, the crowd sang louder.  It was truly a magical night in Kansas City for a band that supposably “never made it”.

Frank Arena

One Response to The Leo Project @ Beaumont Club, KCMO

  1. Maps For Travelers Reply

    November 28, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Hey just found this review, appreciated the honest review of Maps For Travelers. You can find us on myspace, facebook and just about every other music site. That was our second show out and we were just getting started, Lance and the rest of the guys in Leo Project were all good friends of ours and were kind enough to have us on the show. We have an ep out now called Regress|Progress on i tunes and a few local shows coming up here in Kansas City. Definitely look us up.

    Maps For Travelers

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