The night was set for months, everything was ready to go, and exactly one week before the Black Stone Cherry show happened at the Beaumont Club in the Westport District of Kansas City, MO – Stellar Revival dropped off the bill. That left a direct support slot open for Black Stone Cherry, and Mad Libby was asked to take the spot. It goes without saying that they accepted.
Mad Libby is a rock band out of Kansas City, MO that consists of 3 females, 1 male as members. The lineup is Dana on drums, Jessica on Bass, Rob on guitar, and Jennifer on vocals and rhythm guitar. The 4 have been together in its current form for just over a year, but in that year have played large shows before. They debuted the linup just under a year ago at the Kansas City Live stage in the KC Power and Light district, and in the 2012 Midwest Rock Awards they took home 1st for “Bassist of the Year” along with a couple other awards including “Most Character”. They will also be heading to California in October to play Whiskey-A-Go-Go after winning this years “California Dreaming III” that was presented by Stratgazer Entertainment.
With only a week to prepare for a direct support slot for a band like Black Stone Cherry, there were many questions from fans and other musicians on if Mad Libby had what it took to pull off a full 45 minute set with such little prep time. They were also sandwiched between an opener (Obsidian) and the main act. This spot generally has questionable sound and lighting due to position in staging.
Before the set I was on stage with the band and you can tell the excitement was there. All four members were talking in huddles in what it seemed like last minute adjustments. They had to hold for about 10 minutes from completion of minor sound check to the start of the set and during that time you can tell the wait to play this show was killing them. They wanted to go out immediately and start.
The set opened under no lighting, with Rob playing a repeating riff entering from the left of the stage. Second to enter was Jessica from the right, Dana shortly there after, and Jennifer last. The crowd of the Beaumont at this point was huge, and scarily still. Once the stage lights came up and Mad Libby entered their set, the still crowd was still no more. For those that have not ever seen Mad Libby live, they have a very unique sound that really can not be compared to anything. The only way to describe it would be power rock with a happiness curve. It seriously is very hard to describe but is a sound that without a doubt sells.
From the first song, all the way through the last song of the set (a Bruno Mars – Grenade cover) Mad Libby had no problem capturing the audience and controlling them. The crowd interaction from the band to fans was amazing and at an all-time high that I have ever seen from Mad Libby. If Jennifer said “jump” the fans did.
I listened very close and tried to find flaws or improvements that could be made and they just were not there. If I had to pick on something, maybe it would be to put some sticky tape on Dana’s hands to hold on to drum sticks. She was seriously into the show and nailed the Black Stone Cherry backdrop from a good 10-15 feet away with a drumstick flying at around 90mph when it slipped from her hand, but she still did not miss a beat.
Mad Libby in all seriousness for their genre is at the top of their game. The past few shows that I have seen them play it is as if they could do no wrong. Generally with openers, or even direct support artists you do not have the same feel as the headliner. The energy is not there and something is just missing. Mad Libby broke those rules at this show and equaled what Black Stone Cherry had to offer, which was an amazing feat to achieve. They are showing why they deserve these opportunities and are not disappointing in any fashion when given them.
The next Mad Libby show is on September 15th, 2012 at Aftershock in Merriam, KS with Banshee.
Video of final song (Cover of Grenade by Bruno Mars) at the Beaumont Show: