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Ballot Release Party Recap

376405_10152431992825004_633222358_nThe Project Backstage 2013 Midwest Rock Awards were kicked off Friday night at Aftershock in Merriam, KS and a party was to be had from the start.

At the start of the night there was small problems with transforming the venue from a show that was in there right before the ballot release event, to be suitable to the needs of the PB show.  With that came some confusion but was quickly worked out to ensure everyone that was remaining in the venue was there to see the show.

As people kept streaming into the venue, the PB staff honored Solus front-woman Laura Roach as she was celebrating her birthday while taking the stage for the show.  Cake was distributed throughout, some flung, most eaten.  JoJo Valdez and Jake from Green Music Brothers were on the second stage starting what would turn into a “jam stage”.  Without any mics or PA hooked up, they entertained in between each set change of the main stage, and many musicians throughout the night stepped up to play drums or guitar and just have fun.  Even Paul Chandler from Alice 102 and KC Local Artists Radio was seen playing a few songs.

While all of that was going on through the night, the main stage demanded the attention.  The performers were all playing at above par and some totally blew people away.

Chance The Arm

Chance the Arm is not your typical rock band that runs around Kansas City.  They take Celtic Rock and infuse some metal undertones and hard rock riffs to perform a completely unique amazing sound that works very well.  Add in the fiddles and other non-traditional instruments and you have a rich, full body performance that is right on key and never missing a step.  Ricky Sands from The Liars Scene was quoted saying “Where the **** did these guys come from, they are the Mumford and Sons of Celtic Rock”.  Many guests were completely blown away and rushed to try and find members of the band as they came off stage to find out more about Chance the Arm.  The performance goes without saying they were the complete surprise of the night, and kicked off the show at a level that was unexpected and at such a high bar that the night had nowhere to go but into awesomeness after them.  I truly believe if this band holds together, there is absolutely nothing that can hold them back from moving way beyond KC shows very soon.


Solus was exactly what you expect from them.  Solid, fun, energetic, and crowd controlling.  From the first note out of lead singer Laura Roach’s mouth the crowd was hers and the rest of the band on stage.  If they said jump, the crowd would do it.  If they said yell, it got real loud really fast.  Without a doubt Solus took the rains of this show and lead their set from start to finish without leaving anything behind.  They were at the best that I have ever seen them, and that is being said even with trying to be critical of them.

Unwritten Rulz

This was Unwritten Rulz first time performing a Project Backstage show, but not the first time we had seen them.  While solid numbers are not available – they had the largest crowd in the main room of the main stage I believe.  All the bands had above average numbers watching them but Unwritten Rulz had the edge.  From the first person in the front row at center stage, completely to the back of the house clear to (and past) the soundboard at the back of the room, this band dominated the crowd and kept pulling them into the show.  I was that guy clear at the back and I felt like I was as much into the show as the person up front.  It can not be explained what they do to make you feel like that, but there is a niche with them that works very well in this aspect.  The performance once again goes without saying that it was top notch and pure quality throughout.

Waiting on Forever

Waiting on Forever is a collaboration of musicians known from other bands.  Front-woman Casi McCall has always been known for strong vocals, Dana Scott is known for being an amazing drummer and just a downright cool person, and Bryant Bridges is from The Liars Scene and tore up the stage with them for quite some time.  The quality that this band is capable of is top notch and they without a doubt kept the energy at a very high level thoughout the set.  From the first time that PB reviewed them at their first show at the Voodoo at Harrahs North Kansas City to now, the progress has been nothing short of amazing.  Casi has found her home and comfort spot on the stage again and has no problem taking ownership of the crowd.

Mad Libby

Everyone is starting to know the name Mad Libby in KC because of the achievements this band has reached over the past year.  From winning California Dreaming, to playing Rocklahoma, then being asked to open for Black Stone Cherry at a monster show in the now closed Beaumont Club, and many more, they have quickly went from a small club band to stepping up the entire presence and sound and really do define what entertainment can be on the stage.  Even when this band has that “off night” not many can notice because of the straight factor of being entertainers and the performance at this show was nothing short of that.

Sober Overdose

The members and talent in this band can not be talked about enough.  Sober Overdose is easily one of those bands that is in that category of being seriously underrated.  Once again this band can throw down and entertain on top of displaying the talent that is needed with a band just to have a foundation to build on.  If given the opportunity to thrive it is believed that Sober Overdose has what it takes hidden inside of them to take their project to a whole new level.

The show overall was very well attended and the ballot was announced in between each song.  We expected a large turnout, but the energy and positive vibes continued into the ballot release this year that many are familure with through the main event awards show.

None of this could have happened without the entire staff helping and making it happen.  Carrie, Holly, Bob, Jericka, Rachel, Sean, Allen, Cory, Dylan, and many others stuck it out and busted everything they had for a smooth show.  We can not wait for the Awards Show back at Aftershock on March 23rd!

Frank Arena
Project Backstage

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