The 2013 Midwest Rock Awards are supposed to start at 6pm, it is 3pm on Saturday, March 23rd 2013 at this time. While the staff is setting up we look out the window and see massive amounts of snow falling from the sky with flakes that literally could cover half your face. It is getting bad outside and it comes time to decide what to do.
Frank and Jason meet by phone and make a decision to continue forward. The staff continues preparing for a less than stellar crowd with the major winter weather moving through the Kansas City area. 6pm comes and there is a stead stream of people in the door. That stream never stopped.
Despite the weather outside the fans and musicians came out in force to support the Project Backstage 2013 Midwest Rock Awards to the tune of over 600 people attending making it the third consecutive sold out awards show in as many years. People even stayed through the moment that Aftershock and the whole venue had a complete loss of power which made for an interesting moment as a band had just started on the stage.
Before all of that lets rewind to 6pm when The Liar’s Scene stepped up willingly to play first instead of Sicadis when Sicadis was held late because of weather and trying to travel to the venue. Ricky and gang took that stage hitting hard from the first note. The super small changes in the music this band has made while being down for several months recording their new album Persona that they released at the show has done nothing but solidify why this band is one of our staffs short list of favorites. They defined domination from start to end without question.
Sicadis now moved into the second spot took the stage and continued where The Liar’s Scene left off. Every member of the band had high energy and owned the true metal genre that they played. If Sicadis had an off moment it was not noticeable to anyone in the crowd as it was super tight and unbelievably impressive. Sicadis is not a new artist by any means around town but somehow and in some way they continue to up their game from each show that we see them at to the next.
Alice Sweet Alice got to take the stage 3rd in the lineup. This band is without a doubt one of the most underrated bands in all of Kansas City. They have massive popularity Worldwide and they showed why on stage with a monstrosity sound that is full and rich, and with timing that is second to none. The setlist in our opinion was perfect on how each song just flowed from one to the next without having that “trainwreck” feel that you will sometimes get in live performances. Alice Sweet Alice showed exactly what they constantly preach in more words on their Facebook, but that is reach for perfection.
At the peak of the crowd of the night, and playing 4th was Burning Tide. Many people thought that this band was the “wildcard” of sorts on this bill and did not fit in with the other bands, but from the first song all the way through they showed they can not only play to a very large crowd (500+ at this point) but also grab the crowds attention and demand they keep their focus on the stage. From the guitar solos, to the coordinated stage, to just perfecting their southern rock genre, Burning Tide was at the top of their game as far as we have ever seen them (and that is A LOT). They proved they not only deserved the stage, but proved to everyone in that venue they can entertain as well as be amazing musicians.
Next up in the 5th slot was The Strive. The set started with every possible thing going wrong that could for these guys. With everything from some technical issues with equipment, to the power going dark at literally 5 seconds into their set and having to reset everything again – recovery for most local musicians would be next to impossible. Despite after almost an hour of delays, The Strive came out non-stop with music and engaged the crowd in sing-a-long moments and more. The projection to the crowd versus the energy draw to the stage made this band completely stick out for the entire night. This band is already seeing success in major ways, and if they continue the performance type that they put up during the show they will continue without a doubt.
The Broken Divide stepped up 6th in the lineup and from the first song they punched everyone square in the chest and head with music and vocals that are completely designed for each other. These guys (and gal) kept the attention directly at the stage and just watching them you can tell they absolutely love what they are doing. They have fun on the stage, and take the work and spin it to something completely different and give it to the fans. The music is a mainstream sound pushed to the border of metal in some of the song which works and brings people in to the “heavier” music without them even have to try, even if the fan is not into that genre. We have still yet to see a “bad” show from The Broken Divide in the many times we have watched them which shows they are very consistent and explains why their fan base continues to grow exponentially every time they go out.
Killing the Calm stepped up to the stage to play 7th. This band really got the raw end of the stick for the night which as a staff we are still trying to figure out what happened. Somehow Killing the Calm’s set was cut at 16 minutes completely shocking not only the band but the fans. We do not want to speculate what happened here as we are still looking into it but early things lead that it was a communication error between venue and production as to the stop time for this set so that things could roll because the show was an hour behind at the time they went on stage. Regardless of that issue though, this band absolutely killed it on stage for what they did get to play. Even with a shortened set, after they left the stage people that were in attendance that had never seen them before were talking about how good they were and that they wanted to see them again, and soon. Even with only 16 minutes of performance Killing the Calm without a doubt made more fans because they just do what they do. The music is strong, bold, full, and rich throughout every song that just picks you up by the throat slowly until about mid song, then they drop kick you for pleasure the rest of the way. There is no doubt we will see much more from these guys.
Last to play the stage was Second Signal. You would think that the fans in the venue by this point of hearing 7 hours of music would be done. Second Signal changed that. Being almost 1am when they took off with their first song, everyone that remained throughout the night flooded to the front of the stage to see them and ate them up. Honestly watching this 3 piece ensemble made me tired. The massive movement and energy they show and leave on that stage was phenomenal to say the least. Everyone has heard the description “If I could bottle that energy”, well Second Signal could be the poster child band for Red Bull, Monster, or Rockstar Energy Drink anyday. The music for Second Signal continues to change and go more toward the metal genre versus where they were just not to long ago with a more mainstream rock sound which when you have a vocalist like Sean Thibodeaux that has a large range and diversity, it is almost like wasting him in our opinion (which is just that, our opinion). Even with that said, Second Signal without a doubt left the stage leaving nothing behind in reserve. They put it all out there with amazing timing, quality, and once again… energy.
Overall we would consider the Project Backstage 2013 Midwest Rock Awards nothing but a success. The Kansas City music scene and fans overwhelmingly supported the show this year even in the worst conditions possible before, during, and after this event with the weather – and that says a lot. We do not believe in very many other cities that over 600 people would venture out into 8 inches of snow to see local bands and local talent. That though is why KC has the scene they have, and anyone that says that there is not a scene in KC or that it is dead – after last night we have seen the proof that you are completely incorrect.