Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Florence + the Machines at the Venue Formerly Known as Sandstone

 Seeing Florence in 2011 (L) and 2016 (R) with Darcy Bloss
Image Credit: Darcy Bloss

TWO blog posts in one month -- WHA--??!!!!????!! Yes, indeed it is so. Be amazed!!

Last night I saw Florence + the Machine at the venue formerly known as Sandstone.* It was the first time I've seen a non-local artist perform in concert twice (I first saw them in 2011 at the Midland), and it replaced the RJD2 show I saw in 2006ish at Seattle, WA (during grad school) as my favorite live music show.

Because of a scheduling conflict, I wasn't able to catch the opening act. My friend Darcy and I arrived just in time to claim a patch of grass in the front of the lawn area and chat for a bit before Florence et al took the stage. The band has grown significantly since the last time I saw them, now including people playing a baby grand piano, trombones, a harp, and two backup singers (in 2011 she was the sole singer). She said she would've liked to have a chorus touring with her, but it wasn't logistically feasible. Instead, she invited the crowd to be her choir, and we were happy to oblige.

As with last time, I continue to be happily surprised by the diversity of Florence + the Machine fans. Teenagers, middle aged couples, dudebros, and all other sorts mingled and danced and sang at the show. Which, by the way, was technically gorgeous and perfect. Florence wore a sheer gown, which showed off her slim figure in the bright stage lights, and made the most of the sweeping pink fabric as she swooped, swirled, danced, bounced, leaped and completely owned the stage.. and the audience. As Darcy said, "she seemed more herself somehow" than when we last saw her.

The contrast between her speaking and singing voices also seemed more dramatic than I'd remembered. Of course, she sounds 1000% more amazing when she sings (we couldn't stand to listen to her CD on the ride home because it paled in comparison). I do not know how she is physically capable of  belting out songs like that with all the awesome moves she was doing. But when she spoke to us between the songs, her voice was so soft and gentle, it seemed even more magical that this woman had just been making such large, lovely sounds mere moments before.

She sang all the songs I wanted to hear (some during the intermission), including "What the Water Gave Me," "Shake It Off," "Rabbit Heart [Raise It Up]," "Dog Days Are Over," "Sweet Nothing," and "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful." The last one, Florence called "her big blue sky" over her, keeping her safe and happy, and she said she wanted that song to also be our blue sky that we could carry over us.

Around then, she asked everyone to put away their cellphones and just BE with each other, and afterwards she said we were probably the only crowd that didn't have one or two people pulling devices back out before the song was over. The amphitheater was noticeably darker without all the screens lighting it up! Later on, Florence told us that she felt so much love present, and so much love in the crowd. She encouraged us to take that love out and spread it in the world, because the world needs love.

Such a sweet, powerful, impressive, beautiful show! So glad I was able to be there.

*A note for the non-local readers: this venue keeps being re-sold and gettings it's name changed and I literally didn't even know it's real name until this week.

Related posts:
Concert Review: Florence + the Machine
Concert Review: Celtic Soul Experience
MU Music at the Kaufman Performing Arts Center

Monday, May 16, 2016

Chalking Awesomeness

 Image Credit: Beth Bogenreider Hall

A couple weekends ago, my friend and fellow chalk artist, Nicole, drove with me to Topeka where another member of our chalk alliance, Beth, lives, to participate in the Two Block Chalk Walk in the NOTO Arts District. They were going for a record-breaking event, and it was fun to be part of it. You can watch a video interview with Beth and Nicole:

My drawing

Nicole's drawing

Beth's drawing

We, and another chalk alliance member, will be drawing a Lisa Frank-inspired image at the upcoming Raymore Summer Scene: Arts, Music, Food, Saturday, June 11, 2016. Another attraction on display will be community-decorated adirondack chairs from the Raymore Arts Commission's first Pop-Up Art Project.

Finally, I'll leave you with this awesome interactive CandyLand board that my chalk alliance gal pals and I created during the 2015 KC Chalk & Walk Festival (that I was a bad blogger and never posted before). Enjoy! And don't forget to save the date for this year's event: Saturday 10-11!