Artist of the Month

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November 2015
The Old No. 5s
The Old No. 5s’ second album, Steam, is first and foremost a blues record. But it shouldn't be pigeonholed. A self-proclaimed rock/roots trio, members Brock Alexander (guitar/lead vocals), Derek Tucker (bass/vocals), and Aaron Thomas (percussion/vocals) prove they can play the blues with the best of them, but also have the chops to bust out some serious soul, bring the funk, or simply construct a nice power pop song.
The majority of the 11 tracks are fairly straightforward blues rockers, beginning with the album's first song, “Going Nowhere.” A perfect appetizer, it gives listeners a taste of what can be heard throughout the album: solid vocals, nimble guitar, and one of the best rhythm sections you'll find on a local or national release this year. There is an undeniable Stevie Ray Vaughan influence on this and several of the other true blues tunes, including “Starting to Show,” “Easy,” and the harder rocking “Hill Country.” While few guitarists can match his licks, Alexander certainly dials in Vaughan's tone, and has plenty of salty riffs himself.
Alexander's vocal style varies. On “Easy” he is confident and powerful, channeling a cocky Jimi Hendrix. He shows off a deep soul sound during “Keep Lovin' Me Baby.” On “Little Man,” a jazzier number, he is a bit more transparent and vulnerable, much like a young John Mayer. While he is very capable at each, I couldn't help wondering which one is Alexander’s real voice.
The standout track on Steam has to be “Barn Party.” A tightly wound ball of energy, it combines ferocious slide guitar (sounding very similar in this case to a pedal steel), brilliant bass, and a shuffling beat to create foot-stomping fun. Reminiscent of Robert Randolph and the Family Band, it starts uptempo and only gets faster, ending at a blistering pace. Be sure to have your air instruments handy for this one.
The Old No. 5s display a more unique style on the album's final track, “Just the Way I Am.” While remaining true to the band's bluesy vibe, the song has a catchy pop sensibility—with an impressive jam in the middle—and should appeal to a wide audience. The trio seems to find their own identity here, something I hope to hear more of on future recordings. 
Steam is filled with truly fantastic music that taps into several genres. The songwriting and execution is top-notch. The expertise and use of each instrument, tempo changes, and drawn-out solos make it one of the most enjoyable local albums I've heard in some time. As the band continues to mature and distinguish itself, The Old No. 5s should become a force to be reckoned with—both locally and beyond.

--Brad Scott 

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Artists on Trial: The Lucky

Artists on Trial: The Lucky

Though The Lucky is a relatively new Kansas City band, the group is already working hard to play on larger local bills and begin recording. We sit down with the duo, Jason McKee and Camilla Camille, to find out more about who they are and what they have going.

The Deli
: Gun to your head, 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?

The Lucky: Indie-garage-punk-pop-riot revival with a beat you can dance to.

The Deli
: Let’s talk about what you have coming up. What can we expect?

The Lucky: Jason McKee: We’re playing with The Sexy Accident at the recordBar this Friday and with Drew Black and Dirty Electric at Coda on Saturday. We’ve added some new songs to our set.

Camilla Camille: We have a Kickstarter campaign starting this Friday and we are going to record a CD with Pat Tomek. And we have a show with Schwervon! on September 28 at The Riot Room; it’s their record release party. They just moved here from New York. And you can expect lots of fun music, laughter, theatrics, maybe some stage drama, some choreography, perhaps, some hoofing, and an all-around good time.

The Deli: What does "supporting local music" mean to you?

The Lucky: Camilla Camille: It means going out to shows and buying local bands’ CDs and t-shirts. Generally banging your head in the audience, screaming "yay!" and "woohoo!" while they’re playing. And talking to them afterwards telling them what you liked about their show.

Jason: Going to shows is important, and a worthwhile investment if you’re a music lover, but I also think if a band puts on a good show, it’s important to tell them afterward that I liked it and what I liked about it. And when I see a band I really like, I try to tell other people about it so they can experience it, too.

The Deli: Who are your favorite "local" musicians right now?

The Lucky: Jason: Jonathan Thatch, our Friday night drummer. Brian Jewell, our Saturday night drummer. Pat Tomek, who’s sitting in on drums for the September 28 show at The Riot Room. I love the show The Beautiful Bodies always put on. Cherokee Rock Rifle. Deco Auto. Drew Black and Dirty Electric. The Cave Girls. The Bad Ideas. Schwervon!.

Camilla Camille: You, Michelle Bacon. And The Cave Girls. Robin Powell Campbell. And The Bad Ideas. And The Beautiful Bodies. And Deco Auto. And Drew Black and Dirty Electric. And The Quivers.

The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?

The Lucky: Camilla Camille: Right now I have been listening to Devo, Bad Religion, Spank Rock, The Black Keys, The Cramps, and The Dollyrots.

Jason: I listen to a lot of The Libertines and Babyshambles. The Black Keys, Jack White’s various projects. Lately, I’ve been getting into The Germs. I listen to The Clash a lot, too.

The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?

The Lucky: Jason: Us with Cream, The Sex Pistols, the Libertines. Or, since this is fantasy, maybe letting Mozart, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones open for us.

Camilla Camille: Well that would require that we time travel because I would really like to open up for The Cramps, but since Lux is dead, that’s impossible. Otherwise, The Lucky could open up for the Black Keys or go on tour with Jack White, either The Raconteurs or The Dead Weather, or his solo project, or a reunion with Meg White for a White Stripes tour. But it would be kind of cool to time travel.

The Deli: Would you rather spend the rest of your life on stage or in the recording studio?

The Lucky: Camilla Camille: I would say I would like to spend the rest of my life on stage. However, it would be really neat to sleep in a recording studio, like if my bedroom was a recording studio. I would have a bed in there, a dresser, and a desk, but it would also have a stage area. I could combine both of them and have a stage in the recording studio and just live in there. That would be great. And of course there would be videos of the stage performances in the recording studio, which would be my bedroom.

Jason: It would definitely be on stage because performing for people and interacting with them gives me a rush I don’t get anywhere else. Plus, I have little patience for hearing playback of myself over and over.

The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?

The Lucky: Jason: John Lennon because he’s John Lennon.
Eric Clapton: "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs" made me want to be a guitar player.
Lou Reed for having his own vocal and lyrical style and breaking away from what everyone else was doing.
Kurt Cobain for bringing soul and meaning back to rock music after it had been overtaken by cheesy hair bands.

The Deli: All right, give us the rundown. Where all on this big crazy web can you be found?

The Lucky
: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Lucky/301095373319237?ref=hl
Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/CamillaCamille
Bandcamp: http://thelucky.bandcamp.com/

The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?

The Lucky: Camilla Camille: Face your fears, stand up for yourself, look at the colors, embrace nature, write poetry, eat your vegetables, be grateful what you have, and tell your boyfriend how much you love him.

Jason: As the Butthole Surfers said, "It’s better to regret something you have done than to regret something that you haven’t done." And tell your girlfriend how much you love her.

You'll have plenty of opportunities to catch The Lucky in the next two weeks. Tonight, the band will be at recordBar with The Sexy Accident, Crush, and John Harrison and The Harrisonics (FB event page). Tomorrow, it's Coda with Drew Black and Dirty Electric (FB event page). Next Friday, The Lucky will be at The Riot Room for Schwervon!'s record release party with them, Folkicide, and The Conquerors (FB event page). Now you have no excuse but to make it to a show.

--Michelle Bacon

Michelle is editor-in-chief of The Deli - Kansas City. She also has a weekly column with The Kansas City Star and reviews music for Ink. She plays with Deco AutoDrew Black and Dirty Electric, and Dolls on Fire. She played piano for about 8 years straight and can't seem to remember much of it now. Ho hum.

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