Concert Venues: Big or Small

By: JB Bauersfeld
By: JB Bauersfeld

It's an age old question:  Big and extravagant, or small and intimate?  Recently, I've had the chance to see a couple concerts, one in a small venue, one in a small venue, and hope to at least add some fodder to the argument.  The Killers at Sandstone, and a 4 band set at The Record Bar, both in Kansas City.

Let's start with the first concert (I guess that makes sense).  The Killers played at Sandstone Amphitheater in Bonner Springs, KS.  The show was amazing!  Thousands of fans, most singing along.  Lasers, Pyro, Lights, the whole works.  Brandon and the boys sounded great, and did an okay job of engaging the fans.  The weather was nice, so an outdoor show was just what the doctor ordered.  Here are some items of note.  I'll give a (+) for a positive, and a (-) for a negative.

+ The band.  I love the Killers.  Their new album is great, and so is the old stuff.

+ The crowd.  With the popularity of the group, most of the fans knew the words and sang along.

+ The venue.  Sandstone has been re-done and there were plenty of places to buy a beer, and get rid of said beer

- The Lawn wasn't open.  I'm not sure why that was, but that's kind of a staple I expect at Sandstone.

- Smoke (of all kinds)  A few friends I met there smoke, and I don't, so I didn't like dealing w/ that, and a couple other friends were offered the wacky stuff a time or too.  I'm glad I didn't have to deal with that (WIBW drug tests).

+ Memories.  I think that I'll remember that concert for a long time.  Overall, a great time.

Next we'll go to the concert at The Record Bar in Westport (KC MO).  The venue isn't very big, only holding about 200-300.  Manchester Orchestra was the headliner, but I went primarily to see Fun (yes that's a band as well as something we all enjoy having).  The lead singer of Fun (Nate Ruess) used to be the front man in The Format, a great band out of Arizona.  This new group is from all over, and has 3 guys that recorded on their soon to come studio album; but travel with about 6 or so.  The show was supposed to start at 7ish with a couple opening acts (Winston Audio and Audrye Sessions) so I showed up early to grab a bite and see all the groups.  While I was waiting, I was fortunate enough to have a chance to meet Nate, the lead singer that I basically drove all the way to KC to see.  I geeked out, introduced myself, and commented how I'm excited to hear the new album, and I'm glad they added KC to their tour (they were originally not scheduled to).  He was really nice; down to earth and gracious.  Both Winston Audio and Audrye Sessions were good, but it was just a prelude to Fun.  GREAT.  Engaging and outgoing.  Just what I expected, and lived up to their name.  The only problem was that their set was a bit short for my taste.  Manchester Orchestra then took the stage and rocked out for about an hour and a half.  My thoughts again with the plus, minus system.

+ I got to meet Nate Ruess.  Love the guys writing, and I'm SO glad he's not a prick.

+ Intimate venue.  Every spot is withing spitting distance from the stage (although I wouldn't advise it)

- Audio checks.  Each band had to take about 10 minutes to check the audio, and even then, it was spotty at best.

+ Bar staff.  The manager hooked me up by helping me get into a sold out show, and the bartenders were efficient and quick.

- Fun's short set.  They were scheduled for about an hour, but only got to play for 40 minutes or so b/c the show started about an hour late.

+ I got to see the band I've wanted to see for years, even if they've only been together for a few months (just go with it)

Overall, I enjoyed both shows.  I'd go back to either venue in a heartbeat to see someone I enjoy listening to. 

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