Above image: (the) medicine theory plays at Lawrence Field Day Fest on Saturday night. | Photo: Todd Zimmer
Lawrence Field Day Fest was conceived in 2012 as a way to bolster the college town’s music scene during the typically slower summer months. Since then, we’ve watched dozens of bands pop up on stages across Lawrence, Kansas (some of which have spilled over into KC) — from the gritty psych-garage punk of groups like Psychic Heat and Arc Flash, to the sublime folk harmonies of The Ovaries-eez and the inventive hip-hop of Approach.
Starting tonight, these acts are teaming up with nearly 100 others to present a three-day celebration of the festival’s sixth year. Here are 10 artists to keep an ear out for.
The Electric Lungs
Led by inimitable frontman Tripp Kirby, animated by the electronic flourishes of Jason Ulanet and spurred by a savage rhythm section of Marc Bollinger and Eric Jones, The Electric Lungs are an adventurous treat. The Kansas City-based band has never been one to shy away from originality — while they’re rooted in the conventions of pop-punk, the songs are surrounded by sweeping prog-rock movements and heavy doses of fierce musical theatricality.
Where to see them at LFDF: Thursday, July 13 at Jackpot Music Hall, 7:45 p.m.
The Cave Girls
They’ve been packing a prehistoric punch in bars across KC and Lawrence for more than five years now, so if you haven’t heard The Cave Girls yet, where have you been? Don your best leopard print and shake your hips to the sounds of this brazen trio tonight.
Where to see them at LFDF: Thursday, July 13 at Eighth Street Taproom, 11:15 p.m.
Hailing from Manhattan, Kansas, Headlight Rivals are making their way toward the state’s eastern border. Just a couple weeks ago, the power trio released a five-track EP, “Juliette” — it hearkens the fearless, chunky power pop of some of Lawrence’s favorite bygone acts, such as Ultimate Fakebook and The Get Up Kids.
Where to see them at LFDF: Thursday, July 13 at Jackpot Music Hall, 11:45 p.m.
KC-based four-piece She Said will be making its debut performance at LFDF this weekend. While the band doesn’t have any recorded music yet, bassist Matt Kesler (also of The Pedaljets) mentions that the group has a “melodic, pop-ish” sound with a Telecaster twang. With a mix of originals and covers from artists like Concrete Blonde and Kathleen Edwards, we look forward to seeing what this new act has up its sleeve.
Where to see them at LFDF: Friday, July 14 at The Granada Theater outdoor stage, 8 p.m.
Last year, Vedettes’ frontwoman Heather Lofflin told I Heart Local Music that the best shows are the ones where “you feel the freedom to do exactly as you please in a room full of strangers.” As soon as you hear her indestructible vocals — the cornerstone of this full-throttle garage rock band — you’ll understand what she meant.
Where to see them at LFDF: Friday, July 14 inside Replay Lounge, 10:30 p.m.
Better known by his artist name HighWesthus, Shaun Teamer dabbles in illustration, animation and directing. He’s also a commanding rapper, who released the final piece of his three-album trilogy, “The Illu,” toward the end of 2016.
Where to see him at LFDF: Friday, July 14 at Lucia Beer Garden + Grill, time TBA (Datura Records showcase)
At the end of 2016, we named Lincoln Marshall’s “Water” one of our favorite albums of the year. The Lawrence-based duo makes music that marries hip-hop with old-school funk and soul, and features two local emcees known for their lyrical dexterity — Approach and MilkDrop.
Where to see them at LFDF: Friday, July 14 at Lucia Beer Garden + Grill, time TBA (Datura Records showcase)
As you can see, the members of Wendy Moira know how to stir up a crowd. Though they’ve been active in the Lawrence scene for just a little under two years, they quickly amassed a large, ravenous following for their sludgy punk stylings. If you’re wondering where the party is, it’s undoubtedly anywhere this band goes.
Where to see them at LFDF: Saturday, July 15 at Jackpot Music Hall, 9:30 p.m. (I Heart Local Music showcase)
(the) medicine theory
About a month ago, (the) medicine theory released its fifth studio album, “Rain Follows the Plow,” proving once again that blunt-force art rock has a special place in KC’s music scene. The guitar-and-drum duo has a knack for telling stories with dark, subtle foreshadowing that often culminates in a visceral, maniacal post-rock apogee.
Where to see them at LFDF: Saturday, July 15 at Replay Lounge patio, 6:15 p.m.
Domineko will be one of the acts closing out Field Day Fest this year. We got our first glimpse of the rapper earlier this year at Middle of the Map Fest, just weeks after he released his album “Aux King.” It showed him as an artist with ambition and range, as each of the 10 tracks on the album were produced by 10 artists in the Intelligent Sound collective.
Where to see him at LFDF: Saturday, July 15 at The Bottleneck, 12:15 a.m.
Lawrence Field Day Fest starts tonight and runs through Saturday, July 15. For a full schedule and tickets, visit this link.
—Michelle Bacon has an 11th act you can check out at Lawrence Field Day Fest; she’ll be performing with Chris Meck and the Guilty Birds on the Jackpot stage around 10:45 tonight.