Outer Reaches: Two Nights of Mind-Expanding Music
When Outer Reaches rebranded itself last year, the festival’s organizers extended their scope to a broader community. “Touring is hard for mid-level and lower-level acts right now,” said Dedric Moore, who founded the festival in 2012 as KC Psych Fest. “We hope to bring a bigger crowd to them, along with an environment that socially and visually adds another layer of engagement for the fans and bands.” This Friday night at recordBar, the experimental noise-punk collective Deerhoof will headline the festival. On Saturday, it’ll be the mathy, instrumental post-rock duo El Ten Eleven. And sprinkled in between will be a mixture of local and national touring acts that run the gamut from art rock to dance punk to “drum machine-frenzied electropop,” according to co-organizer Brenton Cook. By rebranding, Cook contends that Outer Reaches is no longer restricted to the vast, but somewhat limited, “psychedelic” category. “We took a big step forward with the name change, and it’s closer to what we wanted all along — an emphasis on musicians pushing the boundaries of their music,” he said. The fest will also highlight a diverse handful of KC-based acts. Among them, the reverb- and fuzz-soaked psych shoegaze outfit Mysterious Clouds; indie electronic artist Pageant Boys; electrofunk/pop act Various Blonde; and a rare sighting from The Hearers — a nine-piece group that recently released an album and will play its first live set in almost four years. Cook added that he hopes to see Outer Reaches gain wider recognition for bringing a spectrum of left-of-center and underground acts from across the country to the heartland. With Moore and recordBar co-owner Steve Tulipana, the ultimate goal is to establish a community eager to dig into the possibilities music can present. “It’s nice to see what acts from other cities are exploring; it can help foster inspiration from Kansas City artists,” Moore said. “We see the Outer Reaches as a community, and it doesn’t matter where you come from. It matters that you bring a passion to explore your genre and make it your own.”
src="https://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?hide_cover=1&feed=%2FKCPsychFest%2Fouter-reaches-2017%2F" width="100%" height="120" frameborder="0"> —Michelle Bacon is a musician and writer dedicated to the Kansas City music community. She advocates for and helps spotlight music in the area, writes web content for 90.9 The Bridge, and plays drums with Chris Meck & the Guilty Birds.