Coming Soon: Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours / The Motors at Legends

The Motors and Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours will play the Legends Sports Bar deck on 7/25/14.

WHO’S PLAYING?  Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours (Austin, TX) The Motors (St. Joseph, MO)

WHAT TO EXPECT?  A tip of the hat to old timers…

Lucky Tubb and the Modern Day Troubadours are a national touring band that has already hit St. Joseph three times this year. Tubb is as old school as it gets when it comes to country music. Tracing his lineage from The Texas Troubadour Ernest Tubb, Lucky stays in the same vein with honest lyrics with a wry sense of humor. The Modern Day Troubadours can contain an upright bass, violinist and lead guitar player depending on the tour. The backing band is every bit as old school as Lucky himself. They do a mixture of mostly originals with a few covers with the intention of getting the dancing floor scuffed up.

Lucky Tubb and the Modern Day Troubadours sound like: Hank Williams Sr., The Grand Ole Opry, The music playing in a bar after you had your heart broke

The Motors are a supergroup of sorts that pride themselves on pleasing their audience. Their wide range of influences floods their setlist with a mixture of old country, soul and of course rock and roll. The mixture of covers and originals gives the audience something to listen for that they know and possibly a new song to love. Chief songwriters Tracy Huffman and Sean Cleary are both established tunesmiths and compliment each other nicely by showing their similar yet distinct styles.

The Motors sound like: The Meters, Neil Young (with Crazy Horse), Exile on Heartbreak Hotel

WHERE IS IT?  Legends Sports Bar (outdoor deck), 210 N. Belt Hwy, St. Joseph, MO 64506

WHEN IS IT?  Friday, July 25th 2014; 9:00, $5


  • Lucky Tubb is a national touring act
  • Tubb plays old school country, the kind your dad’s dad listened to
  • The Motors are possibly St. Joseph’s most professional band
  • If you get lucky The Motors might whip out their killer version of the Stones’ “Bitch”
  • Being out around the Belt Highway is better than being deep in midtown at the Hickory
  • Legends is better than the Hickory Tavern
  • The show will be outside
  • It’s going to be a long, hot, crappy week. This would be a great way to unwind
  • Come sing away the blues with some old school country fun

You should RSVP on facebook to the event so you don’t forget, here is the link:

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Posted by on July 22, 2014 in Coming Soon


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Coming Soon: The GasTown Lamps / The Lucky at The First Ward House 7/26/14

The GasTown Lamps and The Lucky are to play the First Ward House in St. Joseph, Missouri on July 26th 2014

By Danny R. Phillips

It would seem as though Kansas City is finally noticing the music scene of St. Joseph, MO and her fans.  Last week, the sludge metal band Documentary brutalized (in a good way) the crowd at The Ramey Memo reunion show.  Now, joining local favorites GasTown Lamps (currently fronted by GTL guitarist Todd Ward’s wife Kyla) will be Kansas City up and comers The Lucky.  They will be taking the stage this Saturday at The First Ward House.

The music loving fans of St. Joe are no stranger to the blues riffs of GasTown Lamps.  Blending the love of bands like The Black Keys, Tame Impala and “Superfly” himself Curtis Mayfield, GasTown Lamps have been making crowds shake their asses around town for well over two years.  Their release Heavy Trunk on local label This Tall Records (home to Sexwolph, Dsoedean, For The Sound and current phenoms Scruffy and the Janitors) is filled with good old fashioned rock n roll and smoldering slow burners.  With the addition of Kyla on vocals, it adds a sultry power and confidence to the already forceful music.

Now, that brings us to the Lucky.  A hit at last year’s Joestock Festival, The Kansas City, MO based band have been cranking out quality alt-rock/post pop since lead vocalist Camilla Camille and Jason Mac Ai first met over coffee in 2011.  The duo added a drummer in 2012 and The Lucky was officially on the books.  Piecing together riot grrl power with a punk rock drop dead approach, The Lucky recorded their demo in early 2013 and, after settling on drummer Dustin Mott and bassist Calandra Rene, the lineup was solidified and the band charged ahead.  With the debut “Swimming Invisible” on the street powered by “Red Heart/Red Lover” and “Hey Rosie,” The Lucky are ready to take over the world but first, they plan to bring St. Joe to its knees.

Come out to The First Ward House (2101 St. Joseph Ave.) and watch as the ladies show us how to lay down some quality, take no prisoners, no quarter rock n roll.

The Lucky w/ Gastown Lamps

Saturday July 26, 2014

10:00 pm

$5 cover

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Posted by on July 21, 2014 in Coming Soon


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Critic Vs. Critic #2: Top 5 1990s albums

Hey, remember the 90s? Professional rock critic Danny R. Phillips and I do, here is what we thought were the top 5 records from that particular decade.


Danny R. Phillips list:

My life of late is nothing short of a train wreck.  Professionally, my career is taking off while my private life, as a stare down a divorce, has as much future as a flaming bag of dogshit on a grumpy old man’s front porch.  When Vocals on Top offered me the opportunity to look to my past as opposed to my bleak emotional future with a “Top Five Records of the 1990’s” opinion piece, I was more than happy to oblige.  I relish the chance to look backward instead of the uncertainty that lies ahead.

Compiling this list was more difficult than I anticipated, but I have given it my best shot.  After putting together the five, I will undoubtedly want to change it the moment I hit send.  My choices stand in no order of importance except for the #1 slot.

Nirvana - In Utero

In Utero - Nirvana: the last studio album in the all too short career, Nirvana laid out their masterpiece with In Utero. Packed with powerful tunes like “Very Ape,” “Scentless Apprentice,” “Milk It” and my personal favorite “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter,” the record is the sound of Kurt Cobain exercising his demons and saying goodbye. Having producer Steve Albini (Big Black/Shellac/Rapeman) onboard was a stroke of genius as the sound that Albini (raw, live and aggressive) gave In Utero is the way, I believe, Nirvana truly needed to sound on record.  For an added bonus, pick up Albini Record Store Day 2014 total remix of the album.  You will not be disappointed.

Breeders - Last Splash

Last Splash - The Breeders: It may be blasphemy to the alt-rock Gods but I’ll say it here: I’ve always liked Kim Deal’s other band, The Breeders, more than The Pixies. Last Splash, the follow-up to the superb Pod, is alternative rock at its finest. Alongside twin sister Kelley, bassist Josephine Wiggs and drummer Jim MacPherson, Deal was free to explore herself as a songwriter and frontwoman and the results pay off by the truckload. “Saints,” “Do You Love Me Know?”  “I Just Wanna Get Along” and “Invisible Man” have kept Last Splash in steady rotation with me since I first bought it after seeing them at Lollapalooza 1994.

Weezer - Pinkerton

Pinkerton - Weezer:  Pinkerton, taking its name from the opera “Madame Butterfly,” is considered by many to be one of emo’s first and greatest albums.  Much maligned upon its release (mostly because it was more daring musically and did not sell like the band’s debut) and hated even by the man that created it, Rivers Cuomo.  Since its release, it has guided and shaped sad people everywhere.  The Deluxe Edition only adds to the album’s greatness with “Getting Up and Leaving,” “You Gave Your Love to Me Softly” and “I Just Threw Out The Love of My Dreams” among many others.

Radiohead - The Bends

The Bends- Radiohead: This inclusion will surprise many that know me, given my very public dislike of Radiohead.  The Bends, the follow up to the band’s debut Pablo Honey, is the gigantic exception to the rule.  The Bends is a triumph of alt-rock bombast and the record that heralded Jonny Greenwood as a legitimate guitar hero.  Filled with songs like “High and Dry,” “Just,” “My Iron Lung,” the title track and the fantastic “Fake Plastic Trees,” The Bends stands as a benchmark for guitar rock in the 90’s and perhaps ever.

Sugar - Copper Blue

Copper Blue- Sugar:  When Bob Mould left Husker Du, he said he was tired of Du’s sound as it was “claustrophobia with guitars.”  With his next band, Sugar, he created what could be the last great Husker Du record in Copper Blue.  Packed with wave of fuzz and distorted guitars blasting at 11, coupled with Mould’s heartfelt lyrics (the Du Modus Operandi) in “The Act We Act,” “Hoover Dam,” “Helpless,” “The Slim” and the breakup song, “If I Can’t Change Your Mind,” Copper Blue is Mould at the top of his game, both as a lyricist and guitarist.


Honorable Mentions (ones that just barely missed the top 5): My Bloody Valentine Loveless, The Lemonheads It’s a Shame about Ray, Bad Religion Stranger than Fiction,Foo Fighters Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream, Oasis What’s the Story?  (Morning Glory), Soul Asylum Grave Dancers Union, For Squirrels Example, Guided by Voices Alien Lanes, Archers of Loaf Icky Mettle.

Most Underrated: Superdrag Regrettably Yours.  Key tracks: “Whitey’s Theme,” “Phaser,” “Destination Ursa Major.”  This album is power pop perfection, wrapped in 13 songs.  The hit single “Sucked Out” is possibly the worst song on the record.

Most Overrated: Radiohead OK Computer, Beck Mellow Gold, Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (three way tie)

-Danny R. Phillips

Listen to Phillips’ free form radio show “Don’t Have a Clue” the second Saturday of every month at 4pm cst on radio.  “Like” Don’t Have a Clue Podcast on facebook.


Clint Wiederholt’s list:

Top 5? What a shame, this list could easily be 50 albums long but for readability sake here we go with 5. The top 5 records of the 90s doesn’t mean the BEST 5 records of the 90s to me, Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind and Tom Petty’s Wildflowers are amazing records that would be in my BEST list but those records don’t FEEL like 90s albums to me. Where those records belong is a subject for another article, for now here is my list of 5 albums that epitimize the 90s for me. Here is my list in alphabetical order because ranking them would be pointless.

Green Day - Dookie

Green Day – Dookie: Green Day has become sort of a joke over time and I’m not sure why. Their merit as a punk/not a punk band is meaningless and hearing idiots debate it is tiring. Billie Joe Armstrong knows how to write a killer hook and Dookie is where he finally put everything together. From the power pow of “Welcome To Paradise” to the guitars churning on “Longview” this record is nearly flawless. “When I Come Around” could make a strong case for “song of the 90s” as well. Once again with the killer hook and chorus, the song is instantly likable. It doesn’t matter how the band’s music has held up, there are few records that represent the 90s as well as Dookie.

Nirvana - In Utero

Nirvana - In Utero: This one is a gimme. It is no coincidence that Mr. Phillips and I both picked it (it is the only one we both picked.) In Utero came from a dark place from the biggest band in the world. The expectations were through the roof for the official follow up to the giant Nevermind and the results exceeded expectations still. “Heart Shaped Box” is gut churning with its darkness and “Rape Me” is just as tormented. “Dumb” and “All Apologies” would become softer classics for the band as well. The album has it all, it is a stone cold classic.

Oasis - Definitely Maybe

Oasis - Definitely Maybe: Oasis is another band people poke fun at. Yeah, they were trying WAY too hard to be the Beatles in the 90s and they didn’t hide it, they didn’t try to. The bottom line is nobody has really come as close as them though. They wrote great songs, some were poppy and they could rock out too. Their debut album stands as one of the best debut records of all time and with songs like “Supersonic” and “Live Forever” how could it not be? To see the strength of the band give a listen to “Cigarettes and Alcohol” and “Rock and Roll Star,” the results are undeniable.

The Presidents Of The United States Of America

The Presidents of the United States of America – The Presidents of the United States of America: Nirvana really made this happen. Everyone was so damn tired of depressing music by the time 1995 rolled around that something fun was bound to capture the hearts of the nation. For the most part it was The Presidents of the Untied States of America’s debut, self-titled album. Everyone knows “Peaches” and most people know “Lump” as well and possibly even “Dune Buggy.” They are all pure pop fun. Other songs like “Kitty” “Back Porch” and “Kick Out The Jams” are just as fun and just as good.

Toadies - Rubberneck

Toadies - Rubberneck: This record is beloved by a wide range of music fans. Metal heads rocked out to it in the 90s and so did the pop kids. On the strength of “Possum Kingdom” and “Away” it found its way into fans hands everywhere then “Tyler” became everyones favorite song. Other album tracks like “Quitter” “I Come From The Water” and “I Burn” will convince you that The Toadies could do no wrong at this point.


Honorable Mentions: Rage Against The Machine – Rage Against The Machine, Radiohead – The Bends, Beck – Odelay, Everclear – Sparkle & Fade, Collective Soul – Collective Soul, Bush – Sixteen Stone, Cracker – Kerosene Hat, Local H – As Good As Dead, Rancid – …And Out Come The Wolves.

Most Underrated: R.E.M. Monster.  Key tracks: “Crush with Eyeliner” “Bang and Blame” “King of Comedy”  This record is hammered by critics and it is really great. The guitar tone of this record makes it like no other R.E.M. album and the songs are great. If you are curious about it, it’s in every used CD bin in the entire world.

Most Overrated: Beck – Mellow Gold (Beck is AMAZING but this record is far too overrated) My Bloody Valentine – Loveless (I don’t know what to say, layers of distortion and people call this sloppy crap genius, they must see something I don’t)

-Clint Wiederholt

Clint Wiederholt writes nearly every word here at Vocals On Top and also writes a weighty amount of content for the print publication Tuning Fork Magazine. Click like Vocals On Top on facebook on the right side of this page. Also check out his internet show The Clamcast at just don’t call it a podcast. #DontCallItAPodcast

If this was fun for you check out Critic Vs. Critic #1 here where Danny and I debate the top 5 underrated Nirvana songs. Also look for hopefully many more of these to come.


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Concert Review: Lucero / Murder By Death at The Crossroads in Kansas City, MO 7/15/14

Seeing bands that love to tour makes shows better. Many bands go on the road out of necessity and it is a struggle for them, some bands just belong on a tour bus and drinking in a strange bar every night. Murder By Death and Lucero both fit in the latter category. Each band tours the vast majority of their time, sometimes going through the same cities more than once in a calender year. The pairing of these two is great for a concert because of the music as well, Murder By Death is a brash, rustic band that makes you want to stomp and shout while Lucero is more soul oriented and concentrates more on vital lyrics than anthemic choruses. The would cross paths in Kansas City for a great bill at the outdoor venue The Crossroads.

Lucero and Murder By Death show poster for The Crossroads in Kansas City.

Lucero and Murder By Death show poster for The Crossroads in Kansas City.

Murder By Death would go on stage at The Crossroads during the magic hour, the sun was just beginning to hide and give way to a perfect evening for an outdoor show. The 65 degree night would prove to be an ideal for a long night under the stars. Murder By Death came out to a good reception and quickly set the pace for a thunderous set dominated by biting lyrics and the sound of the bass dominating the mix. The left-handed guitar playing Adam Turla’s vocals are as stern and confident of a voice as you’ll hear. He bellows like Johnny Cash if he had listened to the Sex Pistols instead of gospel growing up (yes, I’m aware the Sex Pistols weren’t around yet.)

Sampling from several records in the band’s catalog fairly evenly they blasted through a shortened set as the opener and ended up satisfying the loyals and winning over the indifferents in the crowd. The cello would reverberate like a horn section as they played a group of rootsy punk songs. They would hit staples like “Fuego!” “Brother” and “You Don’t Miss Twice When You’re Shaving With A Knife” along the way and end up with a thunderous closing song of “Comin’ Home” from their Red of Tooth and Claw album from 2008. That song was immediately preceded by a surprising cover of INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart” that Murder By Death would make their own. The apex of their set was an undeniably stellar version of “I Came Around” off of their latest record Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon. When they exited the stage and the crew began the tear down immediately the crowd cheered for more, but it would be a luxury the opening band simply wouldn’t get.

Murder By Death performs live at The Crossroads in Kansas City, Missouri on 7/15/14 opening for Lucero.

Murder By Death performs live at The Crossroads in Kansas City, Missouri on 7/15/14 opening for Lucero.

A few people left and a few more people began the lurch toward the stage as Lucero appeared for their set. The Lucero lineup would suffer a vital hit and it was instantly noticeable as guitarist Brian Venable wasn’t on stage. Lead singer Ben Nichols would later explain “Brian’s got some family stuff to take care of back home and we miss him like hell.”  The songs rolled out the same throughout the night but when it came time for Venable’s simple, yet appropriate guitar solos, the songs would feel an emptiness. The horn section, keyboards or bass would most times do a fill where the solos would belong. This didn’t stop Lucero from coming out swinging with the rockers “The Devil and Maggie Chascarillo” and “Tonight Ain’t Gonna Be Good.” Later the set would give way to a mojority of slower songs for the most part but the absent member of the Lucero family didn’t appear to effect the setlist.

It’s difficult to imagine a Lucero set to be disappointing and this one certainly wasn’t. Nichols would sing song after song while his band would shuffle on and off of the stage behind him. They would hit some of the older albums harder than the new ones (as they often do) by playing several songs from Tennessee like “Sweet Little Thing” “Nights Like These” and the brilliant “Chain Link Fence.” They would touch on newer material like “On My Way Downtown” “Texas & Tennessee” and “Women & Work” as well. Their Jawbreaker cover “Kiss The Bottle” was great as always and has become a standard in any Lucero set. Nichols would be at his best on the night with slower songs or as he put it “whiskey drinking songs.” His take on his own solo song “The Last Pale Light In The West” and the closing version of “Hold Me Close” with just Nichols singing and Rick Steff on keyboard would prove to be high points of the 28 song set.

Lucero busts through a mammoth 28 song set without guitarist Ben Venable at The Crossroads in Kansas City, Missouri on 7/15/14.

Lucero busts through a mammoth 28 song set without guitarist Ben Venable at The Crossroads in Kansas City, Missouri on 7/15/14.

Murder By Death setlist from The Crossroads in Kansas City, MO on 7/15/14:

  • Kentucky Bourbon -> As Long as there is Whiskey in the World
  • You Don’t Miss Twice When You’re Shavin’ With a Knife
  • Steal Away
  • King of the Gutters, Prince of the Dogs
  • The Curse of Elkhart
  • I Came Around
  • Fuego!
  • Lost River
  • Brother
  • Until Morale Improves, The Beatings Will Continue
  • Never Tear Us Apart (INXS Cover)
  • Comin’ Home

Lucero setlist from The Crossroads in Kansas City, MO on 7/15/14:

  • The Devil and Maggie Chascarillo
  • My Best Girl
  • Downtown
  • Nights Like These
  • Tonight Ain’t Gonna Be Good
  • Texas & Tennessee
  • Women & Work
  • Kiss The Bottle (Jawbreaker cover)
  • Darlin, Do You Gamble?
  • Raising Hell
  • Drink Til We’re Gone
  • Chain Link Fence
  • What Else Would You Have Me Be?
  • Slow Dancing
  • The War
  • You Decided To Leave
  • The Last Pale Light In The West
  • Bikeriders
  • All Sewn Up
  • Sixes and Sevens
  • Darken My Door
  • Old Sad Songs
  • She Just That Kinda Girl
  • Tears Don’t Matter Much
  • Fistful of Tears
  • encroe break
  • Sweet Little Thing
  • That Much Further West
  • Hold Me Close
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Posted by on July 17, 2014 in Concert Review


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250 word album review: Allison Weiss – Remember When EP

Allison Weiss - Remember When EP

Allison Weiss - Remember When EP 4 Stars

It’s pretty damn hard to not like the Remember When EP by Allison Weiss. The pop hooks are undeniable and it has just enough grit from the garage to have an underground feel while still being a strong pop collection. The songs are refined and the strong female vocals are appealing because they are delivered with confidence.

The vocals on “Remember When” sound like the stern delivery of An Horse the echoey singing on “Take You Back” could be a Those Darlins outtake. On “The Fall” and “Remember When” Weiss looks back, as is a theme on the EP, and tries to hang up the phone on the past. Just when you feel the keyboards are too dominant, a strong guitar lick comes rushing in the back door to save the songs from becoming too dancey, this is especially true on the title track. On the Robyn cover “Call Your Girlfriend” Weiss slows things down and it is easy to tell the vibe of the cover doesn’t quite match the rest of songs here. The lo-fi sound of “Take You Back” contradicts the clean pop of most of the EP and brings it to a strong conclusion. Remember When is a solid collection of songs that is fun to listen to and easy to like immediately. With touches of dance music and Foo Fighters style clean guitar licks, you don’t have to try too hard to like this one.

Key Tracks: “Take You Back” “Remember When”

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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in 250 word album reviews


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250 Word Album Review: Electrician – Wet and Ripping the Lake in Two

Electrician - Wet and Ripping The Lake In Two

Electrician - Wet and Ripping The Lake In Two gets 3.5 Stars

Listening to a ton of music makes you hear trends that are so tiring it is hard to take any of it seriously. Electrician’s Wet and Ripping the Lake in Two does not qualify in any way. It is a short, strange collection of 6 songs that clocks in at under 20 minutes. The songs are unconventional, therefor interesting.

The opening “Our Scalps Are Dry” is coated with so much electric sounding distortion it wears thin but still has enough variance in sound to make you want to hear where it is going. The short and dark “I Couldn’t Feel Safe” is stripped to its core as a song and only adds to the vulnerable nature of the song. “The Tree Line Receded” is the highlight of the short EP as a well put together duet with male and female vocals. The pace of the song never changes but the light, tapping drums carry you right through making you never losing interest. While “The Cave That It Lives In” is a throwaway drum solo, “You Can’t Kill Everyone” is once again stripped down and the lyrics are interesting enough to make you overlook the Kermit the Frog vocals that adorn the record.

Overall Wet and Ripping the Lake in Two is interesting because it doesn’t fall into any easy category or take any of the cliche ways to make songs sound listenable. Maybe the songs aren’t as good as they could be and neither is the musicianship but originally is far more interesting than those things.

Key Tracks: “The Tree Line Receded” “You Can’t Kill Everyone”

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Posted by on July 14, 2014 in 250 word album reviews


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The Vinyl Court: Muddy Waters – Hard Again

Muddy Waters - Hard Again

Muddy Waters – Hard Again LP album cover

  • Artist: Muddy Waters
  • Album: Hard Again
  • Purchased at: The Lucky Tiger (St. Joseph, MO) for $16

Muddy Waters is simply a legend. It somehow seems appropriate to listen to his deep growl roaring off of a spinning vinyl record. Old blues records are a little hard to come by and especially in good condition so I scooped this one up at The Lucky Tiger in St. Joseph.

His 1977 album Hard Again was a bit of a resurgence for him, after putting together the status of a legend for his work in the 1960s he fell into a lull during the 70s of not as well received records. That was until Hard Again of course, which turns out to be possibly the best record of his entire career. The sheer blues power of the opening song “Mannish Boy” sells you inside the first minute.

The record isn’t shaking any foundations, it is the blues after all, but what is remarkable is how well it is done. With Waters being one of the most powerful voices in music history it is great to hear him really belt some songs out and have fun doing it. In a year when punk rock was changing everything and scaring all the stepford wives Muddy Water proved that some things will never change. He stuck to his guns and simply made a great blues record.

Rating: B+

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Posted by on July 7, 2014 in The Vinyl Court


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