Buzz Under the Stars

The crisp, early fall weather that graced downtown Kansas City was the perfect setting for a bit of outdoor electronic music at Buzz Under the Stars. ...
Buzz Under the Stars : Live
Buzz Under the Stars

The crisp, early fall weather that graced downtown Kansas City on Friday, September 14th was the perfect setting for a bit of outdoor electronic music.  Buzz Under the Stars Night Two was originally scheduled to take place at Berkley Riverfront Park, but was changed at the last minute to Crossroads KC at Grinders.  The new location was nestled into a city block in the art district, creating a more intimate musical experience, and suited the night’s artists perfectly.


ZammutoJust as the sun was setting behind the Kansas City skyline, Zammuto took the stage.  The three-piece electronic pop group played almost every song off their new self-titled album, grabbing the audience’s attention with their unusual sound.  Even though the standard guitar, bass, and drum setup was present, so were an abundant amount of synthesized vocals and piano tracks.  Everything from collages of stock photos to humorous home videos were projected onto a screen at the back of the stage and timed perfectly to the catchy yet strange music.


Caroline PolachekAs early evening set in, the backyard-style venue was filled nearly to capacity – evidently everyone who bought tickets had been informed of the change of location.  The second band, Chairlift, followed the electro-pop trend that seemed to dominate the night.  Lead singer Caroline Polachek spent the entirety of the set behind two keyboards, producing catchy little licks and singing echoing melodies into the crowd.  A notable song of the night was “Bruises”, with its catchy melody and lyrical story accompanied by tambourine and a bouncy piano sound.  It’s worth stating that Chairlift’s live sound is overwhelmingly different from that on their records.  Polachek’s voice has more range and better control on the albums, but lacks the soulfulness that saturates every lyric of the live performance.  Every song on the set list had a unique personality and sparkling riffs while the tracks on their sophomore album Something (QRO review) have more of a continuous feel to them.  While continuity on an album is definitely something to value, Chairlift has a way of giving fans a special treat at live shows.


GotyeAfter a lengthy suspense-building break, Gotye dramatically took the stage.  For an artist primarily marketed as a solo act, the stage was completely filled: three drum kits, multiple risers, and several keyboards cluttered up the stage, and the one-man-act became a five-piece show.  Gotye was obviously the artist that the audience had bought tickets to see; most bar-goers had crammed their way to the front of the crowd and an abundance of teenage girls suddenly appeared.  The set was filled with songs that the average radio listener had not heard of, many of which were extended versions featuring drum solos or eccentric percussive interludes.  “Dig Your Own Hole” and “State of the Art” were included in the set list – two distinct songs that haven’t received much radio time but are definitely worth looking up.  Two “quiet songs” as they were described were played acoustically to a slightly impatient crowd near the end of the set.  Gotye saved the song that everyone was waiting for, “Somebody That I Used To Know” for second to last.  Polachek joined him to sing the female vocal line that features Kimbra (QRO live review) on the album, Making Mirrors (QRO review).  After a quick thank you to the audience and the introduction of band members, the lights dimmed and the crowd was left to start an encore chant that lasted an uncomfortable amount of time.  Gotye and his band returned to perform “I Feel Better”, a Motown-feeling pop song.


Buzz Under the Stars always boasts big names on the ticket, but Gotye is definitely one of the most popular names being spoken on alternative radio today.  Gotye was, without a doubt, the name that everyone showed up for, but the two opening bands are not to go unmentioned.  Zammuto somehow merged the sounds of Daft Punk and Owl City, while Chairlift had a more moody electronic vibe.  Gotye nearly brought the crowd to a riot and ended the night leaving everyone musically satisfied.  The songs were catchy, the crowd was diverse, and the weather was perfect.  Is there anything more you can ask of a concert?


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