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Middle of the Map Fest Showcases Local Talent: Here's Flatland’s Recommended Festival Schedule

A band named The Philistine plays The Philistines, playing at Ernie Biggs during last year's Middle of the Map fest, return to the festival line-up this weekend. (Dan Calderon | Photo)

The seventh annual Middle of the Map Fest kicks off this evening, with shows at venues across Midtown and the Crossroads. The festival, which has become a darling for regional music enthusiasts, boasts a wide range of genres from more than 100 bands who will travel from all over the U.S. to perform.

The lineup is overwhelmingly indie artists and up-and-comers, but there are some huge names to up the potential draw – which certainly lends well to its “something for everyone” reputation.

And while a large number of fans might purchase tickets to catch big acts like De La Soul, Jason Isbell, Lewis Del Mar, and Talib Kweli, many of us will be looking to the festival as the “state of the local scene address,” it has become over the years. And the festival usually exceeds expectations on that front.

If you are a casual local music lover, you probably don’t know your Shy Boys from your Jaenkis. And that’s OK. It’s difficult to know where to start — though we humbly suggest listening to The Bridge — but the festival’s curators have put together a great bill that allows you to get a master’s degree in local music over the span of one weekend.

And we at Flatland have made it even easier by pulling together a big-picture survey of the talent and musical styles of KC and surrounding areas – from Topeka to Joplin — in one schedule.

It’s also worth noting that this year, the festival will be a tale of two districts — wherein shows will take place at venues that may be a 15 to 20 minute ride away from one another, depending on how fast your Uber arrives. As such, you may have to miss some great local act in exchange for another. But if you’ve been to a festival before, you know it’s a veritable “Groundhog Day” of “Sophie’s Choice(s)”.

Alas, without further ado, here were go [all times evening]:

Thursday, May 4

Eems – beatboxing, ukulele-anchored loop pedal mastery

6:45-7:15 @ Mills Record Company

Emmaline Twist – swirling, dark shoegaze with a touch of post punk

8-8:40 @ Californos Patio

The Sluts – fuzzy garage rock from a two-piece band

8:15-8:55 @ Riot Room Patio, but you may have to cut the set short to make it to recordBar

Chris Meck & the Guilty Birds – high octane rock ’n’ soul.

8:30-9:10 @ recordBar

Not A Planet – no-nonsense, harmony laden rock ’n’ roll and blues

9:30-10:10 @ recordBar

[Choice ahead: Stay at recordBar or head back to Westport]

Katy Guillen & the Girls – face-melting electric guitar blues riffs

10:30-11:15 @ recordBar

OR

Jaenki – shimmery, spacey electro pop

10-10:40 @ Californos Patio

Duncan Burnett x RIOT – live instrument hip-hop

10:15-10:55 @ Riot Room Patio

The Architects – adrenaline-heavy rock/punk

11-11:45 – Californos Patio

Friday, May 5

Momma’s Boy – upbeat indie surf rock with a touch of pop

7-7:40 @ Mills Record Company

Fullbloods – modern yacht rock

8-8:45 @ Mills Record Company

Instant Karma – psych and soul with a kiss of blues

8:30-9:10 @ Riot Room

The Wild Type – indie synth pop

9-9:40 @ recordBar

Ivory Black – classic-rock-driven alternative

9:45-10:25 @ Westport Saloon

[Choice ahead: garage surf or hip hop?]

Shy Boys – psychedelic surf pop

10-10:40 @ Californos Patio

OR

LIONMAKER – electronic hip hop

10:15 -10:55 @ Riot Room Patio

Spirit is the Spirit – spacey, guitar-heavy psychedelic rock

10:30-11:10 @ Riot Room

Berwanger – genre spanning rock ‘n’ roll

Midnight-12:45 @ Californos Patio

Red Kate – nuttin’ but punk

12:45-1:30 a.m. @ Westport Saloon

Saturday, May 6

Heidi Gluck – folk/songwriter with a touch of pop

2-2:40 @ The Brick

Aaron Alexander – cerebral, headphone hip-hop

2:25-3:20 @ recordBar

The Good Hearts – acoustic, soulful americana pop

3-3:40 @ The Brick

Gracie Schram – poppy, upbeat folk

3:40-4:10 @ recordBar

Second Hand King – rock and blues influenced hip-pop

4-4:40 @ Josey Records

Heartfelt Anarchy – soulful, experimental hip-hop

4:35-5:05 @ Tank Room

Jessica Paige – poppy, soul-influenced folk

5-5:40 @ Mills Record Company

Calvin Arsenia – genre-bending, classically influenced harp pop

6-6:40 @ The Brick

Stik Figa – smart, lyrical hip hop

7:30-7:50 @ CrossroadsKC

Me Like Bees – fun, pounding indie alternative

8-8:40 @ recordBar

— Dan Calderon is Kansas City native, an attorney, and contributor to Flatland. You can contact him by emailing pdancalderon@gmail.com, or on Twitter @dansascity.

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