If asked to describe the band Abandon Kansas I suppose I would have two words for you: Folk electronica. Well, perhaps I would add, spiritually inclined synth-rock. Or maybe, lyrical indie-pop with infectious melodies and smooth vocals. And would I go so far as to say Keane meets a club remix? No, let’s not go there. I am no fan of band comparisons. Instead, I’ll say this: I have never really heard anything like Abandon Kansas. And I like it.
This four man band that formed back in 2005, in (you guessed it) Kansas—Wichita to be exact—seems to be able to do just about anything. Take their newest single “Turn it to Gold,” for example. You download the song from iTunes and suddenly you’re lost in a relentlessly driving, danceable, hopeful pop track. You try to stop yourself from tapping your feet, but you can’t. And if you’re anything like me, you’re out of your chair before the first chorus has even ended, fist-pumping toward the sky as you sing along. “Take the darkest part of me and turn it to Gold, oh, oh…”
Now, take a breather, and watch this acoustic YouTube version of the same song. One voice, one guitar, one amazing scat solo. Oh, wait, you think, so they are an indie-folk band? But I thought—Stop yourself right there. Don’t worry about figuring it out. Just keep listening. Abandon Kansas will only keep surprising you.
On Friday, January 25th Cause A Scene will be kicking off the first show of 2013 with Abandon Kansas as the feature. And I honestly could not think of a better band to be headlining this show. As I began digging a little deeper into the history, and what appears to be the mission of Abandon Kansas, one fundamental thing struck me—this is a band that loves its fans. From my first visit to their website (www.abandonkansaslovesyou.com) to reading about their fourth annual Living Room Tour (an “acoustic house tour booked by fans in fans’ living rooms”) I realized that Abandon Kansas understands that the people who listen to their music are perhaps as important as the music itself, that playing shows on a large stage to a packed audience is great, but that playing intimate shows, shows where band and listener get to interact, is equally valuable.
Often by the time one “discovers” a band, the musicians have a certain level of acclaim or notoriety that can distance them from their listeners and likewise distance the listeners from them—the raised stage being the most obvious barrier. As show-goers we often have the opportunity to see a favorite band in a mid- to large-sized venue. If lucky, we even get the chance to queue up for a signed CD and a handshake. A conversation with a band member might go like this:
“I loved your show.”
“Thanks! And thanks for coming out.”
What strikes me as particularly special about Abandon Kansas is that they have gained a certain level of acclaim and notoriety. (In 2009 they were signed to a label, Gotee Records, have been played regularly on RadioU and have toured frequently nationwide for a more than half a decade.) And still, they have committed, every year, for four years, to embark on a living room tour in which they play in the homes of fans, for an intimate group of fans. I can honestly say I have never heard of such a thing in my life. And it’s awesome.
I hope, like me, you’ll come out for the first show of the year and take the opportunity to join Cause A Scene in supporting the incredible movement that is the House Show and in supporting a band that gives back so much to their fans. And let’s not forget that the music will be great. I know I can’t think of a better way to spend a Friday night.
– Molly Black