October 5, 2010

The Record Bar - Kansas City, MO

There are many reasons I travel - to experience new things, to see things I've never seen before - but one of the big reasons I travel is for music (if my recent trip to Bonner Springs wasn't a clue). So when I heard one of my favorite bands, Murder By Death, was playing at The Record Bar in Kansas City a few weeks ago, I dropped everything and jumped into my car.

I first heard Murder By Death when I was sixteen. They were opening for Thursday in Tulsa, Oklahoma (and by admitting I was at a Thursday show I know I am revealing my age). Their first album, "Like the Exorcist, But More Break Dancing" had just come out and their stage show was amazing. The album immediately sold out at the merch table and I was lucky enough to spend some time talking with the keyboardist. Mostly because I yelled, "Neil Simon!" when I saw him. (For those who don't know, "Murder By Death" is a play written by Neil Simon and later made into a film by Robert Moore.) He told me I was the second person to ever get the reference.

Since I was sixteen, they have released many more amazing albums (my favorites being "Who Will Survive, And What Will Be Left of Them" and "Red of Tooth and Claw"). I have remained a serious fan and was thrilled to see them live for the first time in years. I was also excited because the show was at The Record Bar, my favorite bar music venue in Kansas City. Anyone who has been to a show at a bar knows there are certain advantages and disadvantages to a smaller venue. The concert is more intimate and you can really feel yourself being part of the musical performance and the crowd, it becomes a full-sensory experience. But the downsides are always overcrowding and the typical drunk guy who wanders through the crowd spilling his twelfth beer.

But a show at The Record Bar is worth traveling for. First, it has a parking lot. While most shows at a Westport bar require driving in circles for thirty minutes looking for a street parking spot, The Record Bar is in a small shopping center so there is always somewhere to park. No long, dangerous walks back to my car!

Second, the staff is incredible. Every time I have been there for a show, the bartenders have always been kind and helpful. The night of the Murder By Death show, maybe too much. You see, I don't drink whiskey anymore. In my early twenties, I could put away Jack Daniels with the best of them. But now I'm older and wiser and my liver simply can't take it. But because most of Murder By Death's songs are about whiskey and bourbon, I decided to have one. Well, the lovely bartender declared me his "shot buddy." Next thing I know, he's pouring me shot after shot of free Jack Daniels! How do you say no to free alcohol? I couldn't and enjoyed a few, although I certainly felt them with a wicked vengance the next day.

Third, it's easy to get a cab to The Record Bar. If you are going to drink at The Record Bar (and although the drinks are always over-priced, the variety and selection of drinks makes it likely you will) then don't drive home! Throughout Kansas City, it can be impossible to get a cab, but in Westport and specifically The Record Bar, it is easy. I appreciate any place that has a parking lot where I can leave my car and get a cab home after enjoying a few adult beverages and a great concert.

The Murder By Death show was amazing and The Record Bar was a perfect venue. If you want to travel to see a musical act in Kansas City, I recommend making The Record Bar your road trip destination.

Total Time Traveled: 2 hours
Total Distance Traveled: 84 miles
Soundtrack: "Red of Tooth and Claw" Murder By Death


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