Welcome to the first installment of Tastes of the Town, your weekly column for all things local! Here we will feature artists, musicians, restaurants, and all things Kansas City.
With the offseason upon us and happenings within One Arrowhead Drive as scarce as ‘XX’ chromosomes at a Dungeons and Dragons tournament, let’s take a look at some of the other reasons why Kansas City is the venerable “best city in the Midwest.”
We all know that barbecue is synonymous with this town — as it should be — but there are a multitude of attractions, acts, and craftsmanship that make this area an incredible place to spend time. Kansas City is one of the best music scenes outside of L.A.; the art scene is steadily becoming widely known; and being the blue-collar city that we are, there is no shortage of capable and brilliant folks willing to provide you with their handiwork.
So let’s dive into a few notable mentions from around the town!
A Minute For Music
‘Malikai’ (Metal, and also completely badass)
Do you enjoy Avenged Sevenfold, but wish they had more balls, were heavier, didn’t sell out so quickly, and just generally weren’t Avenged Sevenfold? Then ‘Malikai‘ should be on your short list.
Combining driving rhythmic riffs, a lead guitar that can shred your face down to the sinew, and one of the best drummers in the city, Malikai is a must-listen for anyone who enjoys the harder side of rock.
The band is comprised of members Brian Sutton (rhythm guitar, vocals), Chris Embleton (lead guitar), Jesse Jones (bass), and Tony Smith (percussion). I had the privilege to jam a little with drummer Tony Smith when we were younger, and have tried to keep tabs on every project he has been a part of ever since. I was able to catch up with Tony for this piece, and asked him a few questions about the band and their influences:
Dave: How did Malikai come together?
Tony: Brian and Chris formed (the band) back in 2000. They found me because of my father — long story — in 2006. After cycling about 6 bass players we found Jesse.
Dave: What would you say are your biggest influences?
Tony: Influences would probably be Slayer, Megadeth, and Shadow’s Fall.
Dave: What do you guys have coming up in the future?
Tony: We have a show at The Roxy on the 15th of this month.
Dave: Where can people find and purchase your music?
Tony: We have a self-titled album that I believe is available at ‘CD Warehouse.’ (We are) in the process of recording some more.
Make sure you catch up with all their happenings on their Facebook page, and get out to the Roxy on the 15th to show your support!
City Of Craftsmanship
‘Chiefs Stained Glass’ (MapesCo Glass Productions)
Outside of a jersey now and then (and game tickets … and parking), I don’t give too much money to the NFL or the Chiefs via merchandise. For a long time now I have reached out to those in the community to commission them for Chiefs-related pieces with which to adorn the house.
One of these particular projects is a stained-glass, roughly 18″ squared Chiefs arrowhead insignia, shown below:
This beautiful bastard was made by skilled glass-worker and artist extraordinaire Nathan Mapes.
When I received it I was taken aback by the workmanship — the thing is a hefty couple of pounds or so, and the attention to detail is incredible. My wife fell in love with it so much she and her sisters are planning on having one made for their father (no worries, he doesn’t read this stuff, the secret is safe!).
It comes with the nice brushed nickel-colored hanging chains, and the size is perfect for any window. Not only is the finished product a stand-out feature for any memorabilia room — or, hell, just any window period — the time between commission and having it in my hands was astonishingly fast.
As a huge proponent of supporting local artwork, you should definitely check it out!
This is one fan item I highly recommend looking into, and you can contact Mr. Mapes here at his Facebook page “MapesCo Glass Productions” for further details, as well as the rest of his work!
Itching For Some Ink
Dear You Tattoo (4470 Rainbow Boulevard)
Another Kansas City tradition is the Art of Ink, something that countless individuals (including myself) delve into when sharing pieces of ourselves via artistic expression on the most intimate and permanent of mediums — skin.
The artist I most commonly frequent — Trinity — calls “Dear You” home, and I’ve recently had the honor and opportunity to speak with the studio owner, Amber Lea Burkey, about the shop and what sets them apart from from some of the other tattoo shops around the area:
“The way we treat our clients, talk to them, and how we handle our business. Trinity has been tattooing for many years, and when I started implementing the way I wanted to treat people at our old shop, he believed in what my vision was. He adds a great deal to our studio, and is often the face that will greet you when you arrive.”
“I have a pretty insane cleaning standard that comes first, and people notice that immediately. The flow of the shop, from the decor and plants, to the paint scheme, makes (everyone) feel comfortable and welcome. That was the idea.
“This last year we brought in an a new tattoo artist, Maegan (9 years tattooing) from Missouri, and she has just really flourished within the shop as well. Her art is very traditionally based, but her art theory is wonderful. We also brought in an artist of a different kind, Jason, he does henna, which is an old tradition that has built popularity in the US in the last few decades.”
Regardless of the style, the artists at Dear You Tattoo deliver — want a heartfelt full-color design of a loved one, mentor, or idol? They can do that. Want a black-and-white juxtaposition of the duality of the human condition? They can do that. Want a happy damn ice cream cone ready to embrace you, simply because that’s just what you f***in’ want? They can do that.
Dear You Tattoo is yet another destination-stop, whether you live in Kansas City or are just passing through. Between the absolutely and utterly skilled artists, the clean and professional yet art-infused setting, and the convenient location of the studio itself, anybody inspired to decorate their bodies with the stories of their lives should find Dear You an oasis amidst the desert. Highly recommended.
Make sure you give Dear You a follow on their Facebook page, and schedule yourself an appointment with one of their exceptionally gifted ink artists as soon as you can!
Do you know someone or some place that holds a spot in your heart as it pertains to Kansas City? Let me know at email@example.com and we may possibly feature them on upcoming ‘Tastes Of The Town’ segments going forward!