The KC Psych Fest was launched in 2012 when plans for a party blossomed into something bigger.
“The idea stemmed from the shows we’d been doing at HQ, our art space,” said Dedric Moore, the festival’s founder. “We talked about having a big party, but then that turned into having a festival. We’d been hanging out at FOKL, watching the underground shows there, and thought that would be a good space. So we contacted them and decided to have it there.”
FOKL, the arts/performance space in Kansas City, Kan., hosted the first two KC Psych Fests. The first comprised 24 bands, including some from out of town. The response was good from the start.
“Turnout was excellent,” said Moore, who is in the bands Monta at Odds and Gemini Revolution. “About 300 people came through over the three days. We were really pleased.”
Last year’s festival featured 20 bands over three days, but in a smaller space.
“FOKL lost its upstairs space, so we only had the basement and patio,” Moore said.
Because it keeps growing, this year’s festival is moving across the state line to the RecordBar, 1020 Westport Road, thanks to co-owner Steve Tulipana.
“FOKL has shifted directions and is only doing smaller shows,” Moore said. “They didn’t think they could handle 250 people going through. Steve has always shown interest in the festival and said if we ever needed anything to let him know. He loves the idea. So we contacted him. We’re really excited to have it at the RecordBar.”
The festival has changed sites but not its premise: to present bands who take music into interesting places.
“We’ve always taken the idea of psychedelic music as being something mind-expanding,” Moore said. “Anybody that’s pushing the boundaries, creating something unique within that, that would fall into that broad definition of mind expansion. It’s cerebral, it’s experimental, it’s interesting. It’s not one specific genre.”
The three days includes a pre-festival kickoff party at 10 p.m. Thursday, when three bands will perform. They include Bailiff, a trio from Chicago and one of five out-of-town bands to perform at the festival. This year’s lineup comprises 22 bands, plus two DJs. Of the 17 local bands, only three performed at last year’s festival.
“We try to change it up,” Moore said. “But it depends on what a local band is doing. If it’s releasing a lot of material and really pushing it and working hard and doing new stuff, we try to include them.”
The word is out about the KC Psych Fest, Moore said, and he is getting more solicitations from local and national bands.
“It’s great when we get emails from bands saying they really want to be part of this,” he said. “Everyone gets put on a list, and if they don’t get a slot we tell them to stay in touch and try again next year.”
Here’s a look at the five bands from other cities who will perform at the KC Psych Fest.
Bailiff: 11 p.m. Thursday
Bailiff is a trio from Chicago with varied roots: blues, pop, rock and other flavors and accents. From its bio at BailiffMusic.com: “The band’s earliest musical efforts borrowed heavily from American blues and the British Invasion — snippets of John Lee Hooker and John Bonham swirling in and out of a foreboding rock miasma. The A.V. Club described the band’s debut EP, “Mm Hmm,” as “a hybrid of sludge-rock and polished swaggering pop.”
Darsombra: 9 p.m. Friday
An audio-visual duo from St. Louis, Darsombra incorporates psychedelic videos into its soundscapes, which plumb a variety of genres, from metal and glam to psychedelic and progressive rock.
White Mystery: 10 p.m. Friday
Alex White and Francis White, a brother-sister duo from Chicago, issue a sound that is garage rock on the verge of MC5 style punk: walls of guitar noise and heavy percussion.
Gringo Star: Midnight Friday
Founded by brothers Peter and Nicholas Furgiuele, Gringo Star is a kaleidoscopic-pop band from Atlanta. A writer for Paste magazine described its music as “swirls of celestial blues and psychedelic garage bangers, gritty R&B shuffles and spaghetti-Western weirdness.”
Magic Castles: 9 p.m. Saturday
Magic Castles are a five-piece from Minneapolis. Their style is taproot psychedelia. From an iTunes review: “Magic Castles tilt toward the windmills of our minds with a style reminiscent of The Massacre, Spacemen 3, and many other hardcore stoner bands.”
The three-day KC Psych Fest will be at the RecordBar, 1020 Westport Road. It begins with a pre-festival kickoff at 10 p.m. Thursday, when three bands perform. Tickets are $7. Friday’s show begins at 6 p.m. Seven bands will perform. Tickets are $10. Saturday’s show begins at 2:30 p.m. Twelve bands will perform. Tickets are $12. A Friday/Saturday pass is available for $20 at TheRecordBar.com. All shows are 18 and older.
Bands listed in order of appearance
Thursday: 3 Son Green, Bailiff, David Hasselhoff on Acid.
Friday: El Ray Tones, Gemini Revolution, Philistines, Darsombra, White Mystery, the Conquerors, Gringo Star.
Saturday: Ape Herring, Akkilles, Redder Moon, Psychic Heat, C. Valdi, Cardio Mom, Quadrigarum, Your Friend, Magic Castles, Jorge Arana Trio, Monta at Odds, Thee Water Moccasins.