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Saturday December 27th, 2014 at Record Bar in Kansas City, MO
The New Riddim

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Note: Just time for a quickie here.

Kansas City rocksteady (and well beyond) septet New Riddim played a free all-ages dinner show at Record Bar on 12/27. Early shows always draw a curious crowd, and this evening was no different. A small middle-aged audience made up the majority of the crowd during the band's first set, giving way to an influx of fashionably-late younger fans for its second. Still, the shift in demographics made no impact on the empty dance floor. The band's mix of covers and original songs (including several from the band's latest yet-to-be-released-in-America album) merely inspired heads to bob from the safety of tables, and hips to shift from those standing in the wings. If there are still ska fans in Kansas City, they didn't show up, nor did the hooligans and skinheads that I expected to find skanking at the stage's edge. Undaunted by the lack of audience participation, the band continued through the night with frontman (and keyboardist) Dan Loftus carrying most of the focus, only occasionally shifting the audience's attention to trombonist Mike Walker. Walker took numerous solos throughout the night with saxophonist Marshall Tinnermeier and trumpeter Nick Howell getting their chance to shine as well. Still it was Loftus's vocals, and the backing vocals of bassist Kian Byrne, that stood front and center. This only makes sense as the band has slowly shifted to highlight a new pop-influenced sound, yet it was an encore cover of Delroy Wilson's soulful 1968 hit "True Believer in Love" that had me singing along and shuffling my Doc Martens.