The chill of mid October filled the air on the 20 October 2016, as Decade Coffee House filled with spectators coming to watch bands CS Luxem, No Magic, Loch Lomond, The Ovaries-eez, and Toughies perform. Decade Coffee House is located in a serene Lawrence, Kansas neighborhood just off of Delaware and Tenth Street, adjacent to Hobbs Park.
As the sun descended behind the suburban skyline, crowds began to fill the makeshift garage performance space behind the coffee house. First act, CS Luxem from the Lawrence/KC area tuned his guitar and dove right into a solo set. Powerful vocals intertwined with the rhythmic strum of his guitar as the garage began to fill with caffeine fueled spectators. Having seen CS Luxem as a three piece and now as a solo act, I must say that it was a sensational performance even despite the missing band members. The ambient guitar interwove with the rich vocals in such a way that it warmed the crowd up for the coming acts and from cool temperatures as well.
Following CS Luxem was Ben Sauder, of No Magic, to play another solo performance. Each table had filled with bodies migrated from outside to warm up and enjoy the light upbeat rhythm of No Magic. Light conversation filled the room behind the echoing vocals and smooth rhythm guitar. Smooth classic guitar riffs and a story provoked soft rock-ability reminded me of musicians such as Neil Young.
Overall it was an exceptional display of talent from another one of Lawrence’ finest.
The crowd then migrated outside to the garage to watch Portland Oregon based band, Loch Lomond perform. The four piece group incorporated voice from all members of the group making for awesome harmonized vocals mixed with deeply orchestrated musical compositions. Keyboard chimed in with the bass player then following were dramatic accents by the drummer as they led into their first song.
The audience fed off of the positivity of the band who even threw in a few jokes between songs. The highlight of the night was a tune called Pens From Spain, off of their most recently released album titled, Pens From Spain. The crowd tapped their feet and nodded their heads to the rhythm of the pleasantly suburban sound as they finished up their last song.
Back inside the coffee house began, the fourth act of the evening, The Ovaries-eez, from Lawrence, Kansas. This vocal intensive duet incorporated harmonious poetic song with the gentle rhythm of finger picked guitar. The ambiance of the music felt very appropriately set inside of the coffee house. Although The Ovaries-eez usually perform as a trio, they still played with a jovial presence in front of the audience.
Closing out the evening was five piece rock n’ roll band, Toughies, based in Lawrence Kansas. Brad Girard, Joe Gronniger, Caroline Lohrenz, Carl Smith, and Sam Ramer worked together to devise songs that mix old world blues-rock influence with a soulful American sound. It was evident that the group was having a good time playing their set as they communicated and joked with some members of the audience during their performance. All jokes aside, Toughies made sure that everybody got their fill before the night was over.
Photo credit: Andrew Conroy