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Words and Photos: Daniel Gum / Paris Williams / Window Seat at Replay Lounge

Paris Williams at Replay Lounge. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
Date: June 25, 2021

Replay Lounge - Lawrence, Kansas


It's June 2021 and live music is back to normal?  Regardless of whether this was a full-on "The Boys Are Back In Town"-style moment or merely a fluke, the Replay Lounge hosted an indoor, mask-optional gig this past Friday and, to this music blogger at least, it felt good. This early evening matinee presented by Kansas City indie label Manor Records consisted of three young talents that have been Shuttlecock favorites over the past year or two, so to see them all together on a five dollar mixed-genre bill was a treat.

The matinee culminated in an eight o'clock full band set from singer-songwriter Daniel Gum, backed on drums by Evan Herd and on bass by Joel Stratton. It was only the second outing for the trio (following a recent Lemonad(e) Park gig) and it did seem a bit evident. The band briefly fell out of sync during a couple songs, one time seemingly at the fault of Gum and another at the fault of one of his bandmates. 


Gum's band played in a style that could be described as loose and jaunty, which wasn't always the best fit for his somber, reflective material. That's not to say Gum's accompaniment needs to be symphonic in nature, but I would have to assume that nobody in attendance that was unaware of his talent as a lyricist and vocalist walked away having gleaned these facts, simply due to the noisiness of both the band and the crowd (the latter of which ranged from chatty to shouty). Plus, the one part of the set that did require cacophony -- the swirling, chaotic closing of "Good Man" -- felt only a fraction as powerful and calculated as it did on the record. 


The set wasn't without its high points; it felt nice to hear a rhythm section's punchy abbreviations to Gum's thoughtful prose on the uptempo number "Ruin Your Life." An audience member also made a valid point before Gum played an enjoyable cover of The Beatles' "Julia," noting that we were about to receive a deep cut: "There are no deep cuts on the White Album!" Though my preference for a Daniel Gum set remains solo acoustic, I remain open to that changing in the future.

The second act of the evening was the debut solo live set of rapper-producer Paris Williams. It was a joyous occasion. In case you aren't caught up, Williams is originally from Muskegon, Michigan and had moved to Kansas City to be closer to several of his Drop Dead XX cohorts, which included Ty and Deiondre from Blackstarkids. All three members of BSK were there to cheer Paris on as he performed material from his most recent EP, Cocoa, his last full-length, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and a couple unreleased tracks.

Some attendees were understandably standoffish about being close to the stage at one of the first indoor events of the spring, but with Williams' charisma and some gentle prodding, a majority of the audience of 50 or so scooted up to the front early on in the set. Friends shouted along to the chorus of "Paradise" -- a choice pick for post-pandemic strivers -- and danced along to the colorful pop-rap of "Nola." Williams even hopped down off the stage and grooved with some friends in the song's final moments. While I'm still eagerly awaiting a chance to blow off some steam at a gig, the type of set where you're  smiling the whole time (like this one) is arguably just as important.

The first set of the evening, beginning around 6:20, was from Window Seat. As you may recall from our interview in Issue 1 of the magazine, singer-songwriter Rose Brown said it wasn't likely that she'd ever perform her Window Seat songs in concert, partially due to their personal nature. When I ran into her before the show, I brought this up and she replied with something to the effect of, "Yeah, I thought that, then they offered me some money." As valid a reason to share your art with the public as any, in my opinion!

The crowd remained in a horseshoe formation, never coming too close to the stage during Brown's performance, but received her songs with impressively attentive ears -- a testament in part to the hushed hypnotism of her songwriting. Quiet as a whisper, powerful as a scream. Each song received a strong applause, often leaving Brown with a happy-nervous smile as she tuned her guitar for the next.

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