On Halloween, amid the debauchery of the "largest costume party in Missouri" (hang your hat on that Spring Vegas), the Highlife hosted one of the best local showcases in months. The Cropdusters headlined and Boogeymen and The Bootheel supported, but those roles fail to acknowledge how equally talented each group is.
I've briefly mentioned The Cropdusters before (or at least their lead singer). They play a fun style of southern/country rock that doesn't quite hit the "punk" mark, but is fun music nonetheless. Lead singer Jeb is a big Lucero fan and you can tell through his lyrics and slightly strained, yet steady vocals. Other lead singer Brian provides a change of pace vocally. His lyrics are often about life in the Ozarks and historically based. My current favorite song is Brian's "Quantrill," which is a fist pumping ballad for any self respecting Missourian that irrationally distrusts Kansans at best and openly despises any Jayhawker at worst. The Halloween show marked the final show for lead guitarist "Toad" Wyrick. I may have news on this front in the near future (I'm gonna scoop you, The Four Four!).
I missed the The BoogeyMen last night, so as to use my wristband at another bar (that wouldn't normally have a cover. Pub crawls are scams). I've seen them before and they are made up of an amalgam of local musicians and play western/rock-a-billy tunes, generally without vocals. They're fun and always play with masks, so I'm sure the effect was a little lost on Halloween.
The opening band, The Bootheel, played a loud set, which is their wont. They play a mix of punk, country, rock, and roots music to make a delicious glaze of goodness. (Not coincidentally, they make their own barbecue sauce. I kid you not. I bought some. It's delicious.). The band describes their sound as "aggressively Midwestern." It's an apt description and it makes you proud to be from the same area and culture that produces such amazing music.
Both these bands had their debut releases this year: The Cropdusters with Howdy and The Bootheel with Gold Tops.
If you live or will visit Springfield, Jeb and Brian from The Cropdusters and Todd from The Bootheel play acoustically at Lindberg's every Tuesday night for free. It's a unique event that not enough Ozarkians patronize.
For your sonic pleasure: