2002 Kansas City CHADFEST
with Eugene Chadbourne & Malachy Papers
A Happy Note from Ben the Webmaster...

Midwest Chadfest 2002 was an astounding success!! I can't begin to tell you what a wonderful time was had by all these last four days around KC. It's taken me a day to recover, after dropping Eugene at the airport yesterday, from the immense vortex of energy created by the music of our Good Doctor and his amazing cohorts in Malachy Papers and Mr Marcos V7! Everyone was playing at top chops and every night unfolded in totally different directions. 

Malachy Papers have matured into an amazing band. Both Tenor Saxophonist Mark Southerland and Bass Sax/Bass Clarinetist Brad Hauser were blowing at ecstatic pitch. Several times I thought Mark had left the planet during his astonishing solos- not to mention his flights of 8-track Scratch. Stand-up Bass player Johnny Hammil was simply awesome at tying down the beat and creating bowed textures as well as taking the band in new directions through his inventive percussive interplay with Eugene's guitar. Percussionist Mike Dillon, fresh from a live tour with Les Claypool's Frog Brigade was the crowning touch. The guy was everywhere, moving seamlessly between Vibes and Drums and assorted goodies. Thursday night, the guy behind me screamed 'YOU ROCK'!!' at him all through the last part of the set- and yes, He DID! 

From the first moments on Thursday night in Lawrence, it was obvious something special was up. Eugene started out with a solo Banjo bit and the crowded, noisy bar immediately became quiet. After a couple of tunes he had 'em in his hand and then the band came out... The place rollicked through jazz standard and unstandard, careening into country, a floor stomping 'Redneck Mothers', and then rocketing full bore to a final conclusion at  3:00 AM. 

Friday night was at the Cup & Saucer, a nice little bar in the River Market area of KC right around the corner from my office. Again Eugene started solo but quickly mutated into full Malachy FORCE. The place was packed- people stood outside to listen. I didn't think it could get much better than the night before, but I was wrong. These guys just blew the doors down. For a group of folks that hadn't played together in several years, with absolutely no practice or planning, THIS GROUP OF PLAYERS WERE GREAT!! Eugene was amazing throughout! The night featured an absolutely sublime 'Banjo-8 Track-Funk Thing' that transcended a few dimensional barriers...

Anyway, Saturday it just kept going. Davey's Uptown was packed. The buzz from the first two shows was all over town. Eugene started with 'New New War' and a few solo tunes, soon to be joined by the Malachys... Mike Dillon began a Tabla beat and suggested a bit of 'Tabla-Banjo-8 Track-Funk' and off they went. The transition from 3rd world astro-funk n' roll into the thundering Jazz n' Country Malachy herd was a sound to behold. Eugene was ON.

As if this wasn't enough, next came Mr Marcos V7. Another project that Mark Southerland is involved in, and one I had not seen previously.  Suffice it to say, I was impressed. Another great band, soon joined onstage by Eugene and the Bass Sax of Brad Hauser. They brought the house down.

And then it was Sunday night at YJ's Cafe. YJ's is a little bitty place with amazing food, amazing coffee, and best of all amazing atmosphere. Host David Ford creates the perfect ambiance in this 'Third World Cafe'. After we cleared out the tables to make room the place filled right up. The street was filled with folks who couldn't make it in. Luckily the sound carried nicely. Eugene started off with a solo set on 6 & 12 string guitars and Banjo and then was joined by local drummer Arnie Young and Stand-up Bassist Jeff Harshbarger for a POWER TRIO performance that left everyone breathless. I couldn't have hoped for a more powerful conclusion to such a wonderful weekend of music.

Best of all, we have great DAT tapes of the first three nights and, thanks to my wife Donna's ingenious use of her micro cassette recorder, a serviceable copy of the electric set at YJ's! You will see at least some of this stuff out on House of Chadula soon! I want it ALL!!!

I  can't thank everyone involved enough for making this happen- to Mark Southerland for all his hard work setting up the gigs and making sure the $'s were right, the super-cool flyers and cards he scattered liberally about town to promote the gigs, not to mention the mind blowing horn playing he graced us with throughout. To Mike Dillon for helping with the plane arrangements and cost ( Greensboro Greensboro Greensboro ) as well as his feats of percussive mastery- and to both he and Brad Hauser for making the trip up all the way from Austin for these dates. To Chad Meise for his SUPERHUMAN work to get everything set just right for each night, the sound just perfect, and great tapes of the shows to boot! To David Ford for his graciousness, good food, and a great place to hang and play. To my wonderful wife Donna for putting up with me n' Eugene all week and keeping us fed. To Peregrine for the incredible Moo-Cow. To Joe for Joe. To all of the other musicians involved- I'm proud that we have this kind of talent in our little burg. Kansas City Jazz is truly alive again in the talent and spirit of these players.  

I also want to thank the many people who came out to support us. We even had one group of hard core fans come all the way from Normal, Illinois for the show Saturday night. Musician Frank Pahl, former cohort of Eugene ( his band 'Only A Mother' backed up Eugene at one time) was in town for a family affair and made a point of dropping in for Friday and Saturday's gigs. A lot of new fans were exposed to the Chadula virus as well!

And finally, most of all to Eugene for bringing out the best in all he touched. I've seen Eugene play many times through the years, but I don't know that I've ever seen him so consistently ON and obviously pumped by the experience. I only hope he feels as good about the week as the vibe he left behind. When I went in to YJ's today for lunch they were STILL talking about it.

...can't wait to hear the tapes! Hope you'll join us for the next one!!!!

Ben the Webmaster