-by Fally Afani
The first day of Kanrocksas is something I can only describe as a smorgasbord of music. The lineup brought all types of music fans together. Your hippies canoodled with your metal heads, the ravers rubbed elbows with the hip hop kids, and the indie rockers cut a rug with the blues fans.
We checked out more bands than you can shake a stick at, and we didn’t have enough hours in the day to photograph and videotape them all. But here are some that caught our eye.



UME at Kanrocksas
There’s nothing I love more than chicks with guitars who can rock out, and UME’s frontwoman was a hoot and a half. She may not have had the strongest voice in the world, but this gal constantly thrashed about the stage, constantly flipping her hair wildly like a true 80’s rocker. Her guitar skills were impressive, and her stage presence was truly charming.
Watch her rock out and get crazy about halfway through this clip:

Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding

I was happy to see so many acts come to us from across the pond, but I was absolutely elated to watch Ellie Goulding. Delicate and precious, the milky white performer took the stage donning a blouse resembling a doily. But don’t let her fragile look fool you, this woman can sing.
Goulding belted out one potent song after another, constantly showcasing her fierce and aggressive vocals. Her fans in the crowd were mostly young women, but even the boyfriends they dragged along seemed impressed. Goulding had won their hearts over, all while hiding behind her bangs in an ever so shy manner.




This was my first time seeing Primus, and I now realize that I should jump at the opportunity to see this incredible show every time they come through.
Perched in front of giant, inflatable spacemen, Primus had boys young and old salivating at the mouth. At one point or another, this band had meant something epic to them.
Les Claypool makes playing the bass look effortless. Just watching his fingers fly up and down the neck of his guitar while he slaps and strums will leave you speechless.


The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips

You know, it really is starting to feel like you can’t get through one Kansas summer without seeing The Flaming Lips. The ever-attentive Wayne Coyne spent much of the day mulling about the place, always appearing (as usual) on the side of all the stages, watching his fellow performers.

Tonight, in celebration of this unique Kansas festival, his dancers were dressed in Wizard of Oz attire. Dozens of Dorothys, lions, scarecrows and even a tin man bounced about the sides of the stage throughout the entire set, constantly grinning from ear to ear.

The Flaming Lips Dancers
The show was spent blowing the audience’s mind with a light show, covering them in confetti and lazers, and occasionally showing off the band’s latest little gadget. Seeing The Flaming Lips (as bizarre and intense as their show has become) has become so routine, yet so necessary, for most Northeast Kansans, yet it never feels mundane. In fact, at this point I’d say it’s most likely a tradition. One I hope the band will keep up.



By the time the festival had started setting up for Eminem, the place was an absolute madhouse. Long gone was the peaceful serenity that most audiences find at festivals. Instead, we were left with drunk, pushy and fighting fans impatiently waiting the return of their king.
When he took the stage, the crowd went nuts. All that negativity disappeared and the fans were elated that Eminem had returned.

He opened up the show with a few words on screen describing his battle with addiction and the difficulty with coming back to performing. From there on, Eminem did as much to bring you into his world as possible. This included a loud gunshot sound that would put the fear of violence into you, and a rainfall of purple pills cascading onto the crowd from the screens. He pulled out all the stops in helping you understand what he had to go through for a recovery tour. The beautiful and ballady “Sky Full of Lighters” almost brought a peace to it all. At that point everyone was involved, thrusting their lighters, as cheesy as that is, into the air in support of Eminem’s long and difficult journey.
Below are some other performances we enjoyed from Friday, including our local Lawrence boys Fourth of July. Also, be sure to check out the photo gallery from day one of Kanrocksas here.
Fitz and the Tantrums

Arctic Monkeys

Fourth of July





Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

Leave a Reply