Various Blonde / Photo by Fally Afani

We’ve always kept Various Blonde high on our radar because honestly, they’re just a band who knows what they’re doing. But they’ve gone through enough transformation in recent years that it’s time for music lovers to turn their attention to the Kansas City band.

When they played the Replay Friday night, we kept hearing the same thing again and again from the regulars. “I don’t remember the last time I saw them play.” That’s because for most of us in Lawrence, the band hasn’t played here as regularly as they did before the pandemic shutdown. They’ve always been heavy-hitters in the psych-rock front, with the onstage energy to match. But while most psych-rock bands kind of dropped off, Various Blonde adapted. Instead of just rocking it on the guitar, we saw a lot more gadgets onstage. There’s always been a synth accompanying them onstage, but it hits different now– and even the drummer had some electronic sounds running out of the laptop next to him.

What came out of them was nothing short of breathtaking. Their songs were full of danceable beats and sexy vocals, but that driving rock-and-roll force they’ve perfected was still steering the boat. They’re less like a traditional rock band, and more like our resident Mars Volta– exploring new ways to compose sounds we’re not used to hearing together. They are no longer experimental, that term implies a band that is throwing out ideas to the crowd and seeing how they hit. Rather, this is a band that knows exactly what they’re doing, and it’s time for the rest of the scene to start paying attention.

If you feel like shaking your butt all day, go ahead and invest some time in their Bandcamp.

Photos from the show, which they shared with Flash Floods and LYXE, below:



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.

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