Buzz Beach Ball Review

As a courteous audience member who respects the concept of space while at a music event, it’s natural to encounter those who don’t. Excuses ranging from, “my little sister is waiting for me upfront,” to “I dropped my cellphone at the front and need to go see if its still there,” all were tired and tried by the time the sun had set on Buzz Beach Ball, an annual “mini music fest” promoted by 96.5 The Buzz. Though, as the coolness of night settled over the park, the crowds only increased in size.

Buzz Beach Ball took place Friday, Sept. 27, at Berkley Riverfront Park in Kansas City, Mo. Compared to music events I have attended in the past, it was a nice change of pace to be in such a small area, where the walk from one stage to the other only took a matter of minutes.

The schedule allowed an hourlong set for each of the 14 performers: Radkey, Saints of Valory, Little Green Cars, Atlas Genius, Kitten, Hanni El Khatib, Daughter, Wavves, Cage the Elephant, Awolnation, MS MR, Alt-J, Coheed and Cambria and Phoenix. The timing was brilliant, as soon as one set concluded the next one began. The fans that were less concerned with their proximity to the stage and more concerned with hearing the music claimed a perfectly prime spot to sit in between the two stages. The more restless fans, on the other hand, had their sights set on making it to the front of the crowd: the mecca of the music.

Though the performance level that MS MR brought to the stage captivated me, the enormous crowd forming at the other stage for the English quartet Alt-J concerned me. I made the official decision to leave MS MR early in hopes of claiming a decent spot to watch all of the Alt-J set. I made it to the stage just as “Rack City” blared from the speakers as Alt-J took to the stage, creating what I thought to be an odd juxtaposition, before they dove into their song, “Fitzpleasure.”

An hour later, before their set came to a close with their hit “Breezeblocks,” they announced, “Normally we’d walk off stage after that and pretend we were done, then come back on. But we won’t do that to you Kansas City. We respect you too much.” If only the girls singing all the wrong lyrics next to me had some respect as well.

Phoenix was the last group to go on, leaving us all with a killer performance. Their set started off strong with their most recent hit, “Entertainment,” as well as former hits such as, “Lasso” and “Lisztomania” among others. My tired legs were just about ready to call it a night, but Thomas Mars, lead singer of Phoenix, had enough energy to keep me, and the rest of the crowd, going.

To bring the night to a memorable close, Mars jumped off stage, walked around to the back where the videographers and photographers were positioned above the crowd, climbed up onto their platform to thank the fans, and proceeded to crowd surf back to the stage while pausing in the middle of the crowd to stand up and wave goodnight. Though ear-numbing applause and screams of thousands gave me a slight headache, they proved the night had brought an enjoyable experience to many.

The small park cleared out relatively quick, as the staff wasted no time in beginning to pack up equipment and break down the stages. For a music event that occurs so late into September, the name Beach Ball somehow seems fitting, seeing as the day reminded me of a carefree, blissful summer day filled with great music.

Lyndsey Havens is a journalism major from Chicago, Ill. Read more from .

  • Updated Sep. 30, 2013 at 8:49 pm
  • Edited by Chas Strobel
  • Beachballgoer

    The concert was the 27th of September, not the 20th.

    • Lyndsey H.

      Sorry for the misprint, thank you for pointing it out

  • anotherbeachballgoer

    all bands did not get an hour long set list

  • ryan

    Alt-J opened with Intro, not fitzpleasure. Concert was on the 27th.

  • Brystheguy

    I’ve never been to an event where they made it so hard to spend your money. Huge lines to park, huge line to get an id band, huge lines for beer, hour plus waits for food, huge lines for restrooms. The music was good but everything else was a joke.

    • Lyndsey H.

      Couldn’t agree with you more… I’ve been to plenty of music events and never experienced such long lines!