While a lot of the focus during Riot Fest this weekend will be on the headliners playing the May Farms stage and the Byers General Store, the festival includes up and coming bands, local and otherwise, worthy of attention. These are generally not the bands riding in large tour buses or flying in for the show and who most often load their own gear and sell their own merch on tour. With the recent announcement of the robbing of its tour van, clearly legendary emo band Mineral qualifies as one of these bands. One of the most promising of these up and coming bands of recent years is the brother trio Radkey from Kansas City who have made quite a buzz for its heavy rock and roll sound and wildly energetic performances.
Isaiah, Solomon and Dee Radke (the name of the band being a play on the pronunciation of their actual last name) were considered the "weird" kids pre-home schooling because of an avid interest in fantasy and science fiction literature as well as the music from their dad's eclectic music collection of classic, alternative rock and classic R&B. "The music we were into was lost on everyone so we couldn't relate to anybody," recalls Isaiah.
The Radke brothers also cultivated a keen interest in anime, manga and film. Their song "Romance Dawn" was inspired directly by the anime series One Piece. "Our dad has this friend who has a bunch of anime DVDs and we got started borrowing them and it changed our lives pretty much," explains Isaiah. "I think it's that it's super overboard with expressions and it's really fun to watch and it really translates to entertainment."
But don't mistake the Radke brothers for nerds in the strictest sense of the word. Their first show, after all, was opening for Fishbone, when another band dropped off the bill and the promoter didn't bother to find out if the trio had ever played a show or if they were of age or even if they had enough music to make up a set.
Though the group quickly gained a national audience early on into its existence, it also played in the Kansas City and Lawrence scene at venues such as Record Bar, Three Play Lounge and The Bottleneck, where it honed its stag craft and songwriting. "I would definitely recommend The Architects and are cool and Maps For Travelers are pretty excellent," offers Isaiah in terms of bands local to Kansas City and Lawrence. "Gnarley Davidson is also really cool."
Having toured numerous times in the last few years with the likes of Red Fang, The Shrine, Cancer Bats and Black Joe Lewis, the brothers Radke can safely be called veterans at this point despite their relative youth. Catch them on Sunday, September 21st at 4:45 p.m. on the Revolt stage at Riot Fest.
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If you'd like to contact me, Tom Murphy, on Twitter, my handle is @simianthinker.