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ConcertsNEARfest 2005: Proto-KAW

Posted on Sunday, February 19 2006 @ 17:29:31 CST by Jack Toledano
Concert Reviews Proto Kaw, when dissected: proto means "prototype" or "early version of", and Kaw is the Native American word for Kansas. So essentially, what you have are musicians who form what early Kansas might have looked like. In any event, during the weekend of NEARfest 2005, Proto Kaw was the band that kicked off the festivities on Friday evening for the Progressive Legends Showcase. Being that this was my first time at NEARfest, Proto Kaw definitely set a very good example of great things to come.

Midway through the festival, I could see that Proto Kaw was one of the best bands to play that weekend. Unlike a few of the other bands, which I considered to be a bit on the quirky side, Proto Kaw's songs had a very catchy quality, and a Kansas-like feel to them. They were very crowd friendly, mixing in a fair amount of banter between songs, and just seemed really to be having a good time, cracking a few jokes to each other on stage during the performance.

The band played songs from their Before Became After and Proto Kaw-The Early Recordings of Kansas 1971-197 albums, and also included a red hot version of the Kansas classic "Death of Mother Nature Suite, which the crowd loved. If Proto Kaw were rated on their crowd friendliness alone, they would win best band of the festival outright. They certainly gave every other band a run for their money talent wise as well. Kerry Livgren, who probably can be considered the leader and frontman due to his past success with Kansas, was in my opinion the best guitarist of the festival. Aside from Kerry, other members of Proto Kaw are; Lynn Meredith (Vocals), Dan Wright (Organ), John Bolton (Sax, Flute), Craig Kew (Bass), Brad Schulz (Drums), and Jake Livgren (Guitar, Keys). It should also be noted that Proto Kaw was very generous with their time after the show, as the entire band made themselves available for one big group interview with SoT.

Jack Toledano

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