Lawrence Field Day Fest kicks off, last night at the Jackpot

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Stiff Middle Fingers Cameron Hawk with Stephen Egerton
  • Nick Spacek
  • Stiff Middle Fingers' Cameron Hawk with Stephen Egerton

Last night's kickoff show for the Lawrence Field Day Fest at the Jackpot featured several once-in-a-lifetime sights. Descendents guitarist Stephen Egerton hopped onstage with openers Stiff Middle Fingers as they ran through a mini set of Descendents covers — "Pervert," "Clean Sheets," "Sour Grapes," "Suburban Home" and a couple of others — for what frontman Travis Arey referred to as full-on "bucket list" fantasy fulfillment.

Travis Arey of Stiff Middle Fingers

Stephen Egerton

However, that was nothing compared with Egerton using an array of vocalists to knock out tracks from his 2010 album, The Seven Degrees of Stephen Egerton. The Dead Girls' Cameron Hawk, Season to Risk's Steve Tulipana, and Drag the River's Jon Snodgrass all tackled tracks from the all-star vocal lineup of that LP. Hawk's take on the Bill McShane (Ultimate Fakebook) cut "Never Again" really had people breaking out in smiles, as did Tulipana's lyrics-sheet-assisted run-through of Jesse Cole's "On the Avenue." It was absolutely stellar.
Cameron Hawk, singing for the Seven Degrees

Stephen Egerton

Considering the only time this sort of thing has happened before was for the album-release shows in Oklahoma City, it's frankly astonishing to get to see something this special at a little bar in the middle of Kansas. Egerton is a punk guitarist of the highest caliber, and watching him play was really a pleasure.
Steve Tulipana, singing for the Seven Degrees
  • Steve Tulipana, singing for the Seven Degrees

Jon Snodgrass of Drag the River

Drag the River played a shortened set of their punkish alt-country. It's a shame they didn't play longer because it's been ages since the quartet came through Lawrence. Their last few treks through the region have led them to the RecordBar; they used to hit the Replay, playing hours-long sets. Last night, we got no covers — no "She Thinks I Still Care," "Hybrid Moments" or "Having a Party." I know it's rare to complain that a band didn't play covers (especially when that's half the opening act's set), but part of Drag the River's appeal is their take on tracks like those. Here's to hoping they return soon, and give us a proper, full-length show.

It was a wonderful kickoff to what looks to be a killer weekend of local acts. And if the people this show drew out of the woodwork are any indication, Field Day Fest has the potential to be a big deal.

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