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Vandals Takeover: Punk rock prevails on Broadway





Vandals Takeover: Punk rock prevails on Broadway

Just a stone’s throw from Westport, the space at 3740 Broadway is shaping its new identity. For years, Kenny’s News Room was a watering hole for journalists. It later became The News Room, a quintessential Midtown dive bar. In its later years, the establishment struggled to find its footing. New ownership transformed the spot into Black and Gold Tavern—an MU-themed bar—at the beginning of 2013. But like its predecessor, it failed to maintain a steady patronage and significance as a music venue. In March, the back room underwent a transformation, rebranding itself as the punk rock club Vandals.
 
“I like being able to provide a space for music, and I also like being able to pay local musicians for playing,” says Vandals’ manager Michelle Wyssmann. With that approach in mind, Vandals has grown into its own entity and has become a notable spot to catch a live show.
 
From the start, the venue set out to prove that it could thrive. A stage was built, an upgraded sound system purchased, and the grand opening party was stacked with a we-don’t-fuck-around lineup of The Big Iron, Drop A Grand, and Sneaky Creeps. Since then, Britt Adair has been booking local heavy hitters weekend after weekend, building bills that have made Vandals a haven for fans of distorted guitars and high-energy performances. DJs have taken up residency in the bar, helping bring in a regular crowd. The venue has also hosted the annual Center of the City Fest in April and its first Summer Kamp Fest in August, both of which boast more than 30 bands over 3 days.
 
Less than a year after taking the venue, Vandals has announced that the entire space will become theirs. Eager to don its new punk rock threads, Wyssmann notes that the bar area will feel more like a dive, and a wall of fame for bands will be constructed, but she reveals little else about the remodel. “I don't want to give everything away, but know it will be very punk rock and that leopard print is my signature color,” she exclaims. The bar will be closing on Sunday, November 30, and reopening as Vandals on Tuesday, December 2 (Facebook event page).
 
With a lack of venues that cater to a punk rock crowd, Vandals has begun to fill a gap in the local community. “It’s really cool to see a lot of bands starting up again and sharing that history with the younger scene,” says Wyssmann, who recognizes the value of having a destination for musicians and fans to congregate. She’s also an artist who understands the need to foster music in the city. “I think it's important [that musicians] have somewhere to go that cares about their future and wants to see them succeed.”
 
And in that same spirit of community support, reopening week will feature a slew of free shows, all leading up to the Vandals Takeover party on Saturday, December 6. Sex Offenders, Wick and the Tricks, Stiff Middle Fingers, Black on Black, and will play, while DJ Pat Brown will be spinning in the bar. A canned good can be exchanged for a raffle ticket; this will support the venue’s Punk Pantry. From 7 to 10 pm, various punk and horror vendors will be on hand to sell sweaters, scarves, home decor, and art.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle is editor of The Deli KC and plays music with The Philistines, Dolls on Fire, and Drew Black & Dirty Electric.
 
 

Vandals will be closing on Sunday, November 30 and will reopen on Tuesday, December 2. Be sure to hit up one or all of their events next week. Why not? They’re all free. Facebook event page for the December 6 show. 

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