Thursday, August 24, 2006

The great Andy Katz ranks Jayhawks in His "Sizzlin Summer 50"...

2. Kansas
What we like: The starting five returns and the Jayhawks once again picked up the best remaining player the class of 2006 in Darrel Arthur. He along with Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, Julian Wright, C.J. Giles, Russell Robinson and Sasha Kaun make up one of the most talented rosters in the country.

What concerns us: Just have to make sure the Jayhawks don't become like UConn last year, when it was hard at times to find a rotation with so much talent.

Power-rating push: Kansas plays Florida and Boston College, two games that show (as always) that this team isn't running from anyone.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Happy Trails

I was stunned to read this morning that Kansas's greatest band, Split Lip Rayfield, is playing its final shows this weekend (8/18 and 8/21) at the Bottleneck, as singer/guitarist Kirk Rundstrom (second from right) is terminally ill.

Split Lip released some great records on Chicago's Bloodshot label and toured extensively, but never quite had the national breakthrough they deserved.

They played what might be called hardcore bluegrass--traditional hillbilly music played with the loudness and intensity of punk rock. I've never seen a band generate more power with acoustic instruments (guitar, mandolin, banjo, and the infamous gas-tank bass). You never even noticed that there were no drums--they would have been redundant.

Find out more about the band and listen to their music here. My faves are "Crazy" and "Movin' to Virginia."

It's fitting that their swan song is at the Bottleneck; I've seen them there at least a half dozen times, and can honestly say I've never had more fun at a concert than at those shows. The noise, the intensity, the heat, the crush of people--it was like the Fieldhouse during a Mizzou game. I wish I could be there this time ...