Continuing in a recent, coincidental short line of badass teenage music artists in Kansas City, scratching and clawing for a name (or perhaps just more bookings?), spawned by Zarin Micheal’s Fuck You EP alert two days ago, even more recent developments have revealed that there are more diamonds in the rough of the Kansas City music scene. But Demencha readers already know that. Today we’re bringing you a new artist who we’ve never covered before, from right here in Kansas City whose music is even more hotly-recommended by the Demencha tastemaker outlet, even more so than Zarin Micheal’s recent EP.
At 17 years young, singer, songwriter, producer and flat-phenomenal guitar player, Justus West, has a real gift. Though we don’t know much about him quite yet, it appears as though that gift might just be music. Truth be told, I’ve been connected with Justus West on facebook for about two years, but until last weekend he was just another online acquaintance to me. I had no idea. Flashing forward to this past Friday at a free CrossroadsKC show behind Grinders, Reach, Anthony Saunders, Lee Langston, Izmore and The Buhs performed a band set under the Kansas City night sky to a light crowd on a pretty night.
“That kid’s gonna be like, the next Jimi Hendrix…”, the friend who I met with at the show described the slight-framed kid with large eye-glasses to the far right of the stage who was putting on an absolute electric guitar spectacle with much more accomplished band peers joining him on stage, perhaps twice as old as him in some cases. This friend of mine is a keyboard, guitar and DJ veteran here in KC. Despite his talent and experience, I didn’t think much of his comparison at first, for it seemed like a lofty, dare I say audacious comparison, especially after a beer flight at a brewery across the street, maybe 30 minutes beforehand.
“Justus West”, KC DJ legend, Joc Max, told me as he was milling about through the crowd. “He’s incredible.” Something you should know about Joc Max, is that when he’s asked about the top-tier of artists/musicians in the city, he does not front.
Don’t take Mike’s word for it. Don’t take Joc Max’s word for it. Don’t take my word for it. Justus West is boarding a plane within a few days to work on music overseas in Norway, and these are what we see as the four best tracks, out of the seven total, on his soundcloud page right now. From singer/songwriter material, to hip hop beats and EDM productions, it seems like this kid is already proving that he refuses to excel in any single “box”. Listen now, Kansas City, or arrive late to the Justus West party before he finds a seam and starts making moves.