Kansas isn't really known for a whole lot except wheat, The Wizard of Oz, and a university that's won a few basketball games. But in 1856, the fight over slavery provoked a raid on Lawrence that was one of the first dominoes to fall along the path to Civil War. Nearly 150 years later, Mike McCoy of Lawrence/Austin band Cher UK decided Kansas hadn't bled enough, or else he just wanted to see his friends from Minneapolis and Austin, so he organized the North Vs. South Music Festival. Hosted by Lawrence bars the Replay Lounge and Jackpot Saloon Aug. 19-21, NvS pitted Austin's Grand Champeen, Moonlight Towers, Rockland Eagles, the Wannabes, and Stickpony against Northmen Ol' Yeller, Baby Grant Johnson, ex-Hüsker Dü drummer Grant Hart, and turncoat Texan Mike Nicolai (who, to be fair, is a Twin Cities native). Things got off to a rockin' start at both ends when Towers were busted with a pinch of weed south of Fort Worth prompting a last-second benefit tonight (Thursday) at Room 710 and Minneapolis' Magnolias canceled after their drummer took a foul ball in the crotch while playing mascot at a Twins game, fell, and broke his wrist. Wannabes bassist Hunter Darby says overall, "The Southern people weren't shaved as well." The jam-session barbecues hosted by McCoy were even more fun than the actual gigs, he adds, but the late-night aftermath wasn't pretty. "All you could see was bodies. It looked like a war happened." The blue and gray souvenir jackets couldn't have helped.
McCoy and Darby's Cher USA plays Stubb's indoors Friday with the Dung Beatles.