Midwestern’s intimate show at 7th Heaven was raw emotion

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Midwestern. // Photos by Archana Sundar

When I met Charmaine Ejelonu, she sat on the first floor of KU’s Snow Hall, calculus on a desk in a dingy room reserved for MATH115.

The same Charmaine, along with RW of local Kansas City duo Midwestern, put on a performance twisted with pleasure and pain, sweetness and rain. It’s been a journey seeing Charmaine grow with RW into Midwestern as they are now.

7th Heaven (7621 Troost Ave.)—a record store known for their downstairs venue—hosted Midwestern on Saturday, Nov. 20. The intimate setting allowed close friends and newcomers alike the opportunity to connect with the couple’s emotional artistry through their experimental hip-hop sound.

“Connect” is a loose word. Personally, I cycled through the emotions of the duo with them during each part of the performance, before truly understanding and feeling the weight of their message.

Charmaine’s alternation between screaming vocals and soothing melodies mixed in with RW’s sporadic close-ups into the onlooker’s faces left them cycling through a mix of surprise—fear, even—that subdued to thrill, awe, adrenaline.

The raw emotion poured into every beat, every word, every line, bounced through each audience member. There was an air of connection in the room that was unique to this starkly severely harsh, yet soft and intimate duo.

The contradiction in their music is the same duality, push and pull force, that led me to Charmaine in a dingy calculus class. RW and Charmaine both play a beautiful part in the thing we crave the most in this life—purpose in finding ourselves in others, and others in ourselves.

Here are a few words from Midwestern:

“This is not complex, nor is it avoidable. We’re looking into the eyes of creation, and allowing it to stare back. This is our music. It’s a work of love. It’s an argument we couldn’t end. It’s what we feel and what we want. What do you feel and what do you want? These are photographs of our last show. We play at least one a month. They’re usually free. If you’re around Kansas City you should check one out. We’d love to see you.”

Check them out on Instagram at @midwestern.816, and watch out for the next show.

You might get lucky and get to meet their puppy, too.

All photos by Archana Sundar

Categories: Music