For Kris Lager Band, every show is an opportunity to impress.
“It’s like dressing up to go to church,” Kris Lager says. “Only this is the electric church where you put on something that’s going to make you want to dance and be happy and feel good about yourself.”
In live performance, a band focusing solely on their sound can risk ignoring the other aspect of live music that separates it from a recording: the physical presence of the band.
Kris Lager Band is in no such danger.
“Appearance and image is very important to defining a band,” Lager said in an e-mail interview from Colorado, where the Omaha-based band booked four shows this week. After returning from this tour, the group plays the Hullabaloo Music Festival at Sokol Park in Bellevue, Neb., which runs Sept. 5-8.
The idea of image as it defines a band seems to be the guiding principle behind their new music video for “What You Got” off the band’s 2012 album, Swagadocious.
The video opens with a quick discussion between Lager and bassist Brandon Miller talking about hitting up the thrift store in search of new threads for the night. The two climb into an old Chevy van and pick up the rest of the band on their way to a vintage clothing store — the Flying Worm in Omaha — where the band and, very importantly, their friends take turns donning the funkiest outfits they can find.
“(The idea) spawned from our love of thrift store threads, and us donning our funky duds at our shows,” Lager says. “We are trying to get our audience to do the same, a unifying experience if you will. If you dress funky, you feel funky.”
Their funk philosophy extends beyond their appearance. Swagadocious, Lager says, is a state of mind in which, no matter what the circumstances, the band is intent on having a good time, especially on stage.
For Lager, dressing like a ‘70s rockstar is part of that Swagadocious state of mind.
Lager said they worked with Brett Brooner from Broonamite Productions on the “What You Got” video for his openness to spontaneity. It’s an important factor for a band whose mission statement involves having fun, and especially important for a video wherein the cast tries on whatever clothes they like and dances around in them. A strictly choreographed video would perhaps have been contrary to the Swagadocious philosophy.
In many ways, the video paraphrases the Kris Lager Band live experience. Lager says that, while in every city he’s ever played, he’s noticed small differences, there is still one unifying commonality.
“Ultimately, we all want to be happy, be loved, and be entertained,” he says.
Check all three off with the “What You Got” video here:
Jacob Zlomke is a Hear Nebraska editorial intern. He wishes all rock bands wore rawhide fringe vests. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.