Deadman Flats

Ryan Ogle

One of the area’s most popular and active bluegrass bands will hit Topeka for the first time ever this weekend when Lawrence’s Deadman Flats brings their trademark brand of riotous and energetic “Thrashabilly” to J&J’s Gallery Bar in NOTO.

Formed in 2006, Deadman Flats became one of the most recognized names in the famed Lawrence, Kan., music scene by employing a ‘no-rules’ approach to their sound and live show. With their roots deeply entrenched in bluegrass, Deadman Flats throws tradition out the window by incorporating elements of blues, rock, folk, country and punk into their music. The end result is an eclectic, but entertaining blend of subversive Americana that has captured the attention of music fans from all walks of life.

In 2011 Deadman Flats introduced renowned blues guitarist and harmonica prodigy Brody Buster into the fold. Discovered at the ripe, young age of 8 years old by blues legend B.B. King, who called him “one of the greatest harmonica players of our time,” Buster was a seasoned veteran of the international blues scene before he was old enough to vote. While he still serves as the guitar-slinging and blues-singing front man in the long-running trio that bears his name, Buster’s role as Deadman Flats’ harpist allows him some much needed artistic freedom.

“It’s a lot of fun for me to do shows with Deadman Flats,” said Buster. “There’s not as much pressure on the situation. It’s a chance for to just get up there and party.”

Aside from Buster’s legendary harmonica playing, Deadman Flats features an array of traditional bluegrass instrumentation, such as mandolin, acoustic guitar, banjo and stand-up bass. However, this is where “traditional” ends and the fun begins. With high-octane tunes about outlaws, women, booze and debauchery, a Deadman Flats show is a barn-burner the audience won’t soon forget.

“It’s a crazy bluegrass party!” said Buster of the band’s live performance. “Lots of whiskey-drinkin’ songs, wild guitars, harmonica and people freaking out.”

This party starts on Saturday, June 7 at J&J’s Gallery Bar, located in the NOTO Arts District at 917 N Kansas Ave. Topeka’s outlaw bluegrass quartet The Creek Heathens will open the show. Tickets are $7 at the door. For more info, visit