When musical worlds collide

Like one of the mash-ups they play, Apryl and the Get Down are splicing together two of the city's musical cultures.

On the one hand there's Apryl Mueller, who has performed with some of the city's slickest show bands, including Three Ring Circus and Big Fat Fun.

On the other is the Get Down band, who've played a more eclectic brand of music in smaller venues.

They make their debut tonight at the Shadow.

"It's the colliding of two worlds, two music scenes in Wichita," said Rudy Love Jr., leader of the Get Down band.

"The best of both worlds," Mueller quickly adds.

The contrasts are evident as the pair arrive for an interview at the Vagabond coffee shop in Delano. Mueller, 31, is freshly scrubbed (and dressed in scrubs) from her day job as a dental hygienist. Love, 21, is attired in hipster black and admittedly wiped out as he arrives from a gig in Manhattan with another act the night before.

Mueller is a former dancer for the Wild and Thunder sports teams who got her start singing in karaoke clubs. She once flew to San Francisco to try out for "American Idol," and although she didn't make it on air, the experience gave her enough confidence to try out for bands here.

Love is the youngest son of Rudy Love, one of the city's best-known musicians. Like his father, he's determined to make it as a full-time musician and adept at playing a variety of styles — pop, rock, funk — and instruments. The keyboard is his main instrument.

They met on the patio at Red Rock Canyon, where Love was performing with family members. Love's mother, recognizing Mueller from her work in Three Ring Circus, suggested she join them for a song.

Mueller and Love had a regular Wednesday gig as a duo at the Shadow this winter. Then, pushed by Mueller's husband and manager, Matt, they decided to bring in the rest of the Get Down band — Waira Njoroge on lead guitar, Tommie McClure on rhythm, D.J. Breathett on bass, Marrque Nunley on drums — and see what happens.

Matt Mueller is nothing if not enthusiastic. In an e-mail, he said he has spent the past year watching cover bands in Wichita and thinks that Apryl and the Get Down "are already the best" and "will raise the bar for everyone."

Love said the Get Down is simply out to become the city's go-to backup band "in the same way as the Funk Brothers in Motown. While playing our own music, we also want to collaborate. If we play every day, we can definitely make a small living off of it."

Together, they've worked up a set list that includes everything from Keisha, Katy Perry, Rihanna and the Kings of Leon to Bill Withers, Sly Stone, Al Green and Michael Jackson. But the songs, while recognizable, won't sound exactly like the originals. For one thing, Love likes to create mash-ups of songs that share the same key or other structural similarities, and leave plenty of room for improvisation.

"The mix that these guys throw on it is amazing," Mueller said. "It's definitely, I'd say, funky."

Love, asked to describe Mueller's style, said, "It's sort of a classic rock style-meets-today's pop music. Stevie Nicks meets Katy Perry."

"With a little bit of Salt-N-Pepa," Mueller added.

She also promises to throw in a few moves from her days on the dance team.

"Oh, yeah," she said. "I have fun with it."