Music

A Lorde, a Lady and King George: Musical royalty will hold court in KC in 2014

Updated: 2014-01-03T00:21:27Z

By TIMOTHY FINN

The Kansas City Star

The year is only two days old, but already the music calender is full of live events.

Some of the biggest tours of the past several years are scheduled to roll through Kansas City, starting with the biggest farewell tour of the year two weeks from Saturday.

Here’s a look at just some of the highlights of what looks to be a busy and eventful year in music.

The sold-out shows

• George Strait with Eric Church at the Sprint Center, Jan. 18: He’s calling this the Cowboy Rides Away Tour, his farewell to touring. Strait, 61, has filled the Sprint Center every time he has performed there, setting an attendance record in 2010 when he toured with Reba McEntire, a record that was broken the following year by Jason Aldean. This time he is bringing Eric Church, who can sell out arenas on his own.

• Jason Aldean with Florida Georgia Line at the Sprint Center, Feb. 28: Aldean is one of the biggest stars in contemporary country, a pioneer in the dirt-road/pickup-truck revolution. He holds the attendance record at the Sprint Center for his show in March 2011.

• Lorde at the Midland, March 21: The 17-year-old from New Zealand has but one record on her discography, “Pure Heroine,” which contains the blockbuster single “Royals.” Yet she sold out the 2,500-plus Midland theater in less than a day.

• Justin Timberlake at the Sprint Center, July 30-31: He announced one show. It sold out fast, so he added another. It sold out just as quickly. It’ll be Timberlake’s first appearance in Kansas City not as a member of ’N Sync.

Other big shows

• Lady Antebellum with Kip Moore and Kasey Musgraves at the Sprint Center, Feb. 15: Get there early. Musgraves is a rising star in country music and deservedly so.

• Miley Cyrus at the Sprint Center, April 15: She’s notorious and infamous, but she’s popular, too. Tickets remain, but most of the good seats are gone.

• Cher at the Sprint Center, May 31: She will turn 68 about 10 days before this show, but Cher remains eminent royalty in the diva universe.

The buzz shows

• Pixies with Cults at the Midland, Feb. 11: They’re on their third bass player in less than six months, but Frank Black is still out front, and the songs remain the same.

• Neutral Milk Hotel at the Uptown Theater, Feb. 13: It’s their first tour in 15 years and a big deal to their fans. The show is approaching a sell-out.

• Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears at Knuckleheads, Feb. 28: One of the more vibrant live acts out there, performing in one of the best midsize venues in town.

• Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings at Liberty Hall, March 8: Another dazzling live band, led by a true survivor.

• St. Vincent at Liberty Hall, March 31: She made a lot of new fans when she toured with David Byrne last summer, including a stop at Crossroads KC in July. Her own music will be well worth a listen in a venue like Liberty Hall.

• The Mavericks at Knuckleheads, April 18: Their show at Knuckleheads in September was one of the year’s best.

• Arcade Fire at Starlight Theatre, April 26: They always put on a show that brings out the uninhibited joy in a big crowd.

• Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds at the Midland, June 18: The buzz show of the year, a “bucket list” event for his most devoted fans.

The best of the rest

• Patty Griffin at the Bottleneck, Jan 25: A great songwriter and a riveting live performer.

• The Black Angels with Roky Erickson at the Granada, Jan. 31: A night of psychedelia, old school and new school.

• Greg Brown at Knuckleheads, Feb. 1: Iris DeMent’s husband is an elite songwriter, too.

• Jonny Lang with Samantha Fish at Kanza Hall, Feb. 23: Lang is only 32 but a seasoned veteran in the blues world. Fish, a native Kansas Citian, is ascending rapidly in that same world.

• Robert Earl Keen at the Granada, March 5: Like many Texas troubadours, he writes good songs and is an engaging live performer.

• Ben Folds at the Kauffman Center, June 10: Whether with a band or solo, he commands the stage.

• Journey with Steve Miller and Tower of Power at Starlight Theatre, July 14: The two openers make this a go-to show.

• Vans Warped Tour at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater, July 31: Dozens of bands blasting out what passes for punk from before noon till dusk, most of it in a parking lot, under the July sun.

Big events

• The International Folk Alliance Conference, Feb. 19-23: In 2013, the alliance moved to Kansas City after eight years in Memphis. This year’s annual conference, to be at the Westin Crown Center, will convene hundreds of musicians and industry professionals in the folk-music world for five days of panels, seminars, exhibits and live performances. This year’s keynote speaker is Graham Nash. For more information, go to FolkAlliance.org.

• Middle of the Map Fest in Westport, April 3-5: This event has grown each year and blossomed into a music festival that draws bands from all over the nation and world but still showcases the many good bands from Kansas City and Lawrence.

To reach Timothy Finn, call 816-234-4781 or send email to tfinn@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/phinnagain. Read more from him at our music blog, Back to Rockville, at KansasCity.com.

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