The summer has always been prime time for live music. This year is no different. All of the live venues have a list of big shows, and most of the indoor venues are as busy as usual. Here is a list of shows that will make this a summer to be remembered.
• New Edition with Whodini
, June 1 at the Sprint Center. Tickets are $45.75 to $79.75.
In the mid-1980s, before New Kids on the Block and the rest of the ’90s boy bands, there was New Edition, a teen pop/R ensemble whose alums include Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant, Johnny Gill, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe. Four of its five most successful albums cracked the top five on the R charts and generated sales of more than 7 million. On this tour, they have been performing a mix of New Edition songs and one another’s solo and post-New Edition material.
• Buzz Beach Ball
, June 2 at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. Tickets are $20 to $75.
The lineup: Sublime with Rome, Foster the People, the Shins, Flogging Molly, Metric and the Kooks on the main stage; the Joy Formidable, the Dirty Heads, Kimbra and the Antlers on the second stage. Don’t miss: the Joy Formidable, a Welsh band led by the blond dynamo Ritzy Bryan.
• Scissor Sisters
, June 25 at Crossroads KC, 417 E. 18th. Tickets are $30 to $76.50 for the VIP treatment.
Scissor Sisters are a brash and bawdy disco/glam-pop ensemble who have influenced, among others, Lady Gaga. Their live shows typically erupt into ebullient dance parties. Check out the insanely catchy “Paul McCartney” on the “Ta Da” album.
• Buddy Guy with Jonny Lang,
June 27 at the Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway. Tickets are $33 to $123.
Guy will turn 76 this summer, but he still puts on a memorable live show.
• Sleigh Bells with Jel and Class Actress
, July 12 at the Beaumont Club in Westport. Tickets are $18.65. This one’s for those who like a little thunder in their pop. Sleigh Bells is Derek Miller, formerly of the rock band Poison the Well, and Alexis Krauss, formerly of the pop-girl band Rubyblue. She sings sweetly over Miller’s heavy, industrial rock-infused dance beats. Jel is the rapper/producer Jeffrey Logan, co-founder of the Anticon, a collective of avant-garde hip-hop, trip-hop and electronic musicians. Class Actress is an electro-pop trio from Philadelphia fronted by vocalist Elizabeth Harper. It describes its music as “Depeche Mode meets early Madonna.”
• Brandi Carlile,
July 13 at the Uptown Theater. Tickets are $26 and $36.
She’s a gifted singer, songwriter and musician and a charismatic, dynamic live performer.
• The Mayhem Festival
, July 17 at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater (formerly Sandstone). Tickets are $22 to $42.
A metal-head’s dream show. The all-day hard-rock orgy features Slipknot, Slayer, Anthrax and Motorhead plus five other heavy bands
• Fiona Apple,
July 17 at the Midland, 1228 Main St. Tickets are $29.50 to $56.50.
The last time she played in our area she was part of the Lilith Fair — it was that long ago. Apple is back after an extended hiatus, preparing to release a new album on June 26 that is called (deep breath): “The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do.”
• Josh Ritter
, July 19 at Crossroads KC. Tickets are $21.50 to $61.50.
Ritter has emerged as one of the better songwriters of his generation. His style fits in somewhere between Jackson Browne and Paul Simon, and he has the live show to back it up.
• Tenacious D,
July 24 at the Uptown Theater. Tickets are $37.50.
Jack Black is back with his partner Kyle Glass as the metal/comedy band Tenacious D, the stars of an HBO series of the same name back in the late 1990s. The D just released a new album, “Rize of the Fenix.” This show is already close to a sell-out.
• Los Lobos
, July 26 at Knuckleheads, 2715 Rochester. Tickets are $34.50.
The band's performance at Knuckleheads in September 2011 is nearly legendary among those who saw it. They simply don’t have a bad night.
• The Avett Brothers
, July 26 at Crossroads KC. Tickets are $36.50 to $76.50.
They have become beloved for their joyous, unhinged live shows, which put a different spin on their engaging folk/country/rock tunes.
• My Morning Jacket with Band of Horses
, Aug. 6 at Starlight Theatre. Tickets are $36 and $46.
Two rock bands that infuse their music with elements of vintage country rock, with different results.
• Buzz Under the Stars
, Aug. 8 at Berkley Riverfront Park. Tickets are $35.
The stellar lineup: Silversun Pickups, Fun, Garbage, Alabama Shakes and Electric Guest. Get there early to see Alabama Shakes, who veer between electric Delta blues and sweet Southern soul, and the Electric Guest, who blend ’60s rock, pop and soul into groovy dance tunes.
, Aug. 22 at Starlight Theatre. Tickets are $60.
The kings of the jam band galaxy haven’t been in Kansas City in a long while, and they haven’t played a venue as intimate as Starlight in even longer.
• Merle Haggard,
Aug. 30 at Knuckleheads. Tickets are $55.
I’ve seen Haggard many times over the past seven or eight years, but not in a venue as intimate as Knuckleheads. He plays all the favorites. This ought to be a special night.
•Kansas City Live: The large, covered outdoor venue in the Power Light District downtown has lots of music events going on all summer. Unless noted, shows are free and start at 7 p.m.. A few of the highlights: the Eli Young Band, May 31. G-Love and Special Sauce, June 1. Randy Rogers Band, June 14. Gin Blossoms June 15; Girl Talk, 9 p.m. June 16, $10.