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The music blog of The Kansas City Star

Hospitalized Miley Cyrus cancels Sprint Center show

Miley Cyrus canceled her Tuesday night Bangerz Tour concert at the Sprint Center after a severe allergic reaction to antibiotics put her in the hospital.

The Sprint Center announcement, about 2 1/2 hours before the show was to start, said doctors had placed the performer on medical rest. It said refunds will be available where tickets were purchased, but those bought online or by phone will be refunded automatically.

Despite lightning communication through social media, some fans showed up hoping to see a show. Among them was a group from Neosho, Mo.

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By TIMOTHY FINN And GLENN E. RICE. 15 hours ago

On the way to Starlight: Steely Dan

They sold out the Midland theater in September, and they’ll be back in Kansas City this summer, playing a bigger venue.

Steely Dan’s summer tour includes a stop at Starlight Theatre on July 19, a Saturday. Tickets will go on sale on May 2. To see the entire tour itinerary, go here.

At its Midland show, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen were accompanied by an 11-piece band.

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Dream Theater belies its reputation for excess

One of the most revealing aspects of Dream Theater's concert Wednesday at the Uptown Theater was the length of drummer Mike Mangini's only solo.

His showcase lasted a mere two minutes, a duration that disappointed many in the audience of about 900.

Dream Theater is burdened with a reputation for bombastic excess. Although Wednesday's show lasted over three hours (including a 15-minute intermission), the members of the quintet allowed themselves surprisingly few moments of indulgent exhibitionism during their surprisingly taut performance.

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By BILL BROWNLEE. 6 days ago

Project Backstage honors Tyson Leslie for a life lived in music

In 2001, a few days after his boss at a music store fired him for excessive tardiness, Tyson Leslie decided it was time to drop the day jobs and become a full-time musician.

He already had a jump-start. For three years he’d been playing keyboards for Simplexity, one of the busiest cover bands in the city.

“That band was on fire back then,” Leslie said. “We played at the Levee every Wednesday, and it’d be 20 below but there’d be lines out the door both ways. It was a crazy, fun time. We were so tight. And I was the youngest guy in the band, and I learned so much. There was so much knowledge to absorb.”

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By TIMOTHY FINN. 6 days ago

KC-based Folk Alliance International announces new executive director

Folk Alliance International, which moved its headquarters to Kansas City in August, announced Wednesday that its board of directors has chosen Aengus Finnan to become its new executive director. He will take over reins of the 3,100-member group on July 1, replacing Louis Meyers, its executive director since 2005.

Finnan, 42, was born in Dublin, Ireland, and raised near Grafton, Ontario, about 80 miles east of Toronto. Since 2010, he has worked with the Ontario Arts Council. He is a singer, songwriter and recording artist and has released three albums, including “Once Upon a Time,” issued in 2013. He is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal for his work in arts and culture in Canada.

In February, the Folk Alliance held its annual five-day conference at the Westin Crown Center hotel. The organization also runs the Folk Store at 509 Delaware St. in the River Market.

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By TIMOTHY FINN. 6 days ago

Ink’s Middle of the Map Festival is a growing success

By all measures, after four years, Ink’s Middle of the Map Festival has become a national event, attracting bands and performers from other countries and all over the United States and attendees from outside Kansas City.

Organizers were expecting attendance of roughly 6,000 at this year’s three-day event, and despite some unseasonably cold weather, it appeared they reached their goal. Most venues were crowded all weekend, even on a bright and sunny Saturday, when bands started playing at 2 p.m. So the Middle of the Map was a success again, though, like every large event with many moving parts, it could use some tweaks.

The festival is in Westport, which is one of its strengths: Venues are a short walking distance from one another, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars to frequent. The one exception is the RecordBar, one of the festival’s best-sounding rooms, which is about a half-mile west of the heart of Westport.

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Middle of the Map ends in all-day showcase of music styles, performances

The final day of Ink’s three-day Middle of the Map Fest was the longest. By 2:15 p.m., bands were performing in five of the festival’s six venues; the music would continue for more than 12 hours.

Most of the rooms were full all Saturday, some to capacity. For the third day in a row, fans saw a wide variety of styles and performers. Highlights included a hip-hop showcase at the Riot Room and an impressive inaugural performance by a 15-year-old from Leawood who appears poised for stardom.

Of Montreal headlined the outdoor stage Saturday night, drawing a crowd of about 1,000 or so, it appeared. The six-piece band from Athens, Ga., draws its sound from a technicolor palette: glam, rock, funk, electronica.

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Middle of Map crowd gives Get Up Kids a warm homecoming

The cold front that barged into Kansas City didn’t keep music fans away from Day 2 of Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest. Crowds were big at most of the six venues, including the outdoor stage and they got the usual dose of music from local, national and international bands.

The Get Up Kids were that stage’s headliners. Friday’s set was the first time in four years the Kansas City band performed in North America. They gave a chilled but responsive crowd of several hundred a long set filled with lots of older material, songs like “Holiday” “Action & Action” and “Red Letter Day,” which typify the Kids’ signature sound: high-speed and brimming with melody, energy and emotion.

They changed up the pace a few times, rendering ballads like “Valentine” and “Better Half,” which prompted some slow dancing between a few couples (which was another way to keep warm). Occasionally, lead singer Matt Pryor handed vocal duties over to guitarist Jim Suptic, as on “Woodson,” another high-speed anthem with a jackhammer guitar riff. He also sang lead on “Campfire Kansas,” accompanied only on keyboards by James Dewees.

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