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Timothy Finn blogs about the Kansas City music scene

This week’s best live music: Jack White, Miranda Lambert and Katy Perry

08/15/2014 2:26 PM

08/16/2014 4:17 PM

Harmed Brothers, Friday, Aug. 15, at Davey’s Uptown Ramblers Club

The handmade music of the Harmed Brothers doesn’t merely provide a temporary sanctuary from processed commercial sounds. When contrasted with the aching sincerity of the Harmed Brothers, many Americana ensembles seem crass. Without the exceptional song craft of Missouri-born Ray Vietti and his musical partner Alex Salcido, the output of the Portland-based men would merely resemble an inspired back porch hootenanny. The Harmed Brothers’ immediately engaging “Beast of the North West” is the type of rustic song that propelled Mumford & Sons to stardom. The Kansas City honky-tonk band the Blue Boot Heelers is among Friday’s opening acts.

The cover charge is $7.

Umphrey’s McGee, Saturday, Aug. 16, at Crossroads KC

Umphrey’s McGee is a jam band that dares to be different. The Chicago-based ensemble adds wildly disparate elements including funk, prog-rock, indie-rock and metal to its lengthy jams. Umphrey’s McGee’s inclusive outlook doesn’t end with music. The band adeptly uses technological innovations as a means to acquire new fans and to create additional income streams. For instance, up to 20 fans at Saturday’s concert can pay an additional $40 to listen to the performance on premium headphones. Magic Beans, a danceable jam band from Colorado, opens the show.

Tickets from $22.50 to $59.50 in advance through crossroadskc.com.

Miranda Lambert, Sunday, Aug. 17, at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater

Miranda Lambert is entirely believable when she sings “Got a real good feelin’ somethin’ bad about to happen” on her latest single. Unlike many of the unblemished stars who inhabit the top of the country charts, Lambert creates music with sharp edges. The native Texan seems to have firsthand knowledge of heartbreak, lawlessness and despair. The uncommon traits make Lambert one of the most distinctive country stars of the new millennium. Justin Moore, a vocalist from Arkansas who recently released a duet with Vince Neil on a cover of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home,” and Thomas Rhett, the son of ’90s country star Rhett Atkins, open Sunday’s concert.

Tickets from $27.50 to $52.75 in advance through ticketmaster.com.

Imelda May, Sunday, Aug. 17, at Knuckleheads

While she’s a star in Europe, Imelda May remains a relative unknown in the United States. It’s unclear if American audiences are unwilling to get their rockabilly and roots rock fixes from an Irish woman or if May’s demonstrative performances on late night talk shows and the Grammy Awards failed to make lasting impressions. May will close out 2014 by headlining two concerts at Dublin’s O2, the largest music venue in Ireland. Fans in her homeland would undoubtedly be thrilled to catch May in a substantially homier venue like Knuckleheads.

Tickets are $22.50 in advance through knuckleheadshonkytonk.com.

Jack White, Monday, Aug. 18, at the Midland theater

Guitarist Jimmy Page continues to tantalize classic rock fans with his overtures to vocalist Robert Plant about a reunion of Led Zeppelin. The possible re-formation is both ill-advised and unnecessary. Jack White has been keeping the Led Zeppelin flame burning with the White Stripes, various side projects and as a solo artist. His riveting music — inspired by the same blues and folk sources as Led Zeppelin’s — is a worthy successor to the British band’s legacy. White’s recent set lists include material from his fine new album, “Lazaretto,” enticing covers and favorites by the White Stripes and the Raconteurs.

The show is officially sold out, though some tickets may become available through axs.com.

Amanda Shires, Monday, Aug. 18, at the Riot Room

Just as being the child of a notable musician can be a difficult burden to overcome, being the spouse of a better known artist presents unique challenges. Amanda Shires is an extremely talented singer/songwriter, but she’s invariably known as the wife of Jason Isbell. Her husband’s acclaimed work with the Drive-By Truckers and as a solo artist has received far more attention, but her insinuating voice, sly fiddle work and expressive compositions like “When You Need a Train It Never Comes” may eventually provide Shire with the recognition she deserves. Andrew Combs, another native Texan, opens the show with material in the tradition of troubadours like Rodney Crowell.

Tickets are $10 in advance through theriotroom.com.

Swear and Shake, Monday, Aug. 18, at the Czar Bar

Brooklyn’s Swear and Shake has served as an opening act for the folk-rock hitmakers the Lumineers and for the soulful folk-rock artist ZZ Ward. The pairings make perfect sense. Swear and Shake is among the best of the new wave of indie-oriented folk bands. The lustrous vocals of Kari Spieler would be an asset to most any ensemble, but the understated setting of Swear and Shake’s repertoire allows Spieler’s instrument to shine brightly. Her charming duet with band mate Adam McHeffey on “Marbles” evokes the sweetness of the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros hit “Home.”

Tickets are $10 in advance through czarkc.com.

Katy Perry, Tuesday, Aug. 19, at Sprint Center

In one of the year’s most adorable viral videos, the attitude of a fussy baby strapped into a car seat instantaneously changes when she hears the opening notes of the Katy Perry hit “Dark Horse.” The little girl’s rapturous reaction to the song reflects the intense affection millions of fans have for the pop star. “Dark Horse” is the latest entry on an impressive list of Perry’s chart-topping hits that began in 2008 with “I Kissed a Girl.” Kacey Musgraves, the winner of best country song and best country album prizes at this year’s Grammy Awards ceremony, opens the show.

The show is officially sold out, though some tickets may become available through axs.com.

Nickel Creek, Tuesday, Aug. 19, at the Uptown Theater

When Nickel Creek burst on the bluegrass and folk scenes with a self-titled album in 2000, most observers immediately recognized that the prodigiously talented trio from California was destined for stardom. Chris Thile and siblings Sara and Sean Watkins expanded the pop potential of traditional music that Alison Krauss had discovered a few years earlier. Thile has since been awarded with a “genius grant” by the MacArthur Foundation. Sara has released two highly admired solo albums, while Sean has collaborated with several other prominent musicians. Sarah Jarosz, a like-minded artist based in Boston, will open for the recently reunited Nickel Creek.

Tickets are $30 in advance through ticketmaster.com.

The Coathangers, Wednesday, Aug. 20, at the Riot Room

True believers in the original punk rock aesthetic, the Coathangers embrace musical primitivism, possess a fiercely autonomous image and operate with a do-it-yourself aesthetic. The throwback approach of the trio from Atlanta has made it one of today’s most respected underground bands. The new album “Suck My Shirt” is a bracing set of garage rock anthems that are likely to sound even livelier at the Riot Room. Pagiins, a band from Fort Smith, Ark., that expertly evokes the psychedelic sounds associated with the “Nuggets” compilations, is touring with the Coathangers.

Tickets are $10 in advance through theriotroom.com.

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