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August 28, 2014

This week’s best live music: Colbie Caillat, Alabama and Ed Sheeran

Also among Kansas City’s top shows: Portugal. The Man at Crossroads KC on Friday, Aug. 29; Goo Goo Dolls and Daughtry at Starlight on Friday, Aug. 29; Avant at VooDoo on Sunday, Aug. 31

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Timothy Finn blogs about the Kansas City music scene

Colbie Caillat, Thursday, Aug. 28, at VooDoo

“Bubbly,” the feel-good hit of 2007, introduced Colbie Caillat to the world. The effervescent ditty quickly became a pop culture staple. Caillat will attempt to convince Thursday’s audience at Harrah’s Casino that the material from her forthcoming “Gypsy Heart” album is just as consequential. The native Californian may also comment on the powerful message about body image conveyed in the exceptional video for her new single, “Try.” Alex & Sierra, winners of TV’s “The X Factor,” open the show. The debut album by the Florida-based pop duo will be released in October.

Tickets range from $30 to $78 in advance through

Parmalee, Thursday, Aug. 28, at KC Live

After years of scuffling to find an audience, Parmalee has finally secured the attention of young listeners. Along with Lady Antebellum, Florida Georgia Line, the Band Perry and the Zac Brown Band, Parmalee was nominated for best country group in this year’s Teen Choice Awards. The cause of the newfound appeal of the quartet from North Carolina isn’t a mystery. The band’s latest album, “Feels Like Carolina,” contains three memorable hits: the affectionate love song “Carolina,” the flirtatious “Close Your Eyes” and the party song “Musta Had a Good Time.”

Details about the free concert are available at

Portugal. The Man and Grouplove, Friday, Aug. 29, at Crossroads KC

Formed 10 years ago in Alaska, Portugal. The Man can be viewed as a less mercurial version of the Flaming Lips. The ambitious psychedelic sound perfected by the band in the underground 2011 hit “So American” has given way to the insidious electronica-inflected gurgle of “Evil Friends,” a 2013 album overseen by star producer Danger Mouse. Portugal. The Man’s stylistic evolution makes it a good fit for a co-headlining tour with Grouplove, an electronic pop ensemble from Los Angeles. The best work of the opening act Strfkr, an electronic quartet from Portland, outshines the efforts of the headliners.

Advance tickets to the sold-out concert ranged from $31.25 to $71.50 at

Goo Goo Dolls and Daughtry, Friday, Aug. 29, at Starlight Theatre

It’s hardly a secret that the majority of the audiences at concerts by Daughtry and the Goo Goo Dolls are women. While both acts produce sturdy melodic rock, the rugged good looks of Chris Daughtry, 34, and the Goo Goo Dolls’ vocalist Johnny Rzeznik, 48, are responsible for much of the bands’ appeal. The youthful charm of the men may be fading, but the bands they lead are retaining their admirers. The Goo Goo Dolls continue to produce compelling music that complements enduring hits like the 1998 ballad “Iris.” People who latched on to Daughtry as he competed on “American Idol” in 2006 have also stuck with him partly because his music continues to resonate.

Tickets range from $25 to $95 in advance through

Alabama, Saturday, Aug. 30, at Starlight Theatre

Alabama isn’t offering rebates to fans who bought tickets for the American Farewell tour that ended 10 years ago. Billed as Alabama’s final tour, the concerts drew hundreds of thousands of the country band’s loyal listeners to sing along to Alabama’s hits one last time. Rather than being forgotten during the last 10 years, however, Alabama’s songs have been frequently covered by a new generation of country stars. The sustained interest was apparently too much for the remaining members of Alabama to resist. They’ll revive chestnuts like “Tennessee River,” “Mountain Music” and “Song of the South” at Starlight Theatre on Saturday.

Tickets range from $25 to $125 in advance through

Avant, Sunday, Aug. 31, at VooDoo

Sultry soul singer Avant is usually the center of attention when he performs in Kansas City. Women rush to the stage hoping to touch the vocalist or even obtain a selfie with him. The main attraction at VooDoo on Sunday, however, will be the revelers on the dance floor. The sartorial decisions made by people attending the annual White Linen Party, one of the signature events of radio station KPRS, will be the focus of the function. The R&B crooner from Ohio will need to invest hits like “Separated” and “Makin’ Good Love” with extra energy to maintain the audience’s focus.

Tickets range from $43 to $63 in advance through

Ed Sheeran, Tuesday, Sept. 2, at Sprint Center

Ed Sheeran is an unlikely teen idol. Scruffy and rumpled, Sheeran, 23, looks like an ordinary guy. His sensitive brand of folk music has little in common with the garish pop music associated with the likes of Ariana Grande and One Direction. Even so, the British musician has embarked on his first headlining tour of North America’s arenas. Sheeran will be challenged to make his achingly sincere and uncommonly intimate songs work in the cavernous Sprint Center. The music of his opening act, Rudimental, is more suited to filling the space. The British band makes soulful dance music.

Tickets are $50 in advance through

Bishop Allen, Tuesday, Sept. 2, at Czar Bar

Bishop Allen plays the sort of polite indie-rock that sounds as if the musicians are afraid of waking a sleeping infant in the next room. The Brooklyn-based band comes by its thoughtful approach naturally. Justin Rice and Christian Rudder, Bishop Allen’s primary artistic forces, are Harvard men. Their brainy music is immaculately tasteful. On the new album “Lights Out,” Bishop Allen resembles a wizened version of Vampire Weekend. The dusty folk-rock of opening act Jesse Marchant, a troubadour from New York, appeals to fans of Son Volt and Father John Misty.

Tickets are $10 in advance through

Islands, Tuesday, Sept. 2, at the Riot Room

A rarefied corner of the inclusive tent of indie-rock is reserved for musicians like Nick Thorburn. The Canadian’s music often evokes the dramatic pop of Neil Diamond and the theoretical rock of Animal Collective. With Islands, Thorburn creates arty songs that reward the undivided attention of adventurous listeners. Thorburn creates variations on the highbrow approach as a founder of the Unicorns and in his collaborations with members of the Shins and Man Man New York’s Teen is among the ensembles opening the show. Partly because the band includes three sisters, Teen resembles a messier version of Haim.

Tickets are $12 in advance through

The Breeders, Wednesday, Sept. 3, at RecordBar

The outsider noise of “Cannonball” is one of the most riveting outbursts to emerge from indie rock. In spite of its rudimentary bass line, screeching feedback and nonsensical lyrics, “Cannonball” continues to be embraced by radio programmers. While the Breeders have yet to produce anything as popular as the 1993 hit, the band’s unpredictability and experimental streak remain fascinating. The current Breeders lineup of twins Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson will be joined by the Funs, a band of gleeful noisemakers from Chicago.

Tickets are $25 in advance through

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