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Timothy Finn blogs about the Kansas City music scene

Arcade Fire’s Starlight Theatre show highlights a busy week for live music


04/23/2014 4:37 PM

05/22/2014 3:35 PM

Arcade Fire with Tune-Yards Saturday at Starlight Theatre. The show is sold out. Arcade Fire’s previous Kansas City show, in April 2011, topped many best-concert lists that year. This time, the seven-member band is touring on “Reflektor,” its most-recent album, and one that requires a larger ensemble of musicians. From a review in the National Post of a recent two-hour Toronto show: Win Butler and his crew — “having grown to include a horn section, Haitian drummers and strings courtesy of local enfant terrible Owen Pallett and Sarah Neufeld — debuted Arcade Fire: The Arena Rock Version in Canada, and what could have been a cringe-worthy romp of a once mighty juggernaut was proven a necessary evolution for the last survivors of Canada’s indie rock revolution.” Tune-Yards is experimental artist Merrill Garbus, who, with the help of multi-instrumentalist Nate Brenner, spins quirky, off-kilter folk and pop tunes. White Fang with Skating Polly Thursday at RecordBar, 1020 Westport Road. 18 and older, $8. White Fang, a four-piece from Portland, Ore., plays thrashy punk: tuneful, cacophonous songs awash in feedback, distortions, primal screams and other forms of mayhem, many of which come and go in two minutes or less. Skating Polly is a drum/basitar duo from Oklahoma City with a sound that should be instantly suitable to the headliner’s fans: visceral punk with a pop sheen. White Fang and Skating Polly also perform Friday at the Replay Lounge in Lawrence. Sevendust with Sidewise Thursday at the Midland, 1228 Main St. All-ages, $9.89. Sevendust, a veteran nu-metal band from Atlanta, is known for whipping up fits of riff-heavy noise tempered with melody. This evening, however, band members will be issuing a different sound: “An Acoustic Evening With Sevendust,” in which the band renders quieter, gentler versions of songs like “Crucified,” “Skeleton Key” and “Disgrace.” Sidewise is a heavy/modern-rock quintet from Overland Park. Chvrches with Broods, Meg Myers and Architects Friday at the Midland, 1228 Main St. 18 and older. Free. Chvrches is an electro-pop/dance trio from Glasgow, Scotland, that has aroused plenty of praise from the music blogosphere. From Pitchfork: “Chvrches embody what a generation raised on electronic music is looking for in a rock band, taking the danceable textures favored by the Electric Daisy set and applying them to the sweeping songcraft of M83 and Passion Pit.” In a voice that comes from somewhere between twee and angelic, Lauren Mayberry sings over the dance hooks and good-time riffs rendered by her bandmates. What it lacks in soul, it makes up for in tunefulness. Broods is a brother-sister electronic duo from Auckland, New Zealand. Meg Myers is a singer-songwriter from Nashville who writes melodic, introspective songs cast in various shades of blue, evoking a sound that recalls songwriters like Sinead O’Connor and Cat Power. The Architects are one of the best rock bands in Kansas City. Diana Ross Sunday at the Midland, 1228 Main St. $58 to $178. The Motown legend and former leader of the Supremes has been giving her fans an 80-minute tour of her career, filling the set list with classics and a few deep-album cuts from her solo and Supremes catalog, including “I’m Coming Out,” “Baby Love,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Touch Me in the Morning” and covers such as “The Look of Love” and “I Will Survive.” Angel Olsen with Promised Land Sound Monday at the Riot Room, 4048 Broadway. $10. Angel Olsen, 26, is a native of St. Louis who first stepped into the indie-folk spotlight when she sang backup vocals on Bonnie “Prince” Billy albums. She has released three full-length albums since 2011, including this year’s “Burn Your Fire for No Witness,” which has been generating rave reviews and for a good reason. Her style is at once familiar but mercurial; and her voice is a potent blend of influences. Let’s hope her Riot Room audience gives her the attention she deserves. Promised Land Sound is a Nashville trio that sings pop and rock tunes steeped in the sounds of the ’60s and ’70s. Grouplove with MS MR Wednesday in the Power & Light District. $20-25. Grouplove is an indie-rock/folk band that writes melodic anthems and delivers them with gusto: gang vocals, hand claps and other percussion. Much of it is catchy and irresistible, such as their best-known song, “Tongue Tied,” which has been streamed nearly 22.5 million times on Spotify. MS MR are a duo that issues dark, dynamic pop songs — sound that has been tabbed “chill wave.” Small Pools and Max Frost are also on the bill. The Black Lips with Natural Child and the Conquerors Wednesday at the Riot Room, 4048 Broadway. $14-$18. The Black Lips play poppy punk rock with a heavy garage rock accent. On songs like “Drive By Buddy,” the opener on their new recording “Underneath the Rainbow,” they bare their Southern influences. The Nashville trio Natural Child traffic in country, rock, Southern soul and classic rock. The Conquerors are a psychedelic-rock band from Kansas City. In Lawrence Manchester Orchestra with Balance & Composure and Kevin Devine Thursday at the Granada, 1020 Massachusetts. All ages, $18. Manchester Orchestra is a heavy but hooky alt-rock band with a punk attitude, especially during live shows, when frontman Andy Hull lets loose as if every show were his last. Balance and Composure is a five-man band from eastern Pennsylvania that plays a heavy combination of modern rock, post-grunge, emo and math rock. Kevin Devine writes catchy, energetic indie-pop tunes that come off their hinges every once in a while (see: “Fiscal Cliff”). Local Natives with Moses Sumney Friday at the Granada, 1020 Massachusetts. All ages, $23. Local Natives are an innovative indie-rock band from Los Angeles that composes and arranges ornate, dynamic rock ballads and anthems that bear an array of roots and influences. Moses Sumney is a 23-year-old singer/songwriter from Los Angeles with an arresting voice who creates dreamy soul tunes with guitar and loop pedal and that arresting voice. In January the L.A. Weekly named him one of 10 bands or artists “who will blow up in 2014.” The Faint with the Hussy and Digital Leather Sunday at the Bottleneck, 737 New Hampshire. All ages, $18-$21. This month, the Faint released “Doom Abuse,” its first album in six years, and it’s rife with all their better traits: lots of whimsical lyrics, hooky melodies and dark dance beats — a dizzying mix of Nine Inch Nails, Devo, B-52’s and too many synth-pop bands to mention. The veteran Nebraska band has always put on a joyous live show. With new songs like “Animal Needs” and “Dress Code” in its arsenal, this show should be no different. The Hussy is a two-piece thrashy garage/punk band from Madison, Wis. Digital Leather is the creation of Shawn Foree, who blends punk, garage rock with electronic accents. The Hold Steady with Deer Tick Monday at the Granada, 1020 Massachusetts. All ages, $20. While touring on “Separation Sunday,” released in 2005, Craig Finn and his rock band the Hold Steady developed a reputation for their explosive, fervent and exhausting live shows. Nine years and four studio albums later, including “Teeth Dreams,” released in March, Finn and his band haven’t lost much gusto, in the studio or on stage. “Teeth Dreams” is getting solid reviews: “Reconstituted with a brawny two-guitar attack, the Hold Steady return with another portfolio of dirty-realist tableaux,” wrote the Independent (U.K.). And reviews of recent live shows drew comparisons to Bruce Springsteen. Deer Tick is a band from Rhode Island that composes lively songs with a variety of roots: country, blues, bar-band rock and folk.

Local recommendations

Thursday at Knuckleheads, 2715 Rochester: Maria the Mexican with the Rick Gibson Band.

Thursday at Westport Saloon, 4112 Pennsylvania: Kasey Rausch and Tyler Gregory.

Friday at RecordBar, 1020 Westport Road: Dead Girls with Erik Voeks, the Belles and North of Grand.

Saturday at the Bottleneck, 737 New Hampshire, Lawrence: KJHK Farmers Ball.

Saturday at Trouser Mouse, 410 S. Missouri 7, Blue Springs: Katy Guillen and the Girls.

Sunday at Californos, 4124 Pennsylvania: Victor and Penny with Johnny Boyd and his Swing Lover Band.

Sunday at Replay Lounge, 946 Massachusetts, Lawrence: Deadman Flats and Brody Buster.

Tuesday at Coda Bar and Grill, 1744 Broadway: The Naughty Pines.

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