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May 7, 2014

Justin Timberlake, Boulevardia and Paul McCartney are all on KC's summer music calendar

The calendar is full and ripe with blockbuster shows. It includes emeritus acts, such as Cher, Paul McCartney, Steely Dan, Willie Nelson and James Taylor. It also includes stars in their prime, such as Justin Timberlake, who will take over the Sprint Center for two nights in July. Miley Cyrus returns Aug. 12.

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Timothy Finn blogs about the Kansas City music scene

The summer music calendar is full and ripe with blockbuster shows. It includes emeritus acts, such as Cher, Paul McCartney, Steely Dan, Willie Nelson and James Taylor. It also includes stars in their prime, such as Justin Timberlake, who will take over the Sprint Center for two nights in July, and the debut of a street festival in the West Bottoms. Here’s a look at the best of what looks to be a summer to remember for music fans.


July 30-31: Justin Timberlake

More than just a famous recording artist, Timberlake as ascended to the status of multifaceted celebrity, a budding icon. The first Sprint Center show sold out so fast he immediately added another. Both nights, he’ll deliver an extravagance of music, glamor and humble stardom. In its review of Timberlake’s Feb. 19 show at Madison Square Gardens, the New York Times praised him for the “showmanship, class and impeccable ease in which he can deliver an over two-hour set of music that barely allows for any time to sit, breathe or falter.”

Other big shows

May 31: Cher.

She will turn 67 on May 20, but she is getting rave reviews for her Dressed to Kill Tour, which is replete with outrageous costumes and and avalanche of hits. Cyndi Lauper opens.

June 21: Night of the Proms.

Featuring Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Chic with Nile Rodgers and the Pointer Sisters with an orchestra and rock band.

July 16: Paul McCartney.

His previous show at the Sprint Center, in July 2010, is atop a lot of people’s list of best-ever live shows.

Aug. 12: Miley Cyrus.

The show she rescheduled after she was hospitalized for several days in Kansas City just hours before an April 15 show.

Aug. 19: Katy Perry.

Perry’s previous show at the Sprint Center, in August 2011, was a visual feast. This year’s Prismatic World Tour promises the same kind of spectacle. Get there early and see the opener, Kasey Musgraves, a rising star in country music.


June 18: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Cave’s resume is much deeper than his solo material and his work leading the Bad Seeds. He was a founding member of the Birthday Party and Grinderman, a composer of film scores and soundtracks, an author and screenwriter. His rare performance in Kansas City is a bucket-list show for many of his die-hard fans. He is touring on his latest album, “Push the Sky Away,” but his set lists have been drawing songs from all over the Bad Seeds’ 15-album catalog, going as far back as their debut album, “From Her to Eternity.” Warpaint opens.

Other big shows

June 6: Anthony Hamilton.

Old-school R and soul.

June 14: Bob Weir and Ratdog.

He will resurrect the Dead.

June 28: Tech N9ne.

One of Kansas City’s most successful recording artists always puts on an outlandish live show.

July 22: New Edition.

Old-school new jack swing.

Aug. 2: Tori Amos.

This will be Amos’ first performance in Kansas City in five years. On Tuesday, she will release “Unrepentant Geraldines,” her 14th studio album.


July 6: Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss and Union Station with Jason Isbell

Likely to be one of the best shows of the summer. Nelson can be hit-or-miss, but when he’s on and energized he can put on a lively, memorable show. Krauss is still fronting a crack band of seasoned veterans. And get there early to listen to Jason Isbell, who has put together a solid solo career after leaving the Drive-By Truckers.

Other big shows

May 13: Queens of the Stone Age.

Stoner rock with a sharp metal edge. Primus opens.

June 23: James Taylor.

He still has that voice and that enormous catalog of hits.

June 24: Ray LaMontagne.

Folk-blues with a heavy dose of soul.

July 19: Steely Dan.

They’re back in town for the third time in three years, playing the hits and favorite album cuts.

Aug. 23: ZZ Top with Jeff Beck.

An odd pairing, at least musically, but it brings together two veteran acts who still have the chops and set lists loaded with classics.


June 2: Vampire Weekend

Their latest album, “Modern Vampires of the City,” made a lot of best-of lists for 2013, for its lyric commentary as much as for its groove and sway. After eight years, they’ve become a better and more assured live act, too, which is one reason this show sold out so far in advance. Cults open.

Other big shows

June 28: Robert Randolph the Family Band.

Still preaching funk and soul and playing the pedal steel evangelically.

July 2: Conor Oberst.

His new album, “Upside Down Mountain,” a collection of country-tinged songs, comes out May 19. Dawes opens.

July 22: Gary Clark Jr.

An eclectic take on the blues with plenty of guitar wizardry.

July 23: Jurassic 5 with Dilated Peoples.

Taproot ’90s hip-hop.

July 26: Pat Metheny Unity Group with Bruce Hornsby.

The Lee’s Summit native comes home to share his music vision.


May 13: Slayer with Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus

This will be a tough night for fans of heavy rock. Slayer, one of the Big Four of thrash metal legends, headlines at the Uptown Theater the same night Queens of the Stone Age headline at Starlight. For hardcore metal fans, the openers for Slayer make the choice a little easier: veteran thrash-metal bands Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus.

Other big shows

June 16: Lauryn Hill.

In February 1999, just days after her album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” won five awards at the Grammys, Hill performed at the Midland theater. She hasn’t been back to Kansas City since.

June 24: The David Rawlings Machine.

His band includes longtime partner Gillian Welch plus John Paul Jones (of Led Zeppelin fame), Willie Watson (Old Crow Medicine Show) and Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers).

July 3: Jackson Browne.

It’s a solo-acoustic show.

July 17: Carolina Chocolate Drops with Old Crow Medicine Show.

A must see for fans of old-time music.

Aug. 19: Nickel Creek.

Neo-bluegrass with jazz filagrees. Sarah Jarosz opens.


June 20: The Avett Brothers with Langhorne Slim

The Avetts apparently have outgrown Crossroads KC, a venue they have sold out in their previous two appearances in Kansas City. That’s no surprise. They have earned a reputation as a must-see live band for their spirited, high-energy performances. They continue to blend all flavors of acoustic music — folk, country, bluegrass — and forge them in to a dynamic sound that is at once fresh and vintage. The All Music Guide describes Langhorne Slim’s music as a mixture of “the Cramps, Beck’s early indie records and the soundtrack to ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ 

Other big shows

May 24: Skrillex.

Call it disco, call it dubstep, call it EDM: It’s all created to make you fall into a groove and move.

June 1: Brad Paisley.

A guitar wizard in a cowboy hat who blurs the line between country, rock and pop.

June 15: Rascal Flatts.

This band is about as country as a suburban lawn, but they can still fill a big venue. Sheryl Crow and Gloriana open.

July 31: Vans Warped Tour.

The all-day orgy of punk, hard-core rock and some hip-hop is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Aug. 17: Miranda Lambert.

In the studio and onstage, she can hang with any of the big boys in country music. Justin Moore opens.


May 31: Rockfest

The annual all-day hard-rock spectacle draws more than 40,000 hard-core fans to Liberty Memorial. Fifteen bands will perform, starting at noon. Headliners are Korn, Killswitch Engage and Five Finger Death Punch.

June 13-15: Boulevardia

The inaugural three-day street festival that will celebrate food, beer, music and the arts in the West Bottoms from June 13-15. More than three dozen breweries will participate. More than two dozen bands will perform. Headliners: Capital Cities, the Wild Feathers, the Freddy Jones Band and the BoDeans. Local bands on the bill include the Grisly Hand, Katy Guillen the Girls and Hearts of Darkness.


Kansas City Live in the Power Light District

Foster the People, May 17; the Naked and Famous, May 30; Chris Cagle, June 5; Neon Trees, June 20; the Neighbourhood, June 27; Randy Rogers Band, July 10.


Steve Earle; June 10; Don McLean with Judy Collins and David Lindley, June 13; John Hiatt with Robert Cray, June 24; Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin with the Guilty Ones, Aug. 8.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Ben Folds with the Kansas City Symphony, June 10-11.

Liberty Hall

Morrissey, May 20; Dar Williams, June 11.

Riot Room

The Dandy Warhols, May 9; Peter Murphy, June 22; Glass Animals, July 12-13.


King Khan and the Shrines, June 19.

The Granada

Against Me!, May 18; Guided By Voices, June 18.

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