Thursday at Liberty Hall
Along with like-minded artists including FKA Twigs, Jhene Aiko and Banks, SZA is among a refreshing new set of female vocalists brandishing the dreamy alternative R&B sound that’s beginning to dominate the pop music landscape. “Child’s Play” is among the songs by Missouri-born SZA that resemble a slow-motion version of the music of Erykah Badu. Presented by University of Kansas’ Student Union Activities and college radio station KJHK 90.7, Thursday’s concert is a unique opportunity to catch one of the most intriguing breakout artists of 2014 at a bargain price.
Tickets are $10 in advance through ticketmaster.com.
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Thursday at the Granada
Partly because the word often condemns musicians to commercial purgatory, Moon Hooch studiously avoids the label of jazz. Instead, the band categorizes its sound as “cave music,” even though the innately swinging trio features two saxophonists and a drummer. Honking and wailing like a jazz band in the midst of a destructive tantrum, Moon Hooch remains danceable even in its most dissonant moments. After years of incrementally building a local following through periodic gigs in small clubs and as an opening act for established artists, New York-based Moon Hooch is finally headlining at a medium-sized venue.
Tickets are $10 in advance through thegranada.com.
Streets of Laredo
Thursday at the RecordBar
Shortly before Mumford & Sons reached critical mass in the United States, the British band performed at the RecordBar in 2010. Mumford & Sons began filling American concert halls a few months after it played for a couple of hundred people at the Westport venue. Even if Streets of Laredo, a very similar Brooklyn-based quintet originally from New Zealand, doesn’t find fame and fortune following its appearance Thursday at the RecordBar, it’s almost certain that devotees of lush folk-rock will consider the show to be among the musical highlights of 2014. Line & Circle, a Los Angeles band that favors the jangle-rock of early R.E.M., are touring with Streets of Laredo.
Tickets are $10 in advance through therecordbar.com.
Jared & the Mill
Thursday at the Riot Room
“Breathe Me In,” the signature composition by Phoenix’s Jared & the Mill, is the sort of painfully sincere folk-rock song that buckles the knees of partisans of the form and boils the blood of people who’ve had their fill of banjos, twee lyrics and grandiose choruses. Alexz Johnson, a Brooklyn-based Canadian who channels Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, and Los Angeles’ Patrick Droney, a young blues-rock guitarist in the vein of John Mayer, are touring with Jared & the Mill. The Kansas City folk-rock ensemble Carswell & Hope opens Thursday’s show.
Tickets are $8 in advance through theriotroom.com.
Friday at Mills Record Co. and the RecordBar, and Saturday at Knuckleheads
Fourteen acts will entertain on five stages during the seventh edition of the Midwest Music Foundation’s Apocalypse Meow benefit. Chicago-based troubadour Joe Pug, Kansas City’s vibrant dance-rock ensemble Outsides and locally based singer/songwriter Sara Swenson are among the artists who will fill Knuckleheads’ three performance spaces with music on Saturday. The annual event begins with sets by the Philistines and Various Blonde at an early evening “Psych Show” at Mills Record Co. on Friday. The RecordBar hosts Chris Meck & the Guilty Birds and Katy Guillen & the Girls on Friday night to raise funds for the foundation’s “mission to connect musicians with health care.”
Friday’s show at Mills Record Co. is free. The cover charge to Friday’s show at the RecordBar is $7. Tickets to Saturday’s show at Knuckleheads are $10 in advance through knuckleheadshonkytonk.com. Details are available at apocalypsemeow.net.
Friday at Liberty Hall
Although she released her first album in 1979 and didn’t become an established figure until the 1998 project “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” was met with thunderous acclaim, Lucinda Williams seems like a holdover from an even earlier era. Her socially conscious material and unassailable reputation for integrity make Williams a welcome anachronism. Williams is touring in support of “Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone,” a sprawling collection of songs that confirms her status as one of the most respected figures in rock. The native of Louisiana will be supported by the Kenneth Brian Band, an Alabama ensemble that works in the tradition of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Tickets are $29.50 and $35.50 in advance through libertyhall.net.
Saturday at Ameristar Casino
If Michael Jackson was the King of Pop, El DeBarge served as one of the most commendable members of his metaphorical court. Born three years apart, Jackson and DeBarge first received recognition in family bands that racked up R&B and pop hits. Much of DeBarge’s decidedly sultrier solo work wouldn’t sound out of place on Jackson’s “Thriller” album. A splendid performance at Municipal Auditorium in February indicated that DeBarge remains worthy of comparisons to Jackson. Michel’le, the squeaky-voiced woman behind the hits “No More Lies” and “Nicety,” is among the artists opening for DeBarge.
Tickets are $45 to $75 in advance through ticketmaster.com.
Thee Oh Sees
Saturday at the Riot Room
Thee Oh Sees may not be the best known or even the most adept psychedelic rock band working today, but the San Francisco collective is one of the form’s most influential acts. The band began reinvigorating the sound of the likes of Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett in 1997 by incorporating a healthy dose of punk rock into the groovy music. Renditions of mind-expanding tracks like “Penetrating Eye” and “Put Some Reverb on My Brother” from the excellent new album “Drop” may be capable of altering reality at the Riot Room on Saturday. Enigmatic Los Angeles musician Jack Name opens the show with loopy experimental rock.
Tickets are $15 in advance through theriotroom.com.
Sunday at the Uptown Theater
The 1975 might be more aptly named the 2014. The music of the British band exemplifies the breezy, synthetic sound that has come to dominate the playlists of modern rock radio stations. While guitars are employed to provide background textures, the 1975 uses keyboards and breathy vocals to create music designed for dance floors rather than mosh pits. The 1975 opened for the Naked and Famous at the Midland theater last year, but the band’s polished songs like “Sex” and “Chocolate” have caught on with American audiences only in recent months. The concert will begin with bouncy indie-pop from Philadelphia’s Cruisr and New Jersey’s Young Rising Sons.
Tickets are $30 in advance through ticketmaster.com.
Monday at the RecordBar
Peelander-Z brought the party to Ink’s Middle of the Map festival last April. In addition to entertaining fans with its zany Ramones-inspired punk rock during its official showcase, the members of the New York-by-way-of-Japan band eagerly partook of the festival’s many social opportunities. Their colored stage costumes and jubilant demeanor made them easy to spot throughout Westport. Many of the friendships forged during Middle of the Map will be renewed Monday at the RecordBar. The party begins with punk from Lawrence’s Stiff Middle Fingers and the self-described “circus funk” of Kansas City’s Coitus.
Tickets are $10 in advance through therecordbar.com.
Tuesday at the Bottleneck
A combination of Dave Matthews and Mother Teresa, Chadwick Stokes performs jam-oriented music while serving as an accomplished humanitarian. His band State Radio scored a few minor reggae-tinged hits, including “Right Me Up” and “Calling All Crows.” Stokes’ charitable work in Zimbabwe was recognized with a Humanitarian of the Year award in his hometown of Boston in 2008. “The Horse Comanche,” his forthcoming solo album, includes contributions from Sam Beam of Iron & Wine and the indie-rock band Lucius. Ark Life, a genial folk-rock ensemble from Denver, is touring with Stokes.
Tickets are $16 in advance through thebottlenecklive.com.
Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star