This week’s top live music: Old Crow Medicine Show, Paul Thorn and Hayes Carll

07/16/2014 7:00 AM

07/18/2014 12:24 AM

Old Crow Medicine Show

Thursday at the Uptown Theater

Just a few years ago, ensembles like Nashville’s Old Crow Medicine Show and the Carolina Chocolate Drops would have been lucky to attract small gatherings of onlookers as they busked on street corners. Times have changed. Old-timey music is fashionable. Hundreds of devotees will pay about $40 each Thursday to hear two of its best practitioners. Old Crow Medicine Show’s 2004 adaptation of Bob Dylan’s “Wagon Wheel” played an integral role in jump-starting the revival. Rhiannon Giddens of Carolina Chocolate Drops is among the throwback movement’s brightest luminaries.

Tickets are $39.50 in advance through


Paul Thorn

Friday at Frontier Park

Paul Thorn is hailed as a conquering hero every time he strides onstage at Knuckleheads. The singer/songwriter from Mississippi is an enormous draw at the East Bottoms venue. Thorn will face a different challenge at Friday’s free concert in suburban Olathe. Winning over an audience populated with people unfamiliar with “Pimps and Preachers” and “Burn Down the Trailer Park” could require every bit of his Southern charm. Kansas City’s Brody Buster shares Thorn’s offbeat perspective. Once known as a child prodigy on harmonica, Buster plays a decidedly adult form of barroom blues.

Additional details at


Pitch Music Showcase

Saturday at the Riot Room

The Pitch’s annual Music Showcase has long served as an exemplary refresher course on the Kansas City scene. The format has changed this year. Rather than featuring musicians at several Westport establishments on a single night, the 2014 Music Showcase will present nine artists at the Riot Room on Saturday and another round at Knuckleheads on July 25. The indoor stage at Saturday’s show spotlights New Riddim’s world dance music, the Josh Berwanger Band’s power pop, the Bad Idea’s punk, Rev Gusto’s garage rock and Bummer’s rebooted grunge. Hip-hop and dance acts Approach, Abnorm and DJ Sheppa will perform on the outdoor stage.

Tickets are $10 in advance through


Jorge Arana Trio

Saturday at RecordBar

The tasteful music featured at local jazz venues usually evokes the jubilant swing associated with the city’s storied jazz legacy. Performances of fearless innovation are less common. The blistering attack of the Jorge Arana Trio is likely to prevent the ensemble from appearing in the area’s upscale jazz establishments, but the metallic approach makes the instrumental ensemble one of the most riveting bands in Kansas City. The improvisational trio will celebrate the release of its vinyl EP “Oso” at Saturday’s show. Three bands steeped in varying degrees of noise, Arkansas’ High Magic, and Kansas City’s David Hasselhoff on Acid and In the Shadows, will participate in the festivities.

Tickets are $8 in advance through


Panic! At the Disco

Sunday at Crossroads KC

Rock musicals have been based on or inspired by the output of such rock bands as Def Leppard, Green Day and Queen. Should Panic! At the Disco manage to rack up a few more commercial successes, the melodramatic ensemble from Las Vegas might become the subject of an extremely entertaining theatrical production. Hits ranging from 2005’s “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage” to the recent “This Is Gospel” already resemble Broadway-approved showstoppers. Sunday’s opening acts, Cincinnati’s Walk the Moon and Boston’s Magic Man, occasionally resemble Panic! At the Disco cover bands.

Tickets range from $35 to $65 in advance through


New Edition

Tuesday at the Midland

Picking up where the Jackson 5 left off, New Edition initiated a new era of boy bands and served as a bridge between traditional R&B and hip-hop. An update of the Jackson 5’s “ABC,” New Edition’s 1983 hit “Candy Girl” inspired a wave of imitators including the Backstreet Boys and One Direction. Thirty-one years after that fateful hit, Michael Bivins, Ricky Bell, Ronnie DeVoe, Ralph Tresvant, and Johnny Gill have reunited for the tour. Bobby Brown dropped out of the tour this week to focus on his health. The men have had successful careers outside of New Edition, but nothing they’ve done possesses the innocence of ’80s hits like “Cool It Now” and “Mr. Telephone Man.”

Tickets range from $39.50 to $99 in advance through


Gary Clark Jr.

Tuesday at Crossroads KC

Forecasting the significance of Gary Clark Jr. is difficult. The Austin, Texas, native recently startled the blues community with a fresh take on the music that incorporates soul and hip-hop. Yet in spite of rave reviews and the endorsement of artists including the Rolling Stones, it’s still unclear if Clark has merely captured lightning in a bottle or if he’s a genuinely game-changing artist. Fans will be able to gauge his merits for themselves on Tuesday. The Nick Moss Band, a Chicago-based blues ensemble with jam-band tendencies, opens the show.

Tickets range from $26 to $61.50 in advance through


Meg Myers

Tuesday at the Riot Room

No one who listened to rock radio in the early ’90s can hear Meg Myers’ latest EP “Make a Shadow” without being immediately reminded of the angst-laden hits of Alanis Morissette and Sinead O’Connor. Myers recasts the extreme dynamics and distressing rage associated with those artists for a new generation of fans. Yet Myers isn’t stuck in the past. The Californian’s “Heart Heart Head” could be construed as a response to Lorde’s recent hits. We Are Voices, a melodic rock band from Kansas City, opens the show. The quartet is certain to showcase its potent new single, “Tear Me Apart.”

Tickets to the sold-out show were $9.65 in advance through


Jurassic 5

Wednesday at Crossroads KC

“Great Expectations,” a track from Jurassic 5’s breakout 2000 album “Quality Control,” includes “we’re a blast from the past like old shotgun shells.” Even in its early years, Jurassic 5 was looking backward. By emphasizing the original hip-hop credos of learned lyrics and creative sampling, the collective sounds more like dinosaurs than ever in 2014. Dilated Peoples, another legendary underground hip-hop group from Los Angeles, is touring with Jurassic 5. The resilient “Worst Comes to Worst” is among the ensemble’s classic compositions. Turntablists Beat Junkies round out the old-school bill.

Tickets range from $30 to $50 in advance through


Hayes Carll

Wednesday at Knuckleheads

Only a rascal would title a song “One Bed, Two Girls, Three Bottles of Wine.” Only a realist would allow the composition to take a comically tragic turn. Hayes Carll is an ornery singer/songwriter from Texas with a penchant for caustic humor. Long touted as a next big thing, he’s squarely in the tradition of Robert Earl Keen, James McMurtry and Lyle Lovett. Like those intelligent humorists, Carll has a scholarly side. He has a history degree, but book learning takes a backseat during songs like “She Left Me for Jesus” and “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart.”

Tickets are $18 in advance through


El Ten Eleven

Wednesday at the RecordBar

Much of the best instrumental music compels listeners to create corresponding mental images. El Ten Eleven is capable of inspiring visual associations that are every bit as elaborate as the vivid imagery evoked by renowned jazz and classical musicians. The duo from California has been crafting material that combines intricate musicianship with uncomplicated melodies and danceable grooves for a dozen years. The three songs on the new EP “For Emily” indicate that El Ten Eleven remains curiously evocative. Kodak to Graph, a dreamy project overseen by the Florida-based electronic musician Michael Maleki, opens the show.

Tickets are $12 in advance through

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