Back to Rockville

KC gig guide: Alabama, Blackalicious, Ghost and the Mountain Goats

Ghost will perform Friday, Sept. 30, at Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland.
Ghost will perform Friday, Sept. 30, at Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. From the artists


Thursday, Sept. 29, at Starlight Theatre

The most popular country group of the 1980s, Alabama racked up most of its 32 chart-topping singles during the Reagan era. The hits have dried up in the last 20 years, but stalwart fans still love to sing along to the country institution’s classic songs. Alabama will display its signature harmonies on renditions of melodic hits like “Mountain Music,” “Dixieland Delight” and “The Closer You Get” at the final concert of Starlight Theatre’s season. With Home Free.

▪ 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29. Starlight Theatre. 816-363-7827. $35-$125 in advance.


Thursday, Sept. 29, at VooDoo

The Cult made heavy metal palatable to fans of alternate rock in the 1980s. At a time when the form was dominated by glam-rock bands like Mötley Crüe, the British group’s muted approach to metal on songs like “She Sells Sanctuary” appealed to people who also enjoyed the music of the Police and the Cars. Charismatic vocalist Ian Astbury and accomplished guitarist Billy Duffy are touring in support of their band’s new album “Hidden City.”

▪ 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29. VooDoo. 816-472-7777. $35-$55 in advance.


Thursday, Sept. 29, at the Riot Room

The recently released “Congratulations” is the first album Mac Lethal has issued in five years. The Kansas City rapper hasn’t been slacking. The man born David McCleary Sheldon has become an internet sensation through a series of videos in which he displays his frenetic skills as a speed-rapper. He also hosts MTV’s alcohol-fueled game show “Binge Thinking.” With Twiztid, Lex the Hex Master, Godz of Kaos, Menace 2 Sobriety, Seuss Mace and Freddy Grimes.

▪ 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29. Riot Room. 816-442-8179. $25 in advance.


Friday, Sept. 30, at the Bottleneck

Gift of Gab, the audaciously talented emcee of the veteran West Coast duo Blackalicious, is often overlooked when hip-hop fans compile lists of the greatest rappers. He and his producer Chief Xcel deserve more respect. The furious intent of Gift of Gab is encapsulated on the recent song “Blacka”: “Blacker than Marcus Garvey and black nationalism, ripping the drumbeats, ripping the funk, ripping the rhythm, bringing the jazz, R&B, blues …” The duo will blend vital new material with old favorites like “Deception” on Friday. With Lushlife.

▪ 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30. The Bottleneck. 785-749-3434. $21 in advance.


Friday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1, at RecordBar

Steve Tulipana, the co-owner of RecordBar and one of the organizers of Outer Reaches, pledges that audiences will bask in “nonstop visual and aural immersion” at the two-day event. Founded in 2012 as KC Psych Fest, the festival has been rebranded as Outer Reaches to better reflect an expansive range of offerings that includes L.A. Witch, a California-based sludgy indie-metal trio, horn-laden Chicago funk band Gramps the Vamp and Kansas City’s Gamelan Genta Kasturi.

▪ 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1. RecordBar. 816-753-5207. $10 per day or $18 for both days in advance.


Friday, Sept. 30, at KC Live

Unlike most of the hundreds of hip-hop songs about the mind-altering effects of cough syrup-based intoxicants, indie-pop group Young the Giant’s “Cough Syrup” addresses spiritual malaise. Vocalist Sameer Gadhia sighs “life’s too short to even care at all” in the opening line of the lustrous song. He sounds a more hopeful note on the current single “Something to Believe In,” a bouncy selection from the California quintet’s third album, “Home of the Strange”: “I’m a songbird with a brand new track.” With Ra Ra Riot.

▪ 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30. KC Live. 816-842-1045. $9.65 in advance.


Friday, Sept. 30, at Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland

All but the most diehard fans of Kiss agree that the band was overly reliant on the gimmick of costumes and makeup. Along with Slipknot, Swedish metal band Ghost has redeemed the application of elaborate guises. Dressed in papal-style apparel, the band’s frontman Papa Emeritus III is genuinely scary when he invokes demons on songs like “Year Zero.” Ghost’s new material like “He Is” summons Satan in lusher symphonic settings. With Carpenter Brut.

▪ 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30. Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. 816-283-9921. $30 in advance.


Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Madrid Theatre

John Darnielle is the sort of defiantly unconventional artist who is fully appreciated only at the tail end of his career or, as is too often the case, receives only posthumous acclamation. Like Tom Waits, Darnielle, 49, writes curious songs that owe as much to salty writers like Charles Bukowski as to songwriters such as Bob Dylan. He and his band the Mountain Goats are touring in support of “Beat the Champ,” a 2015 concept album about professional wrestling. With Oh Pep.

▪ 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1. Madrid Theatre. 816-753-8880. $25 in advance.


Monday, Oct. 3, at Liberty Hall

Tory Lanez knows that one of the easiest ways for an aspiring rapper to get attention is to taunt an established artist. Few targets are bigger than Drake, the superstar rapper who also claims Toronto as his home. Lanez titled a 2015 mixtape “The New Toronto.” Drake responded by rapping that “all you boys in the new Toronto want to be me a little” on his single “Summer Sixteen.” Predictably, the highly publicized beef boosted Lanez’s profile. With Jacquees, Kranium and VeeCee.

▪ 9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3. Liberty Hall. 785-749-1972. $25 in advance.


Monday, Oct. 3, at the Riot Room

Eliot Sumner need look no further than her half-brother Joe to find an example of just how difficult it can be to replicate the success of a rock star parent. In spite of heavy touring, Joe Sumner’s Fiction Plane never won the acclaim achieved by his father, Sting. Eliot, an indie-rocker with a voice that’s startlingly reminiscent of her father’s, seems committed to her craft. She returns to the Riot Room on Monday for her second Kansas City show in six months. With My Jerusalem.

▪ 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3. Riot Room. 816-442-8179. $12 in advance.


Wednesday, Oct. 5, at the Uptown Theater

“Sex Bomb,” Tom Jones’ playful 2000 single, exploited the rakish reputation of the Welsh pop star. Unabashedly schmaltzy hits like “It’s Not Unusual” cast Jones as a lusty variation on middle-of-the-road crooners like Andy Williams. Jones has brazenly challenged the stereotype on his last three albums of impressive readings of soul, gospel and blues material. He’ll belt out old favorites like the James Bond theme song “Thunderball” and new classics like the Gillian Welch and David Rawlings composition “Elvis Presley Blues” on Wednesday.

▪ 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5. Uptown Theater. 816-753-8665. $45-$125 in advance.


Wednesday, Oct. 5, at Knuckleheads

The barnstorming tour of North America undertaken by John Mayall, 82, could deplete the energy and sap the spirit of musicians one quarter his age. He played 19 dates in September and has 12 gigs lined up in the first 15 days of October. Mayall is best known for providing a blues-based training ground for British guitarists including Eric Clapton in his band the Bluesbreakers. He’s currently handling guitar and vocal duties himself as he tours in a trio format with bassist Greg Rzab and drummer Jay Davenport.

▪ 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5. Knuckleheads. 816-483-1456. $24.50 in advance.

Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star