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KC concerts Feb. 16-21: Muna, Skillet, P.O.S, Tift Merritt, KC Folk Festival

Sting will appear Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Uptown Theater.
Sting will appear Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Uptown Theater. DPA/Zuma Press/TNS


Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Uptown Theater

Sting seems so comfortable in the role of a stately gentlemen of rock that it’s easy to forget that he once acted as a unruly change agent as the leader of the Police. He was considered by many alarmed observers as little more than a noxious punk before the Police’s five classic albums transformed rock. The visionary star has since focused on a more genteel sound in his solo career. With Joe Sumner and the Last Bandoleros.

8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16. Uptown Theater. 816-753-8665. Tickets to the sold-out concert were $74.50-$164.50 in advance.


Thursday, Feb. 16, at RecordBar

Katie Gavin insists that “I am a loudspeaker” on Muna’s breakout hit “Loudspeaker.” It’s true. The backing of a major label has provided Gavin with a prominent platform for the passionate synth-pop songs she creates with Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson. The Los Angeles-based trio recently appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Muna is making its way across North America as it tours in support of its recently released debut album “About U.” With Lo Moon.

8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16. RecordBar. 816-753-5207. $10 in advance.


Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland

Skillet’s hymns aren’t intended for conventional worship services. Although the messages in the Christian hard rock band’s songs are inspirational, the sound of the Tennessee group packs the formidable punch of bands like Staind, Papa Roach and Shinedown. The recent hit “Feel Invincible” exemplifies Skillet’s approach. Moments before a thunderous chorus kicks in, a vocalist avers that “when I need to be saved, you’re making me strong.” With Sick Puppies and Devour the Day.

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16. Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. 816-283-9921. $30 in advance.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Friday, Feb. 17, at the Uptown Theater

The Medicine Cabinet, a Kansas City charity that provides “short-term emergency medical assistance to those in need,” has a long tradition of booking conventional country artists for its annual fundraising concerts at the Uptown Theater. The charity opted for a slightly different sound this year. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (“Mr. Bojangles”) and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils (“Jackie Blue”) are noted hit-making ensembles of the 1970s and 1980s that approach country from idiosyncratic angles.

7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17. Uptown Theater. 816-753-8665. $35-$75 in advance.

The Frontmen of Country

Friday, Feb. 17, at the VooDoo

Much was made of the difficulties organizers of Donald Trump’s inauguration-related functions had in securing prominent entertainers. The highly publicized holdouts made the Frontmen of Country one of the biggest musical attractions at the “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration” at the Lincoln Memorial. On Friday, Tim Rushlow of Little Texas, Larry Stewart of Restless Heart and Richie McDonald of Lonestar will reprise the country hits that were enjoyed by the president and his supporters last month.

8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17. VooDoo. 816-472-7777. VooDoo. $19.50-$52 in advance.


Friday, Feb. 17, at the Riot Room

Years before Run the Jewels expanded the audience for angry hip-hop, P.O.S of the Doomtree collective thrilled disaffected rap fans from his base in Minneapolis. The songs of Stefon Alexander, the man who raps as P.O.S, are filled with Midwestern malaise yet never concede defeat. Alexander will perform material from his caustic new album “Chill, Dummy” and classic underground hits like “Purexed” and “P.O.S Is Ruining My Life” on Friday. With Ceschi.

8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17. Riot Room. 816-442-8179. $15 in advance.

Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials

Saturday, Feb. 18, at Knuckleheads

Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials are a welcome anachronism in an age of technological and artistic innovation. The gloriously rudimentary blues of the Chicago-based ensemble led by the guitarist and vocalist Ed Williams celebrate fundamental truths about joy and pain. Williams has stuck with the uncomplicated approach documented on his band’s classic 1986 debut album “Roughhousin’.” The Blue Foundation recently nominated Williams for its prestigious B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year award.

9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18. Knuckleheads. 816-483-1456. $10 in advance.

Robert Glasper

Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Folly Theater

The assertion that Robert Glasper, 38, is the most important jazz musician of his generation is counterintuitive. His music often sounds more like the output of the late hip-hop beat maker J Dilla and R&B stars like Alicia Keys than Miles Davis or Charlie Parker. The keyboardist, composer and bandleader from Houston opens his most recent album “ArtScience” by suggesting that “my people have given the world so many styles of music... so why should I just confine myself to one?”

8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18. Folly Theater. 816-474-4444. $20-$50 in advance.

Kansas City Folk Festival

Sunday, Feb. 19, at the Westin Crown Center

Rise Up Singing, an unconventional “all-faiths sing-along,” will jumpstart the Kansas City Folk Festival on Sunday morning at the Westin Crown Center. More than two dozen performances by musicians from Kansas City and around the globe will take place on six stages during the seven-hour celebration that concludes the annual Folk Alliance International conference. The British troubadour Billy Bragg, the octogenarian blues man Bobby Rush and the Kansas City rock band Making Movies are among the participants.

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19. Westin Crown Center. 816-221-3655. $30 in advance.

Tift Merritt

Sunday, Feb. 19, at Knuckleheads

Fresh from several dates in England, Tift Merritt will begin an extensive tour of the United States at Knuckleheads on Sunday. Merritt, an acclaimed singer-songwriter from North Carolina, is accustomed to prolonged expeditions. She’s written a number of songs inspired by the life on the road she’s pursued for the last 15 years. Once pigeonholed as an acolyte of Emmylou Harris, Merritt has since dabbled in art songs and R&B. With Ray Bonneville.

8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19. Knuckleheads. 816-483-1456. $17.50 in advance.

Blind Pilot

Monday, Feb. 20, at the Granada

The elements of classical music on seminal 1960s works by the Beatles and the Beach Boys echo in the ambitious sound of Blind Pilot. The chamber-rock sextet from Portland has been writing interesting variations on vintage classics like “Golden Slumbers” and “God Only Knows” for more than a decade. In spite of its lyrical and instrumental complexities, Blind Pilot occasionally flirts with mainstream acceptance. Its song “We Are the Tide” was featured in a beer commercial a few years ago.

9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20. Granada. 785-842-1390. $18 in advance.

Potty Mouth

Tuesday, Feb. 21, at RecordBar

The members of Potty Mouth may act as if they’re being ironic in the video for “Smash Hit,” but they aren’t fooling anyone. Even as they mock the concept of “super-extra-ultra-special-fantastic” pop songs, the trio from Massachusetts comes close to duplicating the objects of their derision. The slightly grungy sound fails to conceal Potty Mouth’s aptitude for catchy song craft. With songs that evoke vintage Green Day, Potty Mouth may be on the verge of attaining an actual smash hit. With Partybaby.

8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21. RecordBar. 816-753-5207. $12 in advance.