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KC concerts March 10-15: Ro James, John Prine, Slothrust, Chronixx, Juicy J

Sunny Sweeney performs Friday, March 10, at Knuckleheads.
Sunny Sweeney performs Friday, March 10, at Knuckleheads. .

Conor Oberst

Friday, March 10, at the Madrid Theatre

Performances by hundreds of musicians at the Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City last month proved that the current political climate has energized artists who are inclined to write protest songs. Social commentary has been an integral component of Conor Oberst’s repertoire for more than 20 years. The prolific Oberst’s latest compositions include “A Little Uncanny,” a shrewd song that contains verses about Jane Fonda and Ronald Reagan. With the Felice Brothers.

8 p.m. Friday, March 10. Madrid Theatre. 816-753-8880. $30 in advance.

Sunny Sweeney

Friday, March 10, at Knuckleheads

Friday may be the most important day of Sunny Sweeney’s career. In addition to appearing at Knuckleheads, the country artist is releasing her fourth album “Trophy” on March 10. It’s a make-or-break project for the artistically audacious but commercially marginal performer. “Bottle by the Bed,” a heartbreaking song in which she sighs that “right now our mortgage is the only thing that’s due” as she pines for an unborn child, is among the new selections that bode well for Sweeney’s prospects.

8:30 p.m. Friday, March 10. Knuckleheads. 816-483-1456. $12 in advance.

Ro James

Friday, March 10, at the VooDoo

After serving as an opening act for Toni Braxton and Maxwell at their Sprint Center concerts last year, Ro James will finally make a headlining appearance in the area on Friday. The silky R&B vocalist from New York scored a breakout hit with the insinuating “Permission” in 2016, following years of fruitless attempts to attain a foothold in the music industry. The lusty slow jam about sexual consent is likely to inspire desirous swoons and appreciative screams at the VooDoo. With Kevin Ross.

8 p.m. Friday, March 10. VooDoo. 816-472-7777. $26-$66 in advance.

Paper Bird

Friday, March 10, at the Tank Room

The members of the Colorado band Paper Bird appear to be dressing up as 1970s-era Fleetwood Mac on the cover of their latest album. Much of the sextet’s music bears a striking resemblance to classic Fleetwood Mac songs like “Go Your Own Way.” Although it has roots in the folk-rock scene that produced the Lumineers, Paper Bird proudly displays the sort of pop prowess that’s associated with contemporary hit-makers like Taylor Swift. With Heidi Lynne Gluck.

8 p.m. Friday, March 10. Tank Room. 816-214-6403. $10 in advance.

John Prine

Saturday, March 11, at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland

An extensive profile published by “Rolling Stone” in January suggested that John Prine is “the Mark Twain of American songwriting.” The assessment isn’t hyperbole. Like Twain, Prine is a homespun fabulist who is simultaneously funny and profound on gems like “Please Don’t Bury Me” and “Donald and Lydia.” Prine’s health scares and the recent deaths of legendary songwriters including Leonard Cohen and Guy Clark have reminded grateful fans of the enormous significance of Prine’s still-expanding musical legacy. With Amanda Shires.

8 p.m. Saturday, March 11. Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. 816-283-9921. $62.50-$72.50 in advance.

Magic City Hippies

Saturday, March 11, at the Tank Room

The music of Magic City Hippies reflects the low-key yet fashionable ambience of the South Beach neighborhood in its hometown of Miami so accurately that its music practically reeks of a luxury brand of suntan lotion. The understated sound of the self-described indie-funk band is as refreshing as a cool breeze on a mild sunburn. Vivacious songs like “Heart Wants” and “Bull Ride” will transform the Tank Room into a beachside party on Saturday. With Pink Royal.

8 p.m. Saturday, March 11. Tank Room. 816-214-6403. $8 in advance.


Sunday, March 12, at the Tank Room

Fans and critics have tied themselves into knots while attempting to pin down the shape-shifting sonics of Slothrust. The exploratory grunge of the Brooklyn trio includes elements of noisy jazz, pure pop and classic rock power trios. The only thing observers agree on is the high quality of Slothrust’s puzzling music. Powerful new songs like the nebulous “Rotten Pumpkin” and the hazy “Horseshoe Crab” have made Slothrust one of the most highly touted bands in indie-rock. With And the Kids and Bummer.

7 p.m. Sunday, March 12. Tank Room. 816-214-6403. $12 in advance.

Joe Bonamassa

Monday, March 13, at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland

Stevie Ray Vaughan died in 1990, Buddy Guy is 80 and Eric Clapton has mellowed. Joe Bonamassa’s ostentatious guitar pyrotechnics have filled the void for millions of blues-rock aficionados. While the masterful and occasionally flamboyant guitar solos of the New York native are the primary attraction for most of his admirers, Bonamassa’s admirable dedication to respecting the work of his blues forbearers is convincingly demonstrated on his powerful 2016 album “Live at the Greek Theatre.”

8 p.m. Monday, March 13. Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. 816-283-9921. $79-$125 in advance.


Monday, March 13, at RecordBar

Alphabetization matters. By virtue of its name rather than as a metric of its actual popularity, Allah-Las is listed on the top line of the bill at next month’s trendsetting Coachella festival in Indio, Cal. Tens of thousands of people on hand to catch headlining sets by Kendrick Lamar and Lorde will hear Allah-Las perform an elite form of garage-rock. It’s heady territory for the group of men who met in 2008 while working at an Amoeba Music record store. With Babe Rainbow.

9 p.m. Monday, March 13. RecordBar. 816-753-5207. $15 in advance.

The Fame Riot

Monday, March 13, at the Riot Room

The bizarre pairing of the heavy rock trio Radkey and the glam-disco duo the Fame Riot played about two dozen shows together last November and December. The Fame Riot, a Tacoma band comprising brothers Liz Scarlett and Shazam Watkins, will visit Radkey’s hometown on Monday. The look and sound of the colorful siblings is a throwback to the dance-oriented 1980s rock of bands like Duran Duran and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

8 p.m. Monday, March 13. Riot Room. 816-442-8179. $10 in advance.


Tuesday, March 14, at the Granada

By honoring the reggae tradition while incorporating contemporary elements into his music, Chronixx, 24, is revitalizing the form. A recent performance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” indicated that Chronixx —born Jamar McNaughton — may be an insurgent member of reggae royalty.

8 p.m. Tuesday, March 14. Granada. 785-842-1390. $25 in advance.

Juicy J

Wednesday, March 15, at the Uptown Theater

Juicy J has repeatedly proven that he knows how to craft a hit over the course of his storied career. The founding member of the Memphis rap group Three 6 Mafia accurately boasts on his new single “Ain’t Nothing” that “I’m a triple OG (man) 20 years and running.” He’s drawing on his deep catalog of popular songs that includes the lewd solo hits “Bandz a Make Her Dance” and “Bounce It” on his Rubba Band Business Tour. With Belly.

8 p.m. Wednesday, March 15. Uptown Theater. 816-753-8665. $35 in advance.