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This week’s best live music: August Alsina, Demi Lovato, Living Colour and Ida McBeth

August Alsina: Sunday, Sept. 21, at the Midland … Teen idols aren’t what they used to be. Anyone offended by the antics of Miley Cyrus will be completely flabbergasted by August Alsina. The newly minted star makes Justin Bieber seem like a choirboy. On “I Luv This” — the edited title of the vocalist’s profane breakout hit — Alsina, 22, boasts that “I’m way too drunk to be talkin’ like this, I’m way too high to be trippin’ like this, I’m way to young to be livin’ like this.” The New Orleans native has embarked on his first tour as a headliner. Alsina will receive another career boost when he serves as the opening act on Usher’s forthcoming arena tour. Tickets are $25 in advance through axs.com.
August Alsina: Sunday, Sept. 21, at the Midland … Teen idols aren’t what they used to be. Anyone offended by the antics of Miley Cyrus will be completely flabbergasted by August Alsina. The newly minted star makes Justin Bieber seem like a choirboy. On “I Luv This” — the edited title of the vocalist’s profane breakout hit — Alsina, 22, boasts that “I’m way too drunk to be talkin’ like this, I’m way too high to be trippin’ like this, I’m way to young to be livin’ like this.” The New Orleans native has embarked on his first tour as a headliner. Alsina will receive another career boost when he serves as the opening act on Usher’s forthcoming arena tour. Tickets are $25 in advance through axs.com.

Jake Owen, Friday, Sept. 19, at Starlight Theatre

Jake Owen may be the perfect contemporary country artist. The native Floridian looks like a movie star and sings conventional country material with a seductively honeyed accent. “Eight Second Ride,” “Beachin’” and “Nobody Feelin’ No Pain” hit the country music trifecta of songs about trucks, fun in the sun and partying. Owen also has a sensitive side. His anti-bullying song “Nothin’ Grows in Shadows” is convincing. The Eli Young Band, a Texas ensemble that emerged from the Red Dirt country scene, and the Cadillac Three, a scruffy Southern rock band from Nashville, join Owen at radio station Q104’s annual Y’allapalooza concert.

Tickets range from $25 to $65 in advance through kcstarlight.com.

Shabazz Palaces, Saturday, Sept. 20, at Riot Room

The fortunate people who managed to claim a spot among the capacity audience on the Riot Room’s patio for Shabazz Palaces’ set during Ink magazine’s Middle of the Map festival in April witnessed an extraordinary performance. They saw the Seattle-based duo of Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire re-create the acclaimed sound documented on Shabazz Palaces’ dense recordings. As a member of Digable Planets, Butler successfully merged hip-hop with jazz on the 1992 hit “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat).” His psychedelic work in Shabazz Palaces is even better. Kansas City’s popular Afrobeat band Hearts of Darkness open for the hip-hop innovators.

Tickets are $14 in advance through theriotroom.com.

Ida McBeth, Saturday, Sept. 20, at Living Room at Knuckleheads

Ida McBeth’s retirement represented an enormous blow to Kansas City’s nightclubs. For decades, the charismatic vocalist drew large crowds to area clubs and festivals. Her engaging interpretations of familiar jazz and R&B standards made her one of the area’s most popular entertainers. McBeth ended her extended hiatus in March. A few of her gigs in recent months have transpired at noisy venues. The tone will be different at Saturday’s date in one of the area’s best listening rooms. Aside from the rumble and whistles of passing trains, the intimate space at the back of Knuckleheads will allow McBeth’s devotees to bask in her marvelous voice without unwelcome interference.

Tickets are $30 in advance through knuckleheadshonkytonk.com.

Spoon, Sunday, Sept. 21, at Liberty Hall

Once viewed as indie-rock upstarts, Spoon now garners the sort of reverence accorded to classic rock bands. Formed in Austin, Texas, more than 20 years ago, Spoon became underground darlings in the 1990s. The band racked up a handful of hits during the next decade. Songs like “The Way We Get By,” “I Turn My Camera On” and “The Underdog” demonstrated that Spoon was capable of subversion even as it conformed to conventional song craft. “They Want My Soul,” Spoon’s lustrous new album, may be its strongest effort to date. EMA, the art-rock project of South Dakota-born Erika M. Anderson, opens Sunday’s show.

Tickets are $25 in advance through ticketmaster.com.

August Alsina, Sunday, Sept. 21, at the Midland

Teen idols aren’t what they used to be. Anyone offended by the antics of Miley Cyrus will be completely flabbergasted by August Alsina. The newly minted star makes Justin Bieber seem like a choirboy. On “I Luv This” — the edited title of the vocalist’s profane breakout hit — Alsina, 22, boasts that “I’m way too drunk to be talkin’ like this, I’m way too high to be trippin’ like this, I’m way to young to be livin’ like this.” The New Orleans native has embarked on his first tour as a headliner. Alsina will receive another career boost when he serves as the opening act on Usher’s forthcoming arena tour.

Tickets are $25 in advance through axs.com.

Sebadoh, Monday, Sept. 22, at RecordBar

No one has ever mistaken J Mascis for Dale Carnegie, so when the founder of Dinosaur Jr. expelled Lou Barlow from the band because of his “excessive social ineptitude,” titters of prurient shock rattled the indie-rock community. Barlow appears to be having the last laugh. Dismissed by many observers at the time as amateurish, Barlow’s work with Sebadoh after leaving Dinosaur Jr. has proven prescient. The work of artists ranging from Beck to Kurt Vile bear the influence of Sebadoh. A skit from the sessions for Sebadoh’s 1991 album “III” characterized Barlow and his collaborators as “post-modern folk-core saviors.” The bit was intended as a joke, but the description now seems prophetic.

Tickets are $15 in advance through therecordbar.com.

Demi Lovato, Tuesday, Sept. 23, at Sprint Center

Demi Lovato, 22, has been in the public eye for most of her life. Her television credits include “Barney & Friends,” the Disney Channel series “Sonny With a Chance” and “Glee.” She also worked as a judge on the singing competition “The X Factor.” Her four appealing albums contain a relatively wholesome form of pop that showcases her strong voice. The industry veteran’s performance will be preceded by sets from Christina Perri, the fine singer/songwriter responsible for the hits “A Thousand Years” and “Jar of Hearts,” and the frothy pop duo MKTO.

Tickets range from $17.50 to $67.40 in advance through axs.com.

Living Colour, Tuesday, Sept. 23, at Knuckleheads

The annual Afropunk Fest in Brooklyn is one of the most anticipated events on the calendars of many tastemakers. The groundbreaking contribution of Living Colour helped make the fashionable event possible. Constructed around the menacing guitar work of Vernon Reid, Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality” was one of the definitive rock hits of the ’80s. The band’s high profile reformed the expectations of many listeners. The classic lineup of Reid, vocalist Corey Glover, bassist Doug Wimbish and drummer Will Calhoun will make a rare area appearance Tuesday. Kansas City guitar master Fast Johnny Ricker opens the show.

Tickets are $30 in advance through knuckleheadshonkytonk.com.

The Head and the Heart, Wednesday, Sept. 24, at the Midland

Common perception to the contrary, the Head and the Heart is more than merely Mumford & Sons with an American accent. The Seattle-based ensemble’s dramatic folk-rock may resonate with fans of Britain’s Mumford & Sons, but the band’s tender songs contain strong echoes of the music of Appalachia and Nashville. The Head and the Heart is touring with two acts that have already impressed Kansas City audiences in recent months. Glass Animals, a British band in the tradition of Alt-J, appeared at the Czar Bar and the Riot Room in July. California’s Belle Brigade made a positive impression supporting Ray LaMontagne at Starlight Theatre in June.

Tickets are $30 in advance through axs.com.

Kansas City Symphony, “Modern Rock: Music of Reich, Ligeti and Zappa”

Noise protection ear plugs may not be necessary during the “modern rock” concert at Helzberg Hall. In spite of the billing, listeners of all orientations are likely to appreciate the intriguing recital featuring members of the Kansas City Symphony performing compositions by György Ligeti, Steve Reich and Frank Zappa. Ligeti’s sprightly “Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet” was written before the advent of rock ’n’ roll. Reich’s hypnotic “Drumming” is based on African music. Zappa’s “The Black Page” is a similarly rhythmically challenging piece. Even so, anxious members of the audience may elect to partake of liquid courage at the cash bar before or after the concert.

6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24. Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-471-0400. kcsymphony.org. Free, RSVP.

Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star

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