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This weekend’s best music in Kansas City: Gavin James, Big Freedia, Julian Davis

The Membranes

Thursday, Nov. 12, at the RecordBar

Not as well-known as contemporaries like Gang of Four and the Mekons in the initial wave of British punk, the Membranes combined artful ambition with impulsive musicianship. The venerable noisemakers are touring in support of their first studio album in 26 years. With Uncouth and the Bad Ideas.

Tickets are $10 in advance through

Young the Giant

Thursday, Nov. 12, at Liberty Hall

Progenitors of the airy synthetic sound that would come to dominate the playlists of modern rock radio stations, the members of Young the Giant began formulating their influential music in California about 10 years ago. The quintet will perform pivotal hits like “Cough Syrup” at Liberty Hall. With Wildling.

Tickets are $25 in advance through

Gavin James

Friday, Nov. 13, at the Tank Room

Gavin James looks like he could be Ed Sheeran’s big brother, but the Irish troubadour sounds like a cousin of Hozier. James specializes in dramatic songs that showcase his keening voice. Anyone who’s ever swooned to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” won’t want to miss the up-and-coming artist on Friday. With Marc Scibilia.

Tickets are $10 in advance through

Julian Davis

Friday, Nov. 13, at the Westport Saloon

In spite of Julian Davis’ insistence that he’s 16 years old, it’s difficult to believe that the prodigy isn’t a much older man. Davis is a flat-picking guitar champion, gruff vocalist and confident performer. The remarkable talent from Pittsburg, Kan., will celebrate the release of his debut album on Friday. With Good Time Charley and Sky Smeed.

Details about the free show are available at

Big Freedia

Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Riot Room

In her new autobiography “God Save the Queen Diva!” Big Freedia recounts her upbringing in New Orleans and the events that led to the creation of the self-proclaimed “queen of bounce.” The reality television star born Freddie Ross is one of the most engaging entertainers of the last decade. With Boyfriend and Sheppa.

Tickets are $15 in advance through

Andrea Gibson

Sunday, Nov. 15, at the Bottleneck

Andrea Gibson is a poet, author and musician from Boulder, Colo. Her new book “Pansy” includes an entry titled “To the Men Catcalling My Girlfriend While I’m Walking Beside Her.” Gibson also performs convincing folk-rock in the vein of Ani DiFranco. Sunday’s show will be a righteous celebration of words and music. With Shira.

Tickets are $13 in advance through


Monday, Nov. 16, at the Granada

Murs has managed to be almost all things to all hip-hop fans during his dazzlingly eclectic career. The Californian has been a backpack rapper, a party MC, an arty experimentalist and a member of a rock band. He’s currently signed to Kansas City’s Strange Music record label. Red Pill and King Fantastic are among the opening acts.

Tickets are $15 in advance through

Glen Hansard

Tuesday, Nov. 17, at the Uptown Theater

Glen Hansard is the Van Morrison of his generation. Like Morrison, Hansard, 45, creates folk-rock that combines Irish mysticism with American R&B. His work with the Frames, Swell Season and on the soundtrack of the 2007 film “Once” are renowned, but Hansard continues to quietly build a solid catalog of solo work. With Aoife O’Donovan.

Tickets are $35 and $50 in advance through


Wednesday, Nov. 18, at Aftershock

P.O.D. once performed its Christian-themed rock for thousands of jubilant fans in arenas. The popularity of the group behind the 2001 hit “Youth of the Nation” may have waned significantly, but the band’s lineup is largely intact and its new album “The Awakening” demonstrates P.O.D.’s ongoing artistic vitality. With For the Broken and Champagne Campaign.

Tickets are $18 in advance through

Ben Folds

Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the Uptown Theater

Ben Folds was accompanied by the Kansas City Symphony and a nine-person choir the last time he was in town. Echoes of that collaboration will be heard at the popular singer-songwriter’s concert on Wednesday. The eclectic artist’s latest release contains a set of “chamber pop songs” and a “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.”

Tickets range from $35 to $85 in advance through

Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star