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This weekend’s best music: Ozomatli, Middle of the Map, Michael Franti, Amon Amarth and Merlefest

Swedish death metal band Amon Amarth will perform May 6 at the Granada
Swedish death metal band Amon Amarth will perform May 6 at the Granada Idaho Statesman


Thursday, May 5, at KC Live

Ozomatli is an unexpectedly daring choice to entertain revelers in the Power & Light District on Cinco de Mayo. Although the Los Angeles-based collective is one of the world’s most capable party bands, Ozomatli is also renowned for its political activism. Trenchant social commentary is likely to be interspersed with dance music on Thursday. With Making Movies.

The cover charge is $10. Details are available at

Zhu, Vince Staples, Gallant, Ebony Tusks and Blk Flanl

Friday, May 6, at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland

Friday’s ambitious lineup at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland for Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest offers a panoramic snapshot of state-of-the-art beat-oriented music. The headliner, Zhu, is an electronic dance music producer who has been booked at several of this year’s major music festivals. Rapper Vince Staples and R&B artist Gallant are critically acclaimed. Ebony Tusks and Blk Flanl, two of the region’s most astute hip-hop ensembles, open the show.

Friday-only passes are $35. Friday and Saturday passes are $65. Four-day music passes are $80. Details are available at

Amon Amarth

Friday, May 6, at the Granada

If the members of Swedish band Amon Amarth were actual Vikings rather than expert practitioners of death metal, Lawrence might need to be placed on lockdown on Friday. The veteran band responsible for classics like “Twilight of the Thunder God” seems fully capable of an unimpeded looting and plundering rampage. With Entombed A.D. and Exmortus.

Tickets are $25 in advance through

Merle Jam

Friday, May 6, and Saturday, May 7, at Knuckleheads

Merle Jam, the annual event to raise awareness about organ donation named for Knuckleheads’ former doorman Merle Zuel, returns with two days of loaded lineups. Friday’s lineup of country, country-rock and bluegrass bands includes Cash’d Out, Hayseed Dixie and Sara Morgan. Doyle Bramhall II, J.J. Grey & Mofro, Walter Trout and Davy Knowles are among the blues-rock artists performing on Saturday.

Tickets to Friday’s show are $15 and tickets to Saturday’s show are $28.50 in advance through

A Great Big World, Michael Franti and Daya

Saturday, May 7, at Grandview Amphitheater

The Grandview Amphitheater, a new 8,000-capacity venue in the community in the southeastern region of the metropolis, will be inaugurated with a concert by two pop acts and a neo-hippie on Saturday. Pop duo A Great Big World is best known for “Say Something,” a tender duet with Christina Aguilera. Teen diva Daya’s “Hide Away” was a dance-pop hit last year. Michael Franti is a barefoot roots-rock musician.

Tickets are $17 plus tax in advance through


Saturday, May 7, at the Bottleneck

The dystopian pop songs of Poliça occasionally sound like provocative remixes of Rihanna’s biggest hits. The innovative collective surrounds the enticing vocals of Channy Leaneagh with dark electronic crosscurrents. Poliça is part of the fertile Minneapolis scene that includes hip-hop acts like Lizzo and electronic acts such as Marijuana Deathsquads. With Mothxr.

Tickets are $16 in advance through

Lincoln Durham

Saturday, May 7, at the Riot Room

Locally based musicians including A.J. Gaither successfully execute the one-man-band concept in area taverns. Lincoln Durham, a self-described “Southern-gothic psycho-blues revival-punk one-man-band who does not play well with others,” will demonstrate how he has advanced the format in his native Texas on Saturday. With Brown Bottle Flu and David George.

Tickets are $8 in advance through

Levitation Room

Tuesday, May 10, at the Riot Room’s outdoor patio

The members of Levitation Room are the crown princes of the current garage-rock revival. “Ethos,” the debut album by the Southern California quartet, is a compelling evocation of the psychedelic sound of 1966. Passersby who hear the music emanating from the patio of the Riot Room on Tuesday are likely to think that an impeccable Kinks tribute band is on stage. With the Mongrels.

Tickets are $10 in advance through


Tuesday, May 10, at Knuckleheads

“Labor of Love,” the title track of Fruition’s new album, opens with the traditional instrumental picking of a bluegrass song. Unexpected but entirely welcome elements including heart-quickening drums, bracing electric guitar and stirring organ are gradually introduced. The Portland band is recommended to fans of burly Americana groups and aficionados of progressive bluegrass ensembles.

Tickets are $13 in advance through

Har Mar Superstar

Wednesday, May 11, at the Bottleneck

The most striking component of Minnesota-based cult artist Har Mar Superstar’s career isn’t his penchant for disrobing as he performs his dance-oriented songs. Instead, it’s the inability of potential fans to see past the enormous gulf between his oddball persona and the exceptional soulfulness of his music. Many of the songs on Har Mar Superstar’s new album, “Best Summer Ever,” are equal to the output of conventional R&B stars.

Tickets are $16 in advance through

Bring Me the Horizon

Wednesday, May 11, at the Midland

A heavy metal band for head-bangers who also appreciate the latest developments in pop and electronic dance music, Bring Me the Horizon appeals primarily to a generation of fans who were born years after Led Zeppelin played its final concert. The British band’s sound may appall traditionalists, but the group’s inclusive sound demonstrates the adaptability of heavy metal. With ’68 and Silver Snakes.

Tickets are $28 in advance through


Wednesday, May 11, at the Granada

Characterizing Tortoise as an ambient rock band doesn’t entirely capture the innovative Chicago collective’s intent. The instrumental group’s subversive music seems designed to deconstruct the very idea of rock. Although it draws on the established concepts associated with modal jazz and musical theorists including Brian Eno, Tortoise has invented an intriguing new sound.

Tickets are $25 in advance through