Music News & Reviews

KC concerts May 17-23: Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, Decemberists, Son Little, Bronco

Jimmy Buffett played the Sprint Center on Saturday, May 19.
Jimmy Buffett played the Sprint Center on Saturday, May 19. AP

Bluegrass in the Bottoms

Friday, May 18, and Saturday, May 19, at Knuckleheads

The inaugural edition of Bluegrass in the Bottoms last year proved that Kansas City could support a large-scale contemporary bluegrass festival. Thousands of people converged on a park near Knuckleheads to enjoy left-of-center bluegrass. Greensky Bluegrass returns as a headliner on Saturday. The Michigan band is among the acts that explore the hybrid of bluegrass, folk and rock associated with Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. The like-minded Leftover Salmon tops Friday’s bill. Keller Williams and Mandolin Orange are among the additional performers at the festival.

5 p.m. Friday, May 18, and 5 p.m. Saturday, May 19. Knuckleheads. 816-483-1456. Tickets are $45 per day or $80 for a two-day pass through


Friday, May 18, at Crossroads KC

The members of Bronco co-starred with Erik Estrada and ill-fated icon Selena in the 1993-94 telenovela “Dos Mujeres, Un Camino.” The norteño band with more than 25 albums has since become a beloved institution that provides a musical link between the citizens of Mexico and their friends and families in the United States. Bronco’s enduring legacy is reflected by its presence on the soundtrack of the 2017 Pixar film “Coco.” With 5to Olea and DJ Skandaloso.

8 p.m. Friday, May 18. Crossroads KC. 785-749-3434. Tickets are $34-$48 through

Jimmy Buffett

Saturday, May 19, at the Sprint Center

“Escape to Margaritaville,” one of the latest jukebox musicals to hit Broadway, began entertaining the Jimmy Buffett fans known as Parrotheads in February. Familiar Buffett hits like “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” “Come Monday” and “Margaritaville” are given a theatrical makeover by a troupe of actors. Yet even the most enthusiastic theatergoers at the Marquis Theatre in New York would undoubtedly prefer to be in the company of eminent party emcee Buffett at the Sprint Center on Saturday. With Caroline Jones.

8 p.m. Saturday, May 19. Sprint Center. 816-949-7100. Tickets are $36-$146 through

James Taylor

Tuesday, May 22, at the Sprint Center

Apple Records released James Taylor’s self-titled debut album in 1968. Taylor sounds better than ever 50 years later. He wonders “why can’t we just get along” on “Change,” a lovely new duet with Charlie Puth. After health problems compelled his tour mate Bonnie Raitt to cancel several dates, including Tuesday’s show, Taylor announced that he’d perform two sets to compensate for Raitt’s absence. The development means that fans will hear more Taylor classics like “Fire and Rain” as well as additional deep tracks.

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 22. Sprint Center. 816-949-7100. Tickets are $66-$100 through

Son Little

Tuesday, May 22, at the Riot Room

Son Little, a man from Philadelphia born Aaron Livingston, seamlessly shifts among blues, pop, gospel, indie-rock, folk and R&B. He’s as comfortable collaborating with indie-pop band Portgual. The Man as he is performing acoustic covers of Led Zeppelin songs. As the son of preacher who admits that he “veered off the path a little bit,” Livingston possesses a voice that reflects the spiritual joy associated with Sunday mornings as well as an intimate knowledge of decadent Saturday nights. With DJ Thundercutz.

8 p.m. Tuesday, May 22. Riot Room. 816-442-8179. Tickets are $15 through

Cat Dail

Tuesday, May 22, at RecordBar

Not unlike the fictional New York denizen Clark Kent, Cat Dail leads an intriguing double life. An art dealer in Manhattan by day, Dail occasionally transforms into a rock-and-roller at night. She won’t need a Superman cape to impress the audience at her homecoming show at RecordBar. The wry songs on the former Kansas City resident’s sparkling new seven-song EP “Fight for Love” will strike a chord with fans of Liz Phair and Sheryl Crow. With Carswell & Hope.

8 p.m. Tuesday, May 22. RecordBar. 816-753-5207. Tickets are $7 through

The Decemberists

Wednesday, May 23 at the Uptown Theater

Erudite artists like the Decemberists seem like an endangered species at a time in which songs by defiantly uncultured pop stars dominate the charts. The literary songs of the Portland band address heady topics including mortality, capitalism, history and mythology. The Decemberists are touring in support of their eighth album, “I’ll Be Your Girl,” a startling project in which the band flirts with a new synth-pop orientation while retaining its distinctive thoughtfulness. With Eleanor Friedberger.

8 p.m. Wednesday, May 23. Uptown Theater. 816-753-8665. Tickets are $39.50-$79 through

Chaos Chaos

Wednesday, May 23, at RecordBar

Asya and Chloe Saavedra created adorably amateurish indie-pop songs as Smoosh when they were children. Although extremely simple, Smoosh ditties like “Rad” revealed the innate talent of the Seattle sisters. Now operating as Chaos Chaos, the twenty-something women have evolved into a polished indie-rock act. “Dripping With Fire” and “Pink Politics” are among the savvy Chaos Chaos songs that suggest that the duo deserves to become the favorite new band of fans of established hitmakers Tegan and Sara.

8 p.m. Wednesday, May 23. RecordBar. 816-753-5207. Tickets are $12 through