Music News & Reviews

KC concerts Dec. 27-Jan. 2: Samantha Fish, The Isley Brothers, Making Movies

Samantha Fish
Samantha Fish

Bob and Una Walkenhorst

8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27, at Gospel Lounge at Knuckleheads

Bob Walkenhorst, the primary artistic force of the beloved rock band the Rainmakers, creates rapturous folk with his daughter, ascendant singer-songwriter Una Walkenhorst. Their remarkable new album, “For Tomorrow,” evokes the rapturous beauty of early Simon & Garfunkel and the strident protestations of Bob Dylan. Thursday’s show in Knuckleheads’ smallest performance space will resemble a coffeehouse folk revival. 816-483-1456. Tickets are $15 through


9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28, at Riot Room

The rapid evolution of electronic dance music often means that many of the form’s most appealing elements are abandoned. Christian Bauhofer, the California-based producer who performs as Minnesota, retains the dramatic bass drops of dubstep that are now considered passé even as he integrates cutting-edge hip-hop beats into his sets. A critic praised a 2017 mix by Bauhofer for its “frenetic energy, pounding bass, samples from every burgeoning hip-hop hit du jour” and “extraterrestrial” theme. 816-442-8179. Tickets are $20 through

Samantha Fish

8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29, at Knuckleheads

The upward trajectory of Samantha Fish’s career recently received another boost with her signing to Rounder Records. The venerable roots music label has released groundbreaking albums by the likes of Irma Thomas and George Thorogood and the Destroyers. The Kansas City native belongs in their elite company. Currently based in New Orleans, Fish is an outstanding songwriter, guitarist and vocalist who continues to enliven the blues scene with her fresh ideas and arresting stage presence. 816-483-1456. Tickets are $37-$60 through

Ida McBeth

8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29, at Blue Room

“I Will Survive,” Gloria Gaynor’s celebratory 1978 disco hit, is often viewed as an anthem of resilience in the LGBTQ community. Ida McBeth has a different perspective. She confessed that it’s “a tune I used to call ‘my divorce song’” in a deeply emotional rendition of “I Will Survive” documented on a 1992 live album. The selection has become a de facto theme song for McBeth, a jazz-inflected soul singer who has captivated audiences in Kansas City for decades. Her reputation is burnished with each passing year. 816-474-8463. Tickets are $15 through

The Isley Brothers

7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30, at Municipal Auditorium

The Isley Brothers’ concerts act as surveys of the evolution of popular music. Now reduced to the core of brothers Ronald Isley, aka Mr. Biggs, and Ernie Isley, the band’s set lists usually include its manic 1959 breakout hit “Shout!” and the often-imitated 1962 smash “Twist and Shout.” The Isley Brothers’ impact on the funk era is represented by the 1969 self-empowerment anthem, “It’s Your Thing.” The 1983 hit “Between the Sheets” is still the primary blueprint for contemporary R&B balladry. With The Whispers and Glenn Jones. 800-745-3000. Tickets are $40-$131 through

Murder By Death

9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, at RecordBar

Murder By Death isn’t a prototypical New Year’s Eve party band. The Louisville group specializes in noirish roots-rock that often sounds like a ghoulish rewrite of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s greatest hits. The morbid lyrics of the popular Murder By Death song “Spring Break 1899” — “I can’t feel my left leg but I think it’s still there/Did I kill anybody?/Hell, I never fight fair” — are hardly in keeping with the tender sentiment of “Auld Lang Syne.” With Sons of Great Dane. 816-753-5207. Tickets are $30-$50 through

Making Movies

9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, at The Truman

Interpretations of material from Talking Heads’ 1980 album “Remain In Light” highlighted David Byrne’s stellar concert at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts last June. Byrne, the front man of the defunct band, demonstrated that funky and endlessly malleable songs like “Once In a Lifetime” are the best sort of world music. Making Movies, Kansas City’s acclaimed rock en Español band, will perform “Remain In Light” in its entirety on New Year’s Eve. With Calvin Arsenia and Reptil. 816-205-8560. Tickets are $20 through

Ben Miller Band

9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, at Knuckleheads

Rather than forsaking their roots in southwestern Missouri, the members of the Ben Miller Band create proudly rustic rock that exemplifies life on the edge of the Ozarks. The application of homemade instruments to eccentric songs make the group’s “Choke Cherry Tree” one of the most curious albums of 2018. The eccentric quartet tops the bill of Knuckleheads’ ambitious New Year’s Eve blowout. Outlaw Jim & the Whiskey Benders, the M80s, Instamatics and Kris Lager will also perform on the three indoor stages of the East Bottoms roadhouse. 816-483-1456. Tickets are $40 through

The Bralettes

8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, at Riot Room

Daringly insubordinate bands such as The Bralettes may be the antidote to the ongoing commercial and cultural decline of rock. The self-described “bubblegum punk” of the trio of young Dallas-based women doesn’t contain any of the bloat or bombast that’s made rock moribund. Reduced to the bare bones of the form, the wide-eyed and defiantly rudimentary attack of songs like “Scary Harry,” “Mr. Movie Phone” and “Party” exude the pure rebellious joy of rock icons ranging from Buddy Holly to Courtney Barnett. With Apolkalypse Wow. 816-442-8179. Tickets are $8 through