Music News & Reviews

KC concerts April 4-10: Nataanii Means, Mitski, Tesla, Mandolin Orange


Kero Kero Bonito

8 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at Granada

As strenuously as they might deny it, many adults actually enjoy the cloying children’s novelty hit “Baby Shark.” Some of the same people also appreciate the music of Kero Kero Bonito. The experimental pop of the London-based trio exudes a similar form of childlike innocence. Sarah Midori Perry asks, “How many shrimps do you have to eat before you make your skin turn pink?” in the opening line of the new song “Flamingo.” She also sings in Japanese, a nod to Kero Kero Bonito’s affinity for the cuddliest components of Japanese popular culture. 785-842-1390. Tickets are $16 through

Pato Banton

8 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at Knuckleheads

The recent death of the musician known as Ranking Roger will cast a pall over Pato Banton’s rare area appearance. Many members of Thursday’s audience will likely have been introduced to Banton’s genial Jamaican raps by “Pato and Roger a Talk,” a charming duet on the English Beat’s 1982 breakout album “Special Beat Service.” Banton carries on Roger’s legacy of cheerful crossover reggae with accessible material such as “Don’t Sniff Coke,” “Universal Love” and “Go Pato.” 816-483-1456. Tickets are $12 through

Nataanii Means

7:30 p.m. Friday, April 5, at Lied Center

Nataanii Means is among the Native American artists who have found that hip-hop offers an ideal means to air the contemporary and historical grievances of their people. The New Mexico-based Means furiously raps “been fighting wars since 1492” on “Warrior” and “my generation popping codeine pills for cheap thrills” on “Dead Presidents Resented Me.” Means’ concert will set an urgent tone for the next day’s KU Powwow and Indigenous Cultures Festival at the Lied Center. 785-864-2787. Tickets are $14-$25 through


8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at Knuckleheads

Janelle Monaé and Kacey Musgraves may perform in bigger venues, but Mitski Miyawaki receives just as much critical acclaim as her more popular counterparts. “Be the Cowboy,” Mitski’s sixth release, was hailed as the best album of 2018 by Pitchfork and was bested only by Monaé’s “Dirty Computer” on NPR Music’s rankings. Sensitive, thoughtful and funny, the apocalyptic pop of songs like “Nobody” and “Washing Machine Heart” perfectly match the tenor of the times. With Jay Som. 816-483-1456. Tickets are $18 through

Durand Jones & The Indications

8 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at RecordBar

Durand Jones & The Indications’ new album, “American Love Call,” sounds like a contender for the best R&B release of 1972. The old-school harmonies associated with the Dramatics and production techniques rendered obsolete by the disco revolution make “American Love Call” one of the most astounding soul revivalist releases of recent years. The band from Indiana is admired by old-school soul aficionados and by younger fans who hadn’t previously encountered the wondrous sound. 816-753-5207. Tickets are $16 through


8 p.m. Sunday, April 7, at Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland

“Hang Tough” was an unassuming jolt of hard rock when Tesla released the single in 1989. Three decades later, the song doubles as the California band’s mission statement. Even though its bracing style of music has fallen out of fashion, Tesla refuses to compromise. Tesla’s bold new album, “Shock,” is every bit as engaging as the music it made during its commercial heyday. By hanging tough, Tesla has evolved from a second-tier version of Aerosmith into one of rock’s most enduring institutions. With the Tom Fuller Band. 816-283-9921. Tickets are $40.50-$75 through

Tesla Ross Halfin

Mandolin Orange

8 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, at Madrid Theatre

Mandolin Orange caught a big break at a gig in Kansas City three months ago. The syndicated radio program “Live from Here” broadcast a performance by the sepia-toned folk-rock duo of Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin through hundreds of radio stations. Listeners attuned to the acoustic music of “Live from Here” host Chris Thile were undoubtedly charmed by Mandolin Orange’s similarly organic sound. Mandolin Orange is making a lot of noise for a band with a deliberately hushed sound. With Charlie Parr. 816-753-8880. Tickets are $25 through

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Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange. Scott Sharpe The News & Observer

Earl Sweatshirt

8 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, at Granada

The underground hip-hop community rallied around the cry of “Free Earl” after his concerned mother sent the teenage rapper overseas to boarding school in 2010. Nine years later, many fans are concerned about the well-being of the man born Thebe Neruda Kgositsile for entirely different reasons. The music released by the audaciously talented rapper reveals the deeply troubled psyche of a person who continues to struggle with fame and success. With Bbymutha, Nakel Smith, liv.e, Mike and Black Noise. 785-842-1390. Tickets are $30 through