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Bluegrass in the Bottoms
5 p.m. Friday, May 17, and 4 p.m. Saturday, May 18, in and around Knuckleheads
The days when people in John Deere caps and overalls dominated audiences at bluegrass festivals have passed. Bluegrass has been co-opted by urbanites who prefer hearing banjos and mandolins accompanied by electronic instruments and drums. The progressive sound will attract thousands of revelers to the third edition of Bluegrass in the Bottoms. The venerable New Jersey band Railroad Earth, one of more than a dozen acts performing on three stages at the two-day festival, exemplifies the break with tradition. 816-483-1456. Tickets are $46 per day and two-day passes are $81 through bluegrassinthebottoms.com.
6 p.m. Friday, May 17, at Providence Medical Center Amphitheater
Crying is forbidden in heavy metal. Even so, headbangers may be tempted to shed a tear in Bonner Springs, where Slayer will stop on what’s billed as its Final World Tour. The legendary thrash band from California altered the course of metal with its fearsome 1986 album “Reign in Blood.” In spite of the resounding mayhem of classic songs like “Angel of Death,” sentimentality rather than blood will reign Friday. With Lamb of God, Amon Amarth and Cannibal Corpse. 913-825-3400. Tickets are $35-$200 through providenceamp.com.
8 p.m. Friday, May 17, at Uptown Theater
On his new song “I Don’t Give a F---,” Boosie Badazz raps, “I don’t do no Twitter fingers/I do trigger fingers/I’m a murder charge/you a misdemeanor.” It’s not an idle boast. The notorious Louisiana rapper has spent a significant portion of his 36 years in prison. CNN reported that Boosie was charged with “marijuana possession, possession of THC and possession of a firearm during a felony” in Atlanta last month. The legal setback will add an element of urgency to Friday’s concert. With Mozzy. 816-753-8665. Tickets are $52.50-$100 through uptowntheater.com.
8 p.m. Friday, May 17, at The Truman
L7 is as mean, loud and dangerous as ever. The band’s new album, “Scatter the Rats” — its first of the millennium — is an angry burst of sharp-elbowed grunge. Founded in 1985 by Suzi Gardner and Donita Sparks, L7 was an integral component of the West Coast punk and grunge movements of the late ’80s and early ’90s. The recently reconstituted band has picked up where it left off with new material that is just as hard-hitting as its 1992 hit “Pretend We’re Dead.” With Le Butcherettes. 816-205-8560. Tickets are $25.50 through thetrumankc.com.
8 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at CrossroadsKC
Grant Kwiecinski, the Michigan performer who creates electronic funk as Griz, travels in elite circles. His new album, “Ride the Waves,” features collaborations with funk legend Bootsy Collins, reggae star Matisyahu, R&B crooner Dram and rappers Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa. A modern-day version of a traditional one-man-band, Kwiecinski crafts layered, dance-oriented grooves that build on the work of the funk titans of previous decades. With Yung Bae and Dwilly. 785-749-3434. Tickets are $35-$189 through crossroadskc.com.
8 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at Starlight Theatre
Although the appeal of Chicago’s many hits never waned, the 2017 documentary “Now More Than Ever” heightened interest in the longstanding institution. The film reminded fans of the band’s many highs and lows and introduced newcomers to its dramatic history. Fifty-three years after Chicago’s formation, original members Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane and James Pankow continue to lead the horn-laden ensemble in satisfying renditions of nuggets like “Colour My World,” “Hard Habit to Break” and “25 or 6 to 4.” With Tim Stop. 816-363-7827. Tickets are $39-$145 through kcstarlight.com.
8 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at Uptown Theater
In stark contrast to the protest songs of reggae pioneers including Bob Marley, the breezy music of Iration is largely free of rough edges and forceful commentary. The band’s grooves are as pleasurable as the warm sunshine of California and Hawaii, where Iration honed its sound. The carefree approach has made Iration one of the decade’s most popular reggae acts. The band pledges that its Live From Paradise tour is intended to “transport you to your happy place.” With Pepper, Fortunate Youth and Katastro. 816-753-8665. Tickets are $25-$101 through uptowntheater.com.
8 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at Madrid Theatre
Sixty years after its release, millions of country fans can still sing along to Marty Robbins’ story song “El Paso.” The 23-year-old Canadian artist, Colter Wall, is among them. Wall revives Robbins’ dusty sound on his 2018 album, “Songs of the Plains,” chronicling the lives of cattlemen on compositions like “Night Herding Song.” The outdoorsman recently said he was “tagging a couple new calves” when he learned that one of his songs is used in the trailer for “Deadwood: The Movie.” 816-753-8880. Tickets are $20 through madridtheatre.com.