Music News & Reviews

KC concerts June 13-19: Boulevardia, Machine Gun Kelly, Mastodon, Rickie Lee Jones

Beer, music and heat at Boulevardia

In 2017, Boulevardia, a two-day “urban street festival,” attracted tens of thousands of people to the West Bottoms area of Kansas City, despite temperatures around 90 degrees.
Up Next
In 2017, Boulevardia, a two-day “urban street festival,” attracted tens of thousands of people to the West Bottoms area of Kansas City, despite temperatures around 90 degrees.

Gordon Lightfoot

8 p.m. Thursday, June 13, at Liberty Hall

Gordon Lightfoot’s laconic folk-rock hit “Sundown” acts as a time machine capable of transporting sentimental listeners to 1974. The octogenarian Canadian singer-songwriter continues to invoke wistful reveries with “Sundown” and his vast catalog of additional hits on stages throughout the world. Thursday’s audience can expect to hear the epic story song “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” the classic road ballad “Carefree Highway,” the wrenchingly romantic “If You Could Read My Mind” and the poignant folk anthem “Cold on the Shoulder.” 785-749-1972. Tickets are $45-$99 through


8 p.m. Thursday, June 13, at Riot Room

Sammie Leigh Bush Jr. has flirted with fame for most of his life. Performing as Sammie, he was 12 when his ode to puppy love, “I Like It,” raced up the pop and R&B charts in 1999. “Kiss Me thru the Phone,” his 2008 collaboration with Soulja Boy Tellem, was even more successful. The music he makes as a man is more nuanced. The songs on “Everlasting,” Bush’s new album, deal with adult forms of romance and heartbreak. With Damar Jackson. 816-442-8179. Tickets are $15-$40 through


4:40 p.m. Friday, June 14, and 11:10 a.m. Saturday, June 15, in West Bottoms

An amusing “beer of the moment” calculator at the website of Boulevard Brewery helps thirsty browsers select an appropriate beverage. The ideal beer for music-loving attendees of Boulevardia might be the brewery’s sweetest and lightest offering. Although four dozen acts will perform a variety of styles, frothy pop plays a central role in the music component of the beer festival. The bubbly Los Angeles band Young the Giant is Friday’s headliner. Dashboard Confessional, the crossover emo project of Christopher Carrabba, tops the bill Saturday. 816-701-7247. Tickets are $30 per day through

Machine Gun Kelly

8 p.m. Friday, June 14, at Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland

Machine Gun Kelly.jpg
Machine Gun Kelly AMY HARRIS Invision/AP

Colson Baker, who spits rhymes as Machine Gun Kelly, is among the most prominent artists directly inspired by Kansas City rap legend Tech N9ne. The pair collaborated on Baker’s 2012 debut album and recorded “No Reason (the Mosh Pit Song)” together last year. The latter selection includes a menacing lyric that alludes to the precarious balance Baker strikes between the rap and pop worlds: “You think because I wrote a pop hit that I won’t pop (stuff)?” 816-283-9900. Tickets are $35 through

Rickie Lee Jones

8 p.m. Sunday, June 16, at CrossroadsKC

Rickie Lee Jones GREG ALLEN

Rickie Lee Jones is a bona fide beatnik. She follows a capricious muse rather than pursue a conventional career. Jones never made a wholehearted attempt to replicate the success of the fluke hit “Chuck E.’s in Love,” the jazz-inflected lead single on her 1979 debut album. The Californian’s latest album, “Kicks,” has Kansas City connections. The locally based artist Peregrine Honig created the cover art, and former Kansas City resident Mike Dillon produced the project. With the Mike Dillon Band. 785-749-3434. Tickets are $32.50-$80 through


8 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, at Starlight Theatre

Mastodon performed a straightforward cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” at the funeral of the Atlanta band’s manager, then released a recording of its moving version of the iconic song on Record Store Day in April. Mastodon has kept the spirit of Led Zeppelin alive since the band’s inception in 2000. Working at the vanguard of heavy metal, Mastodon creates a progressive form of rock that’s simultaneously arty and intimidating. With Coheed and Cambria and Every Time I Die. 816-363-7827. Tickets are $35-$69.50 through

Jim James

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, at CrossroadsKC

Jim James has waged a spirited battle against the cultural diminishment of rock since gaining notoriety with the Louisville band My Morning Jacket more than 20 years ago. If more of his peers were as dedicated as James to upholding the adventurous spirit and high standards of predecessors like Neil Young, he might not be one of the few true rock stars of his generation. James will focus on material from his 2018 solo albums, “Uniform Distortion” and “Uniform Clarity,” on Tuesday. With Anderson East. 785-749-3434. Tickets are $28.50-$75 through

Potty Mouth

9 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, at MiniBar

In awarding Potty Mouth the title of Los Angeles’ Best Punk Band last month, L.A. Weekly hailed “singer-guitarist Abby Weems’ relentlessly catchy choruses and bassist Ally Einbinder and drummer Victoria Mandanas’ grunge-punk drive.” Potty Mouth formed in Massachusetts when its members were students at Smith College before moving to Los Angeles. The trio’s sweet-and-sour attack is perfected on the new single “I Wanna.” The invigorating song resembles a #metoo update of classic Green Day. With Colleen Green and Justus Proffit. 816-326-8281. Tickets are $10 through

Ronnie James Dio

8 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, at Uptown Theater

Technological innovations have expanded the meaning of musical immortality. The definitive heavy metal howler Ronnie James Dio died in 2010. Yet an apparition of the vocalist is entertaining head-bangers on a tour titled Dio Returns. Abetted by flesh-and-blood musicians, including Tim “Ripper” Owens of Judas Priest and journeyman metal guitarist Craig Goldy, a hologram belts out classic Dio songs such as “Holy Diver,” “Rainbow in the Dark” and “Man on the Silver Mountain.” 816-753-8665. Tickets are $45-$99 through