Music News & Reviews

KC concerts Aug. 8-14: Judah & the Lion, Pentatonix, Gary Clark Jr., Bruce Hornsby

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Ticket brokers and bots are vying for the hottest concert tickets along with fans, and driving up prices in the process. And a lot of tickets are pulled from the pool by the tours before the sale to the general public.
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Ticket brokers and bots are vying for the hottest concert tickets along with fans, and driving up prices in the process. And a lot of tickets are pulled from the pool by the tours before the sale to the general public.

Rory Block

8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at Knuckleheads

Rory Block was raised in New York City, but she’s a genuine blues artist. “How to Play Blues Guitar,” an album she recorded with Stefan Grossman, was released in 1966 when she was too young to drive a car. After apprenticing with country blues icons such as Mississippi John Hurt, Block became one of the most respected practitioners of the form. She’ll interpret classic material like “I Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl” during her rare area appearance. With Cindy Cashdollar. 816-483-1456. Tickets are $30 through

Kirk Franklin

8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland

Performing black gospel is fraught with peril. Artists who adhere to tradition risk becoming relics, but they’re chastised by conservative listeners if they dare to incorporate contemporary secular elements into their songs of worship. Kirk Franklin’s approach to the dilemma has made him one of the most popular — and controversial — artists in the history of black gospel. The Fort Worth native’s embrace of mainstream soul and hip-hop sounds has expanded the reach of his musical evangelism for more than 20 years. 816-283-9900. Tickets are $39.50-$59.50 through

Yonder Mountain String Band

7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at Crossroads KC

Jeff Austin, an astoundingly talented musician and a co-founder of Yonder Mountain String Band, died in June. He was 45. Although Austin officially parted ways with the Colorado-based group in 2014, the 15 years he spent with Yonder Mountain String Band altered the course of the progressive bluegrass movement. The revamped lineup of the sextet is honoring Austin’s legacy by continuing to expand the boundaries of bluegrass. With the Samples and Magic Beans. 785-749-3434. Tickets are $26.50-$75 through

Judah & the Lion

8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Starlight Theatre

Many people attempt to remedy their mental health concerns with medication or counseling. Fans of Judah & the Lion find musical therapy in the confessional repertoire of the Nashville-based band. On the second song of the new album, “Pep Talk,” Judah Akers admits that “this whole record might be a quarter-life crisis/I need my family to come and help me fight this/I can’t do this all alone.” Thousands of like-minded admirers will attain spiritual consolation by singing along with the stomp-and-shout folk-rock song. 816-363-7827. Tickets are $25-$69 through


7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, at Starlight Theatre

Pentatonix is an a capella group, but the quintet isn’t limited by the format. The set lists of Pentatonix’s current tour include fully fleshed-out versions of recent pop hits like Panic! At the Disco’s “High Hopes” and Camila Cabello’s “Havana.” Pentatonix also thrills fans with lush renditions of classic material such as a heavenly interpretation of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” and its wildly popular arrangement of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” With Rachel Platten and Citizen Queen. 816-363-7827. Tickets are $29.50-$129.50 through

Gary Clark Jr.

8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, at CrossroadsKC

Gary Clark, Jr. JACK PLUNKETT Invision/AP

Gary Clark Jr. doesn’t pull any punches on his new album, “This Land.” The opening lyrics of the first song set the tone: “Paranoid and pissed off now that I got the money … right in the middle of Trump country.” The Texan also responds to taunts of “go back where you come from” by insisting “I’m America’s son.” The blues star clearly isn’t afraid of alienating a significant portion of his audience. Clark’s bold stance will be complemented by his guitar pyrotechnics. With Greyhounds. 785-749-3434. Tickets are $33-$79 through

Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, at Lied Center

Members of the audience Tuesday will likely feel simultaneously elated and frustrated. Unlike at Bruce Hornsby’s performance at Knuckleheads in 2017, fans of the man behind era-defining 1980s hits like “The Way It Is” won’t have much room to dance at the Lied Center. The genre-bending blend of pop, folk, bluegrass, jazz and rock played by Hornsby and his accomplished band has grown progressively artier during the last 30 years, but it remains joyously rhythmic. 785-864-2787. Tickets are $19-$50 through

Jupiter & Okwess

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, at 1900 Building

Kansas City was awarded a City of Music designation by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2017. The honor will be celebrated at the performance by Jupiter & Okwess. The group is from Kinshasa, Congo, another UNESCO City of Music. The celebrated ensemble led by Jupiter Bokondji Ilola combines the indigenous styles of Congo with Western popular music. The merger is filled with exuberant rhythms and infectious melodies that are intended for both dancing and edification. 913-730-1905. Tickets are $15-$25 through