Music News & Reviews

KC concerts Aug. 29-Sept. 4: Common, ZZ Top, John Mayer, Kacey Musgraves

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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.


7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, at Muriel Kauffman Theatre

As a rapper, actor and celebrity spokesman, Common often seems ubiquitous. Born Lonnie Corant Jaman Shuka Rashid Lynn in Chicago in 1972, Common rose to fame in tandem with Kanye West. His prominent charitable endeavors, advertising campaigns and television and film work tend to obscure his consistently excellent music. Hours before his 12th studio album, “Let Love,” is released, Common will perform his jazz-informed style of hip-hop that’s more akin to the poetry of Langston Hughes than to the raps of today’s hit-makers. 816-994-7222. Tickets are $43.75-$83.75 through

José González

7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, at Helzberg Hall

Helzberg Hall, with its ballyhooed acoustics and vigilant ushers who don’t hesitate to hush disruptive patrons, is an ideal venue for a José González concert. The delicate acoustic guitar and whispered vocals of the Swedish musician could easily be drowned out by even the slightest ambient noise. Along with Sam Beam of Iron & Wine, González is a leader in the new wave of folk artists inspired by the fragile sound of the late British artist Nick Drake. With Bedouine. 816-994-7222. Tickets are $29-$59 through

Beth Bombara

8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, at Knuckleheads

Beth Bombara has earned a reputation as one of the finest singer-songwriters in St. Louis. The surprising strength of her new release, “Evergreen,” deserves to propel her from local hero into an Americana artist with an international following. A direct descendant of Lucinda Williams’ classic 1998 album, “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road,” the refreshingly straightforward “Evergreen” showcases Bombara’s rare ability to convey emotional highs and lows through uncomplicated lyrics and sincere vocals. With Kevin Galloway. 816-483-1456. Tickets are $12 through

Kool & the Gang

8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, at Crossroads KC

The body-moving exhortation in Kool & the Gang’s 1981 hit “Get Down On It” — “How you gonna do it if you really don’t wanna dance? By standing on the wall? Get your back up off the wall!” — serves as a mission statement for the funk and pop institution. The open configuration of Crossroads KC provides ample room for madcap dancing to Kool & Gang classics “Jungle Boogie” and “Hollywood Swinging.” Slow jams like “Cherish” will allow couples to catch their breath. With the Phantastics. 785-749-3434. Tickets are $36.50-$85 through

ZZ Top

7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, at Starlight Theatre

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ZZ Top performs Sunday at Starlight Theatre. WINSLOW TOWNSON Invision/AP

In the trailer for a new documentary about ZZ Top, actor and musician Billy Bob Thornton suggests that “when you would see them onstage it was like seeing Bugs Bunny in person.” Although the band has a cartoonish image and an outlandish sense of humor, there’s more to ZZ Top than bushy beards and absurd songs like “Jesus Just Left Chicago” and “Cheap Sunglasses.” Since its formation in 1969, the Texas trio has trafficked in a consequential form of steamroller blues. With Cheap Trick. 816-363-7827. Tickets are $35-$150 through

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats

8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, at Crossroads KC

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats recently entered the drug trade. The Colorado-based group issued branded vape cartridges that are touted as a means to achieve “a positive cerebral high that mellows the body and brings contentment to the mind.” Yet the band’s organic roots-rock and dusty soul revivalism don’t require an altered state of mind to be appreciated. The ensemble is rooted in the earthy traditions of vintage groups like The Band and Little Feat. With Hiss Golden Messenger. 785-749-3434. Sold out; face value of tickets $38.50 and $58.50.

John Mayer

7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 2, at Sprint Center

Just who is John Mayer? The split musical personality of the Connecticut native induced an identity crisis. Mayer rose to fame with sickly sweet hits like “Your Body is a Wonderland.” He’s since become a staple of the jamband realm through his work with alumni of the Grateful Dead in Dead & Company. Mayer attempts to resolve the divide on his latest single, “I Guess I Just Feel Like.” With its earnest vocals and a tasty guitar solo, the downcast song appeals equally to diehard Deadheads and Top 40 radio devotees. 816-949-7100. Tickets are $39.50-$150 through

Kacey Musgraves

8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, at Starlight Theatre

Kacey Musgraves’ life changed Feb. 10 when she upset heavyweights including Janelle Monaé, Cardi B and Post Malone to claim the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Musgraves’ enchanting “Golden Hour” was also named the Country Album of the Year. The latter distinction is slightly problematic. “High Horse” is among the Texan’s songs that more closely resemble the melodic rock of Fleetwood Mac than the traditional sound of Nashville. With Yola. 816-363-7827. Tickets are $29.50-$65 through