Three of Kansas City's merriest live acts gather on the Grinders stage to celebrate the arrival of T-shirt weather. The night opens with swinging country from the Grisly Hand (7:30 p.m.), then segues into classic R&B and soul covers (plus some new originals) from the Good Foot (9 p.m.), and closes out with Afrobeat grooves courtesy of Hearts of Darkness (11 p.m.). Voler, a group of aerial fabric artists who fly around the stage, perform between sets.
Saturday, May 5, at Crossroads KC at Grinders (417 East 18th Street, 816-472-5454)
My favorite thing about Sister Hazel is that the band's superfans — yes, Sister Hazel has them, and more of them than you might think — have a perfect nickname: "Hazelnuts." I am less enamored of the Gainesville, Florida, act's music, which I mentally file next to Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Freddy Jones Band, Rusted Root, and other bands adored by the earthy private-school girls I hung out with in high school. But its roots pop is harmless enough, and hearing "All for You" on some 1990s radio hour always takes me back to a warm, innocent place.
Friday, May 4, at KC Live in the Power & Light District (14th Street and Grand)
The Rumblejetts — winner of the 2011 Pitch Music Award for "Best Rockabilly Band" — recently posted a delicious new song, "Zombie Girl," online. It's a teaser track from the group's latest release, Motor Honey, that's being celebrated at this Knuckleheads gig. Live, the Rumblejetts throw together a swaggering mix of uptempo rockabilly and classic Sun Records covers.
Wednesday, May 9, at Knuckleheads Saloon (2715 Rochester, 816-483-1456)
Big ups to the Kauffman Center for luring, during its inaugural season, two of the greatest soul singers of all time to Kansas City. Back in December, Mavis Staples treated a Helzberg Hall crowd to an evening of funky gospel jams. This week, another soul heavy — the Queen of Soul, you might call her — stops by for a visit, in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. Aretha Franklin is now 70 years old, but she can still hold it down in the upper register.
Tuesday, May 8, at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (1601 Broadway, 816-994-7222)
Marshall Crenshaw's hooky, jazz-tinged pop-rock has earned him cult-icon status, if not fame and fortune. Though he's best-known for his 1981 hit "Someday Someway," a browse through his biography reveals some surprising tidbits: He co-wrote the Gin Blossoms' "Til I Hear It From You," penned the theme song to the movie Walk Hard, was a guest star on The Adventures of Pete & Pete, and stepped in for Fred "Sonic" Smith when the MC5 reunited for a 2004 tour. This Knuckleheads performance is an intimate "Living Room Session."
Saturday, May 5, at Knuckleheads Saloon (2715 Rochester, 816-483-1456)