Ghostface Killah, with Saigon and Sheek Louch
That Ghostface Killah is coming to Kansas City is notable all by itself, but that the Wu-Tang fan favorite is performing at the little old Riot Room qualifies as truly remarkable news. Why are we so lucky? Ghost and Sheek Louch (of the Lox) are dropping a collab album, Wu-Block, in October, and to pimp it out, they've been hitting up small clubs across the United States. Saigon, a rapper best known for his Flaming Lips–on–Beverly Hills 90210–like appearances on the HBO show Entourage, opens.
Monday, September 10, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
Like the Black Keys or one of Jack White's many bands, the Heartless Bastards make a strong case for the continued relevance of stripped-down, blues-influenced rock music. Since relocating to Austin from Cincinnati, the group — anchored by frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom's fierce, gritty vocals — has absorbed a little bit of Texas twang, and it's a good look on them.
Wednesday, September 12, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
Why frontman Yoni Wolf croaks, I want that sharpened steel of truth in every word on "This Blackest Purse," from 2009's Eskimo Snow. Rarely are mission statements so affecting, but then Wolf is a pretty rare talent, one of the finest (if overlooked) lyricists of the last decade. Each new Why release — including last month's Sod in the Seed EP, which isn't knocking my socks off but will do for now — seems to creep further from the group's alternative hip-hop roots and closer to something like art-pop, a progression about which I have no complaints.
Friday, September 7, at the Granada (1020 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-842-1390)
VibeSquaD and Opiuo
Jonesing for some live EDM beyond Bassnectar, Deadmau5 and the other usual suspects? This Beatport-sponsored evening showcases two up-and-coming DJs, performing as a duo: Denver's bass-obsessed VibeSquaD, and Opiuo, a more genre-adventurous Aussie. If those last two sentences read like gibberish, congratulations (and welcome): You are officially old.
Saturday, September 8, at the Granada (1020 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-842-1390)
Everybody seems to love the new Twin Shadow album, Confess. I just don't know, you guys. I'm having a really hard time stomaching singer George Lewis. Whatever emotion (or nonemotion) he's trying to sell with that gloomy-detached Morrissey croon, I'm not buying it, and the handful of catchy synth hooks on the record aren't enough to make up for it. But dark, '80s-influenced synth pop isn't really my scene, so I suppose I'm not exactly the last word here.
Sunday, September 9, at the Granada (1020 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-842-1390)
Tity Boi was the most hilarious rapper name I'd ever heard until earlier this year, when 2 Chainz popped up on my radar. Turns out, they're the same guy. Tauheed Epps wanted a more media-friendly stage moniker and so changed his name last year. It's looking like a wise career move: All of a sudden, he's doing verses on Young Jeezy and Nicki Minaj radio jams and bringing in Kanye and Drake to guest on his album. Chainz's punch-line-heavy trap rap isn't shattering any artistic boundaries, but the listening public seems to approve: His studio debut, Based on a T.R.U. Story, is riding along at the top of the hip-hop charts.
Sunday, September 9, at the Beaumont Club (4050 Pennsylvania, 816-561-2560)
Crossroads Music Fest
Crosstown Station is no more. (Has it really been only a year since it closed? It feels more like three years.) But Bill Sundahl's Crossroads Music Festival predated the downtown venue, and this year, its eighth, it officially outlives the station. Things start up Friday night with a preparty at the Grinders stage featuring the Good Foot, the Grisly Hand and a Supernauts reunion show. Saturday night, it kicks into gear with about 20 local acts spread across four venues: Grinders, Czar, Midwestern Musical Co. and the Brick. As usual, the lineup skews Americana: John Velghe and the Prodigal Sons, My Brothers and Sisters, Starhaven Rounders, and Dead Voices, plus others. See cmfkc.com for details.
Friday, September 7, and Saturday, September 8, at various downtown venues