Shake, Rattle & Roll With Bobby Watson and His All-Star Big Band
Kansas City's adopted jazz father, Bobby Watson, has assembled about 20 of the finest jazz musicians in the region — David Basse, Rod Fleeman, Dan Thomas, Steve Malloy, Horace Washington and Roger Wilder, to name a few — for two evenings of standards and Watson originals. Wear a tie: This shit is special.
Friday, February 15, and Saturday, February 16, at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (1601 Broadway, 816-994-7222)
Are you a fan of Andrew Bird's violins and loops but find some of his songs a little too clinical? Do you dig Animal Collective's dreamy electronics but wish the group would inch just a smidgen closer toward pop's center? K Ishibashi (stage name: Kishi Bashi) might be your huckleberry. Ishibashi is a multi-instrumentalist who has played with Of Montreal, Sondre Lerche and Regina Spektor. Kishi Bashi's 2012 album, 151a, is a lush bit of orchestral folk pop that measures up to the work of those former collaborators.
Sunday, February 17, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
Arrington de Dionyso
Arrington de Dionyso's noisy free jazz — a stew of bass-clarinet blurts, throat singing, polyrhythmic drumming and feral world music — has earned him acclaim among the types of music fans who subscribe to defiantly nonmainstream magazines like the U.K.'s The Wire. So it stands to reason that during his stop here in town, he'll be performing alongside some of Kansas City's avant-garde elite: Snuff Jazz-centric musicians Mark Southerland, Ashley Miller and Shawn Hansen. Expo '70 opens.
Monday, February 18, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
Zac Brown Band
Zac Brown is probably the most likable figure at the moment in modern country music, at least from where we freedom-hating, city-dwelling liberals sit. Rather than work the combative-redneck angle, a la Toby Keith, Brown projects the image of (and appears to legitimately be) just a friendly country dude. He slips Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder and Nirvana into his set lists. He occasionally indulges an itch to jam out. And his rural-pandering songs — I'm thinking specifically of "Chicken Fried" — turn out to be kind of charming despite themselves. Given the alternatives, we should all be rooting for this guy.
Friday, February 15, at Sprint Center (1407 Grand, 816-949-7000)
Rev Gusto, with Not a Planet, David Hasselhoff on Acid and Cherokee Rock Rifle
Keep an eye on Rev Gusto. The local five-piece looks young but already has a reasonably firm grip on how to write a freewheeling jangler. I caught the group a few weeks back, when it opened for Free Energy, and was charmed by its ramshackle '60s garage pop. Not a Planet also played that show; the trio cranked out some lively alt rock with blues and folk undertones. This show, which also offers fried-out funk metal from David Hasselhoff on Acid and howling hard rock from Cherokee Rock Rifle, is another MidCoast Takeover event, benefiting local bands making the trek to South By Southwest in a few weeks.
Saturday, February 16, at the Brick (1727 McGee, 816-421-1634)
Tribute to Amy Winehouse
The band assembled for this evening of odes to the troubled '00s soul diva includes members of local acts the Grisly Hand, the Good Foot, the New Riddim and the Elders; its first Winehouse tribute was on a Sunday night back in December, at the Hooligan Holiday Party at the Beaumont Club. For those who had to work the following Monday and missed it, this Saturday-night performance should allow enough buffer before the start of the workweek.
Saturday, February 16, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
Ha Ha Tonka
A Ha Ha Tonka performance in Kansas City isn't the rarest thing in the world — half of the members have migrated here from their native Springfield, Missouri — but this special Valentine's Day gig at Kanza Hall feels noteworthy. If nothing else, it's a chance to explore the newish Overland Park venue, which is part of the One Block South development, a nightlife cluster for South Kansas Citians. "Upscale country roadhouse" is the general vibe inside Kanza, which should be a welcome setting for Ha Ha Tonka's uptempo roots rock.
Thursday, February 14, at Kanza Hall (7300 West 119th Street, Overland Park, 913-451-0444)
Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears
Delta blues, Memphis soul, Detroit garage — listening to Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears is like taking a north-south road trip in midcentury Middle America. As revivalists, the Austin group falls somewhere between the Black Keys (fuzzy vocals, Howlin' Wolf reverence) and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (Stax-y horns).
Thursday, February 14, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)