Kansas City Reggae Jamboree
It's Labor Day weekend — no work on Monday! That means Saturday and Sunday are wide-open for unlaborious activities like sitting around and getting faded and listening to reggae bands. If that's your jam, the KC Reggae Jamboree at Californos has you covered. Saturday, it's acoustic from Joel Castillo (77 Jefferson), plus sets from Firehouse Dub Crew and Blue Riddim. Then Arm the Poor, Born in Babylon, Jah Kings and a moombahton DJ make up Sunday's bill. One-day passes cost $10; two-day passes can be had for $15. The festivities run from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. both nights.
Saturday, September 1, and Sunday, September 2, at Californos (4142 Pennsylvania, 816-531-7878)
Phish stopped in at Starlight last week. This week, Phish's jam-band heir apparent, Umphrey's McGee, comes to the Grinders stage. The Chicago six-piece — recently signed to Dave Matthews' ATO label — shares with Phish a fanbase and a propensity for extended instrumental solos but is more interested in heavier prog-rock ideas, like a less formal Genesis.
Thursday, August 30, at Crossroads KC at Grinders (417 East 18th Street, 816-472-5454)
Hell, yeah, Lawrence's Rooftop Vigilantes are active again — quite active, it appears — after what seemed like a vague hiatus. This show celebrates the release of the pop-minded garage-punk band's split 7-inch with Chicago's Mannequin Men, via Replay Records. It's also a tour kickoff. The Vigilantes are soon heading out across the eastern United States and could use some money for beer and gas. Hospital Ships, another top-of-the-heap Lawrence act with a split single on the way from Replay Records, opens.
Thursday, August 30, at the Replay Lounge (946 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-7676)
Leon Russell's bio includes gold records for his solo work and a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, fair rewards for his smart stew of gospel, blues, rock and country. But his imprimatur on popular music over the past 50 years has at least as much to do with his behind-the-scenes work. His enigmatic façade — long white hair, Gandalf beard, sunglasses — looks almost like a disguise, but there's no mistaking Russell's session playing for Sinatra and the Stones and countless other greats. He also launched the careers of Tom Petty and J.J. Cale through his label, Shelter Records.
Saturday, September 1, at Knuckleheads Saloon (2715 Rochester, 816-483-1456)
Because of the dynamic media profile that Bob Mould cuts — professional-wrestling enthusiast, outspoken gay bear, The Daily Show theme-song writer (plus, of course, his pretty outstanding work in Sugar and as a solo performer) — his post-Hüsker Dü career has drawn more attention than that of his former bandmate, Grant Hart. But don't sleep on Hart like I have! He's less prolific, but the guy can write a nasty hook. I've been catching up on Hart, Spotifying the hell out of 1999's Good News for Modern Man all week — and damn, that's a fine pop-rock record. Hot Wax, from 2009? Also pretty fucking good!
Saturday, September 1, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
Del McCoury Band
Fans of modern bluegrass, newgrass, jamgrass — whatever you want to call it — ought to be over the moon for this late-summer outdoor bill. Having toured with such acts as Phish and the String Cheese Incident, Del McCoury is one of the primary gap bridgers between old-school bluegrass and the wilder, more free-form strains of the genre practiced by openers Mountain Sprout and the Emmitt-Nershi Band, a duo featuring a member of Leftover Salmon and a member of the String Cheese Incident. With Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band.
Friday, August 31, at Crossroads KC at Grinders (417 East 18th Street, 816-472-5454)