The 2011 Pitch Music Awards
The 2011 Pitch Music Showcase has come and gone, but there's more Pitch-sanctioned fun to be had on Sunday, at the annual Pitch Music Awards. MC of this year's ceremony is Eric "Mean" Melin, fresh off competing as Kansas City's representative at the U.S. Air Guitar Championships. He'll presumably treat us to some imaginary lick-shredding, and he'll be joined onstage throughout the evening by the likes of the ACBs, Stik Figa and the Latenight Callers, who'll all be performing. Winners will be named, people will cheer and boo, and everybody will be getting drunk as hell, on a Sunday. What's not to like?
Sunday, August 14, at the Uptown Theater (3700 Broadway, 816-753-8665)
Farm Aid 2011
Just a week after Kanrocksas invaded the city limits, Kansas City, Kansas, again plays host to a national music festival. Farm Aid — founded by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young in 1985 to help debt-buried farmers — selected the shiny new Livestrong Sporting Park as the site of this year's annual concert. The festival traditionally skews toward country, folk and Americana acts, and this year is no different: In addition to the big-name founders, you can catch sets by Dave Matthews, Jamey Johnson, Ray Price, and Billie Joe Shaver. It also appears as though somebody accidentally invited Jason Mraz.
Saturday, August 13, at Livestrong Sporting Park (1 Sporting Way, in Kansas City, Kansas, 913-912-7600)
Katy Perry, with Janelle Monae
Katy Perry scrapped her Christian singing career to move to Los Angeles, where she quickly discovered that the combination of taboo lyrics and spectacular breasts remains a lucrative business. Perry's explosion these past couple of years strikes me as both good and bad for the pop landscape. On the one hand, she has hired smart songwriters: "Teenage Dream" is as good as any song aired on Mix 93.3 so far this millennium. But even by pop standards, her lyrics are cheap and dumb — when a song called "Ur So Gay" is a smash hit, it's hard not to wonder where our society is heading. Opener (and KCK native) Janelle Monae is a fireball of a performer who makes ambitious, futuristic funk music, and her inclusion on the bill here is a testament to Perry's keen eye for spectacle.
Wednesday, August 17, at Sprint Center (1407 Grand, 816-949-7000)
Cowboy Indian Bear, with Hospital Ships
Lonely Twin, the latest album from Lawrence's Hospital Ships, has received more national press than any other local indie release in 0x000Arecent memory. And for good reason: The band's smart, orchestral pop is nicked with a reckless edge, with charming results. If there's another current Lawrence indie-rock act likely to get similar traction outside the Midwest, it's probably Cowboy Indian Bear, a precise quartet that matches icy grooves with hazy guitar atmospherics. It's especially nice that the show is downtown; usually you have to drive 45 minutes on K-10 to see this kind of lineup.
Thursday, August 11, at the Brick (1727 McGee, 816-421-1634)
Bob Wayne & the Outlaw Carnies, with Whiskey Breath and Adam Lee & the Dead Horse Sound Company
All due respect to the genre's greats, like Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard, but a true country outlaw in 2011 probably shouldn't much resemble those guys in look or sound. They already did their thing; it's up to the next generation to push the envelope and offend the establishment. Bob Wayne is working somewhere along these lines. His latest, Outlaw Carnie, was released by Century Media, a death-metal label. Though there are plenty of fiddles and banjos in his sound, there's also a dark undercurrent to his songs, leaving little doubt that he's been through some heavy shit.
Monday, August 15, at Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club (3402 Main, 816-753-1909)