Thursday, May 12th
Jessica Lea Mayfield & Nathaniel Rateliff at the RecordBar
Jessica Lea plays love songs in a stripped down, folk style. Refining her sound through recent successes touring with the likes of Uncle Tupelo, Ray LaMontagne, and a performance at Bonnaroo a few years ago, Mayfield’s music crosses into bluegrass, rock, and even a tad country at times. Her pairing with Nathaniel Rateliff on this billing seems perfect if you are looking for an intimate concert, with the emphasis on lyrical content.
If you recall, I interviewed Nathaniel Rateliff a few months ago after his stellar show at the Bottleneck. He talked about guns, Missouri, and getting back to roots, among other things. He’s real good. And, oh yeah, he’s on the bill for 96.5 the Buzz’s Beach Ball on June 3rd at City Market, which features Cake and Mumford & Sons, though you probably won’t find his name in any of the advertisements.
Nick Arcade at the Granada in Lawrence
I’m pretty sure I’ve never recommended seeing a DJ before during the short tenure of what’s known as Sounds Good. And Nick Arcade is a DJ, so I bet you’re wondering why he’s making my list this weekend, huh? Allow me to explain.
Nick plays tasteful shit – electro house, dubstep, a little glitchhop (look it up geezers) – and he does it in a smooth package that encourages a little fraternization, a little drunkification, and a lot of tittification. Add to that the fact that KU classes end this week and you come up with an equation that results in a sweaty mess that could get you arrested. Also, Nick reps Team Bear Club, so there’s always a chance for some spontaneous collaboration with one of the many other cubs that will show up for the party.
Friday, May 13th
Brooke Fraser at the Bottleneck in Lawrence
Until I listened to Brooke Fraser, the only things I liked about New Zealand were Hobbits and Flight of the Conchords. My Kiwi ex-girlfriend was pretty cool, too, I guess.
Brooke Fraser is actually a really big name in the southern hemisphere. This New Zealand native has charted a bunch of songs on the Australian and Kiwi charts, and her latest album, “Flags” reached as high as #3 on the U.S. iTunes album charts. Her success down under led to tours with John Mayer and legendary UK rocker David Bowie. She is most often compared to Norah Jones or Sarah McLaughlin, though in my opinion she is less annoying than both of them, with a bit of a country twinge that adds an element to her music that makes it less Lilith-centric – which is a good thing.
Saturday, May 14th
Joe Purdy at the Bottleneck in Lawrence
I first stumbled upon Joe Purdy and his soulful folk Americana a few years ago when a friend of mine told me about his website, which had all of his songs available to listen to for free, a somewhat new-ish concept at that time. A rather prolific artist, it took me weeks to wade through his twelve or so albums. His real strength is in his songwriting, which incorporates both personal lyrics as well as storytelling type songs.
If you are into M. Ward or Ray LaMontagne, chances are you will like Purdy’s brand of folk troubadour-ism. He rolls into Lawrence touring on his most recent release, “This American,” which as I said, can be heard in its entirety for free on his website.