Sounds Good: Steely Dan@Starlight, Zappa Plays Zappa@Midland, and TV On The Radio@Crossroads

A lot going on this weekend…

Not only am I personally recommending three really great shows featuring some unique and legendary artists, there’s also some great local music happening in Lawrence and KC, as well as the Chiefs on Friday night and Sporting KC on Saturday night.

Yep, it could be an epic several days if everything goes according to plan.

Thursday it’s some chill rock with Steely Dan, Friday we get a little weird with Dweezil, then Saturday it’s off to LIVESTRONG to watch Sporting keep climbing the ladder. But no after-game beers this time because it’s a bee-line for Crossroads to catch one of the cooler live acts around on Saturday night, TV On The Radio.

Who’s with me?

Thursday, August 25th

Steely Dan at Starlight Theater in KC

The brainchild of virtuoso musicians Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, Steely Dan has been through a lot of weird twists and turns as a band.  For example, one of the earliest incarnations featured Chevy Chase on the drums.  After touring in the early seventies, the duo decided that playing live was for the birds and they became strictly a studio act for the next two decades until 1993, when they decided to play some live shows again.  

Then, in 2001, more weirdness when Steely Dan released their first studio album in 20 years, “Two Against Nature.”  Surprisingly, the album won Album of the Year at the Grammys, beating out the likes of Radiohead’s “Kid A” and albums from Paul Simon, Beck, and EminemSeriously, though, “Kid A” is way, way better, right?

Regardless, the Dans have built a cult following over the years with their slippery smooth jazzy guitar rock and ironic lyrical content.  Known for their incredible attention to musical detail, they are currently touring with a full band of ten or eleven seasoned pros, so the musicianship at Starlight this Thursday should be off the charts.  


Friday, August 26th

Return to Forever IV & Zappa Plays Zappa w/ Dweezil Zappa at the Midland in KC

I will call you… Dweezil.  Why Dweezil?  Why not?!?  And you, your name will be… Moon Unit.  And you will be known as Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen

I don’t know about you guys, but I think Dweezil made out like a bandit compared to his siblings. 

Around 2006, after making a name for himself as a guitarist in his own right, Dweezil decided to learn and perform his old man’s songs to bring them to a younger audience.  He enlisted a bunch of the original Mothers of Invention, as well as new musicians in his attempt to perfectly recreate the best of Frank Zappa’s performances from over the years. 

But wait!  There’s more!  If you act now you also get: jazz-fusion supergroup Return to Forever, which features Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Frank Gambale playing both old and new songs from their solo careers as well as the RTF catalogue. 

You can’t afford NOT to go!

For any SERIOUS music fan, this show has been circled on the calendar for months, maybe more. 


Saturday, August 27th

TV On The Radio at the Crossroads in KC

This Brooklyn band is usually described as indie rock, but that label doesn’t really do TVOTR justice as their sounds are so wide ranging that typical pigeon-holing doesn’t really work.  At times punk, jazz, improv, soul, pop, electronic, you-name-it.

I describe them as one of the most interesting and different bands around. 

Their most recent album, 2011’s “Nine Types of Light,” has received mostly acclaim, with Pitchfork giving it a 7.7, Paste pegging it at an 8.0, and Rolling Stone offering 4 out of 5 stars.  RS reviewer Jon Dolan writes, “TVOTR’s most accessible disc rolls out grand alt-rock and thwumping future funk that’s warm and grabby — from the arena-Pixies "Caffeinated Consciousness" to the Prince-ly "New Cannonball Blues."

Their live shows are notoriously upbeat and sonically imposing, to the point that, even those not super familiar with TVOTR’s stuff can get hooked and transformed into an instant fan in the span of a ninety minute set.

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12 Responses to Sounds Good: Steely Dan@Starlight, Zappa Plays Zappa@Midland, and TV On The Radio@Crossroads

  1. PB says:

    In For
    Steely Dan! First album I ever owned…Can’t Buy A Thrill. I’ve waited all my life to see these guys…can’t wait!

    Return To Forever w/ Dweezil? A can’t-miss that I will sadly miss, but why no Al DiMeola? The Jean Luc Ponty addition perhaps makes up for that.

    Also this weekend, the Paola Roots Festival. Short drive, low entry price and BYOB for the likes of Band of Heathens, Marcia Ball, Davey Knowles and Tower of Power.

  2. Cliffy says:

    This will be my 7th Dan concert dating back to 1996 at Sandstone — the last time they were in KC, correct? Always a great show.

    Sure wish I’d known about the Zappa coming to town. I got to pay closer attention.

  3. kcfred says:

    Al Dimeola
    PB, I saw RTF in 2008. Chick and Al almost got into a fight onstage because of Al’s always wanting to play 128th notes. It was very noticeable. When Al would do one of his unneccesary runs, Chick would stare.

  4. PB says:

    Don’t Mess With Chick
    Interesting, fred…perhaps a good thing then that Al is sitting this tour out.

  5. Super Dave says:

    Major Flash Back
    Tower of Power wow not heard that name or group in years. LOL only in Paola.

  6. kcfred says:

    Steely Dan
    Drove to see Steely Dan at the Fox Thatre in St. Louis last night. It’s not Crossroads or anything, but it’ll do. If you don’t have tickets for tonight, get them. NOW. This may have been the best show I’ve seen in the last 25 years. They were perfect. I’ll see ya there..

  7. PB says:

    kcfred…that’s great to hear! I’m excited as hell because as I’ve said earlier, seeing them live has been a goal of mine since I was 12 years old. Should be a GREAT night for an outdoor show as well.

  8. Cliffy says:

    @kcfred …
    Did I misunderstand your comment … are you saying the Fox in StL is not as good of a venue as Crossroads? I saw Steely Dan there in 2008 and the place is fabulous (which I guess is why they call it the Fabulous Fox). It will be a great show tonight at Starlight but we will not enjoy acoustics as excellent as you did last night.

    You’re right, PB … weather looks perfectt.

  9. PB says:

    I’m guessing this was the case, Cliffy as there is a certain faction (one guy?) polluting local blogs/message boards with their anti-Crossroads rhetoric.

  10. kcfred says:

    Winner winner, chicken dinner.
    And I’ve only polluted this blog with the Crossroads posts.
    Yeah, the Fox in StL is about as good as it gets.
    And seeing the Dan there just reinforced what a treasure that place is.
    Enjoy the show, and tell me the drummer’s not one of the best you’ve ever seen.
    That ain’t easy music to play, folks.

  11. PB says:

    Yes, the Drummer
    Was outstanding! As was the lead guitarist. And is it me or is Becker looking more and more like Jerry Garcia as he ages? Great (2 hours plus) show, great night at Starlight. It was definitely worth the wait finally getting to see one of my all-time favorite acts. Just learned that I scored some freebies to Return To Forever/Dweezil tonight, so I’ll knockout yet another classic act from my youthful days. And plan on making it 3 for 3 with Tower of Power in Paola on Saturday. This will be a good week.

  12. Cliffy says:

    Sorry, guys. My sarcasm meter is in the shop. I was tempted to go to Crossroads for Ben Folds but have never been there.

    Great show last night and you’re spot on about the drummer … Keith Carlock. I’ve been a fan of his since SD’s Live in America album. Aja and, more subtly, Third World Man are amazing.

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