The summer concert season is heating up…
Artists heading into KC include Phish, The Avett Brothers, Aretha Franklin, Van Halen, Chicago, the Doobie Brothers, Taj Mahal, Pat Green, M83, and many, many more.
And despite the few curmudgeonly commenters that think otherwise, for my money there’s still no better way to see a show than outside underneath the stars.
To that end the Crossroads has the first offering of the season this weekend, with a gritty double billing of Shooter Jennings and Cody Canada & the Departed (more on them after the jump).
On to the picks!…
Thursday, April 26th
Glen Campbell @ the Uptown Theater in KC
Where to begin? Recently honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Campbell has really done it all. He played guitar on one of the greatest albums ever, the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, and toured with the band in Brian Wilson’s place in 1964-65. He was buddies with Charlton Heston, John Wayne and Ronald Reagan. He has released more than 70 albums in his 50 plus year musical career, garnering 9 Grammys and countless other awards.
Yep, he’s been there and done, well, more than all of us combined probably.
But if you want to see Glen Campbell perform live this might be your last chance. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the summer of 2011 and is calling his current string of shows the Goodbye Tour. The word is that although he now needs teleprompters and some help from his family (three of his kids are in his touring band), his pipes and talent are still there. And his latest recording, 2010’s hauntingly titled Ghost on the Canvas has received mostly positive reviews.
“He may be 75 and a frail ghost of his former hell-raising self,” writes the BBC’s Martin Aston, “but vocally Campbell still sounds surefooted, hitting wistful, golden notes.”
Electric Guest @ The Granada in Lawrence
“Is it honest homage or is it pastiche?” asked The Guardian’s Paul Lester. “Who knows: but this hipster take on cheese could be the next big thing.”
Whatever it is, this Cali duo has been getting some major hype, due mostly to the fact that Danger Mouse produced their only album, Mondo, which is a crystalline funky soul-pop falsetto journey ala Mayer Hawthorne but more electronic. And their single, This Head I Hold has been getting heavy airplay on hipster-friendly stations like 96.5 the Buzz.
Friday, April 27th
Weston Bluegrass Festival
Now in its second year, the Weston Bluegrass Festival features mostly local-ish bands at the New Deal Tobacco Warehouse in Weston, MO. Headliners include Dumptruck Butterlips, the wandering gypsy soul-grass act that’s been getting plenty of regional attention lately, as well as Deadman Flats, Tyler Gregory, Ashes to Immortality, and a bunch more.
I hear that local bluegrass hounds Barnyard Beer will be on hand with their wares to quench the parched masses, and of course there will be plenty of great local food vendors as well.
And the price tag couldn’t be more affordable at just $26 for Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday, though if you want to camp onsite that’s going for $16 per night. There are multiple pass combos, so if you’re interested check it all out right here: http://www.westonbluegrass.com/preorder-tickets/
Saturday, April 28th
Shooter Jennings, Cody Canada & the Departed @ Crossroads in KC
This outdoor show at the Crossroads features a couple of country rock stalwarts who are currently making the rounds on their Magical Misdemeanor Tour. Everyone knows Shooter – he’s the son of legend Waylon Jennings. Shooter’s latest album Family Man came out earlier this year, and it’s definitely a return to his country roots after he dabbled in a decidedly un-country sound with his prior effort, Black Ribbons.
Probably not as familiar, though are Cody Canada & the Departed. Cody was a founding member of Cross Canadian Ragweed and his new band’s initial release, This Indian Land, is a tribute to Oklahoma songwriters that inspired him like JJ Cale, Leon Russell, and other red dirt legends. Recently, American Songwriter’s Caine O’Rear caught up with Cody for some insight into dirt that is red.
“Red Dirt to me fits into the older style of country, Merle, Willie etc.,” said Cody. “The thing about Red Dirt is it can be soul, rock, folk, country. It’s really about the honesty of the lyrics, nothing fake about it.” Of his band’s pairing with Shooter Jennings, Cody was bullish, saying, “We’re a perfect pairing – we believe in the same purpose: make good non-bullshit music and travel and deliver it. Lots of new original songs on this tour. Getting fired up for our first original album.”
Real Estate @ the Bottleneck in Lawrence
Alright indie rock scenesters, this one is for you. Band signed to Domino Records? Check. Pitchfork’s Best New Music of 2011? Check. Band T-shirts that look like the kind of thing that Brett from Flight of the Conchords would wear? C’mon, it’s just too easy.
But despite whatever distaste (or not) that you may have for the online pretentious music rating machine, Real Estate’s latest album Days, is pretty fucking good in a jangly, echoey, layered guitar sort of way. You dig?
They’re rolling into Larryville hot off playing Coachella, so this might be the last time for a while to catch these guys somewhere as intimate as the Bottleneck.
Arthur Dodge & the Horsefeathers @ the Replay in Lawrence
I never miss a chance to catch the grizzled Lawrence troubadour Arthur Dodge, especially when he has his full band in tow. They play country-roots-folk songs, with keyboards, cigarettes, and cheap beer leading the way.
For those not familiar, I suggest giving Dodge’s 2004 release Room #4 a listen for such gems as Hustlin’ California and Gates. The album is a swanky, dirty, blues ride with clever lyrics and tight songwriting that sets it apart from many imitators.