2013 already looks like it will be a large year for live music, starting with the return of Kanrocksas, the two-day festival at the Kansas Speedway.
The inaugural festival in August 2011 suffered financially but otherwise was a success. Tens of thousands of fans attended, saw a strong lineup lead by Eminem and supported scores of national, regional and local bands. After taking 2012 off to regroup and reorganize, its organizers are planning what they expect to be an annual event at the speedway in Kansas City, Kan. This year’s festival is June 28-29, when the weather is typically more temperate.
• On June 15, for the third time in less than 24 months, Kenny Chesney will headline a show at Arrowhead Stadium. In July 2011, he brought the Zac Brown Band with him. In June 2012, he brought Tim McGraw. This year he’s bringing another guy who fills arenas, Eric Church.
• Taylor Swift, who filled Arrowhead in September 2011, is returning to Kansas City this year, but instead of one giant show, she’s performing two consecutive August nights at the Sprint Center. Both shows are nearly sold out.
• Speaking of sold out, the five-man Anglo-Irish boy band One Direction comes to the Sprint Center in July. Tickets for that show went on sale in July 2012. It sold out almost immediately. The group has released two albums since November 2011, including last year’s “Take Me Home,” which have sold nearly 3 million copies combined in the United States and 15 million worldwide.
• The Sprint Center will be host to another of the year’s biggest shows: On Feb. 4, Lady Gaga returns to the downtown arena. In August 2012, she nearly sold out the place.
• This year will include the usual annual events, such as Rockfest, the Vans Warped Tour and the Kansas City Irish Fest. In April it will also include the third annual Middle of the Map Fest in Westport, a three-day showcase of national, regional and local bands sponsored by Ink magazine. After just two years, the festival’s reputation for drawing buzz bands has grown nationally. Expect this year’s lineup to be as stellar as the first two, if not more.
It’s early in the year and there are hundreds of shows yet to be announced, but the calender is filling up fast. The list at right has some of the most noteworthy shows.
• April 4-6: Middle of the Map Fest in Westport
• May 11: Rockfest at Penn Valley Park
• June 15: Kenny Chesney with Eric Church, Eli Young Band at Arrowhead Stadium
• June 28-29: Kanrocksas at the Kansas Speedway
• July 23: The Vans Warped Tour at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater
• Aug. 30-Sept. 1: Kansas City Irish Fest at Crown Center
• Feb. 2: Kid Rock with Buckcherry and Hellbound Glory
• Feb. 4: Lady Gaga
• Feb. 15: The Zac Brown Band
• Feb. 27: Maroon 5 with Neon Trees and Owl City
• April 13: Bon Jovi
• April 30: Fleetwood Mac
• May 1: Carrie Underwood
• July 19: One Direction
• Aug. 2-3: Taylor Swift
• March 18: Yes
• May 1: Diana Krall
• Feb. 21: North Mississippi Allstars
• Feb. 28: Tom Russell
• April 27: Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis
• May 18: Hot Club of Cowtown
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
• Jan 30: Sweet Honey in the Rock
• March 3: Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin
• May 11: Restless Heart
• Jan. 20: Bloc Party
• Feb. 2: Morrissey
• March 12-13: Sound Tribe Sector 9
• April 21: Josh Ritter
• Feb. 2: Calexico
• Feb. 21: Toro Y Moi
• March 2: Robert Earl Keen
Other shows of note
• Feb. 15: Kenny Garrett at the Folly Theatre
• March 3: Chris Tomlin at the Independence Events Center
• March 10: Alabama Shakes at the Uptown Theater
• March 23: The Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Christian McBride, Benny Green and others
• Beautiful Bodies: Because they’re recording a new album with producer John Feldman of the band Goldfinger. And because this week they are in Los Angeles, where they are a finalist in the Ernie Ball/Warped Tour Battle of the Bands. On Friday, they will be one of four bands chosen from a field of thousands performing a 30-minute set at the House of Blues in L.A. The winner, chosen by a panel of judges that includes Kevin Lyman, founder of the Warped Tour, receives a slot in this year’s tour, free instruments and sound equipment and money for recording time.
“The original field was something like 32,000 bands,” said Alicia Solombrino, the band’s lead singer. “From there, fans voted and the field was cut to 164. Those bands got a slot in their hometown’s Warped Tour show. We did ours in July. And from there Ernie Ball and the tour picked a final four. So we’re already really excited about getting this far. It’s a major accomplishment. And to get to perform in Los Angeles, at the House of Blues, and have the chance to impress Kevin Lyman. This could rally change things for us.”
The band thought its chances of proceeding beyond the field of 164 were slim to none after its Warped Tour appearance in July at the Cricket Wireless Amphitheater in Bonner Springs. Thomas Becker, the band’s guitarist, was chastised severely by a tour official for climbing on equipment and on the roof of the stage.
“He was really upset and told us we’d never play another Warped Tour again,” Solombrino said. “But a picture of Thomas made it onto the Ernie Ball website. They loved it.” And in October, the Bodies were told they’d made the final four. “It’s huge on a bunch of levels, whether we win or not,” Solombrino said.
• Making Movies: Because the Afro-Cuban/rock band from Kansas City will launch a national release of its stellar new record, “A La Deriva,” produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. The band has slowly been getting traction in markets outside of Kansas City. This record could be the catalyst to something larger.
• Quixotic Fusion: Because they keep doing things bigger and keep getting better and keep putting their spectacle in front of new people. Music is one component of that spectacle, and it’s a vital one.
• Grisly Hand: Because I’ve heard the new album, and it is major league.
• The Architects: Because their next project is grand and ambitious.
• Radkey: Because they continue to grow, improve and impress.