Billy Joe Shaver
"I got a good Christian raising and an eighth grade education," Billy Joe Shaver boasts on his classic song "Georgia On a Fast Train. "I don't need y'all to treat me this way." No one at Knuckleheads will disrespect the legendary honky tonk hero on Friday. Shaver has served as an inspiration and as a songwriter for the likes of country icons Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Anyone who's seen one of the proud Texan's fiery appearances at Knuckleheads already knows that the septuagenarian remains a riveting entertainer. The Bryant Carter Band, a locally-based country act, opens the show. Tickets to the 8:30 p.m. show are $22.50 in advance.
While many of the most devoted music fans have never heard of Jeff Mangum or his band Neutral Milk Hotel, Mangum is one of the most revered figures in indie rock. The cult artist's concert at Liberty Hall has been sold out for weeks. The 1998 album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, the impeccable re-imagining of lavish psychedelic rock he oversaw as the primary creative force behind Neutral Milk Hotel, is now considered a classic recording. The project's sprawling approach has inspired countless musicians. Tall Firs, a hushed group from New York that evokes the serene side of Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis, opens the show.
Tickets to the sold-out 8 p.m. show were $33 and $25 in advance.
Rodney Carrington is the redneck version of Jack Black. Both men are actors, comics and musicians. Where Black spoofs the excesses of the rock and roll lifestyle in his band Tenacious D, Carrington lovingly mocks rural culture with his country music. "Show Them To Me," one of Carrington's most popular songs, encourages women (and obese men) to expose themselves. His standup comedy is similarly risqué. Related in a thick Southern twang, Carrington's off-color jokes about topics ranging from hip-hop to genitalia have helped to make the native Texan a multi-media star. Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $47.50 and $37.50 in advance.
The annual Jazz Winterlude festival at Johnson County Community College serves as a reliably thorough showcase of Kansas City's most notable jazz artists. Yet the must-see act at this year's event is the international star Julian Lage. The young guitarist's innovations have already begun to alter the jazz, classical and world music landscapes. Lage, 25, is one of the most significant new guitarists since Pat Metheny emerged from Lee's Summit in the 1970s. Even the seemingly restrictive format of his appearance Friday- a duo with Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder- shouldn't limit Lage's boundless creativity.
A one-hour set by Lage and Roeder begins at 8 p.m. Admission is free.
Larry Coryell, one of the greatest guitarists in jazz and rock, was considered by many observers to be the logical successor of Jimi Hendrix. The specter of Hendrix also plays a role in the career of Coryell's son Murali. In his "In the Room With Jimi," the signature song of the younger Coryell, Murali recounts being held in Hendrix's arms at the Fillmore East nightclub when he was three months old. Unlike his father, Coryell isn't dedicated to creating new sounds. Instead, Coryell makes satisfyingly stout blues-rock in the vein of Buddy Guy and Joe Louis Walker. Tickets to the 8:30 p.m. show are $10 in advance.
The indie rock credentials of Bloc Party may be impeccable, but the heart of a mainstream pop act pulses underneath its slightly discordant guitar attack. The London-based band's deployment of insinuating melodies, relatable lyrics and irresistible dance beats polishes the harsher approaches of seminal British acts like Joy Division, Gang of Four and the Jam into a smoother sound. Bloc Party may not be the best band of the past decade, but it's certainly one of the most likable. IO Echo, a Los Angeles-based ensemble with a dreamy sensibility, opens the show.
Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $37.50 and $25 in advance.
A melodic soft rock band, Keane specializes in gentle songs of romantic yearning. Sophisticated hits including the wistfully cascading "Everyone's Changing" and the mildly anthemic "Is It Any Wonder?" have made the British band a favorite act among listeners who are also partial to Coldplay and The Fray. Youngblood Hawke, an anthemic pop band from Los Angeles, opens the show. Armed with songs that resemble clever rewrites of Fun's "We Are Young," Youngblood Hawke is poised to make a lot of noise in the new year.
Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $25 in advance and $28 on the day of the show.
Subtlety isn't a quality often associated with Electronic Dance Music. Eliot Lipp isn't a typical electronic music artist. Most of the Brooklynite's extensive discography is far less frenetic than the work of his peers. Rooted in low-key funk and freely incorporating elements of jazz and hip-hop, Lipp's sonically adventurous approach eschews cliches and predictable patterns. Sound Remedy, a Los Angeles-based producer who became an internet sensation in 2012 though his lush remixes of popular material by artists including Lana Del Rey and Band of Horses, opens the show. Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $12 in advance and $15 on the day of the show.
The Kopecky Family Band
The soaring popularity of exuberant foot-stomping folk-rock bands like Mumford & Sons, the Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men has been one of the most surprising musical developments of the last couple years. The Kopecky Family Band is one of the most accomplished of the countless like-minded acts striving for a similar level of success. Partly because the Nashville sextet has already performed its catchy songs at the prestigious Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits festivals, the Kopecky Family Band is positioned to well-positioned to become the fashionable style's next break-out act. The Eastern Sea, a transportive chamber pop group from Austin, open the show.
| Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star