June 27--This was supposed to be Kanrocksas weekend out at the Kansas Speedway, but the festival was canceled in late May because ticket sales were lagging.
In the wake of the festival's demise, several bands who were scheduled to perform at the speedway Friday or Saturday have booked shows elsewhere in Kansas City or Lawrence this weekend.
Here's a look at those shows, plus a few others that are making this weekend one of the summer's biggest and busiest for live music. Friday in particular will pose some tough choices for many people.
Imagine Dragons at Starlight Theatre
This bill comprises five bands that had been on the Kanrocksas schedule. The headliner is Imagine Dragons, a four-piece from Las Vegas via Provo, Utah. Its music is built and arranged to fill big venues: lots of hooks and sing-along choruses -- the kind of music that has drawn comparisons to bands like the Fray and Coldplay, especially on tracks like "Demons."
Its "Night Visions" full-length album has received mixed reviews from critics. "The band's electronically reinforced sound is definitely big, (but) it sometimes feels as though it lacks depth," wrote the All-Music Guide.
The four other bands on the bill: Twenty One Pilots, a duo from Columbus, Ohio, that infuses its manic pop tunes with Eminem-style raps; Churchill, a six-piece from Denver that delivers engaging, well-orchestrated pop/rock anthems embellished with piano, cello and mandolin; Capital Cities, a Los Angeles electronic-pop ensemble that makes music in the vein of bands like Phoenix; and Family of the Year, a California band that orchestrates lush, melodic and sunny electric-folk tunes.
Showtime is 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $24.50-$39.50.
Grouplove at KC Live
Grouplove headlines this free concert at the music venue in the Power & Light District. The Los Angeles band issues the kind of rock, pop and folk music that has generated plenty of traction recently: lots of vocals and harmonies, hand claps and percussion. Its live shows are typically energetic and engaging.
Also on the bill: Middle Class Rut, a duo from Sacramento, Calif., that blends various flavors of rock into a sound that is urgent and dramatic; and electronic-dance artist Robert DeLong.
Showtime is 8 p.m. Admission is free; you must be at least 21 years old.
Yeasayer at the Granada
Here's how MTV once described the sounds of Yeasayer, a four-piece from Brooklyn: "At times, the foursome projected a wholly distinct vibe like a manic Peter Gabriel-era Genesis channeled through Animal Collective, but the band also manipulates their collective vocals (yes, they all sing), producing a sweet, harmonious cacophony."
The All-Music Guide calls its music "an eclectic, genre-bending journey into pop, rock, Middle Eastern and African musics, folk and dub." Recommended for fans of Vampire Weekend. The opener is Reptar, a dance-pop foursome from Athens, Ga.
Showtime is 9 p.m. Advance tickets are $15. This is an all-ages show.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Crossroads KC
This show features two of the bigger attractions from the Kanrocksas lineup. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are led by Alex Ebert of the dance-rock band Ima Robot. The Zeros are an 11-piece band that traffics in manic, feel-good folk-rock anthems laden with multipart vocals, hand claps, whistles and lots of percussion. It always elicits a sunny, evangelic vibe, especially in Kansas City, where the band has performed often in recent years, generating a great response each time.
The opener is ZZ Ward (Zsuzsanna Eva Ward), who fuses soul, rock, blues and hip-hop into a sound that is catchy and invigorating.
Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $21.50-$76.50. This is an all-ages show.
Also this weekend
--The Grand Marquis has just released "Blues and Trouble," the seventh recording from this stalwart five-piece Kansas City band known for its brassy, high-octane blend of jazz, blues, swing and American roots music. Friday night, the Marquis is throwing a "Blues and Trouble" release party at Knuckleheads, 2715 Rochester. Showtime is 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $10.
--The Mike Dillon Band is back in town for a show Friday night at the Brick, 1727 McGee St. Dillon is a decorated musician with some deep local ties, going back to the band Billy Goat. His other projects included Hairy Apes BMX and Mike Dillon's Go-Go Jungle. He played with Critter's Buggin, Les Claypool's Fancy Band and Garage-A-Trois. The Mike Dillon Band is a four-piece that cooks up a brassy, percussive sound from a wide range of styles and includes effervescent trombonist Carly Meyers, who will be celebrating her birthday Friday night. Showtime is 10 p.m.
To reach Timothy Finn, call 816-234-4781 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/phinnagain. Read more from him at our music blog, Back to Rockville, at KansasCity.com.
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