Weekend Roundup: Sunshine Long Overdue
Four years ago, Kelly Hunt left Memphis to make Kansas City her home. As she started gaining attention at open mics and festivals around the city, her striking singularity as a folk singer and songwriter became clear to audiences. Last year, her album “Even the Sparrow” gained acclaim in the area — it made The Bridge’s Best of 2018 list — and now it’s getting some well-deserved national attention. A couple weeks ago, one of the album’s tracks, “Across the Great Divide,” made it on Rolling Stone Country’s 10 best country and Americana songs to hear now. Hunt will be performing tonight at The Bottleneck in Lawrence, Kansas with another rising KC singer-songwriter, Una Walkenhorst. Tickets are available.
You may be aware that June is Pride Month, but what you might not know is that this month also marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City — a catalyst of the gay rights movement in the United States. A new music fest in Kansas City will draw attention to this important history while providing a platform for marginalized groups in the LGBTQ+ community. In a collaboration with several local organizations, the UN/TUCK Collective is putting on its first Transfiguration Music and Arts Pride Festival, tonight and tomorrow at Quixotic. Read more about it at our website from music writer Aaron Rhodes. Tickets are available.
Tonight, a few up-and-coming young beatmakers and emcees are applying techniques they’ve learned throughout the year. The Beat Academy of Kansas City — a high school program taught by local producer/emcee Info Gates at the Plaza Academy — just released an album, and they’ll be performing a few tracks at their block party tonight at the 18th Street Union. The show will also feature Info Gates, Godemis of CES Cru and more. Read more about the Beat Academy in Dan Calderon’s Sympathetic Vibrations column this week and find tickets here.
When Dan Smith established Listener in the early 2000s, the band was a hip-hop storytelling project. Eight studio albums later, Listener is the definitive “talk rock” band, blending Smith’s penchant for wordplay with stimulating, heavy-hitting riffs and enveloping tones. The group, now based in Kansas City, plays perhaps its only hometown show of 2019, tonight at The Rino. Listener will be supported by France-based acts Birds In Row, Quentin Sauvé and local noise rock band La Chancla. Tickets are available.
Brass & Boujee is one of the most invigorating groups you’ll see in Kansas City, or anywhere else, for that matter. Marcus Lewis Big Band lays the musical foundation, highlighting a few of the area’s finest jazz musicians (including Lewis himself, who toured as Janelle Monáe’s trombonist for years) and punctuating the vibrant rhymes of emcees Kemet the Phantom and Kadesh Flow. They’ll be performing at The Blue Room tonight, with a guest spot from one of KC’s great jazz voices, Lisa Henry. Tickets are available.
If you ever visit recordBar, you’ve probably seen Chris Mowry. Mowry is the venue’s production manager, who is in many ways responsible for making sure each show runs smoothly — coordinating and communicating details with performers and the venue’s techs, security crew and so on. On Saturday, Mowry is throwing a big birthday bash with a few of his favorite KC bands — Fullbloods, Dreamgirl and Dylan Guthrie & the Good Time Guys. Listen to his appearance on this week’s Eight One Sixty, and get tickets here.
In 20 years, Strange Music has gone from its beginnings as an independent hip-hop record label to an empire that includes a clothing line, a recording studio, video production company, emerging artists and now — a music festival. On Saturday, Tech N9ne and 10 of his labelmates are taking over the KC Live Block with Strangefest 2019. Two stages and a number of vendors will block off Grand Boulevard. Tickets are available, and a dollar of your admission fee will go toward KC Public Schools.
—Michelle Bacon is 90.9 The Bridge's Radio Content and Database Manager, and plays bass and drums in bands. In fact, you can catch her on bass tonight at recordBar for Katy Guillen & the Drive's KC debut. How 'bout that?