Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Concert Review: Adia Victoria at the Riot Room

I attended Adia Victoria’s show at the Riot Room last Monday on a hunch.  While I was underwhelmed by the recordings of the Nashville based artist as I researched a preview I wrote for her Kansas City debut, I suspected that I was missing something. 

My hunch paid off. 

I was one of about three dozen people in attendance for what’s certain to be one my favorite performances of 2016.  Backed by an impressive band of Nashville cats, Victoria prowled the stage like the feral grandchild of Howlin’ Wolf and Dolly Parton. 

Victoria repeatedly suggested that she was playing the blues.  Accordingly, a noisy cover of Robert Johnson’s “Me and the Devil Blues” was my favorite selection.  She was entirely credible as she insisted that she was going to “beat my man until I’m satisfied.”

I was so gobsmacked that I failed to take a decent picture.  Fortunately, Todd Zimmer documented the show with a remarkable set of photos.


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I reviewed of a new collection of 58 previously unissued Charlie Parker tracks for KCUR.

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I reviewed Brian Wilson’s concert at Muriel Kauffman Theatre.

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I reviewed a concert by Duran Duran, Chic and Tokimonsta.

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I previewed Drake’s return to Kansas City for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I reviewed a concert by Shinedown, Halestorm and Black Stone Cherry.

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I talked up Rooftop Vigilantes on KCUR last week.

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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The last 132 Hastings stores have been shuttered.  I spent a significant portion of my life in Amarillo soliciting the buyers of the once-powerful chain.  By and large, my contacts at the Hastings headquarters were good folks.

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I’m all about Revocation’s Great Is Our Sin.  RIYL: Exmortus, metallic hooks, Lamb of God.

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The unfortunately named Dinosaur exemplifies the look and sound of modern jazz.  (For the record, I dig the London ensemble.)

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Many readers of There Stands the Glass are vocal advocates of Goat.  Requiem, the band’s new album, will be released in October.

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Grady Champion’s preposterously old-school ”Move Something” just might be my favorite song of 2016.  (Not kidding.)  RIYL: Marvin Sease, dance songs, Mel Waiters.

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The things I liked about Z-Ro’s purple-drenched Houston rap are largely absent on Drankin’ & Drivin’.  Z-Ro knows it.  He raps “if you don’t like my new sh*t you can go back to my old sh*t… gotta get this money, man.”  RIYL: 2Pac, the slickness, UGK.  Here's "My Money".

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Give It Away Give It Away Give It Away Now


My social media feeds are clogged by heartfelt confessions inspired by recent events.  In that spirit, I’ll reveal one of my deepest prejudices: I involuntarily roll my eyes when I spot a dude in a Red Hot Chili Peppers t-shirt.  My eye muscles get a workout at almost every non-classical concert I attend that attracts a throng of white guys.  I’m not sure why the fashion choice bugs me.  I’ve always been down with the band.  Like the members of RHCP, I fell under the spell of George Clinton while attending high school in the 1980s.  I admire much of RHCP’s work, including the new Danger Mouse-produced The Getaway.  Come to think of it, maybe I should buy one of those shirts the next time I’m at Target.


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I reviewed Trampled Under Foot’s marathon reunion show at Knuckleheads on Friday.  I also highlighted the concerts on KCUR last week.

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I reviewed the first day of the Buzz Beach Ball festival at Children’s Mercy Park.  I also wrote an extended preview of the event for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine. 

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Alan Vega of Suicide has died.

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Bonnie Brown of the Browns has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

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I’m happily stuck in the quagmire of Rich the Factor’s Smile.

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I’m still over the moon about catching a performance by trumpeter Kirk Knuffke a couple weeks ago.  Fierce Silence, his new duet album with drummer Whit Dickey, is nice and skronky.

(Original image of Buzz Beach Ball by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Album Review: Mark Chesnutt- Tradition Lives


I grew increasingly frustrated as I watched Mark Chesnutt perform with Lorrie Morgan and Joe Diffie at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in January.  My subsequent review was positive, but I longed to be transported to a proper Chesnutt concert at a honky-tonk in his home state of Texas.

Rather than gripping a notepad and a penlight, I wanted to hold a longneck in one hand and the waist of my dance partner in the other.  My daydream of careening across a dance floor to “Brother Jukebox” was heavenly. 

Tradition Lives, Chesnutt’s first album in six years, is filled with sturdy country songs about drinking, cheating and heartbreak.  “So You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore,” an ode about a breakup with booze, is my favorite track. 

The veteran traditionalist has no use for crossover pop moves or for the sort of arty innovations that made Sturgill Simpson a sensation among the NPR set.  Yet formalism doesn’t seem stodgy in the hands of Chesnutt.  I favor hip-hop, jazz, metal and R&B these days, but hardcore country like Tradition Lives will always sound like home to me.


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I reviewed Twenty One Pilots’ sold-out concert at the Sprint Center.

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I wrote an extended preview of Flight of the Conchords’s show at Starlight Theatre for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I continue to drive the Matt Otto bandwagon at Plastic Sax.

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Marc Meyers reports that jazz pianist Don Friedman has died.

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”How Many” is Miguel’s response to recent events.  (Tip via BGO.)

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If I manage to embrace the distortion that makes speakers sound as if they’re blown out, Mike Dillon’s Functioning Broke might become one of my favorite jazz-based albums of 2016.  RIYL: Steve Reich, Elliott Smith covers, early Keith Jarrett.

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I get choked up by Allen Toussaint's cover of Paul Simon’s “American Tune” at the conclusion of his lovely posthumous album American Tunes.

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In 2014, I suggested that Schoolboy Q's Oxymoron resembled "a poor man's version of Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city."  The rapper's new  Blank Face LP sounds like a bankrupt response to To Pimp a Butterfly.  The project also has the dubious distinction of housing “That Part”, arguably Kanye West’s worst-ever feature.

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The messy mix on the reissue of Van Morrison’s ...It’s Too Late to Stop Now doesn’t spoil the fun.

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Hiromi’s Spark is RIYL: bombast, Rush, being buried by notes.

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BadBadNotGood’s IV is mildly disappointing.  RIYL: Mulatu Astatke, hype, John Klemmer.

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At his best, Kenny Garrett is among the most essential living jazz musicians.  He’s astoundingly awful at his worst.  Do Your Dance! runs the gamut.  RIYL: John Coltrane, embarrassingly amateurish cover art, middle school talent shows.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, July 04, 2016

Album Review: Kandace Springs- Soul Eyes


I recently selected Kandace SpringsSoul Eyes as background music in an attempt to establish a romantic mood on a date with my life partner.  I’d hoped for smooches.  Instead,  I was mocked for my taste in music.  My Anita Baker-loving spouse found Soul Eyes syrupy and overly sentimental.  Her analysis may be valid, but I just can’t help myself.  Springs’ languid album is in the sophisticated supper club tradition of Nancy Wilson and Donny Hathaway.  I’m entranced.  Here’s Springs’ interpretation of Shelby Lynne’s ”Thought It Would Be Easier”.


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I still don’t understand why my forthright review of the Dave Matthews Band’s concert in Bonner Springs is controversial.

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I admired Brewer & Shipley on KCUR’s Up To Date program last week.

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I wrote an extended preview about Brand New for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I reported on Bobby Watson’s participation in the Black Archives’ Community Stories series at Plastic Sax.

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Sir Mack Rice has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

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As the regional sales rep for Scotty Moore’s 1997 album All the King’s Men, I enjoyed backstage access for a related SXSW showcase at the Austin Music Hall that included guest appearances by Dwight Twilley, David Hidalgo, Cesar Rojas, Joe Ely, Tracy Nelson, and Rocky and Billy Burnette.  Moore died last week.

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Rob Wasserman has died.  The bassist last performed in Kansas City in 2014 with Bob Weir’s Ratdog.  His 1989 appearance at Memorial Hall as a member of Lou Reed’s band was probably the first time I saw him perform.

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Maxwell’s BLACKsummers’night was my favorite album of 2009.  I’m not sure that blackSUMMERS’night is worth the seven-year wait.  The new release is merely very good.  RIYL: Marvin Gaye, soul giants, Prince.  Here’s ”Gods”.

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Spoek Mathambo’s hypnotic Badimo EP is RIYL: Sister Sledge, the almighty beat, FaltyDL.  (Tip via Big Steve NO.)

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Marquis Hill bested Kansas City’s Hermon Mehari in the the 2014 Thelonious Trumpet Competition.  The eclectic The Way We Play indicates that Hill a formidable talent.

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Manu Katché's excellent Unstatic is RIYL: Paul Motian, genuinely smooth jazz, Jack DeJohnette.

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I get inordinately excited every time the words “jazz” and “punk” are commingled.  I’m invariably disappointed.  I don’t care for Melt Yourself Down’s Last Evenings On Earth.

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The first set of Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom at the Blue Room last week was one of the most exciting things I’ve heard in 2016.  I posted a clip to Instagram.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Pop Life


Even though I acknowledged the awful news in April, I hadn’t shed a single tear over Prince’s death until last night.   The magnitude of the loss finally hit home as the There Stands the Glass favorite Bilal delivered a libidinous version “The Beautiful Ones” on the broadcast of the BET Awards.  By performing with lust rather than grief, Bilal’s effort was the only one of the many tributes I’ve seen in the last ten weeks that caused me to crack.


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I reviewed a free Public Enemy concert.

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I reviewed a concert by Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo.

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I discussed the late Little Hatch and the return of the Kansas City Kansas Street Blues Festival on KCUR last week.

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I scrutinize a pet peeve at Plastic Sax.

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Ralph Stanley has died.  I last saw the pioneer at Starlight Theatre in 2002

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Chips Moman has died.

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Amjad Sabri was murdered.

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Freddy Powers has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

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Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns has died.

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Bernie Worrell has died.

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Katy Guillen & the Girls’ Heavy Days is RIYL: Mountain, boogie, Foghat.

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Dâm-Funk’s entry for the !Z7 label’s DJ-Kicks series is my jam.  George Clinton, DJ mix tapes, Reggie B.

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The New Breed, the new album by the Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker is RIYL: the Lounge Lizards, anti-jazz, Marc Ribot.

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DJ Shadow's The Mountain Will Fall doesn’t disappoint.  RIYL: possibilities, Pimp C, space.

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It seems quaint that albums like the Bill Charlap Trio’s Notes From New York are still being made.  I’m charmed in spite of myself.  RIYL: Barry Harris, anachronisms, Tommy Flanagan.

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YG’s Still Brazy is RIYL: Dr. Dre, 1993, Tha Dogg Pound.  Here’s ”Gimmie Got Shot”.

(Original image of Sheila E. by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Bourgeois Bumpkin


When Michael Stern began his defense of the placement of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 2 on the program to the audience of about 1,400 at Helzberg Hall on Sunday afternoon, I was embarrassed for the Music Director of The Kansas City Symphony.  I felt that his apparent need to justify the presence of the occasionally jarring and overtly Leninist composition amid the “Beethoven sandwich” of “Meersstille und glückliche Fahrt” and Symphony No. 9 was patronizing.  Then I heard the piece for the first time and loved every minute of it.  Stern’s conciliatory spiel enhanced my appreciation of the work.  I suppose that makes me a bourgeois bumpkin.


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I reviewed a concert by Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Tech N9ne, Rich The Factor and Stevie Stone.

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I reviewed a concert by Fantasia and Anthony Hamilton.

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I reviewed a concert by Béla Fleck & the Flecktones.

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I selected songs by Krizz Kaliko, Logan Richardson, Psychic Heat, Kanye West, Carrie Rodriguez and Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom for my appearance on Best Music of 2016 (So Far) show on KCUR’s Up To Date.

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I documented my visit to SoJo Summerfest at Plastic Sax.

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"If You Ask Me Again (I Do)", the new single by Soul Revival, the Kansas City duo of Derick Cunigan and producer Desmond Mason, is lovely.  RIYL: John Legend, marriage, Chrisette Michele.

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The Kansas City rapper Farout’s new song “Guns” is shocking.  And I like it.

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Attrell Cordes of P.M. Dawn has died.

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Gojira’s Magma is RIYL A Perfect Circle, French metal, Lamb of God.  Here’s ”Silvera”.

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Death Grips’ Bottomless Pit is RIYL El-P, true punk, Karlheinz Stockhausen.  Here’s the title track.

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Brandy Clark’s Big Day in a Small Town sounds like money.  Almost every song could have been a hit for Miranda Lambert or Kenny Chesney.  Here’s ”Girl Next Door”.

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I’m not on the Car Seat Headrest bandwagon.  Teens of Denial leaves me cold.  I’ll stick to my dusty collection of albums by Pavement and the Fall.

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I’m pretty sure I can find the perfect theme song for my next podcast on The Odd Tape.  Oddisee strikes a winning balance between jazz and hip-hop on his latest effort.  Here’s ”Brea”.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, June 13, 2016

This Is a God Dream: Music Midway in 2016


I’ll share my enthusiasm for the best music released so far in 2016 on KCUR’s Up To Date program on Friday, June 17.  The following lists of my favorite albums, songs and performances will provide my detractors with fresh ammunition.  I hope that that everyone else will make a few gratifying discoveries.


Top Albums
Even though it’s Kanye West’s weakest album, The Life of Pablo is a revelation.  (Spotify playlist.)

1. Kanye West- The Life of Pablo
2. Chance the Rapper- Coloring Book
3. David Murray, Geri Allen and Terri Lyne Carrington- Perfection
4. Logan Richardson- Shift
5. Savages- Adore Life
6. Hélène Grimaud- Water
7. David Bowie- Blackstar
8. Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom- Otis Was a Polar Bear
9. Walker Family Singers- Panola County Spirit
10. Kendrick Lamar- Untitled Unmastered

11. Willie Nelson- Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin
12. Exmortus- Drive Forth
13. Adrian Younge- Something About April II
14. Volbeat- Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie
15. Céu- Tropix
16. Pat Metheny Unity Band- The Unity Sessions
17. Charles Lloyd & the Marvels- I Long To See You
18. Lecrae- Church Clothes 3
19. Conflicts- The North Slope
20. A$AP Ferg- Always Strive and Prosper

21. Anthony Hamilton- What I’m Feelin’
22. BJ the Chicago Kid- In My Mind
23. Psychic Heat- Sunshower
24. Babymetal- Metal Resistance
25. Kevin Gates- Islah


Top Songs
Chance Bennett has been reading my mind.  (Spotify playlist.)

1. Chance the Rapper- “Same Drugs”
2. Anderson Paak- “Come Down”
3. Parker Millsap- “Heaven Sent”
4. Kanye West- “Ultralight Beam”
5. Tedeschi Trucks Band- “Anyhow”
6. BJ the Chicago Kid- “Church”
7. Agoraphobic Nosebleed- “Not a Daughter”
8. Krizz Kaliko- “Didn’t Wanna Wake You”
9. Boosie Badazz- “Cancer”
10. Steve Gunn- “Ancient Jules”

11. Anthony Hamilton- “Ain’t No Shame”
12. A$AP Ferg- “Strive”
13. Regina Belle- “He’s Alright”
14. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis- “Bolo Tie”
15. Mount Moriah- “Precita”
16. Deftones- “Doomed User”
17. Margo Price- “Hurtin’ (On the Bottle)”
18. Rihanna- “Love On the Brain”
19. Keys N Krates featuring Ouici- “Love Again”
20. The Philistines- “Radiation Drive”

21. French Montana, Kanye West and Nas- “Figure It Out”
22. Kvelertak- “1985”
23. Carrie Rodriguez- “Z”
24. Sturgill Simpson- “Breakers Roar”
25. Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal- “Parts of a Man”


Top Shows
I've attended about 200 individual performances since January 1.

1. Lee Fields and the Expressions- The Granada
2. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band- Sprint Center
3. Exmortus- Aftershock
4. Florence + The Machine- Providence Medical Amphitheater
5. Tortoise- The Granada
6. The Who- Sprint Center
7. Lamb of God- The Midland
8. Christian McBride Trio- Folly Theater
9. Goddamn Gallows- Riot Room patio
10. Be/Non- Scottish Rite Temple

11. Maarja Nuut- Westin Kansas City at Crown Center
12. Tedeschi Trucks Band- The Midland
13.  Logan Richardson- Blue Room
14.  Dwight Yoakam- Uptown Theater
15.  UFO- VooDoo
16.  Pablo Ziegler and the Quartet for New Tango- Polsky Theatre
17.  Les Arts Florissant- Helzberg Hall
18.  Fantasia- Starlight Theatre
19.  Roy Ayers- Blue Room
20. Matt Villinger- Orion Room at the Green Lady Lounge

21. Ebony Tusks- The Midland
22. Avant- Uptown Theater
23. Group of the Altos- The Brick
24. Midori with the Kansas City Symphony- Helzberg Hall
25. R. Kelly- Sprint Center

Top Five Opening Acts
1. A$AP Ferg, for G-Eazy- The Midland
2. Tombs, for 1349- Riot Room
3. Deafheaven, for Lamb of God- The Midland
4. OMD, for Barenaked Ladies- Starlight Theatre
5. Elle King, for Vance Joy- The Midland

(Original image of my 38th favorite performance of 2016- the Calamity Cubes at the Riot Room patio- by There Stands the Glass.)