The Nace Brothers are part of a tribute to Leon Russell scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 7, at the Garage at Knuckleheads. Douglas Whitney
The Nace Brothers are part of a tribute to Leon Russell scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 7, at the Garage at Knuckleheads. Douglas Whitney

Back to Rockville

Timothy Finn blogs about Kansas City's music scene

Back to Rockville

KC concerts, Jan. 5-11: Hipshot Killer and tributes to David Bowie and Leon Russell

BY BILL BROWNLEE

Special to The Star

January 03, 2017 08:00 AM

UPDATED December 30, 2016 04:38 PM

ANDY MCKEE

Friday, Jan. 6, at the Bottleneck

Since placing third in the 2001 edition of the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championships in Winfield, Kan., Topeka native Andy McKee has become one of the world’s most acclaimed acoustic guitarists. Unlike many guitar heroes, McKee rarely sounds gratuitously flashy. Tasteful and mellow, McKee’s work often resembles instrumental versions of James Taylor’s hits, or as McKee has suggested, “I write instrumental music to say things I don’t have words for.”

▪ 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6. The Bottleneck. 785-749-3434. thebottlenecklive.com. $20 in advance.

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CES CRU

Friday, Jan. 6, at Aftershock

Kansas City’s version of Run-D.M.C., Ces Cru consists of the dynamic duo of Godemis and Ubiquitous. Just as Run and D.M.C. completed each other’s lines on classic songs like “Tricky,” Godemis and Ubiquitous exchange verses like a two-headed rhyme machine. Ces Cru is likely to debut material from its forthcoming Strange Music release “Catastrophic Event Specialists” at Friday’s show. Rellik Tha Chopper and Nathan Miller are among the opening acts.

▪ 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6. Aftershock. 913-384-5646. aftershockshows.com. $18 in advance.

HIPSHOT KILLER

Friday, Jan. 6, at Davey’s Uptown Ramblers Club

“They Will Try to Kill Us All,” the adrenalin-fueled album released by Hipshot Killer in 2016, is a spot-on re-creation of the propulsive attack associated with California-based punk bands of the 1990s. Hipshot Killer, the Kansas City band led by ace guitarist Mike Alexander covered Berkeley group Samiam’s “Sky Flying By” for the B-side of its most recent single. With the Electric Lungs, and Chad Rex and the Old Chelsea.

▪ 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6. Davey’s Uptown Ramblers Club. 816-753-1909. daveysuptown.com. The cover charge is $7.

THE PHANTASTICS

Friday, Jan. 6, at the Riot Room

Kemet Dumas Coleman, the man who raps under the alias the Phantom, boasts about his band’s considerable attributes on the Phantastics song “Bananas.” The self-described “dapper rapper” insists that “nobody does it better” on the party song. He may be right. The Phantastics tear into hearty original material and choice covers of pop, funk and R&B classics with equal exuberance. Friday’s show marks the fifth anniversary of the Kansas City septet. With Leonard Dstroy.

▪ 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6. Riot Room. 816-442-8179. theriotroom.com. $10 in advance.

DAVID BOWIE TRIBUTE

Saturday, Jan. 7, at RecordBar

David Bowie’s musical restlessness was one of his most remarkable traits. Less than a week prior to his death last January, the iconic star issued the jazz-inspired album “Blackstar.” He also explored R&B, folk, electronica, punk and pop during his career. A similarly eclectic assortment of locally based musicians will join the Band That Fell to Earth in its second annual tribute to Bowie. Last year’s event at the Uptown Theater fomented grief-stricken tears of gratitude from many observers.

▪ 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7. RecordBar. 816-753-5207. therecordbar.com. $15 in advance.

“A LEON RUSSELL TRIBUTE”

Saturday, Jan. 7, at the Garage at Knuckleheads

The passing of Leon Russell in November hit closer to home than most of the distressingly abundant celebrity deaths of 2016. Not only was Russell from nearby Oklahoma, he made Knuckleheads a frequent stop on his recent tours. Many locally based blues and rock musicians were among his admirers. The Nace Brothers, Shinetop Jr., Danielle Nicole and Amanda Fish will remember Russell with renditions of songs like “Tight Rope,” “A Song for You” and “Delta Lady” on Saturday.

▪ 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7. Knuckleheads. 816-483-1456. knuckleheadskc.com. $10 in advance.

USE YOUR ATLAS

Saturday, Jan. 7, at Tank Room

A weary voice sighs, “I can get what I want but I can’t stop running” during “Start Over,” a rugged song on Use Your Atlas’ new album “30.” Like many Use Your Atlas compositions, “Start Over” evokes country-rock bands like the Eagles and Americana stalwarts such as Son Volt. The song’s narrator suggests that “you still haunt me from the empty passenger seat” as he drives north on I-35. The Kansas City band celebrates the release of “30” on Saturday. With Timbers.

▪ 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7. Tank Room. 816-214-6403. thetankroom.com. $5 in advance.

BADFLOWER

Sunday, Jan. 8, at Riot Room

Los Angeles has a storied tradition of producing glamorous rock bands. The members of Badflower hope to further the legacy that includes the Doors and Guns N’ Roses. The quartet’s signing to a major label imprint overseen by fashion designer John Varvatos gives the band a hefty leg up. “Flower,” the lead track on Badflower’s debut album, possesses the sort of grimy immediacy that’s capable of making Sunday evening the most decadent portion of the weekend for rowdy rock ’n’ rollers. With Paralandra.

▪ 9 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8. Riot Room. 816-442-8179. theriotroom.com. $8 in advance.

MOTHERSHIP

Monday, Jan. 9, at Riot Room

Mothership is the type of rock band that’s prone to referring to women as “mama” in its party-hearty lyrics. A throwback to boogie-oriented rock groups of the 1970s like Mountain and Grand Funk Railroad, the Dallas trio tellingly titled its live album “Live Over Freaky Valley.” Monday’s show is the northernmost date of the Southern Invasion Tour of the self-described “supersonic intergalactic heavy rock trio.” With Hyborian, Custom Black and Orphans of Doom.

▪ 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9. Riot Room. 816-442-8179. theriotroom.com. $8 in advance.