FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2017, file photo, Willie Nelson performs in Nashville, Tenn. Nelson's latest album, "God’s Problem Child," will be released on Friday, April 28. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File) Mark Humphrey The Associated Press
FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2017, file photo, Willie Nelson performs in Nashville, Tenn. Nelson's latest album, "God’s Problem Child," will be released on Friday, April 28. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File) Mark Humphrey The Associated Press

Back to Rockville

Timothy Finn blogs about Kansas City's music scene

Back to Rockville

KC concerts Sept. 28-Oct. 3: Willie Nelson, The XX, Asleep at the Wheel

By BILL BROWNLEE

Special to The Star

September 26, 2017 08:00 AM

UPDATED September 22, 2017 05:39 PM

Princess Nokia

Thursday, Sept. 28, at the Granada

Destiny Frasqueri, the media sensation who performs as Princess Nokia, insists that “I am divine feminine energy.” Her audacious songs and colorful videos corroborate the bold assertion. The New York native raps that “my body little, my soul is heavy” on her breakout hit “Tomboy” and proudly proclaims that “I'm that black-a-Rican bruja straight out from the Yoruba” on “Brujas.” Curious fans will watch her fulfill her pledge to “bring high-power energy into a female rap show” on Thursday. With Uniqu3.

8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28. The Granada. 785-842-1390. Tickets are $15 through thegranada.com.

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Outer Reaches

Friday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Sept. 30, at RecordBar

Outer Reaches is a forum for musicians who dare to be different and for the adventurous fans who admire their sonic experiments. The sixth edition of the annual festival features two nights of intriguing left-of-center rock from touring groups and locally based artists. Deerhoof, a veteran band from San Francisco that often sounds as if it’s creating DayGlo remixes of children’s cartoons, tops Friday’s bill. El Ten Eleven, a Los Angeles duo that specializes in building inspirational dreamscapes, headlines on Saturday.

7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29 and Saturday, Sept. 30. RecordBar. 816-753-5207. Tickets are $15 per day through therecordbar.com.

Asleep at the Wheel

Saturday, Sept. 30, at Yardley Hall

A legendary band from Texas will help celebrate Kansas’ agrarian legacy at the Kansas Cowboy Jubilee on Saturday. Asleep at the Wheel, an Austin-based institution founded in 1970, headlines the festivities that are designed to connect area residents to Kansas’ agricultural roots. Attendees will sway to Asleep at the Wheel’s renditions of Western swing favorites like “Miles and Miles of Texas” and proven party-starters such as “House of Blue Lights.” With Hot Club of Cowtown.

7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30. Yardley Hall. 913-469-4445. Tickets are $34-$44 through jccc.edu/carlsen-center-presents.

Rich the Factor

Saturday, Sept. 30, at Prohibition Hall

Rich the Factor compares himself to “a young Andy Reid” on “Kansas City,” his 2016 collaboration with Tech N9ne and the Popper. Like the head coach of the Chiefs, Rich the Factor is a brilliant tactician with an unrelenting work ethic. Since the end of his incarceration last year, the notorious rapper has issued a staggering quantity of music that’s just as vital as his output 15 years ago. Menacing songs like “Got ’Em for Cheap” are firsthand accounts of Kansas City’s criminal underground.

9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30. Prohibition Hall. 816-446-7832. Tickets are $20 through prohibitionhall.com.

Johnny Gill

Sunday, Oct. 1, at KC Live

Johnny Gill’s appearance at the Sprint Center in March opening for Charlie Wilson and Fantasia served notice that the emotive soul crooner is in his prime. Although he has been an R&B luminary for more than 30 years, Gill’s melodious love songs are even more convincing now that he’s in his 50s. In addition to his solo hits, including the sultry 1990 gem “My, My, My,” Gill’s soaring voice is featured on LSG’s 1997 smash “My Body” and on New Edition’s 1988 ballad “Can You Stand the Rain.”

7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1. KC Live. 816-842-1045. Tickets are $10 through powerandlightdistrict.com.

Kim Walker-Smith

Monday, Oct. 2, at the Truman

If the opening night concert by incendiary rapper Tech N9ne at the Truman in September acted as a baptism by fire, Kim Walker-Smith’s appearance at the new venue will serve as a symbolic spiritual cleansing. The worship leader’s “On My Side” topped Billboard’s Christian albums chart in May. Songs including “Throne Room” share a similar production style to hits by secular artists like Imagine Dragons and Charlie Puth, but her material concerns salvation rather than relationship drama. With Chris Quilala and Urban Rescue.

7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2. The Truman. 816-205-8560. Tickets are $33 through thetrumankc.com.

The XX

Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Starlight Theatre

The XX is a pop group masquerading as a moody indie-rock band. The British trio’s new single, “I Dare You,” is every bit as catchy as the most ingratiating music of Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. The immediately appealing hooks, fashionable gloom and wondrously intimate vocals of Romy Madley Croft have gradually propelled the XX from appearances in small clubs to working as headliners in expansive venues since its formation in 2005. With Perfume Genius.

8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3. Starlight Theatre. 816-363-7827. Tickets are $36-$60 through kcstarlight.com.

Tokimonsta

Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Riot Room

Placid and uplifting, “Don’t Call Me” offers no indication that its creator underwent two brain surgeries before creating the recent single. Jennifer Lee, the Californian who produces left-of-center dance music as Tokimonsta, was diagnosed with Moyamoya disease in 2015. She temporarily lost the capacity for speech and the ability to interpret sound. Lee is celebrating her recovery and the imminent release of her fifth studio album on a tour titled the Lune Rouge Experience.

9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3. Riot Room. 816-442-8179. Tickets are $13 through theriotroom.com.

Willie Nelson

Wednesday, Oct. 4, at Starlight Theatre

A torrential downpour prevented Willie Nelson from taking the stage of Starlight Theatre in June. The storm is among the rare phenomenon that have bested the resilient icon. Nelson, 84, is at his artistic peak. He’s playing guitar like his jazz heroes, singing more soulfully than ever with his timeworn voice and writing memorable new songs. Wednesday’s makeup date should be a dynamic showcase for a vital artist rather than a stale retrospective from a tired legend.

6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4. Starlight Theatre. 816-363-7827. kcstarlight.org. $40.45-$180.45 in advance.