Janet Jackson performs on Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Sprint Center. From the artist .
Janet Jackson performs on Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Sprint Center. From the artist .

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Timothy Finn blogs about Kansas City's music scene

Back to Rockville

KC concerts Oct. 19-25: Janet Jackson, Kesha, the B-52s, Los Ángeles Azules

By BILL BROWNLEE

Special to The Star

October 17, 2017 08:00 AM

UPDATED October 16, 2017 03:02 PM

Janet Jackson

Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Sprint Center

Kelela and SZA are among the trendy young R&B stars who have fashioned successful careers by replicating the musical templates Janet Jackson created decades ago. The icon is reminding longtime fans and copycat musicians who’s boss on the State of the World Tour. Renditions of the effervescent “Escapade,” the titanic “What Have You Done for Me Lately,” the dreamy “Spending Time With You” and “Scream,” a groundbreaking collaboration with her late brother Michael, are part of the two-act spectacle that affirms Jackson’s magnificence.

8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19. Sprint Center. 816-949-7100. Tickets are $37.50-$123 through sprintcenter.com.

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The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die

Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Bottleneck

The primary knock on the output of most emo bands isn’t that the confessional, self-lacerating lyrics associated with the genre are maudlin. Instead, purveyors of the form too often rely on stale guitar-based rock. The Connecticut collective the World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die is different. While their painfully sincere lyrics sung by adenoidal vocalists conform to the emo formula, the group creates lofty orchestral rock that’s worthy of its verbose name. With Rowell Kid and Mylets.

8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19. The Bottleneck. 785-749-3434. Tickets are $13 through thebottlenecklive.com.

Brett Young

Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Truman

Brett Young’s “Hell Yeah, Damn Right,” a fight song intended to rally fans of the sports program at the University of Mississippi, was released earlier this month. He once pitched for the baseball team at Ole Miss. After an elbow injury curtailed his athletic endeavors, Young focused on a career as a crooner. The pivot paid off. A nominee for the Country Music Association’s new artist of the year award, Young scored a breakout hit last year with the tender “Sleep Without You.” With Carly Pearce.

8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21. The Truman. 816-205-8560. Tickets are $25 through thetrumankc.com.

The B-52s

Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Uptown Theater

“Rock Lobster” may seem like a tame novelty, but the party song altered the musical landscape in 1978. Months before New Wave bands like Blondie and the Cars connected with the mainstream, the B-52s’ left-of-center smash served notice that a musical revolution was afoot. The wacky group from Georgia later racked up hits including the house-rocking “Love Shack,” but the B-52s’ place in the musical pantheon was secured when it kicked down doors with the art-school surf-rock of “Rock Lobster.” With Boss Hooligan Soundsystem.

8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22. Uptown Theater. 816-753-8665. Tickets are $35-$135 through uptowntheater.com.

Los Ángeles Azules

Sunday, Oct. 22, at Crossroads KC

Los Ángeles Azules doesn’t merely transcend genres. In addition to seamlessly combining traditional regional Mexican styles with the contemporary sounds that dominate global pop charts, the ensemble mixes and matches the sonic atmospheres associated with multiple eras. A typical selection by the expansive band may meld a romantic 1940s-style ballad with hip-hop. Many of Los Ángeles Azules’ most popular songs feature high-profile collaborators including Mexican pop star Gloria Trevi and guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. With Inkontenible Sonora, Los B-OK and Making Movies.

6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22. Crossroads KC. 785-749-3434. Tickets are $34-$81.50 through crossroadskc.com.

Afghan Whigs

Sunday, Oct. 22, at RecordBar

Like operettas set in a gutter strewn with broken bottles and dirty needles, the songs of the Afghan Whigs are melodramatic works of corrosive art. Domineered by the charismatic misanthrope Greg Dulli, the Afghan Whigs formed more than 30 years ago in Cincinnati. The band’s sonic template ranges from fevered punk to ecstatic R&B as Dulli wails about dark sexual encounters. “In Spades,” the band’s new album, successfully combines urgent soul with lusty rock. With Har Mar Superstar.

8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22. RecordBar. 816-753-5207. Tickets are $30 through therecordbar.com.

Kesha

Monday, Oct. 23, at the Uptown Theater

Kesha seemed like an exceedingly unlikely candidate to one day become a feminist icon when her blithely decadent “Tik Tok” was a hit in 2010. An ugly war of words and an accompanying legal battle related to the alleged misdeeds of her producer transformed the beleaguered pop star into a cause célèbre. Far removed from her previous bubblegum sound, Kesha’s eclectic new album, “Rainbow,” showcases her in a variety of comparatively mature settings. With Savoy Motel.

8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23. Uptown Theater. 816-753-8665. Tickets to the sold-out show were $42.50 through uptowntheater.com.

Nick Lowe

Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Knuckleheads

Nick Lowe is one of the most charming men in rock. Yet decades before he became a courtly elder statesman, Lowe was a snarky provocateur. “Jesus of Cool,” Lowe’s stellar 1978 debut album, was retitled “Pure Pop for Now People” for its release in the United States. Lowe has written dozens of memorable songs, including “Cruel to Be Kind” and “The Beast in Me,” but he’s best known as the man who composed “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding.” With Los Straitjackets.

8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25. Knuckleheads. 816-483-1456. Tickets are $35 through knuckleheadskc.com.