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Top Shows: Kendrick Lamar, Kreayshawn, Trey Songz and more

Rapper Kendrick Lamar made a splash with his major label release, debuting No. 2 on Billboard's Top 200 behind Taylor Swift, and topped the rap charts with more than 241,000 copies sold. His album also generated 2.8 million streams through Spotify, the second highest first week output so far this year.

Gold Fields.

Mark Hall, lead singer and songwriter for the Christian group Casting Crowns, will perform at "The Story."

The Sword

Ernest James Zydeco is celebrating a CD release.

MC Reach, aka Stacy Smith, performs with Soul Providers.

Young Guru.

Trey Songz


Coheed and Cambria

Singer Chris Isaak.

Killswitch Engage is , from left, Mike D'Antonio, Adam Dutkiewicz, Howard Jones, Justin Foley and Joel Stroetzel. (


Gold Fields

Thursday Czar Bar

A savvy distillation of the alternative rock radio charts, the music of the Australian band Gold Fields evokes the bristling melodic sensibility of Muse, the glossy sheen of Passion Pit and the dramatic posturing of Fun. The carefully calibrated sound has the Australian band poised to play larger venues upon the release of its debut album in 2013. Two promising locally based bands open the show. The Way Back creates shimmering dramatic soundscapes in the tradition of Kansas City’s the Republic Tigers. Is Paris Burning, a new band consisting of seasoned Kansas City rockers, completes the bill.

Tickets to the 7 p.m. show are $8 in advance and $10 on the day of the show.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

Trey Songz

Friday The Midland

The third song on R&B star Trey Songz’s new album is titled “Panty Wetter.” It’s not about incontinence. Songz’s boudoir-friendly repertoire is calibrated to make his many admirers squirm and scream. Steamy songs of sexual prowess like “Dive In” and party anthems like “Bottoms Up” are fixtures of radio playlists. Miguel is slightly less sordid. The best moments of “Kaleidoscope Dream,” Miguel’s ambitious new album, demonstrate the vocalist’s admiration of Marvin Gaye and Prince. Elle Varner and her inescapable hit “Refill” kick off the first portion of the sensual triple bill.

Tickets to the 8 p.m. show range from $49.50 to $99.50.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

Ernest James Zydeco

Friday BB’s Lawnside BBQ

Just as many people might be reluctant to order sushi at an establishment in a landlocked Midwestern town, music lovers may be skeptical about the credibility of a Kansas City-based zydeco band. Ernest James Zydeco sidesteps the issue by using the style indigenous to Louisiana as a spicy base in an eclectic gumbo of American music. “3 Steps From La La,” the band’s excellent new album, features gutbucket blues, rollicking roots rock and soulful R&B along with a handful of zydeco selections. Authenticity be damned — Ernest James Zydeco is one of Kansas City’s best party bands.

The cover charge for the 9 p.m. show is $5.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

Soul Providers

Friday The Brick

People who don’t follow hip-hop should be forgiven for believing that the form represents a moral and musical cesspool. A lot of the most prominent hip-hop is, in fact, crude and unimaginative. The detritus serves to make the exceptions seem remarkably refreshing. The Soul Providers are Kansas City’s most notable practitioners of high-minded hip-hop. While socially conscious, members of the collective, including Reach, MC Storm, Les Izmore and D/Will, aren’t prudes. Friday’s show will be a smile-inducing party.

Admission charge for the 10 p.m. show is $5 before 11 p.m. and $7 after 11 p.m. Cover charge is waived for women.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

Chris Isaak

Saturday Uptown Theater

Men admire him. Women adore him. For more than a quarter of a century, Isaak has been the most glamorous man in roots-rock. While the 1989 hit “Wicked Game” propelled him to stardom, Isaak has never attempted to hide his unfashionable veneration of Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis. The handsome entertainer balances these indulgences with renditions of crowd-pleasing material including the sweltering “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing” in his captivating concerts.

Tickets to the 8 p.m. show range from $44 to $133.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

The Story

Saturday Independence Events Center

The spectacular success of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas-themed concerts has inspired waves of imitators. One of the most promising new entries in the holiday concert sweepstakes comes from the realm of Christian rock. A choir and orchestra will accompany several of the genre’s biggest names, including Mark Hall of Casting Crowns, Jeremy Camp, Natalie Grant and Selah in performances of familiar seasonal fare in addition to The Story, a song cycle billed as “a musical journey from Genesis to Revelation.”

Tickets to the 7 p.m. show range from $27.19 to $81.69.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

Killswitch Engage

Saturday Beaumont Club

Playing musical chairs with vocalists is a time-honored tradition in hard rock and heavy metal. Black Sabbath, Anthrax and Van Halen are among the prominent acts that have switched frontmen. After original vocalist Jesse Leach left the band ten years ago, Killswitch Engage went on to achieve even greater success. Leach rejoined the band this year, and it’s celebrating his return with a tour that includes a performance of its revered 2002 album, “Alive or Just Breathing.” Two bands that also hail from Killswitch Engage’s home state of Massachusetts — the brutal Shadows Fall and the up-and-coming metalheads Acaro — open the show.

Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $19.02 in advance.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

Kendrick Lamar

SUNDAY The Midland

The accolades heaped on Kendrick Lamar are entirely deserved. The imagination displayed by the most celebrated rapper of 2012 on the stunning new album “good kid, m.A.A.d city” has raised the artistic bar for the remainder of the hip-hop community. Lamar’s panoramic depiction of gang violence, addiction, poverty and spiritual salvation is well beyond the genre’s standard fare. Successfully translating Lamar’s complex, character-driven material to the stage, however, may proved to be an insurmountable challenge.

Tickets to the 8 p.m. show at the Midland are $29.50 in advance and $33 on the day of the show.

The Sword

Monday RecordBar

The Sword didn’t have any trouble engulfing the Sprint Center with heavy metal thunder when the band opened for Metallica in 2008. The Austin-based band’s performances at vastly smaller venues like the RecordBar, consequently, run the risk of overwhelming listeners with sensory overload. Rather than attempting to forge a new sound, the Sword successfully refines the metallic framework established by Black Sabbath. Two like-minded acts open the show. California’s Gypsyhawk plays with a similarly retro sensibility. The metal of Austin’s American Sharks adds an angry punk edge to the equation.

Tickets to the 9:30 p.m. show are $15 in advance.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink


Tuesday The Granada

If accumulating detractors is an indication of success, the career of Kreayshawn is flourishing. The Internet sensation is actively loathed by thousands of observers of popular culture. A significant portion of the millions of people who have watched Kreayshawn’s music video for “Gucci Gucci” enjoy mocking her contradictory examination of materialism. The controversial headliner will be joined by a clutch of intriguing opening acts. Rye Rye, a cheerful rapper from Baltimore, is best known for her association with M.I.A., and Toronto’s Honey Cocaine was shot in the arm after a concert with Tyga in Omaha earlier this year. Bay Area rapper Chippy Nonstop is cultivating a reputation for boorish behavior with material like “Kicked Out Da Club.”

Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $20 in advance.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

Young Guru


Czar Bar

Jay-Z’s star shines so brightly that it tends to render his supporting cast invisible. Young Guru is one of the essential members of Hova’s crew who has become accustomed to being overshadowed. Young Guru has mixed almost all of Jay-Z’s albums as well as landmark releases by Beyonce, T.I. and Kanye West. He’s also credited as an audio engineer on Coldplay’s 2008 album “Viva la Vida.” Known as “The Sound of New York,” the DJ, producer and engineer will showcase his talents Wednesday at the Czar Bar.

Tickets to the 7 p.m. show are $10. (The performance was originally scheduled for Nov. 11.)

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

Coheed and Cambria


The Midland

Although most dedicated listeners of 96.5 the Buzz would bristle at the comparison, the output of the headliners of Thursday’s radio station-sponsored concert bears a striking resemblance to Rush. As with the classic rock stalwarts, Coheed and Cambria features a preternaturally high-pitched vocalist and convoluted songs about complex concepts. The centerpiece of Coheed and Cambria’s new album, for instance, is titled “Key Entity Extraction I: Domino the Destitute.” Even the members of Rush might gasp at the audaciousness of the New York-based band. Two similar progressive rock bands — Rhode Island’s the Dear Hunter and New York’s Three — open the show.

Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. show are $25 in advance and $30 on the day of the show. (The performance was originally scheduled for Oct. 24.)

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink


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