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Top Shows: The Architects, Me Like Bees and more

Zachary Phillips, left, Adam Phillips, Keenan Nichols, and Brandon Phillips make up the band the Architects.

Jason Vivone and the Billy Bats

Tamela Mann

Phantoms of the Opry

Me Like Bees

Peter Schlamb


The Architects


Riot Room

The release of the “Live in Los Angeles” album last October served as confirmation that the Architects remain one of Kansas City’s most potent live acts. The band’s sweat-infused performances serve as the imposing benchmark every time another punk-based act steps on to a Kansas City stage. The Architects will be joined by two up-and-coming Kansas City-based acts Saturday at the Riot Room. Appropriate Grammar adds a hint of country twang to its convincing indie rock. The gothic but gritty sound of Drew Black and Dirty Electric is reminiscent of the Velvet Underground.

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

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

Me Like Bees


Riot Room

“Naked Trees,” an unnerving Me Like Bees song inspired by the devastating tornado that tore through the band’s hometown of Joplin in 2011, provided the first exposure many people had to the estimable indie rockers. Like much of Me Like Bees’ repertoire, “Naked Trees” betrays the influence of Franz Ferdinand and the Pixies. Me Like Bees will be joined by three Missouri-based acts at the Riot Room on Friday. St. Louis’ Burrowss should resonate with fans of Sleater-Kinney. Kansas City’s Gentleman Savage evokes the hazy pop of the 1970s, while Kansas City’s Man Bear channels the bittersweet craftsmanship of the Replacements’ Paul Westerberg.

Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $5 in advance.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

John Fullbright



Should John Fullbright win a Grammy Award on Feb. 10, his victory would represent one of the biggest upsets in the history of the institution. His formidable competition in the category of best Americana album includes Bonnie Raitt, the Lumineers, the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons. Let’s be honest: Fullbright doesn’t stand a chance. Even so, he merits the consideration. The music produced by the native Oklahoman compares favorably to Steve Earle, Josh Ritter and Paul Thorn. He’ll perform his ornery material with a full band when he returns to Knuckleheads on Tuesday.

Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $18 in advance.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

Soul Providers with Stik Figa



Stik Figa titled his 2012 mixtape “Choosy Moms Choose Stik.” Choosy hip-hop fans have been partial to the Topeka-based rapper for several years. Brandishing a laid-back Southern disposition even as he acknowledges urban anxiety, Stik Figa possesses a unique sensibility. And his tagline — “Stik Figa, mayne” — is one of the best in hip-hop. Along with Kansas City rapper BBP, Stik Figa opens for the Soul Providers on Saturday at the RecordBar. The conscious Kansas City-based crew is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013. The collective features hip-hop luminaries including Reach, Milk Drop and Dutch Newman.

Admission for the event will be $5 until 11 p.m. and $7 following (for male patrons 21 years or older). Patrons under the age of 21 will be admitted for $7. Ladies will be admitted free all evening.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

Reel Big Fish



Ska may be hopelessly uncool, but the uninhibited exuberance displayed by the form’s musicians and fans is unparalleled. Monday’s powerhouse triple bill of road-tested veteran acts at the Granada, consequently, promises to deliver an ecstatic experience to unpretentious devotees of ska. California’s Reel Big Fish, the evening’s jocular headliner, is entering its third decade of horn-based dance music. Pilfers, a New York-based band that includes former members of the Toasters and Bim Skala Bim, and Dan Potthast, best known for his work with St. Louis’ MU330, open the show.

Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. show are $20 in advance and $22 on the day of the show.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

Peter Schlamb with Hermon Mehari


Blue Room

Kansas City isn’t the only community in Missouri that’s producing young jazz lions. Peter Schlamb, a vibraphonist from St. Louis, has been making waves on the international jazz scene for the past few years. He regularly collaborates with trumpet phenomenon Hermon Mehari on his frequent trips to Kansas City. The two have appeared in mainstream jazz settings and in bands backing rappers on area stages. The versatile friends will perform a mix of original music and standards with support from bassist Karl McComas-Reich and drummer Sean Mullins at the Blue Room.

Admission to Thursday’s 7 p.m. show is free.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

Phantoms of the Opry and Victor & Penny


The Brick

While not mandatory, a pre-show shopping spree at a vintage clothing emporium would set the appropriate tone for Saturday’s unique double bill at the Brick. Both Phantoms of the Opry and Victor & Penny specialize in music that was popularized in the first half of the previous century. The Phantoms of the Opry play vintage country music in the tradition of Ernest Tubb, Bob Wills and Hank Williams. The self-styled “antique pop” of Victor & Penny — the charming duo of Jeff Freling and Erin McGrane — convincingly evokes the giddiness of the Tin Pan Alley era.

The cover charge to the 10 p.m. show is $8.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

Tamela Mann


Folly Theater

At first glance, the dual careers of Tamela Mann seem incongruous. Mann is a bona fide gospel star. Her album “Best Days” dominated the gospel charts for much of 2012. Yet Mann is also one of entertainment mogul Tyler Perry’s favorite actresses. She has starred in numerous Perry productions on stage and screen. Her most famous role may be as Cora on television’s “Meet the Browns.” The multifaceted artist is likely to provide ample doses of comedy, music and inspiration during Saturday’s concert. Father-daughter tandem Maurice and Shanice Hayes, perhaps best known for appearing on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and their regular appearances outdoors on the Country Club Plaza, open the show at the Folly.

Tickets to the 7 p.m. show are $16.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

Jason Vivone


BB’s Lawnside BBQ

Jason Vivone and the Billy Bats will be following in the footsteps of Trampled Under Foot when the ensemble travels to Memphis later this month to represent the Kansas City Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge. Local favorites Trampled Under Foot won the competition in 2008. Based on the strength of their 2012 album, “Lather. Rinse. Repeat.,” Vivone and the Billy Bats are formidable contenders in this year’s contest. Vivone is an excellent vocalist, guitarist and songwriter. Those skills have made him one of the elite blues musicians in Kansas City. Friday’s show at the south Kansas City roadhouse is a prime opportunity to wish the members of the band luck before they make their potentially career-altering appearance in Memphis.

Cover for Friday’s 9 p.m. show is $5.

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink

Jason Eady


Knuckleheads (Living Room)

Jason Eady evokes an era in which country music was dominated by songs about the heartaches and headaches caused by cheating and drinking. “AM Country Heaven,” the latest album by the Texas-based singer/songwriter, makes the relatively traditional country approaches of George Strait and Alan Jackson seem like trifling pop music. Steel guitars mournfully whine as the Air Force veteran croons songs with titles like “Wishful Drinking” and “I’ll Sure Be Glad When I’m Gone” on the sepia-toned project. Attendance at Friday’s show in Knuckleheads’ intimate Living Room is mandatory for diehard fans of Merle Haggard and Hank Williams Sr.

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

Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink


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