2016 was a great year for live music in Kansas City. It was such a great honor to cover so many quality shows this year. Here is a rundown of my favorite gigs of the year.
The garage rock insanity and sweaty mayhem of New Orleans-based Quintron and Miss Pussycat at RecordBar was my favorite show of 2016. Backed by the drumming of the robotic Drum Buddy, the strangely funky grooves and interplay between organist Quintron and percussionist/puppeteer Miss Pussycat had the crowd dancing hard all night. Some songs sounded like if you played “96 Tears” underwater while drinking a bunch of NyQuil. It was weird, wonderful and complete perfection.
The eldest son of afrobeat legend Fela Kuti honored his father’s legacy while pushing the sound into the future at CrossroadsKC. Backed by a 14-piece band, mufti-instrumentalist Femi smashed through two hours of politically charged songs with infectious grooves. The musicianship was topnotch and the messages of empowerment and unity are needed now more than ever.
M83 delivered a high-energy set of indie-pop at te Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. The new material of Junk worked really well live meshed seamlessly with their classic tracks. The production and lighting was also top level. It was a glorious evening of French-tinged indie rock.
Here’s a snippet of the classic “Midnight City,”
Reggae-dancehall legend Yellowman smashed KC with an epic performance this year. He came at 1:30 in the morning and he smashed through nearly two hours of classic tunes. King Yellowman was Jamaica’s top-selling artist of the ’80s, but his live show proves that he is no nostalgia act. Something isn’t purely nostalgic when it is right in front of you, blowing your mind. Yellowman’s set was hard-hitting blur of blazing reggae vibes, lyrical dexterity and calisthenics. All hail King Yellowman!