John Butler Submitted

June is for I Heart Local Music, plus John Butler Trio, the Middle Kids and more

Calvin Arsenia performed at the Folk Alliance International in February. SUSAN PFANNMULLER | Special to the Star

I’m not really sure how it happened, but somehow it’s June. This month is so jam-packed with shows I hope you’re ready.

Last week in this space we listed nearly 200 shows to catch this month. This week, we take smaller bites.

The No. 1 pick of the week is really David Byrne at Kauffman Performing Arts Center, but it sold out in like eight minutes. If you don’t have tix to that show, here are five other shows you should catch this week.

And while you’re plotting out this week, please don’t forget that Boulevardia (June 15 & 16) and Middle of the Map Fest (June 29 & 30) are quickly approaching.

06/07 John Butler Trio/Mama Kin Spender at CrossroadsKC

38 million plays can’t be wrong, HERE is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard

In another life I was a fan of the Dave Matthews Band, I know, I know. One thing Dave Matthews did at every show that I loved and I never saw other headliners do was come out and introduce the opening act.

Back in 2001 I was up at one of the most beautiful venues I’ve ever been to in Washington state, north of Seattle called The Gorge. I was lucky to get to see these guys — John Butler Trio — open up for DMB for three nights in a row.

John Butler is American but he was raised in Australia and his music has a world music vibe to it at times. His lyrics tell a great story and are poignant. He’s written beautiful songs about his family, like “Peaches and Cream,” and several politically charged songs as well. His song “Ocean” is a funeral song for me. I don’t know if he’s still doing it, but for years he played this impossibly fast and incredibly beautiful song solo on his acoustic guitar at EVERY show. This song alone is worth the price of admission.

06/08 I Heart Local Music Presents: PRIDE for the Masses: Vibralux/Wick & The Tricks/Calvin Arsenia/Cuee/Supa Flowa

Check out the song Supa Flowa by Supa Flowa HERE


I Heart Local Music is a Lawrence-based blog that’s been covering the Lawrence/KC scene for years now. The project is headed up by Fally Afani, who has been working in the media for 15 years. She and her crew have put together a great free Pride event in Lawrence at Jackpot Saloon, which recently reopened and is under new management. The all-ages event will features sets from Vibralux, Wick & The Tricks, Calvin Arsenia, Cuee and Supa Flowa. The bands on the bill are playing in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

Wick & the Tricks offer up a hard hitting, fun punk set. Cuee and Supa Flowa both offer a style of hip hop all their own. And then there’s Calvin Arsenia — I don’t know if there’s a more exciting musician in KC to follow right now. Cheers to Fally and IHLM for building this showcase and also congrats on the launch of their new quarterly magazine, the first issue should be out on June 22.

06/09 Second Hand King & The Lovers (album release show)/Black Mariah Theater/Rockababyrock & Tyler Banks/DJ Peter Anthony at recordBar

HERE is one of my favorite songs and best videos of 2017 from Second Hand King

Joe Stanziola has been making music in Kansas City under the moniker Second Hand King for years. He’s got six albums under his belt and a seventh coming out this week, and this one’s with a bullet. This one is called Frankie, and here’s what he has to say about it, “Frankie is the album of a Doo Wop singer forced into the modern world to discover love, life & heartbreak.”

Second Hand King takes traditional genres like pop music and hip hop and mixes it with a little old school doo wop to create his sound. I’ve been a fan for a while and his music deserves to be heard in front of larger audiences.

In addition to his album release show this Saturday at recordBar he is also part of Boulevardia 2018, playing at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 16. Don’t miss these chances to catch the doo wop hip hop king of KC.

06/09 Making Movies Carnaval plus 9 other acts at Knuckleheads

You know we love Tiny Desk Concerts, HERE is Making Movies playing theirs

For Making Movies the year began with being featured on NPR Music’s site in an article about protest songs. You can read it HERE. That article has been one of many highlights of 2018 for one of Kansas City’s best bands.

The band is quite literally a band of brothers, Enrique Chi and Diego Chi up front on guitar and bass and vocals. And Juan Carlos Chaurand and Andres Chaurand on percussion, on keyboards and drums.

This year is the 4th annual Making Movies Carnaval where the band hosts an amazing day of music, performances, an artist’s alley, local vendors, food trucks and face painting — and it's friendly for all ages at Knuckleheads. Nearly a dozen bands will perform in what I promise you will be one of the most memorable music events you’ve ever been to. Also, while you’re there, check out their most recent album, "I Am Another You," praised by NPR as “Lyrically and sonically one of the best albums of the year.”

06/11 Middle Kids/Duncan Fellows at recordBar

From Sydney, Australia, HERE is Middle Kids playing a stripped down version of their song “Edge of Town”

I first heard Middle Kids in 2017 while in my car listening to 90.9 The Bridge. With the help of Shazam I discovered one of my favorite songs of the year and was introduced to a great, young, indie rock band from Sydney, Australia. The song, “Edge of Town,” now has 15 million plus spins on Spotify. Then I was lucky to see them play at old Tank Room (RIP) and chatted with them after the show. They were blown away that a radio station so far from their home had embraced them and supported them.

Now they’ve released their first proper full length album, "Lost Friends," and are gigging all over the world. This trio is finding success from their tight songs with smart lyrics, usually offering some form of hope or resolution, over catchy riffs. Don’t miss this one — they’re from Australia, so who knows when they’ll get back to our neck of the woods.

June is for I Heart Local Music, plus John Butler Trio, the Middle Kids and more