The best Kansas City concerts, festivals and events in September 2019
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
Roots rocker Nathaniel Rateliff hails from the town of Hermann, Missouri, just three hours east of Kansas City. It’s only been a year since he played his last soulful, sold-out CrossroadsKC show, but the wailing frontman known for his rhythmic footwork is already back. CrossroadsKC, 417 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo. 8 pm. Sold out. crossroadskc.com.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better Labor Day show than John Mayer, the chilled-out singer-songwriter who’s spent the last few years performing with Dead & Company. He goes solo for the first time in two years. Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 7:30 pm. $39.50-$150. sprintcenter.com.
KKFI Crossroads Music Festival
Community radio station KKFI celebrates 15 years of its carefully curated music festival in the city’s beloved arts district with headlining sets from two iconic folk groups: Kansas City son-mother duo Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear and Wichita bluegrass-punk outfit Split Lip Rayfield. Other standouts include slackers Shy Boys and the astute Ensemble Ibérica.CrossroadsKC, 417 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo. 7 pm. $20-$75. crossroadskc.com.
RuPaul’s Drag Race: Werq the World 2019
When it comes to drag performance, it’s RuPaul’s empire and everyone else is living in it. This year’s tour of queens from past Drag Race seasons includes current champion Yvie Oddly and season 7 winner Violet Chachki, among other fan favorites. Season 10’s Asia O’Hara hosts this outer space-themed night. Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 8 pm. $52-$162. arvestbanktheatre.com.
Alt-rock’s newest breakouts got bumped up from their recordBar club show to a full-fledged theater gig at the Madrid, with double the capacity. There’s something classic about the group’s catchy, youthful rock — that’s what gives it such mass appeal. Madrid Theatre, 3810 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 8 pm. $45-$99. madridtheatre.com.
Chicago’s folk rock golden boys jam on with their first new songs in three years. After a promising debut record, they prove that they still haven’t lost touch. Don’t let the band’s relaxed stylings fool, though — be prepared for a show full of energy. Chill out during bedroom pop artist Hand Habits’ opening set. The Truman, 601 E. Truman Road, Kansas City, Mo. 8 pm. $25. thetrumankc.com.
“Master Harold”…and the Boys
Taking place in 1950s South Africa, “Master Harold”…and the Boys looks at apartheid through a singular viewpoint: that of teenage Hally, who spends an afternoon with his family’s two black servants in their tea shop, trapped due to a rainstorm. Don’t mistake it as mere history: It’s all the more prescient for today. City Stage Theatre at Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo. Showtimes vary. $22-$47. kcactors.org.
Queer Eye’s adorable chef returns after filming the makeover show’s third and fourth seasons in the city to debut his first cookbook, Antoni in the Kitchen. Expect manageable recipes — most are five ingredients or less — with healthy amounts of avocado. Unity Temple on The Plaza, 707 W. 47th St., Kansas City, Mo. 7 pm. $39.50. rainydaybooks.com.
Country king Thomas Rhett headlines his first arena show in Kansas City, buoyed by new album Center Point Road and its stadium-sized choruses. Openers are Dustin Lynch, Russell Dickerson and Rhett Atkins. Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 7:30 pm. $56-$447.50. sprintcenter.com.
American Royal world series of BBQ
The American Royal’s annual smoke-off at the Kansas Speedway is the largest festival of its kind in the world and the biggest party KC sees all year. If an acquaintance invites you to tag along with their team, jump at it. Otherwise, grab a tour ticket or spring for samples. Kansas Speedway, 400 Speedway Blvd., Kansas City, Kan. Times and prices vary. americanroyal.com.
The Temptations with the Kansas City Symphony Motown goes classical at this special concert, featuring the iconic group performing their hits with orchestral backing. Nearly 60 years after their beginnings as one of Motown Records’ most successful R&B groups and on the heels of their massively successful Broadway musical, The Temptations sound fine as ever. Helzberg Hall at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. Showtimes vary. $47-$97. kcsymphony.org.
Keepsake is an apt title for the debut album by Hatchie because its delicately rendered dream pop is something to hold close and treasure. Australian singer-songwriter Harriette Pilbeam’s music oscillates between light and heavy, the perfect soundtrack for a night spent alone or dancing in a crowded bar. recordBar, 1520 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 8 pm. $13. therecordbar.com.
At this point, it sells Carrie Underwood short to call the country singer-songwriter an American Idol winner. In the near decade and a half since her winning, she’s built a brand of larger-than-life, gut-punching hits, her ammunition for the notoriously powerful arena show she’s crafted along the way. Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 7 pm. $46-$96. sprintcenter.com.
The Abduction from the Seraglio
Mozart’s runaway success of an opera transforms into a tale of a (literally) trapped starlet and the lover who attempts her rescue in 1930s Hollywood. Despite its modernization, the show keeps its original Italian libretto in this innovative new performance. Muriel Kauffman Theatre at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. Showtimes vary. $36-$195. kauffmancenter.org.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens
Reigning league MVP Patrick Mahomes leads the Chiefs onto the field at Arrowhead for the first time this season after opening the season with two road games. Arrowhead Stadium, 1 Arrowhead Drive, Kansas City, Mo. Noon. $125-$425. chiefs.com.
It’s a comeback for the ages: Three Disney teen heartthrobs grow up, get married and return with funky, sexy adult rock. Against all odds, they’ve made some of the best pop music of the year. Come early for opener Bebe Rexha, a mainstay feature of the past five years of Top 40. Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 7 pm. $39.95-$499.95. sprintcenter.com.
If hitmaker Pharrell Williams likes it, that has to be good. That’s been the rationale behind Maggie Rogers’ success after she played him her song “Alaska” at an NYU workshop and he stayed in touch. Now, she’s making personal, artful pop, the kind to sway to in a hazy, ornate theater like The Midland. Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 8 pm. $39.50-$50. arvestbanktheatre.com.
The Black Keys
The Black Keys titled its first new record in five years, Let’s Rock — what more needs to be said? It’s back to the group’s basics of bluesy guitar solos and a heavy rhythm section on this self-produced album. With dense, provocative opener Modest Mouse also on the bill, it’s practically a co-headline. Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 7 pm. $39.50-$499.50. sprintcenter.com.
The Sex and the City writer — of both the book and TV show — is back with a new question: What does sex and dating look like in a woman’s 50s and beyond? Is There Still Sex in the City? attempts to answer by following a group of fictionalized women still navigating Manhattan via the Upper East Side. Mid-Continent Public Library, 8900 N.E. Flintlock Road, Kansas City, Mo. 7 pm. Free with registration. rainydaybooks.com.
Put on your Sunday best to see stage star Carolee Carmello take on one of the biggest roles of the stage: Dolly Gallagher Levi, the socialite matchmaker who finds herself falling in love on a fateful New York day. The show’s 2017 Broadway revival continues to warm hearts with new music. Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo. 8 pm. $14-$145. kcstarlight.com.
Delia Owens released the novel Where the Crawdads Sing in August 2018, but it’s become the undeniable book of this summer, topping the New York Times’ bestseller list for weeks on end. The seemingly innocuous life of young Kya in mid-20th century North Carolina slowly becomes intertwined with a murder investigation in Owens’ lyrical debut. Unity Temple on The Plaza, 707 W. 47th St., Kansas City, Mo. 7 pm. $26 for two tickets and a book. rainydaybooks.com.
Renée Elise Goldsberry with the Kansas City Symphony
The Hamilton Tony winner, for her singular performance as the historical figure’s forbidden love Eliza Schuyler, performs a one-night benefit concert for arts nonprofit Kansas City Young Audiences. She’ll mix Broadway classics with mainstays of the American songbook, along with a promised Martin Luther King Jr. tribute. Helzberg Hall at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 8 pm. $52-$157. kcsymphony.org.
Soft-spoken singer-songwriter Becca Mancari has performed with the likes of Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard and the affecting Julien Baker, yet she remains original and honest in her own folk-inflected music. Catch her and her guitar in the Uptown’s intimate Encore Room, a perfect site for her soul-baring music. Encore Room at Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 9 pm. $12. uptowntheater.com.
Jonathan Van Ness
Queer Eye grooming guide Jonathan Van Ness is the show’s flowy-haired, effervescent pick-me-up, an always quotable motivator who stays unabashedly himself. His new book Over the Top, which he returns to promote after two seasons in the city, guarantees equal parts JVN (including never-revealed secrets about his life) and his bestselling brand of self-love. Unity Temple on The Plaza, 707 W. 47th St., Kansas City, Mo. 7 pm. $37.50. rainydaybooks.com.