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Arts & Life

7 Things That 'Rock' This Weekend In Kansas City

Eva Rinaldi

There’s only one way to rock, and that’s any way you want.

Long ago, the term “it rocks” went well beyond rock ’n’ roll to encompass anything deemed personally appealing or individually scintillating. What rocks for a fifth-grader probably won’t do it for grandma. Then again, maybe it will – and that’s the beauty of it – including this weekend in Kansas City.

From classic rock to zombies that rock, the town is yours to rock. So are you ready to – all together now – ROCK? I knew you were.

  1. Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band 
    A bona fide Fab! The one and only Ringo Starr, who drummed and charmed his way into history in the 1960s with the Beatles, fronts his own All Starr Band, including wizardly’70sphenom Todd Rundgren on guitar, who should also get to sing a few of his own hits. Ringo’s supply of Beatles and solo smashes will lead the charge, including “With a Little Help From My Friends,” “Octopus’ Garden” and “It Don’t Come Easy.” And, of course, there’s “Yellow Submarine” for the whole gang. My goodness, are those goose bumps rising already? Saturday, 8:30 p.m.; Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $25-$175.
  2. The Australian Pink Floyd Show
    There are tribute rock bands. And then there’s the Australian Pink Floyd Show, which promoters can’t help but point out has sold more than 4 million concert tickets in 35 countries. What else can you say? How about this: Real-deal Pink Floyd singer/guitarist David Gilmour even had the act perform at his 50th birthday party. Dripping with cred, this wonder from Down Under will meticulously recreate a slew of beloved tracks from such deservedly lauded Floyd albums as “Dark Side of the Moon,” “Wish You Were Here” and “The Wall,” which posed the eternal question: “Is there anybody out there?” Well, that’ll be you down front, if you’re a diehard fan. Friday, 8 p.m.; Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $35-$95.
  3. KY-102 Reunion Party with Shooting Star
    Remember radio station KY-102? It’s a virtual lock that you do, if you grew up in Kansas City listening to FM rock in the 1970s, ’80s and even beyond. Competition and changing tastes in the market eventually forced KY off the air. But at its apex of influence, the station and its album-oriented playlist and high-spirited on-air personalities were touchstones for Midwest youth culture. Relive memories or jumpstart new ones at the KY-102 Reunion Party with personal appearances by former KY DJs, along with a concert by veteran local rockers Shooting Star, who certainly got their share of spins on KY. Friday, 8:30 p.m.; Knuckleheads Saloon, 2715 Rochester Ave., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15.
  4. Robin Trower
    Long compared to guitar god Jimi Hendrix, English blues-rocker Robin Trower gained fame as a member of Procal Harem in the late 1960s. Since then, Trower has had his ups and downs, as have we all. But one thing has stayed constant: He can bend and blister the strings of a Fender Stratocaster with the best of them. Be prepared for a clinic, as well as a rousing time. Sunday, 8 p.m.; Voodoo Lounge at Harrah’s Casino, One Riverboat Drive, North Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $45, $55.
  5. Zombie Pub Crawl Kansas City
    Zombies rock better than anything. There, I said it. Never mind that a ghoul with a hungry grin strongly suggested that I put in a plug for the Zombie Pub Crawl on Saturday night in Westport and the nearby Uptown Theater. Billed as the “World’s Greatest Undead Party,” this shambling shindig is sure to please both fans of TV’s The Walking Dead and hardcore rock ’n’ rap music fans – what with 25 bands scorching the stages of Westport alone, including a version of the infamous 2 Live Crew. Over at the Uptown, crypt-kickers can catch the Devil Wears Prada – performing “Zombie,” no less – and Kansas City’s own rapper extraordinaire TECH N9NE. Just try to hang onto your brains. Saturday, 4 p.m.; bars and outdoor stage in Westport entertainment district (Pennsylvania Avenue and Westport Road, ages 21-plus); Uptown Theater and adjacent parking lot (3700 Broadway, all ages); tickets: $20.
  6. American Royal World Series of Barbecue
    What’s that smell? If you have to ask, you’re anywhere else but the annual American Royal World Series of Barbecue, where the aroma of amazingly smoked beef, pork, chicken and other meat treats waft non-stop throughout Kansas City’s historic West Bottoms. While food safety regulations prevent any of the American Royal BBQ Contest’s more than 550 teams from sharing samples, there’s plenty to chow down on inside the event’s fabled Food Court. Other attractions include a barbecue-happy Marketplace/Expo, cooking demos and a Barbecue Hall of Fame induction ceremony at 7 p.m. Saturday. Thursday-Sunday; West Bottoms and American Royal Complex, 1701 American Royal Ct.; Tickets; $15.
  7. An Evening with Marilyn Maye
    In the 1950s, the magnificent Marilyn Maye hit the Kansas City club scene, where she was discovered by Steve Allen, who introduced her to the nation on his TV show. Later, Maye became a recurring highlight on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, where she set the record for most appearances by a singer on the program. Capable of moving audiences to tears with a tender vocal and getting a laugh at the drop of a quip, Maye is an old pro with the heart of a kid. Here’s hoping that she and her jazzy combo, along with the Kansas City Symphony, perform her energetic and self-defining chestnut, “Step to the Rear (And Let a Winner Lead the Way),” when Maye gets the weekend off to an early and sure-to-be-rocking start. Thursday, 7 p.m.; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; $35-$75.
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