Your Guide to Kansas City Concerts in August

The music calendar in August is stocked with shows large, mid-size, and small – from a stadium show to theater and club events and even a hot dog street fest. We could recommend far more shows than the 10 mentioned here, but here are just some of the biggest and best.


August 5: The Heart of America Hot Dog Festival
Paseo Boulevard between 15th and 18th streets
This event, sponsored by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, is an all-day food and music festival, featuring what has become a signature staple of every level of baseball – the all-American hot dog – and a stellar music lineup comprising a few R&B heroes: Dru Hill, Con Funk Shun, and the S.O.S. Band. Also on the bill: homegrown stars LeVelle, the Queens of Soul Jazz, Jacob Webb, and Phylicia Rae. Hours are 3 to 11 p.m. Tickets start at $50.

August 8: Culture Club with Howard Jones and Berlin
Starlight Theatre
A show for diehard fans of MTV in the 1980s. Culture Club was a pioneer band in several ways. Led by the photogenic and gender-ambiguous Boy George, it used the ascending video medium as a platform to showcase its effervescent blend of pop-meets-soul-and-R&B in classics like Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, I’ll Tumble 4 Ya, Time (Clock of the Heart, Church of the Poison Mind and Karma Chameleon. Forty-plus years later those tuneful groove-fests have aged remarkably well – as well as their lead singer, who can still carry those songs with panache and style. 

Howard Jones also made waves in the mid-1980s with a few Top 40 hits, none bigger than Things Can Only Get Better. And the blockbuster 1986 film Top Gun turned the L.A band Berlin into a household name via Take Me Breath Away, which hit No. 1 in the U.S., the U.K., and Germany, and in the Top 3 in four other countries. Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets start at $24.95.


August 11: John McEuen and the Circle Band present Will the Circle Be Unbroken
Knuckleheads Saloon
John McEuen recorded the 32-track, double LP Will the Circle Be Unbroken with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in August 1971. More than half a century later, the album (and the A.P. Carter title track) is still alive and well, as timeless as any in its genre. A mix of country, country rock, and bluegrass, Circle, which was released in early 1972, featured appearances by a slew of legends and all-stars: Maybelle Carter, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Randy Skaggs, Roy Acuff, Norman Blake, and others.

At Knuckleheads, McEuen will be joined by fellow Dirt Band co-founder Les Thompson and several Kansas City musicians and special guests to honor the legacy of the band and the Circle album in song and stories. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $25.

August 14: The English Beat
Knuckleheads Saloon
Speaking of British bands that made waves in the 1980s, the English Beat hit the ground running in 1980 with the release of its inaugural album I Just Can’t Stop It and, in 1981, with Wha’ppen? Both were lively, engaging blends of ska, reggae, pop, and soul with occasional Latin accents. Singles like Mirror in the Bathroom, Save It for Later, Can’t Get Used to Losing You, and a divine cover of Tears of a Clown made them chart-topping heroes in their native U.K. and darlings of a substantial cult here in America. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks at Ohio Stadium by @myrnasuarezphoto

August 19: Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks
Arrowhead Stadium
The year 1977 was formative for both of these co-headliners. Fleetwood Mac released Rumours, an all-time best-selling album that made Stevie Nicks and her bandmates international rock superstars; and Billy Joel released The Stranger, which jump-started a career that appeared to have stalled after the success of the hit single Piano Man. The album rose to No. 2 on the charts and would produce four Top 20 hits, and sell more than 11 million copies.

More than 45 years later, their paths have crossed for a careers-spanning show—The Two Icons, One Night Tour—that showcases two stars whose music comes from vastly different perspectives but arouses the same levels of fervor and affection. Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets start at $104.50.

Photo by @neelastica

August 25: Weyes Blood
The Truman
Natalie Laura Merling has performed various styles of music in several bands and projects under a variety of names. She settled on Weyes Blood in 2011, the year she released The Outside Room. Twelve years and four albums later, including And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow, released in November, she continues to produce songs and sounds that elude labels and definitions. In reviews, words like “experimental” and “noise rock” abound, but so do terms like “soft rock,” “psychedelic folk,” and “chamber pop.” Perhaps that explains the name of her current tour: “In Holy Flux Tour: Unleashed.”  Nick Hakim opens at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $50.


August 26: Turnpike Troubadours with the Avett Brothers, the Old 97’s, and Kaitlin Butts
Azura Amphitheater
This is a superfest for fans of whatever you choose to call it: alt-country, insurgent country, indie-country, red dirt country – anything but preened-and-polished corporate Nashville country. 

The Troubadours have returned from a two-year hiatus prompted in part by a turn to sobriety for lead singer and songwriter Evan Felker. They used the pandemic to regather, write songs and bring their music to fans remotely. Before that, they were selling-out large theaters, including a few in Kansas City at the Uptown Theater. Their music is a gritty, invigorating mix of evocative lyrics bathed in the sounds of country, rock with some Tex-Mex accents. 

The Avetts are not as gritty but equally engaging. The 97’s were among the bands that emerged during the great alt-country surge in the 1990s.  And Kaitlin Butts is a poetic, story-telling country troubadour from Oklahoma. Showtime is 5:30 p.m. Tickets start at $39.50.


August 26: Jelly Roll
T-Mobile Center
Jelly Roll is Jason DeFord, born in 1984 in Antioch, Tenn., a rough-hewn neighborhood 12 miles south of Nashville. His story has become almost mythical: After a life of crime (robbery, drug-running) and jail time, he turned to music for salvation, first hip-hop, then country. 

In 2023, his career skyrocketed: His single Son of a Sinner hit No. 1 on country radio; and he won two CMT Music Awards. That was a few months after he sold-out Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, not far from where he grew up. Incidentally, that show featured several guest appearances, including Kansas City’s own Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko. 

In his music and live shows, Jelly Roll preaches about his recovery from a life of crime and hard drugs, and his crowds respond accordingly to his you-can-do-it-too evangelism. The Hulu documentary Jelly Roll: Save Me is highly recommended. Country singer Ashley McBryde and Nashville rapper Struggle Jennings open. Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets start at $112.


August 29: The Chicks with Ben Harper
T-Mobile Center
In 2003, they instigated a controversy that spun their career into unforeseen directions. Twenty years later, they are thriving among a different audience of loyal fans who appreciate their boldness and fortitude as much as they do their songs, their singing, and their musicianship. The Chicks are touring on their most recent album, Gaslighter, released in 2020, their first release since 2006. 

Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist (guitar, lap steel, slide guitar, keyboards) Ben Harper opens. Most Chicks fans know of his affiliation with the band: He co-produced and performed on Natalie Maines’ 2013 solo album, Mother. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $34.50.

Note: In early August, the Chicks canceled and rescheduled a few shows because of an illness in the band. Let’s hope everyone is feeling better long before they’re scheduled to come to KC.

Facebook/Zach Bryan

August 30: Zach Bryan with Trampled by Turtles and JR Carrroll

An intriguing lineup, starting with the headliner. Zach Bryan turned 27 in April, almost two years after his honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy and a year after he released his big-label debut, American Heartbreak, which has sold more than 1 million copies. His style departs sharply from the modern-country fashions, leaning harder towards neo-traditional and alternative country. Whatever the term, it has generated a tide of appeal. Barely four years into his career, he’s topping charts and headlining arena tours.

The other intrigue: the openers. Trampled By Turtles is an indie-country/bluegrass jam-ish band from Duluth, Minn., and JR Carroll is an indie-country/folk songwriter from Oklahoma. More context: He and Bryan just released a cover of Jason Isbell’s King of Oklahoma. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets available only via second-hand markets.