We’re not trying to start a riot but hold onto your butts, because we’re writing our first “Best Bets” article in more than a year. Live music peeked its head around the corner in April, but May is when it starts to dip its toe in the water (could it go for the full cannonball by the Summer??). Remember, we’re taking things slow! That means wear a mask, stay six feet apart, and tip bartenders 200 percent. From what we’ve seen in live music so far, everyone at the emerging live events has been pretty chill. Here are our best bets for May:
One of the biggest hustlers in the local folk scene didn’t really seem to slow her roll at all during the pandemic. Megan Luttrell, know for her intense work with the music community, launched this showcase pre-pandemic to draw attention to women in folk and bluegrass, since they’re often overlooked and underrepresented. She was able to maintain the showcase virtually and (sometimes) in -person, but this will mark the first time people feel safe enough to come out and enjoy a solid weekday show. If you weren’t able to nab tickets for the sold-out Unfit Wives show back in April, this will be the next one to catch.
On the agenda:
7:00-7:45 Nicole Springer
7:45-8:30 Leslie Giggler
8:30-9:15 Jill Westra
9:15-10:00 Megan Luttrell
OK, this one’s a little self-serving (since this is an I Heart Local Music event), but we’re excited for everything Cuee has going on. In addition to releasing the happiness anthem of the year, Cuee is kicking off the return of live music for the Replay. He’ll be on the outdoor patio, followed by Approach on the 1’s and 2’s for dancers later on. Cuee has been steadily releasing a series of new tracks, and this show will act as his album release show. It’s been more than a year since we’ve seen anything other than folk and bluegrass, so count us in!
While folk and bluegrass did have its heyday during the pandemic, we didn’t get many opportunities to see full bands perform. That ends in May, as many vaccinated musicians have been gathering back together again to gear up for live shows. Kaw Valley Public House is one of North Lawrence’s greatest secrets and has spent the pandemic steadily live streaming musicians and offering up their outdoor, ventilated patio area whenever possible. We anticipate this show drawing a full house.
Oh boy! Are YOU in for a treat! One of the very last shows we saw before the shutdown was Kaw Tikis. They are once again championing the North Lawrence music scene with this early set at Gaslight Gardens (another venue that dived in early in the return of live music). If you’re fond of expert surf guitarists and well-pressed suits, this is the show for you. We are also looking forward to hearing from Jon Harrison, who released one of our favorite rock albums of 2020.
Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 15 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more. Currently, she resides in Lawrence, Kansas, where she works as a music journalist and is the Editor of I Heart Local Music.