Seven Must-See Shows in 2016

Seven Must-See Shows in 2016

As many of us know, it’s not every weekend our corner of the world gets unforgettable shows from national artists who come through town.

So, I thought it’d be useful to provide a quick little guide to all the upcoming good stuff throughout the next couple months. There’s sure to be many more great shows to be booked in the coming months, but this way you’ll have the jump on getting tickets early. At the least, maybe you’ll find a new artist to dig into.

There will also be the brand new music festival, On The Map Fest, that will feature This Will Destroy You and several other great acts in late March. Keep an eye out for more updates from us about all that as the final lineup is announced. This list would also include Animal Collective at George’s in April and Gary Clark Jr. at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa in March, but they’re sold out.

If you’re itching to see some new stuff that’s going to be a good time, look no further and plan out your springtime live music dates.

Futurebirds w/Susto Thursday, Jan. 21

Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, Little Rock, Ark.

Tickets: $10

As soon as next week there’s a great chance to check out the sounds of psychedelic country rockers Futurebirds. If that’s a scene you’re into, then you should check this band out.

I had the privilege of seeing these dudes play a set at JR’s Lightbulb Club in October with Blank Range. These guys are an excellent blending of psychedelic country and indie rock, and their live shows have plenty of full intense rock out jam sessions and psychedelic delay-guitar interludes.

The opening band, Susto, is also definitely worth your time to see. Their sound is a perfect warmup for Futurebirds with their dreamy, reverby pedal steel guitar and alt-country vibes. Both of these groups have that special something about them.



Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – Monday, Feb. 1

Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland, Kansas City, Mo.

Tickets: $20

It’s a Monday, sure, but this band is fire. Surely, you’ve heard the band’s single, “S.O.B.” before. They’re a rowdy, powerful bunch that do the retro soul thing so well it’s like the genre never died. So yeah, I’d say it’s worth the trip.

Nathaniel Rateliff (you may have seen him in the documentary “Austin to Boston” on Netflix) has had a lengthy career as a singer-songwriter in his own right. His voice is massive and soaked in emotion in every word. After committing to stop drinking, wrote songs about his journey and the tribulations that affected himself and his relationships. This new group he’s assembled is something special for those who crave a little soul and R&B in their lives in a digital era.


Pile (solo acoustic show) – Wednesday, Feb. 10

Backspace, Fayetteville, Ark.

Tickets: TBA ($5 donation normally)

Pile, out of Boston, is getting a lot of deserved attention for their new album “You’re Better Than This” that released last year. The music is a sonic roller coaster of dynamics in rhythm, melody and intensity. In one moment it’s a crazy cacophony of guitars and driving rhythm, the next it’s almost melodic and beautiful. That being said, it’s all good, if not a little challenging.

The band’s frontman, Rick Maguire, will be doing a solo acoustic show here in town in early February. If Maguire’s acoustic shows are anything like the full band’s album, it’s sure to be wild and personal. Although the album is generally aggressive, there are several mellower songs that could play well to an acoustic setting.

Feb. 10 is your opportunity to catch a band that’s on the serious up and up in a intimate setting.



Future Death – Monday, March 7

Backspace, Fayetteville, Ark.

Tickets: TBA ($5 donation normally)

Featured on the Rolling Stones June 2014 list for “Upcoming Bands You Need to Know,” Future Death will be gracing Fayetteville’s underground music venue in early March.

The band’s sound seemingly involves several styles at once — garage rock, pop, prog rock, punk, noise and the speed of black metal. It’s intensely fun stuff, and will likely provide a show that’s gonna get sweaty and rowdy. Again, this is exactly the kind of unique show that can be rare to find in Northwest Arkansas.


Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters – Sunday, March 13

Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa, Okla.

Tickets go on sale Friday, Jan. 15: $45- $90

Do I even need to introduce Robert Plant, one of the greatest lead singers in all of rock history? No? Ok.

Plant and his worldly band, The Sensational Space Shifters company are embarking on a “Southern journey tour.” That will include the hot commodity that Cain’s Ballroom has become in the midwest, less than two hours away from Fayetteville. Plant and company have been known to do renditions of Led Zeppelin songs, and several live reviews say Plant still has a lot of the youthful energy he had in his Zeppelin days as well as his ability to hit those high notes. The group’s originals are great in their own right, too. Expect this show to sell out.



Dr. Dog – Monday, April 4

George’s Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville

Tickets: $22

Dr. Dog has been one of those rock bands that have been consistently great in the under-the-radar scene for about a decade now. The band channels a lot of what made 60s psych-pop rock great; three-part harmonies, jangly guitars and a definite keyboard/effects presence. It’s maybe once every three years the band comes through the area, whether it’s Wakarusa or George’s, and it’s time once again for their return.

The band’s shows are super-tight from all the years playing together, and their deep discography will surely bring about a very stellar, very fun show this April.


Andrew Bird – Thursday, April 21

Arvest bank Theatre at The Midland, Kansas City, Mo.

Tickets: $25 – $45

Andrew Bird may be one of the most talented musicians in the biz right now. Not only does the man write all of his songs himself, he’s a master of the violin, guitar and whistling. He travels with a full band, but he could do an entire show by himself with a loop recording pedal.

His music floats about in the folk, indie singer-songwriter and jazz genres. Bird certainly has an ear for pop melodies as well. One song might be a pleasant stroll, and the next will be a culmination of the most beautiful sounds you’ve ever heard before. Did I mention how most of his songs are about scientific theories and subjects? Because they are, and he still manages to rhyme words like facsimile and innocuous. Take a road trip to Kansas City in April to see for yourself.

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