Jackson May’s Top Ten Shows of 2016

top 10


Kansas City and Lawrence only seem to grow in terms of how many quality shows a year we get, and 2016 was no exception. These are my picks for greatest shows/performances in the KC area for 2016.

NOTE 1: I like mostly heavy music, so don’t go into this expecting to see 96.5 The Buzz artists here or anything.

10. The Wonder Years


w/ Real Friends, Knuckle Puck, Moose Blood, Seaway @ The Granada on 10/29

The biggest “new” pop punk band of the last ten years in their first headlining date in the area in quite some time. A sold out Granada filled with feverish fans (for all the bands of the night) singing along to every single song, coupled with copious crowdsurfing and moshing made this one of the Granada’s most unforgettable of the year.

9. Brujeria


w/ Cattle Decapitation, Pinata Protest, Troglodyte @ Riot Room on 10/09

A rare treat for Kansas City metalheads indeed. Brujeria is infamous for their “hidden” identities and their songs all about drugs, killing white people, and killing white people on drugs. With fierce performances from all the openers, Brujeria topped off one of the strongest metal bills of the year.

8. Baroness


w/ Pallbearer @ The Granada on 08/24

With the release of their latest album Purple at the end of last year, Baroness are easily at the top of their game and one of the best bands putting out music today. With a steallar and crushing opening set from Pallbearer, it’s a relief to see the future of heavy music in good hands.

7. Ghost Bath


w/ Underling, He Whose Ox Is Gored, Aprilmist @ Riot Room on 07/20

Mixing shoegaze, post-rock, black metal and hard rock into one amorphis blob of heaviness, Ghost Bath’s live performance outweighed any detractors they may have and the impressive lineup of openers set the stage brilliantly.

6. Taake


w/ Young and In the Way, Vattnet Viskar @ Riot Room 02/28

On Taake’s first ever US tour, it’s incredibly lucky that this legendary Norwegian black metal mainstay graced Kansas City with their presence – not once, but twice! Although they returned to the Riot Room again inĀ  June, the February performance had an air of mysticism and anticipation around it that couldn’t be matched.

5. Napalm Death


w/ The Black Dahlia Murder, Misery Index, Abnormality @ Riot Room 11/09

Both Napalm Death and The Black Dahlia Murder headlined The Granada within the last year and pulled great crowds, so it was pure insanity when both of them co-headlined Riot Room in November. The most violent moshing of the year.

4. Dragged Into Sunlight


w/ Primitive Man, Cult Leader, Keef Mountain @ Riot Room 07/08

With barely any lighting aside from candles and seizure-inducing strobes, the UK’s Dragged Into Sunlight performed their unmatched brand of blackened sludge with their backs completely to the crowd, letting the harsh music do the talking and the performing for them. No comparison – one of the heaviest bands on the planet.

3. Black Sabbath


The literal inventors of heavy metal are hanging it up after almost fifty years – and they unblessed Kansas City with an appearance on their farewell tour. Despite pushing 70, each member sounded fantastic – even Ozzy could hit those high notes from the old days. But at the end, only one thing mattered – Tony Iommi is still as crushing as ever.

2. Venom, Inc.


w/ Necrophagia, Sunlord, Nevalra @ Riot Room 06/11

Probably the most influential extreme metal band of all time, Venom is another group that gave us 2 shows this year – but the Riot Room was an intimate, party-filled atmosphere with an entire venue singing along to songs that have defined entire genres for 3 decades. While there may be another version of Venom floating around with an egomaniac for a vocalist, Venom, Inc. is the true version that embodies everything that made the original line-up so classic and revered in the first place.

1. Absu

Maybe the greatest American black metal band of all time, absolutely the greatest American extreme metal drummer of all time. In their 25th year, Absu is no less devastating now than they were in the early 90′s. Frontman/drummer Proscriptor embodies the heavy metal spirit and embraces the over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek extremity that makes this type of music so great. He even came out from behind the drum kit to focus on vocals for a few songs – the perfect ending to a perfect set from a perfect black metal group.

About Jackson May

Read more from Jackson at Mandatory Metallica and follow him on Twitter at @Mankvill.

View all articles by Jackson May

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