Let’s end the year with a bang, shall we? It’s time to big adieu to the aging 2021, tremendously falling out of style, and turn to the season’s hottest accessory: 2022. You did it. You’ve survived the year (for the most part). It’s time to don we now our gay apparel and party. Here are, in our opinions, the biggest ways to celebrate the live music scene this December.


Neal Francis by Liina Raud

Neal Francis

The Bottleneck | Friday, December 3

Neal Francis is retro gold. If you miss shaggy hairdos and the rock stylings of expert pianists in the 70’s, head to the Bottleneck on December 3rd. Neal Francis shows transport you to another time. Even donning the right threads, the live shows are a time capsule of classic rock but with the coolness of Elton John (Crocodile Rock era) blended with the edginess of modern musicians. The Chicago musician comes along with openers “Midwestern Funk” band The Whips, out of Kansas City.

RIYL: Elton John, Low Cut Connie




The Granada | Wednesday, December 8

There is no shortage of metal shows this season, and if you’re into gnarly riffs and, like, LOTS of blood, this is the show for you. GWAR will be returning to the Granada stage for this staggeringly grotesque performance. Expect spiky costumes, horrifying makeup, and again…. LOTS OF BLOOD. Don’t wear anything you like to this show, you will get wet (there’s a reason us music photographers have a hard time covering these shows, damage to the camera keeps them rarely documented). This show is theatrical as heck, and there will be moshing.

Napalm Death, who tore the house down last time they played the Granada, will also be performing.

RIYL: Municipal Waste, D.R.I., getting soaked in fake blood



Caroline Polachek

Caroline Polachek

Liberty Hall | Wednesday, December 8

Now, if metal is not your thing, fear not. December 8th also holds a special live music event at the opposite end of downtown. Caroline Polachek hits Liberty Hall with her electronic beats, sugary-high vocals, and pop ballads. Many will remember Polachek from her previous band, Chairlift. She’s known for experimental arrangements and beautifully crafted auto-tuned vocals. But we’re always eager to see her flamboyant and art-house personality onstage.

RIYL: Charli XCX, Sophie .




Marcel Black / Kadesh Flow / Kemet Coleman / Approach

The Replay | Friday, December 10

This is a really, really, really good lineup because each act is completely capable of headlining any show at the Replay. The Replay is one of the only places to see any good hip-hop in this town, so don’t sleep on this one. Marcel Black is a force to reckon with, and Approach is the powerhouse behind the Lawrence hip-hop scene (and our strongest leader in local hip-hop). But if you miss Kadesh Flow, you will be kicking yourself for days. Rather than kicking yourself, come and marvel at the nerdcore rapper, who can simultaneously rap and play jazz trombone at the same time. Don’t believe us? Check the clip below:

RIYL: The Roots, Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), Talib Kweli



Kaw Tikis

Kaw Tikis

The Replay | Friday, December 17

If you’re not big on colder temps, travel to the tropical atmosphere of a Kaw Tikis show. Enjoy the surf rock riffs and warm up inside the cozy venue (they also have pretty hefty space heaters and a fire pit outside). This is a big deal show for the local favorites because it’s their first with a new guitarist after their frontman high-tailed it to Europe last Fall. Will they continue the coordinated suits? Will there be more surf rock? Those mysterious questions and more shall be answered December 17.

RIYL: Dick Dale, dressing like you’re from the 50’s


Other shows to watch this month:

Eggs On Mars / Quite Frankly / The Instant

Replay Lounge, December 3 (early show)


Black Warrior / True Lions / Indiglow

Replay Lounge, December 4


Drifter & Friends

The Bottleneck, December 11


On Holiday / Iron Guts Kelly / Hatchet Game

December 11, Replay Lounge


Til Willis & The Erratic Cowboy

Kaw Valley Public House, December 11


Charneé Wade Quartet

Lied Center of Kansas, December 14


Cat Piss / American Terrorist

Replay Lounge, December 17


Holiday Hangover with Cheery / Alien Hellbop / Paul Jesse

Replay Lounge, December 26