I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some dancing in the streets. May is arguably one of the funnest months of the year because everything really starts to pop off in Lawrence. Though you’ll really need the stamina for June, there’s a good amount to look forward to in May. With the more extravagant events being at the end of the month, you’ll be starting your summer holiday in style with plenty of merriment and dancing. Get ready; here comes some of the best events for your May concert calendar (and be sure to check out the “Other events to keep on your calendar” section at the bottom!):

Rochelle Jordan - Live Music Blog

Rochelle Jordan

The Bottleneck | May 4

Rochelle Jordan writes songs that instantly become earworms. While the Jamaican-British R&B artist has been primarily known for collaborations recently, this is a chance to see her take center stage with her sultry vocals and easy-to-love beats. This is a show that’s worth taking a gamble on.

RIYL: Amaka / Kelela / VCMN / Mae C.

Steve Poltz at the Arts Center Poster

Steve Poltz

Lawrence Arts Center | May 9

It’s always a real treat when the Lawrence Arts Center brings a heavyweight through for their Downtown Underground series. Fans my remember Steve Poltz fondly from the 90’s, where he began his career with the Rugburns and then co-writing songs with Jewel. Since then, the lifetime musician who’s constantly on the road (more than 300 days per year!) has developed a knack for quirky folk tunes taking stabs at life in the music industry. But don’t worry, he’s got some slow romantic ones as well. He’ll play with local duo Jenna and Martin at the Lawrence Arts Center on May 9.

RIYL: Sky Smeed, Rugburns, anything from Folk Alliance

Ringo Deathstarr Live Music Blog

Ringo Deathstarr

The Bottleneck | May 10

We love a good shoegaze band, and Ringo Deathstarr is one of those bands really sticking to the original intent of the shoegaze genre in their sound. In fact, if you put on their record you’d likely never guess this was a current band with recent releases. The Austin-based band (and several-times over SXSW veterans) also bring a fond nod to the psych-rock genre to their music. Their show comes just in the midst of a massive tour that runs through the Fall. 

RIYL: Vintage sounds, My Bloody Valentine, No Joy

Son Venezuela by Fally Afani

Art Tougeau & Hang 12 Street Party with Son Venezuela (early show)

The Replay | May 24

We love a good street party! This title might be a bit misleading, as the party extends around the block, but the music is at the Replay. The night before the Art Tougeau street car parade, all the art cars line up in front of the Lawrence Arts Center for a little gathering. It’s a fond, annual celebration of all things artsy and weird in Lawrence. Around the corner at the Replay, one of Lawrence’s most treasured bands (and recent Kansas Music Hall of Fame inductees) will get the music and dancing going. Son Venezuela will play this all-ages show—and don’t worry, there’s no need for an opener as the 30-year music veterans will solely keep the party going the entire time.

RIYL: Community parties, dancing, shaking your booty to Latin music

Buskerfest 2024 Promo Image


Downtown Lawrence | May 24-26

One of the highlights of living in Lawrence is that you get to indulge in a million little street festivals throughout the year. But one of those festivals puts the rest to shame. The Lawrence Busker Festival is a must-see for Lawrencians and residents in the surrounding region. It comes perfectly timed: right after school lets out, but before anyone heads out on vacation. So, it’s a great way to keep the kids engaged until those summer programs (like the Lawrence Summer of Fun pass!) fire up.

While we’re used to seeing strong women, acrobats, and all sorts of entertainers at the festival, it’s also a great place to see musicians. There’s always a musician’s pitch featuring fun and easily digestible tunes for a wide variety of audiences. Here’s a look at the music schedule:


Friday, May 24

Musician’s Pitch, sponsored by KPR’s Trail Mix

  • 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. – Folk in the Flow (Originals)
  • 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – The House Rockers (Blues Band from KC)

Saturday, May 25

Musician’s Pitch, sponsored by KPR’s Trail Mix

  • 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – With A Twist (American Standards & Exotica)
  • 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Zydeco Tougeau (Good-time Dance Music)
  • 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. – L A Fahy  (Americana, Originals)
  • 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – Bopaphonics (Rock, Blues, Word Jazz)

Sunday, May 26

8th Street Pitch

  • 1:00 p.m. – Drunken Fiddles

Musician’s Pitch, sponsored by KPR’s Trail Mix

  • 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Prairie Cats (Old-time Fun)
  • 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Easy G the Blue Notes (Folk Rock Americana)
  • 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. – Sugarfoot Detour (Folk Rock, Originals)

RIYL: Fun!

Other events to keep on your radar:


The Whips Present: Hawkstock at the Granada

The Granada | May 2


The Wayne Gottstine Band / Roll Cage Mary

Lucia | May 3


SiM: Playdead World Tour

Liberty Hall | May 3


Frogpond / The Sluts / Cat Fight

The Replay | May 4


Cinco de Mayo with Maria the Mexican (early show)

The Replay | May 5


Little Lizard / Mellowphobia / sleet / Hadiza

The Replay | May 5


Jason Isbell and the 400 Unite (rescheduled)

Liberty Hall | May 7


1313 Mockingbird’s May the Force Be With You Party

The Bottleneck | May 12


John Garcia (of Kyuss) / Jared James Nichols / Telekinetic Yeti / Left Lane Cruiser / Drifter

Liberty Hall | May 17


Car Microwave / The Instant / Liney Blu / Flash Floods

The Bottleneck | May 18



The Granada | May 23


Pink Fuzz / LYXE / Deal

The Replay | May 24


Martin Farrell’s Western Changes Album Release Show

The Bottleneck | May 25

This is the place where Nirvana & Green Day played in a small, standing-room-only shack. This is the place where Janelle Monae packed in her hometown crowd. George Clinton has funked up our streets and we “fought the power” with...