By Ann Leach

‘The temperatures are heating up and so are the varied offerings from Connect2Culture at the Harry M. Cornell Arts and Entertainment Complex in Joplin. This inaugural season of concerts moves into showcasing the outdoor space known as the Leggett & Platt Green with its first concert from a local band with a national following. 

Me Like Bees

Me Like Bees emerged on the music scene in 2013 with the release of their first full-length album, The Ides, and their winning performance in the Ernie Ball Music Man Battle of the Bands. Today, the Joplin-based band is extremely popular for their distinctive blend of catchy indie rock and meticulously crafted lyrics, which capture the existential weight of the world.

Formed on the heels of the 2000s indie rock scene, the band was started by college dropout Pete Burton and former gas station clerk Luke Sheafer in 2009. The pair met while playing high school football together in Kansas, only to lose touch and serendipitously end up at the same college town in Southwest Missouri several years later.

And where did the band name come from? The impetus was a Bible verse, Psalm 118:12 that reads “They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!”

The band just released a new record a month ago, on the 10-year anniversary of their first record. “We’ve put out singles and such, a lot of music actually, in that time, but this is a full record of songs, and we’ll be playing many of them at the Joplin concert,” Shaefer said. “We feel honored to be the first band to play on the Green. We’re pretty excited to have a venue like this in Joplin.” 

The rest of the summer will find the group playing festivals and other venues in Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City. “We plan to keep writing songs, growing our audience and doing what we’ve always done,” Shaefer said. “I’ll always be a songwriter, and it’s nice to have an outlet for that.” 

Want to Go?
May 13, 2023
7:30 p.m.
Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Leggett & Platt Green
Tickets: $20
Series: Cornell Series

The Okee Dokee Brothers

Childhood friends Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing have always loved exploring the outdoors. Now, as the Grammy Award-winning Okee Dokee Brothers, they put this passion for nature at the heart of their musical collaborations. With witty lyrics, strong musicianship and unique folk style, The Okee Dokee Brothers perform for families across the nation, inspiring them to step outside and develop a deeper respect for the natural world, their communities and themselves. 

“Our new album came out a few weeks ago, and it’s the perfect setting for what we’re doing,” Joe Mailander said. “It’s about a bunch of critters in the woods on their way back to finding community. We’ve noticed a bit of separation in our world lately, and I think the coming back to our sense of community theme is an important one at this time.”

The performance will be a family-oriented and participatory one. “We encourage dancing and singing along,” Mailander said. “The kids learn the songs and if something happens and we forget the lyrics, they are right there to remind us of what’s next.”

Mailander describes their musical style as “old timey folk” and said, “We just like the positivity of it. Nature inspires us, and we decided to stop sitting in our basements talking about nature and to get out and have adventures in it. That really inspired us to write more.”

The dynamic musical duo has been friends since they were three years old and began playing songs in high school. “We love each other and share the stage with respect for one another,” Mailander said. “Our families support us, and we have a nice life with a nice slow growth in our musical careers. I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.”

Want to Go?
June 3, 2023
7:30 p.m.
Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Leggett & Platt Green
Tickets: $10-$20
Series: Ignite Series