The Bootheel, with JabberJosh and Muscle Worship
The Bootheel is a band from Springfield, Missouri, that makes its own barbecue sauce. The sound is kind of minimalist, post-trip-hop, pre-dubstep. Just kidding. The group plays country-soaked classic rock and is joined at this show by two of Lawrence's loudest acts: JabberJosh, a bass-and-drums duo whose sonic aesthetic is not unlike a helicopter landing, and Muscle Worship, a five-piece that makes thoughtful, controlled and extremely heavy rock.
Wednesday, January 11, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
The Cave Girls, with Interstate Astronauts
Fewer people attend, but First Friday events continue in the Crossroads even in the deepest, darkest depths of winter. The best approach is to pick an event where it's acceptable to hunker down for a couple of hours, rather than roam the streets as one might in more temperate times. Czar is offering up a solid block of entertainment with photography from Rebecca Armstrong accompanied by live music between 5 and 9 p.m. The Cave Girls — a female trio playing fast, fundamental garage rock — share the bill with honky-tonk barroom-rock act Interstate Astronauts. The kitchen will be open, so you can really settle in.
Friday, January 6, at Czar (1531 Grand, 816-421-0300)
The Dropsteppers, with the New Riddim and Z.A.P.
The '90s, as we now know, are back. So where's the ska revival? I'm not seeing nearly enough Pietasters T-shirts at the clubs. There might be some rudeboy Doc Martens in the house, though, at this Riot Room show, where Minneapolis' Dropsteppers play a set of rocksteady ska with soul undercurrents. Opening is local reggae group the New Riddim, whose debut album is expected to arrive sometime this spring.
Friday, January 6, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
Speaking of the '90s: Remember how depressing the late '90s were for popular music? Back when post-grunge was dominating MTV and the airwaves? Back when fucking Staind was popular? Well, guess what? The main dude in Staind is back, and ... wait ... wait ... he's gone country! Aaron Lewis (born in Longmeadow, one of the most affluent towns in the state of Massachusetts) has studied the spreadsheets and identified the prideful, rural redneck crowd as his new target demographic. He's enjoying success with songs like "Country Boy," which is sung in the key of Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive" and contains a refrigerator-poetry-magnet smorgasbord of threadbare conservative declarations. I said it before but I'll say it again/'Cause I never needed government to hold my hand. Had enough? Oh, we're just getting started: The biggest things in life are your friends and family/And I like my jeans and my old T-shirts/And a couple extra pounds never really hurt/'Cause a country boy is all I'll ever be. All this and more.
Friday January 6, at VooDoo Lounge at Harrah's Casino (1 Riverboat Drive, North Kansas City, 816-472-7777)