The genius of the Hold Steady has long been the balance of frontman Craig Finn's streetwise colloquial poetry and the band's party-rock hooks. Finn's recent solo debut, Clear Heart Full Eyes, is a less beery affair, with alt-country tones providing the backdrop to the lyrics. Things get pretty spare and spoken-word at points, but it's absolutely a must-own for any self-respecting Hold Steady fan. I've listened to "Rented Room" — I bathe in the dark, it feels like a womb/I know I should be getting over you/Certain things get really hard to do/When you're living in a rented room — probably 75 times since it landed on the Web a month ago.
Saturday, February 11, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
JayDoc is a free, student-run health clinic operated by the University of Kansas School of Medicine. How does such an entity offer free services? In part, at least, through events like JayRock, now in its seventh year. Lined up to play at the Uptown are Quiet Corral, a folk-pop group, and the Delta Saints, which plays loud, bluesy Southern rock.
Friday, February 10, at the Uptown Theater (3700 Broadway, 816-753-8665)
SXSW MidCoast Takeover Fundraiser
The increasingly overblown music festival called South By Southwest takes place in March. That means the fundraisers to send local bands down to Austin, where they have Powerball odds of getting noticed by somebody important, begin in February. A band can dream, though, can't it? The first of these is Friday at the Brick, featuring Everyday/Everynight, Oriole Post, Empty Spaces, and Run Little Rabbit.
Friday, February 10, at the Brick (1727 McGee, 816-421-1634)
Valentine's Day falls on a Tuesday, the most boring day of the week. That's a blessing for introverted singles, who can carry on their Tuesday routines of laundry, PBS documentaries and Facebook creeping without drawing much attention. For the more socially active among us, here are ideas for places to schmooze with other lonelies.
Mark Lowrey Presents
The ubiquitous local jazz pianist hosts a new weekly event, a mix of jazz, electronica,and whatever suits his fancy. Last week, he was joined by Ryan Lee, the drummer of jazz group Diverse. This week features Lowrey with another KC jazz drummer, Brian Steever. The Magical Meatball food truck now operates out of Czar as well — a fine option for eating away your sorrows.
At Czar (1531 Grand, 816-421-0300)
The Bloody Valentine Ball
Perhaps you're aware of Dead Wait, a KC-based Web series about a zombie apocalypse? It's probably worth a Google search. To celebrate the series' second season, the show's creators host the Bloody Valentine Ball. Zombie attire is encouraged, and Season 2 is shown at 9 p.m. A zombie king and queen will be crowned, and the Dead Girls and Last Night's Regret will play songs.
At RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
Trampled Under Foot
The familial blues trio (recently nominated for three 2012 Blues Music Awards, including one for Band of the Year) draws a reliable, fun-loving crowd to its weeknight performances at B.B.'s. Sometimes the best cure for the lovesick blues is, you know, more blues. Or beer. Or ribs. Whatever works, really.
At B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ(1205 East 85th Street, 816-822-7427)