Eleven Productions' 11.11.11 Party
To celebrate its 10th anniversary of promoting shows in the area, Eleven Productions is throwing itself a blowout in downtown Lawrence. The Granada, Jackpot Music Hall, Replay Lounge, Eighth Street Taproom, Bottleneck and Love Garden together host somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 acts in all. Two national acts — Murder by Death and Lazer Sword — are being imported; local talent includes Mansion, Nezbeat, Approach, Jabberjosh, and way too many other names to list here. See facebook.com/eleven.turns.ten for the full schedule.
Friday, November 11 (Multiple Venues)
In 2008, Gary Louris and Mark Olson released Ready for the Flood, their first collaboration since Olson had split from their former group, the Jayhawks, in 1995. No Depression subscribers rejoiced. This past September, they went one better: Mockingbird Time is credited to the Jayhawks proper. I would love to report that it picks up where Tomorrow the Green Grass (the last Jayhawks record to feature both songwriters) left off, that it's another winning collection of country-tinged pop songs anchored by angelic harmonies. But I've listened to it all the way through about five times, and nothing is really sticking. Still, it's the Jayhawks, and when the Jayhawks come through town, you go see the Jayhawks.
Saturday, November 12, at the Beaumont Club (4050 Pennsylvania, 816-561-2560)
Centro-Matic, with Polica
Alt-country love affairs tend to spark with Ryan Adams or Wilco or maybe even Old 97's. But eventually more sustenance is required, and you find your way to singer-songwriters like Richard Buckner, Jason Molina and Will Johnson. Over the course of 10 albums, Johnson's primary band, Centro-Matic, has crafted a signature sound: electric, hard-knuckled roots rock. Its latest, Candidate Waltz, is no radical departure, just another quiet addition to a damn fine discography. Polica, a brand-new act out of Minneapolis, favors dark-toned synths, prominent bass and Auto-Tune effects on the female singer's voice — and, despite this, makes music worth hearing.
Thursday, November 10, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
Guns N' Roses
There's something a little too fish-in-a-barrel about mocking Axl Rose these days. The temper tantrums, Chinese Democracy, his terrible hair, the fact that he's nearly 50 years old and acts like the rich kids on My Super Sweet 16: It's so easy. But is it possible to be positive about Rose's relentless rape of the corpse of Guns N' Roses? Perhaps the best way to view it is as something more akin to performance art. Will Axl berate audience members? Will Axl take the stage two hours late? Will Axl take the stage at all? No one ever knows the answers to these questions.
Saturday, November 12, at Sprint Center (1407 Grand, 816-949-7000)
Mastodon, with the Dillinger Escape Plan and Red Fang
I suspect a few slightly out-of-place indie-rock-looking kids will be at this metal show, which I attribute to the fact that both Mastodon and Dillinger Escape Plan tend to enjoy positive reviews from media outlets beyond punknews.org and Revolver magazine. Why the critical acclaim? Mastodon throws more art into its metal than most, pushing the boundaries of hardcore into spacier, proggier territory. And both bands augment the 1,000-pound intensity of their music with precise, mathematical start-stops. None of this makes the music any less terrifying.
Monday, November 14, at the Beaumont Club (4050 Pennsylvania, 816-561-2560)