This year mark's the 20th anniversary of this Fort Worth band's seminal debut album, Rubberneck, which means a reissue and a national tour. Fans of the bizarre and brilliant classic "Possum Kingdom," rejoice: When the Toadies stop at Knuckleheads on Thursday, the album gets a front-to-back airing. Sure, you can keep right on disdaining certain vacuous hallmarks of 1990s rock — I can't think of that time without getting a Pearl Jam song stuck in my head — but Rubberneck still isolates the good parts of that decade's trends. It's as delightful today as it was in 1994.
Thursday, July 31, Knuckleheads Saloon (2715 Rochester, 816-483-1456)
Emily King has a voice like fine velvet. One listen, and all you want to do is wrap yourself in it and forget the world. But the 29-year-old artist — whose 2007 debut, East Side Story, earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album — writes lyrics that come from inescapable reality. Born of a biracial marriage and growing up in New York City, King addresses complicated social issues under the guise of delicate pop songs. Of course, she talks quite a bit about the follies of love, too, as you'll hear on 2011's Seven EP. King is long overdue now for a new release; here's hoping that her summer tour provides some hints of what's to come.
Thursday, July 31, Czar (1531 Grand, 816-421-0300)
Black Oak Arkansas
Black Oak Arkansas may never have penned a Southern-rock ballad as timeless and earwormy as Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," and for that we can probably thank them. Still, the legendary 1970s act cultivated a strong following in its heyday, thanks largely to its magnetic lead singer, Jim "Dandy" Mangrum. His greatest talent — aside from rocking skintight bell-bottoms — was the way he could bend his gravelly, whiskey-wizened voice around high-energy versions of what we might, these days, call "psychobilly." The band is back together and on the road this summer. If you want a slice of music history, head down to the Saloon on Thursday.
Thursday, July 31, Westport Saloon (4112 Pennsylvania, 816-960-4560)
I'm sure I wasn't alone in my reaction to news that Mötley Crüe had undertaken its "Final Tour." Really? Is anyone going to be surprised when singer Vince Neil, guitarist Mick Mars, bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee somehow find the strength to hit the road again in a couple of summers? Then again, these '80s glam-metal gods have lived enough for the rest of us, so if this somehow really is their closing act, well, we'd best get in line. Bonus: Alice Cooper, never one to bid farewell, is opening.
Sunday, August 3, Sprint Center (1407 Grand, 816-949-7000)
It doesn't matter that the reviews for Tori Amos' 14th studio album, Unrepentant Geraldines, released this summer, haven't been especially thrilling. The 50-year-old chanteuse has always done things her own way, and more often than not, the Tori Amos way is weird and alienating. On Geraldines, Amos returns to the 1990s piano-driven format that made her famous (with albums such as Little Earthquakes and Under the Pink), and her voice has lost none of its idiosyncratic charisma. Early concert reviews from Amos' 80-date spring and summer run indicate that she's pulling out some classic, fan-favorite tracks, too, so don't be afraid Saturday to let out the angsty '90s girl in you.
Saturday, August 2, the Midland (1228 Main, 816-283-9921)