STS9, with Umphrey's McGee
Sound Tribe Sector 9 has been fucking around with computers and dance music since Skrillex was getting wedgies out on the playground. The Santa Cruz, California, quintet started on the periphery of the jam-band scene, but as the popularity of electronic music in the United States has skyrocketed, so has that of STS9. The group also integrates live instrumentation into its space-funk EDM. Umphrey's McGee is a more traditional, Phish-like jam band. The Chicago six-piece has a propensity for extended instrumental solos and a keen interest in heavier prog-rock ideas, like a less formal Genesis.
Wednesday, August 21, at Crossroads KC at Grinders (417 East 18th Street, 785-749-3434)
Local country radio station Q104 has assembled a sturdy modern-country lineup for its annual Y'allapalooza party. Headlining is The X Factor season-two winner (and Beltonite) Tate Stevens. He's joined by Aaron Lewis, the former lead singer of 1990s butt-rock act Staind. Lewis has since sold the tiny sliver that remained of his soul and performs cynical, politically pandering redneck anthems about God, guns and government. Rounding out the bill is the Henningsens, a Nashville country trio better known for the hits it has written for the Band Perry: "You Lie" and "All Your Life."
Saturday, August 17, at Starlight Theatre (4600 Starlight Road, 816-363-7827)
Toad the Wet Sprocket
Because of the group's ridiculous name, it's easy to lump Toad the Wet Sprocket in with '90s one-hit wonders like, say, Deadeye Dick or Dishwalla. But it's wrong to do so. A lot of radio-friendly alternative music from that era sounds dumb today, but Toad's melodic fusion of folk pop and alt rock holds up. Hits like "Walk on the Ocean" and "All I Want" — as well as nearly the entirety of 1994's critically underrated Dulcinea — have strong enough structural foundations to charm despite their dated production aesthetics. The band is touring to promote its new album, New Constellation (its first since 1997's Coil), and guess what: I like the title-track single, an upbeat, harmony-laden college-rock song that more or less picks up where the band left off.
Friday, August 16, at the Uptown Theater (3700 Broadway, 816-753-8665)
Kurt Vile and the Violators
Kurt Vile's latest, Wakin on a Pretty Daze, is not the most dazzling or inventive record of 2013, but it's the one I've listened to more than any other. Like its predecessor, Smoke Ring for My Halo, Daze showcases Vile's knack for gorgeous, wandering acoustic-driven rock songs. Vile mumbles a lot and favors stream-of-consciousness lyrics, which can scan along the slacker-stoner spectrum. But that's mostly a ruse. He's soulful and bright as hell, and a lot of his stuff sticks like Super Glue: Risin' at the crack of the dawn/I gotta think about what wisecrack I'm gonna drop along the way today. Cosmic folk-rockers Sonny & the Sunsets open.
Friday, August 16, at the Granada (1020 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-842-1390)
Bob Mould, with the Pedaljets
KC's Pedaljets recently released What's in Between, their first album of new material in 20 years, which hearkens back to their glory days in the 1980s underground. Back then, they shared an aesthetic with breakthrough Minneapolis acts like the Replacements and Hüsker Dü. Headlining here is Bob Mould, who was a founding member of the latter. Mould wears a lot of hats these days: professional-wrestling enthusiast, outspoken gay bear, The Daily Show theme-song writer. He's still making solid music, too. His solo albums (the most recent of which is 2012's Silver Age) are reliable listening for fans of '90s alt rock.
Friday, August 16, at the Bottleneck (737 New Hampshire, Lawrence, 785-841-5483)
The Aristocrats — guitarist Guthrie Govan, bassist Bryan Beller and drummer Marco Minnemann — are a trio of virtuoso musicians who play technically precise songs that blend prog rock and jazz fusion. I'd rather eat a pine cone than sit through even an hour of this, but if you're the type to watch Steve Vai videos on YouTube, this one's all you.
Tuesday, August 20, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
The Rainmakers, with the Nace Brothers
Two local, long-running roots-rock acts team up for an evening of late-summer outdoor fun. What's that? It's also free? All the better.
Friday, August 16, at Crossroads KC at Grinders (417 East 18th Street, 785-749-3434)