The Pitch Music Awards
Air-guitar hero and Dead Girls drummer Eric "Mean" Melin once again hosts our annual Pitch Music Awards. In addition to Melin and a few other guest appearances, you get performances from old-school jumpin'-jazz group Grand Marquis, thundering psych from the Conquerors, and hearty cock rock from Cherokee Rock Rifle — for an $8 entry ($25 if you want in on the two-hour open bar at the adjacent Conspiracy Room starting at 6 p.m.). It's one of the best Sunday parties of the year, and not to be missed.
Sunday, August 11, at the Uptown Theater (3700 Broadway, 816-753-8665)
It is very hard not to like Bruno Mars, who is now filling arenas with a high-energy stage show that's as appealing to teens as it is to baby boomers. Mars is part Michael Jackson, part Sam Cooke, part Prince and part Elvis (he was doing professional impersonations of the King at age 4). He plays guitar, he dances charismatically, he tips his fedora like a gentleman. He' s a song-and-dance man who channels soul, funk and R&B influences from the past, but in a way that feels seamlessly modern. You have to go back to MJ to find a pop star who has arrived so fully formed.
Friday, August 9, at Sprint Center (1407 Grand, 816-949-7000)
For its first album, 2009's Mind Chaos, Hockey wrote a batch of songs from its home in Portland, Oregon, that resembled the work of acts popular in New York at the time: MGMT, the Strokes, LCD Soundsystem. The group has since relocated to New York and accordingly made an album — this year's Wyeth Is — whose beachy synth-pop vibe feels very West Coast. Opener Swimm's danceable psych pop should be a natural lead-in.
Tuesday, August 13, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
The Hips, with Forrest Whitlow
A classic townie band in the best possible sense, the Hips is made up of former and current members of Lawrence acts Drakkar Sauna and Fourth of July. The group plays about once a quarter, and rarely outside Lawrence, and that's a pity because its groovy-goofy roots pop is pretty on-the-nose. For this, the first KC show that I can recall, they're joined by long-running KC singer-songwriter Forrest Whitlow.
Saturday, August 10, at the Brick (1727 McGee, 816-421-1634)