Matchbox Twenty, with Goo Goo Dolls
The song "Real World" by Matchbox Twenty (formerly Matchbox 20; keep it straight, y'all) hit the airwaves back in 1998. That means I've been doing an impression of Rob Thomas singing, in his stupid voice, I wonder what it's like to be the head honcho for roughly 15 years. It's been a wild ride! It continues this weekend when Matchbox Twenty and the Goo Goo Dolls, another '90s mainstream rock act, appear at Sprint Center. In case anybody's wondering, I'm a fan of "Real World" and "3 a.m." I never liked "Push."
Friday, July 12, at Sprint Center (1407 Grand, 816-949-7000)
Freedy Johnston is a 1990s one-hit wonder ("Bad Reputation") who deserves far better than he has received from the music industry. The Kinsley, Kansas, native and University of Kansas dropout is a singer-songwriter with a terrific ear for pop melody, and all his albums are damn solid. Rain on the City, from 2010, is his most recent — an unassuming, finely tuned mix of alt-country, folk-pop and rock songs. This Czar show is an early one, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, July 17, at Czar (1531 Grand, 816-421-0300)
And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, with UME
If you've never been able to get down with the heavy, conceptual art-rock of And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, give Lost Songs, the Austin group's 2012 album, a spin. "Awestruck," in particular, shines: It's like Explosions in the Sky tried writing a streamlined, melodic rock song. Opener UME (ooo-may), a two-thirds-female trio also from the Texas capital, fuses hooky pop rock with heavy shoegaze.
Tuesday, July 16, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
The Rock n Roll Dream Concert
Hate on cover bands all you want — I used to — but their crowds rarely have anything but a blast. Yes, they're posers. But at least they admit it, which is more than I can say for half the "serious musicians" I've met in my lifetime. Now, will I attend this show, which features tribute acts Last Child (Aerosmith), Houses of the Holy (Led Zeppelin), KC/DC (AC/DC) and Edge of Forever (Lynyrd Skynyrd)? Probably not, no. Should you go? Only if you want to rock.
Saturday, July 13, at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater (633 North 130th Street, Bonner Springs, 913-721-3400)
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
Lukas Nelson and his band, Promise of the Real, have made a couple of rock albums that touch on blues, Texas country and some jam-band vibes. Nelson is 25 years old and has a fragile, nasal voice reminiscent of Willie Nelson's. One working theory to explain this similarity — as well as his enthusiasm for marijuana — is that he is Willie Nelson's son.
UPDATE: Show moved to August 4, at Knuckleheads Saloon (2715 Rochester, 816-483-1456)
David Byrne and St. Vincent
Love This Giant, the much ballyhooed 2012 collaboration between former Talking Heads mad genius David Byrne and Annie Clark (St. Vincent), is arguably better in theory than in the old earbuds. It's fine and all — very brassy and very arty — but none of the songs ever really resonated with me. I suspect that their live show will be more memorable: In addition to songs from Giant, they — along with an eight-piece band — are performing old Talking Heads songs, Byrne solo material and St. Vincent tracks. I mean, it's fucking David Byrne. It'd be stupid not to go.
Friday, July 11, at Crossroads KC at Grinders (417 East 18th Street, 785-749-3434)