Neil Hamburger, with Bacon Shoe
Sitting through a set by "America's Funnyman," as Neil Hamburger hilariously refers to himself, requires Olympian levels of good faith and stamina. Hamburger is a sort of anti-comedian, and the concept of his act is that he's a washed-up hack, bitter at the showbiz establishment. His show is one giant nose dive. His appearance is especially grotesque: He dons an old tuxedo, huge glasses and a greasy comb-over. As he delivers his horrible one-liners about dated celebrities (Madonna, Britney Spears, Smash Mouth), he coughs hideously and deposits phlegm into the drink glasses that he tucks in the crook of his arm. "Has anyone here ever changed dirty diapers? You get shit all over your fuckin' hands!" goes my favorite Hamburger joke. It's not for everyone. With Bacon Shoe, a hip-hop parody act that I'm assuming still fries bacon on a griddle as part of its stage show.
Saturday, November 10, at Czar (1531 Grand, 816-421-0300)
Hate him or love him (mostly hate him), Ryan Adams has written a boatload of great songs and, in the process, inspired a generation of alt-country singer-songwriters. Three of them appear on this bill. Austinite David Ramirez is on record as an Adams acolyte. We can only assume as much, given the gentle, disarming folk rock of openers Noah Gundersen (from Seattle) and David Burchfield and the Great Stop (Kansas City).
Tuesday, November 13, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
Crooked Fingers, with John Vanderslice
I wasn't looped in enough in the 1990s to know about Archers of Loaf, a group of North Carolina slacker-rock heroes in league with other not-quite-mainstream acts like Superchunk and Pavement. I learned of the group only after discovering Crooked Fingers, the band that frontman Eric Bachmann started after the Archers split up. Crooked Fingers is a more melodic and pop-oriented outfit than the Archers, and I much prefer CF. That's a deeply uncool opinion, but check out Dignity and Shame, Forfeit/Fortune or the band's most recent, Breaks in the Armor, and tell me that those aren't super-solid pop-rock records. With smart folk from John Vanderslice.
Saturday, November 10, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
Aerosmith, with Cheap Trick
Aerosmith has a new album out this month, Music From Another Dimension. The lead single, "Legendary Child," has been floating around the Web since sometime this summer, and it confirms that Steven Tyler and company are completely out of ideas. The song is remarkable, really — they've just taken a bunch of their classic hooks and fills and made a new, terrible Frankenstein Aerosmith song out of them. It's like the music equivalent of Scary Movie, but with no shred of irony or self-awareness. The worst part is, I kind of like it.
Wednesday, November 14, at Sprint Center (1407 Grand, 816-949-7000)
MV & EE
Matt Valentine and Erika Elder are a couple of Vermont hippies who play spaced-out psych-folk songs, with traces of Neil Young and Dinosaur Jr. audible in equal measure. Opener Sons of Great Dane also combines a backwoods sound with '90s rock, but its version is much more accessible and uptempo.
Wednesday, November 14, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)