Fortifying his reputation as a world-class prima donna, Ryan Adams rambled, dawdled and ultimately cut short his most recent Kansas City show, at the Uptown in 2009. He has since split from his backing band, the Cardinals, and is touring solo this winter behind his latest, Ashes and Fire. Critics have hailed it as a return to form for Adams. But, to me, it doesn't sound too terribly different from any of the other gentle folk-rock records he has churned out over the past decade: lots of filler and one or two beautiful songs. Waiting outside while you find your keys, like bags of trash in the blackening snow, he sings on single "Lucky Now." I know he's a jackass, but damn, it's hard to hate on a line like that.
Wednesday, February 1, at the Music Hall (301 West 13th Street, 816-513-5000)
Old 97's, with Caitlin Rose
Alt-country fans seeking an alternative to crybaby Adams might consider hopping on K-10 to see Old 97's playing a rather intimate gig at the Bottleneck. (They played a much larger stage, KC Crossroads, last summer.) Unlike Adams, Rhett Miller and his band offer a reliable, sweaty, high-energy rock show. Opener Caitlin Rose, a 24-year-old from Nashville, sings country-tinged pop with a Patsy Cline twang.
Wednesday, February 1, at the Bottleneck (737 New Hampshire, Lawrence, 785-841-5483)
Sonic Spectrum Tribute to Talking Heads
Geek chic reigns supreme at the January edition of Robert Moore's monthly cover series. Slated to sing songs about buildings and food: glam-pop group Soft Reeds; dark new-wave acts Molly Picture Club and In Back of a Black Car; and the Wilders' Betse Ellis, performing with Dead Voices.
Sunday, January 29, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
Steve Aoki, with Datsik
Best known as the '00s-era Hollywood DJ to the stars, Steve Aoki turned back up earlier this month with a debut studio album of clubby electronica, Wonderland. True to form, the record boasts no shortage of boldfaced guests, including Rivers Cuomo, Travis Barker, Kid Cudi and LMFAO. Supporting Aoki on this tour is Datsik, an emerging figure in the emerging world of dubstep.
Tuesday, January 31, at the Uptown Theater (3700 Broadway, 816-753-8665)
Anthrax, with Testament and Death Angel
Thrash-metal pioneer Anthrax resurfaced last year with a new studio album, Worship Music, its first since 1990 to feature golden-age vocalist Joey Belladonna. That might not be news in your world, but there were enough dudes with hair past their shoulder blades and patches on their denim jackets to debut that sucker at No. 12 on Billboard. Metal ain't dead, son — far from it.
Thursday, January 26, at the Midland (1228 Main, 816-283-9921)