The Hold Steady, with Social Distortion, Viva Brother and the Architects
The past few years have proved to be a test of faith for Hold Steady devotees. Mustachioed keyboardist Franz Nicolay peaced out in less than amicable fashion. Frontman Craig Finn announced a solo album. Guitarist Tad Kubler appeared in the latest round of press photos, minus about 75 pounds. Can the greatest bar band in the world hang on? Or will life on the road and the members' advancing ages ultimately do them in? I say they'll bounce back, and this non-headlining gig at the Midland — far from ideal circumstances for Hold Steady appreciation — will still totally rock. But those are the words of a zealot. I'd follow Finn and Co. into the fiery depths of hell.
Thursday, October 27, at the Midland (1228 Main, 816-283-9921)
Diverse Tribute to Michael Jackson
Diverse presented a Michael Jackson tribute this past April, and it went over well enough that band leader Hermon Mehari and crew decided to have another jazzy go at ol' MJ's back catalog. This performance — which will also feature Reach and members of the Good Foot and Hearts of Darkness — includes career-spanning songs of Jackson's, a number of which were not performed the first time around. Given the approaching holiday, it seems safe to expect some extra emphasis on Thriller.
Friday, October 28, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
The Bo-Keys, with Cyndi Lauper
The Bo-Keys deliver on the insinuation of their name, making the kinds of old-school sounds that fit nicely between the Bar-Kays and Booker T. and the MGs in the soul section of your collection. But what's especially likable about the group is that it's not just a big Memphis R&B throwback; about half of the members are actually veteran Stax and Hi Records session players. More so than contemporary revival acts like Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, the Bo-Keys really sound like an undiscovered '60s soul act — and, in a way, they are.
Monday, October 31, at the Midland (1228 Main, 816-283-9921)
They Might Be Giants, with Gold Motel
They Might Be Giants has spent the past half-decade making children's music, so fans naturally rejoiced earlier this year when the two Johns (Flansburgh and Linnell) released Join Us, an album ostensibly for grown-ups that has been hailed as a return to the group's geek-rock roots. If the past 30 years (seriously — look it up) are the model, we should expect cheeky melodies, nerdy lyrics and oddball instruments played in service of a wide variety of genres. I'm also hearing that there are sock puppets involved these days.
Wednesday, November 2, at the Beaumont Club (4050 Pennsylvania, 816-561-2560)
It's just Reba now, you guys. McEntire, her surname? That's a thing of the past. Forget about it. From now on, you call her Reba. You know, like that show, Reba? It was on the WB? And then the CW for its last season? Uh, helloooooo? Anyway, she's here to close out the three-night American Royal Rodeo at the Sprint Center. (Lynyrd Skynyrd is there Friday.) Buckin' broncos, cattle ropers, country music, an opportunity for people who live in the suburbs to wear cowboy hats and boots: This show's got it all.
Saturday, October 29, at Sprint Center (1407 Grand, 816-949-7000)