Sonic Spectrum Tribute to the Ramones
Pretty much everybody who plays guitar can play Ramones songs, so in terms of skill level, there's not a tremendous barrier to performing for a Ramones tribute. It's more about energy and attitude — isn't that what they always say about punk music? — and the locals whom organizer Robert Moore has assembled to play this show (Radkey, plus some patched-together bands featuring members of Deco Auto, the Quivers, the Latenight Callers, Pizza Party Massacre and more) are generally in possession of it.
Sunday, October 28, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
It's been a rough month for Justin Bieber. He vomited onstage twice during the first show of his Believe world tour. Then, two weeks ago, a bizarre "scandal" involving a stolen laptop and a dick pic turned out to be a Biebs-sanctioned hoax/publicity stunt for his new song. Worst of all, that new song, "Beauty and a Beat," is a stinky turd, even by overproduced, trend-chasing tween-pop standards. Lucky for Biebs, these gaffes have negligible impact on his earning potential or superstar status. It'll take more than a couple of youthful indiscretions to bring low the most Googled human on the planet.
Friday, October 26, at Sprint Center (1407 Grand, 816-949-7000)
The latest Madonna album, released back in March, is called MDNA. There are, by my count, three interpretations of this title. One is that it's just Madonna's name without the vowels. Another is that it represents the core essence, or DNA, of Madonna (represented here by the letter M). The third is that it's a mischievous twist on MDMA, the chemical name for Ecstasy. I'd buy any and all of these, but I wouldn't buy the album based on its singles. Despite two hot guests (Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.), a reasonably catchy chorus, and a video showcasing Madonna's still-amazing body, "Give Me All Your Luvin' " can't obscure the fact that it's the work of a 54-year-old woman trying to horn in on the market share of pop stars half her age. And good luck finding a memory eraser after listening to "I Don't Give A," which contains, in addition to a shudderingly tasteless dubstep wobble, the lyric Working out, shake my ass, I know how to multitask/Connecting to the Wi-Fi, went from nerd to superb.
Tuesday, October 30, at Sprint Center (1407 Grand, 816-949-7000)
Hammy comedian-actor Jack Black tears an organ of some kind (a heart? balls?) out of another man's body in OFF's recent video for "Wrong." It's a bloody scene and an appropriate prelude to the band's show here in Kansas City, which falls on Halloween. OFF is a group of middle-aged vets from old hardcore bands — Keith Morris (Circle Jerks, Black Flag), Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), Steven Shane McDonald (Redd Kross) and Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket From the Crypt, Hot Snakes) — but sounds far more vital than some dime-store nostalgia act. Which is to say, they are still roaring loud and pissed as hell. OFF's self-titled debut, released back in the spring, has an almost perverse immediacy: It's 16 songs in 16 minutes. Some of the songs are only 45 seconds long.
Wednesday, October 31, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
That Starfucker can pack midsize venues all across the country is an exceptional feat when you think about it. Here's an indie band that has received virtually no love from new-media gatekeepers like Pitchfork and Stereogum, and has a name that's unspeakable and unprintable by the old-media gatekeepers. How do they do it? By writing very danceable psych-pop songs, performing them with gusto, and letting word of mouth take it from there. The Portland, Oregon, act's latest, 2011's Reptilians, splits the difference between the hit-heavy first MGMT album and the outer-space wall of sounds of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Side note: Say hi to Mike Nolte if you bump into him; the Ghosty bassist and local recording engineer is running sound for the band on this tour.
Monday, October 29, at the Granada (1020 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-842-1390)