Are you under the impression that Sum 41 is washed up, forgotten, yesterday's news? You are as wrong as singer Deryck Whibley was when he thought his marriage to Avril Lavigne would last forever! You are as wrong as Whibley was when he thought, There's no way my ex-wife will take up with that blond singer with the permed mullet from Nickelback! The Canadian pop-punk bros are still killing it — they have 3.5 million Facebook fans, if that counts for anything — and this Lawrence date is part of the second leg of their 10th anniversary Does This Look Infected Tour. Take that, Kroeger!
Monday, January 28, at the Granada (1020 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-842-1390)
We've been tracking Olassa over the last six months while awaiting the release of the upbeat folk group's debut EP, I Love You, Come Back to Me. It sees the light of day this Saturday in Lawrence. The group balances a little melancholy with rowdy, whiskey-soaked grins, which makes the Replay Lounge an excellent venue for sending Olassa's new musical baby out into the world. Bluegrass acts the Kansas City Bear Fighters, the Calamity Cubes and Alex Law (of Deadman Flats) round out the bill.
Saturday, January 26, at the Replay Lounge (946 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-7676)
Sweet Honey in the Rock
An all-female a cappella gospel group founded in 1973, Sweet Honey in the Rock has in recent years earned Grammys and an invitation to perform in front of President and Mrs. Obama at the White House. The six members' big, booming voices will be a fun test of the pristine acoustics inside the Muriel Kauffman Theatre.
Wednesday, January 30, at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (1601 Broadway, 816-994-7222)
Vagabond Swing, with Jorge Arana Trio
Nobody can accuse Vagabond Swing of false advertising. As its name suggests, the Lafayette, Louisiana, group cooks up a funky mix of Depression-era sounds: ragtime, bluegrass and spunky jazz. The group is joined here by Jorge Arana Trio, a local outfit that plays a kind of extremely loud jazz built from polyrhythmic drumming, screeching guitars and fat, jam-band-style bass lines.
Friday, January 25, at the Brick (1727 McGee, 816-421-1634)
MidCoast Takeover Fundraiser
We are less than two months away from the annual music-industry orgy South by Southwest. I plan on attending, and so do a number of bands from around these parts. Many of them play the MidCoast Takover party, an unofficial event sponsored by the local nonprofit Midwest Music Foundation. To raise money for some of these bands, MMF is holding fundraisers in the coming weeks. This first one offers geeky dance-pop from Antennas Up; bouncy new wave from Molly Picture Club; dark, crunchy hard rock from Drew Black and Dirty Electric; and spirited folk-rock in the Mumford mold from She's a Keeper.
Saturday, January 26, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
The Darkness' theatrical cock rock — a throwback to bands like Aerosmith, Queen and Kiss — was a breath of fresh air back in 2003, when brooding, lifeless new-wave bands like Interpol were the toast of the rock world. The band's shtick is not quite as novel today, but its core argument remains a compelling one: that rock music has been taken over by nerds, and what audiences really want from rock bands is a guy crawling around onstage in a catsuit, with hair down to his ass, singing over monster power-chord hooks. The Darkness broke up for six years (apparently) but returned in 2012 with a new record, Hot Cakes. Based on what I've read on the Internet, the group is still putting on crazy shows and wearing unitards. God bless them. (This performance was originally booked at the now-closed Beaumont Club; it's been moved to the Uptown Theater.)
Wednesday, January 30, at the Uptown Theater (3700 Broadway, 816-753-8665)