The Life and Times, with Major Games and Waiting for Signal
Allen Epley is the former frontman of Shiner, one of the more prominent acts associated with the heavy, mathy, post-hardcore sound that wafted out of Kansas City in the 1990s. He's now the main guy in the Life and Times, a trio that blends his old band's earth-shaking angularity with dark atmospherics. This show celebrates the release of their new full-length, No One Loves You Like I Do (out this week) and kicks off a short national tour.
Wednesday, January 18, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
Viva Le Vox, with Joe Buck Yourself
Emerging from the wet muck of South Florida, Viva Le Vox is faithfully repping its roots via its vaudevillian swamp-pop aesthetic. Once a quartet, its ranks have recently whittled down to two, but the sound remains lively — a mix of punk and ragtime, complete with accordions and gravelly Tom Waits vocals.
Friday, January 13, at Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club (3402 Main, 816-753-1909)
The Civil Wars
Joy Williams and John Paul White, the two halves of saccharine chamber-folk act the Civil Wars, met in Nashville at a songwriting camp. Really? Are we sure they weren't cooked up in some market-research laboratory? Do people this attractive and stylish really attend songwriting camps? Some things we must take on faith. The duo splits the difference between the rugged bombast of Mumford & Sons and the delicate harmonies of Nickel Creek, and the formula is a hit: This show is sold-out. Best head on over to Craigslist if you want tickets.
Tuesday, January 17, at Liberty Hall (644 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-1972)
Billy Joe Shaver
Billy Joe Shaver has never tasted the success of outlaw country contemporaries Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard. But if we're talking true outlaw cred, the Texas singer-songwriter has the rest of the pack beat by a country mile: In 2007, Shaver shot another man in the face outside a place called Papa Joe's Texas Saloon, in Lorena, Texas. In court, Shaver claimed self-defense. When the prosecution asked him why he didn't just leave the bar if he felt intimidated, Shaver responded that doing so would have been "chicken shit." (Before firing away, he reportedly asked the victim, who's now walking the streets with a bullet permanently lodged in his neck, "Where do you want it?") Because it's Texas, and that's just how things are done down there, Shaver was acquitted. At 72, he's back on the road, Crazy Heart-style.
Sunday, January 15, at Knuckleheads Saloon (2715 Rochester, 816-483-1456)
Her HRC Battle of the Bands
A lineup of mostly female acts performs 30-minute sets at this local-band battle, now in its third year. The show, which starts at 2 p.m., is split into acoustic and electric categories (acoustic upstairs, electric downstairs), and all proceeds from the $20 tickets support the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT advocacy group.
Sunday, January 15, at the Cashew (2000 Grand, 816-221-5858)