Victor and Penny, Latenight Callers
R Bar's future is uncertain at the moment — the West Bottoms saloon and restaurant is for sale and now closed during the week — but the crowds still arrive Thursday-Saturday nights. So do the bands. This Friday, see two of the more drama-club-ish acts in town. The boy-girl duo Victor and Penny play adorkable jazz and pop love songs on a ukulele and an acoustic guitar. The Latenight Callers dress like characters in The Maltese Falcon and offer a synth-y take on lounge rock that sometimes involves a megaphone.
Friday, December 9, at R Bar (1617 Genessee, 816-471-1777)
Murder Ballad Ball
This is going to be a killer show! You'll just die when you see all the great bands on this bill! I'm so excited to attend that I strangled a vagrant underneath the I-35 overpass early this morning! Wait! Not that last one! The third annual Murder Ballad Ball, a benefit for the MidCoast Takeover Musicians Fund (which helps send Kansas City bands to South By Southwest), sets up shop at the Riot Room this year. A gigantic roster of local talent explores the morbid genre of songs about dying. American Catastrophe, Sons of Great Dane, Rural Grit All-Stars, the Blue Boot Heelers and Cadillac Flambe are on the bill. More than 50 musicians will grace the stage before it's all said and done.
Friday, December 9, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
Noise for Toys
This benefit for the Douglas County Toys for Tots, in its third year, is organized by former Lawrence band and current Chicago band the Noise FM. In addition to the Noise boys' muscular dance-rock, catch Making Movies' Latin-flavored indie rock, Cowboy Indian Bear's atmospheric jams, and a dance party courtesy of Team Bear Club. Bring a toy and you get in for $3; otherwise, it's $6. Note: Toys must be unopened. Don't be showing up with some janky-ass used stuffed animal.
Saturday, December 10, at the Bottleneck (737 New Hampshire, in Lawrence, 785-841-5483)
UMKC Student Film League Showcase and Party
At the conclusion of every semester, the UMKC Student Film League holds a showcase of short student films at the Tivoli Cinemas in Westport that is free to attend. Afterward, head over to the Riot Room for the afterparty, featuring DJ HoodNasty, Mojo Lotus and Wolwab, accompanied by additional visual projections from students. "We're trying to give students and families the opportunity to relax after the semester and open up the relationship between local venues and art students," says Casey Reaves, vice president of the Film League. The recommended donation is $5.
Wednesday, December 14, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
Gaudete by the Kansas City Chorale
Get some high art and holiday cheer in one fell swoop this week by way of the Kansas City Chorale. The group is performing Swedish composer Anders Öhrwall's "Gaudete" as the centerpiece of a concert that draws from the medieval songs of Piae Cantiones. Conductor Charles Bruffy also leads the chorale through arrangements of "In the Bleak Midwinter," "Angels We Have Heard on High," "I Saw Three Ships" and "Silent Night." Buy tickets online at kcchorale.org/concert. See it 2 p.m. Sunday or at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Sunday, December 11, at Redemptorist Church (3333 Broadway)
Tuesday, December 13, at Asbury United Methodist Church (5400 West 75th Street, in Prairie Village)