It's a bit early to call it summer, but, hey, it's the freakin' Beach Boys! Well, Mike Love and Bruce Johnston, actually. But that should be close enough for people who pine for the sunny '60s and just aren't that into Brian's Smile (see August 25) -- and who want to have fun, fun, fun and gamble their T-Birds away at the Ameristar's blackjack tables.
June 4 at Old Shawnee Days
Looks like Eddie has traded in his two tickets to paradise for a tour to places like the Cherry Fest in Traverse City, Michigan; the Wayne County Fair in Wooster, Ohio; and a stop in our very own Johnson County, where he won't need to beg those Shawnee women to take him home tonight.
The Blood Brothers
June 12 at The Granada
Providing welcome contrast to the usual big-name, has-been summer fare, the Blood Brothers are back to spill some more of the red stuff with their lacerating hardcore and eviscerating, dual-screamer assault.
June 17-19 at Clinton Lake Park
Even though the festival has grown bigger and drawn more credible (read: nonjam band) acts this year, its organizers still know who their main audience is. That's why String Cheese Incident is billed alongside Wilco and above Son Volt, Neko Case and Calexico, all of whose music -- though far more compelling -- is admittedly hard to shimmy to. AAA-friendly acts like Big Head Todd and the Monsters and the North Mississippi All-Stars, who wield the wah-pedal as if it'll reverse global warming, are also set to get the crowd wiggling. And waaaay at the bottom of the bill is local weird-ass folk duo Drakkar Sauna, who should make a point of trying their best to freak the shit out of Jay Farrar backstage.
Vans Warped Tour
June 22 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Rather than either recommending or dissing this all-day, outdoor, pop-punk orgy, we'd prefer to make a sentence using the names of some of the bands scheduled to play the KC gig. (Disregard the ads and look up the bill online.) Here goes: The Tsunami Bomb could Strike Anywhere, but the Explosion will probably be Another Damn Disappointment, says Fall Out Boy's Offspring, who, Strung Out and Straight Outta Junior High, couldn't find their Plain White Ts in a dark room (even though they were Hidden in Plain View) without the aid of Matches.
July 3 at the Midland Theatre
A decade ago, this Canadian anti-diva released her rock debut, Jagged Little Pill (remember, she was a Debbie Gibsonesque mall girl when she started), and made it impossible for angry female singer-songwriters ever to be taken seriously again. (Her painful-to-watch turn as God in Dogma didn't help, either.) Now on an acoustic tour promoting a rereleased acoustic version of Pill, Morissette seems set to prove that she still has fans, that she's learned to play guitar, and that you still oughta know who the queen of angst is.
The Get Up Kids
July 2 at the Uptown Theater
This is it, folks. After this final concert of their final farewell tour, the Get Up Kids will be nothing but a happy Midwestern memory. (At least until they need money again.) For Lawrence's favorite sons, the past ten years have felt like one long hug -- for some, the kind of embrace you want to wriggle out of early, lest people begin to stare; for others, a comforting communion that will be dearly missed. So, tonight, we'll stand beside their ardent fans from all over the country, if for no other reason than to see what it's like when a relatively humble band from Kansas becomes the biggest thing on Earth.
July 7 at Memorial Hall
This is the postponed Sweat/Suit tour stop that was rescheduled when Nelly's sister died of leukemia last March. Fat Joe and T.I. accompany the bereaved, making a sort of Three Stooges of pop-rap, but in a hip-hop industry ruled by the violent, misogynistic stylings of East and West Coast gangstas, a little Midwestern levity is more than welcome.
Tom Petty and the Black Crowes
July 10 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Local TV spots advertising this show reveal Tom Petty to be aging, um, less well than we'd hoped. Fortunately, unlike most of his contemporaries (Rick Springfield, anyone?), his music never gets moldy -- "American Girl" is still a top-notch summer song, despite its role as the prelude to an abduction in Silence of the Lambs. Meanwhile, after hating each other's guts for several years, the brothers Robinson have reunited to run down the Crowes' swampy repertoire, which rendered all other Southern rock in the '90s irrelevant.
July 22 at Starlight Theatre
Ms. Lavigne scares the hell out of music critics. First of all, she's kind of got psycho eyes. Second, her legion of teenage fans could rip us to bloody shreds if we lashed out against her in print. And last, she trounced the Arcade Fire at the Canadian Juno awards. We were hoping that a country with superlenient marijuana laws had more sense when it came to rock and roll. Things'll get even more complicated when Lavigne accompanies herself on piano and guitar tonight as she leads the crowd in the catharsis of the forever misunderstood.
Def Leppard and Bryan Adams
August 3 at Community America Ballpark
Taking over center field for the T-Bones are two of the greatest summer-anthem composers of all time. "Summer of '69" is still probably Bryan Adams' best- (if not only) loved song, and with Def Leppard, it's just a matter of which song is playing while you're washing your car on a hot day in cutoff jeans, a neon baseball cap, and one of those charity 5K-run shirts with the logos of local businesses printed all over the back. Incidentally, the aforementioned outfit constitutes perfect attire for this show.
August 9 at Liberty Hall
Composer of the weirdest Top 40 hit of all time ("Tom's Diner," the version we know actually being a remix by UK dance group DNA), Suzanne Vega writes trippy, folky pop for thinking people. Her song "Caramel" was featured both in the movie The Truth About Cats and Dogs and the trailer for Closer, which only proves that the entertainment industry still can't figure her out. We'll see if we can during this intimate show at Liberty Hall.
August 11 at Missouri State Fair in Sedalia
The pungent mixture of livestock, funnel cakes, carnies and classic rock finally comes to Missouri late in the summer, bringing with it the chance to yell "Skynyrrrrd!" at a concert and actually be accommodated by the band, which is now led by the diminutive Johnny Van Zant, brother of original belter Ronnie.
August 19 at City Market
Los Lonely Boys, Ozomatli and Robert Randolph and the Family Band bring a fraternal, funky vibe to the River Market for a concert that's sure to be safe for the entire family -- that is, unless your children are allergic to frequent and indulgent electric guitar solos, which have been known to stunt emotional maturation and development (which explains a lot about us).
August 25 at Starlight Theatre
Brian Wilson is probably the greatest resident American mad genius since Nicola Tesla. Fortunately for the populace, instead of setting off earthquakes in Manhattan with steam-driven oscillators, Wilson bends his superhuman powers of mind to crafting tunes and harmonies of such rainbow precision that, if listened to at a high enough volume, can actually cause spontaneous cell regeneration, taking years off the listener's life. Those who come to this concert only to get some good vibrations are bound to walk away with a whole lot more.