The malls in this city are dying a slow death, but mall punk lives on. No summer event attests to the purchasing power of the Hot Topic set quite as emphatically as Warped Tour, which returns to Sandstone (now Cricket Wireless Amphitheater). Taking Back Sunday, All Time Low, New Found Glory, the Used, Rise Against, and Anti-Flag are among the top-tier acts performing.
Monday, July 9, at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater (633 North 130th Street, Bonner Springs, 800-745-3000)
Crossroads Block Party
Golden Sound Records has organized what's looking to be the best party of this month's First Friday activities. The local label is blocking off 19th Street between Baltimore and Wyandotte and has invited acts from its roster (Fullbloods, Empty Spaces, Everyday/Everynight) and a few others, such as Ghosty and Soft Reeds, to perform. Also on hand: food-truck action from the Magical Meatball Tour, the Good You and others. The festivities begin around 4 p.m. and run until 11 p.m., at which point the party moves to the Bulldog. See crossroadsblockparty.com for the full lineup and schedule.
Friday, July 6 (19th Street and Wyandotte)
Jukebox the Ghost, with Savoir Adore
Straightforward pop bands have junk-bond status in Brooklyn, where esoteric noise and extreme detachment routinely triumph over melody and craft. That goes a little way toward explaining why it's possible you've never heard of either of the Kings County acts on this bill. Jukebox the Ghost favors busy arrangements; bouncing pianos; and dense, theatrical, front-and-center vocals — somewhere between Ben Folds and the Long Winters. Savoir Adore plays dark-toned guitar rock with room enough for folk and electronic diversions.
Wednesday, July 11, at Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
Clay Hughes, with the Blackbird Revue, David George and a Crooked Mile, and Nicolette Paige
Czar seems to be booking more singer-songwriter nights lately, and for any First Friday passers-by, this one should be a useful survey of local folk talent. It's also a record-release party for Clay Hughes, a gentle giant (6 feet 8 inches) from rural Kansas who slips hip-hop and pop ideas into his Jack Johnson-style surfer-dude folk songs.
Friday, July 6, at Czar (1531 Grand, 816-421-0300)
Lawrence Field Day Fest
All panicky and claustrophobic on account of the All-Star Game crowds? An escape to Lawrence, where half the population is back home with Mom and Dad for the summer, might cure what ails you. There's also a surplus of fine local bands playing this weekend, owing mostly to the Lawrence Field Day Fest, a two-day party at the Bottleneck. For 15 bucks, you get 20 local acts over two days, including punk jams from Radkey, garage rock from Mouthbreathers, hip-hop from Approach, and guitar-pop from the ACBs.
Friday, July 6, and Saturday, July 7, at the Bottleneck (737 New Hampshire, Lawrence, 785-841-5483)
Death Cab for Cutie, with Maps & Atlases
Not long ago, a Maps & Atlases show was like a music-theory lecture: Dudes with thick frames stood around with bottles of High Life tucked into their armpits, watching with amazement as the Chicago band worked its way through a set filled with exotic scales and obscure time signatures. Today, that same crowd is still there. But so are some new fans who've been drawn in by the way Maps & Atlases has learned to present its hyperactive, arithmetic sound with a veneer of melodic pop, like the old baby-feeding airplane trick. Headlining is Death Cab for Cutie, whose earnest indie pop sounds more or less exactly as you remember it.
Sunday, July 8, at Crossroads KC at Grinders (417 East 18th Street, 816-472-5454)
Andre Williams, with the Conquerors
When he dies — if he ever dies — Andre Williams' obit will read like a music-business version of Forrest Gump. In his 55-year career, Williams worked at Motown with Berry Gordy, co-wrote Stevie Wonder's first hit, wrote "Shake a Tail Feather," managed Edwin Starr, signed to Chess Records, and wrote songs for Parliament and Funkadelic. He spent the 1980s homeless and addicted to drugs but revived his career in the 1990s. Silky, his 1998 comeback album, is a fuzzed-out, swaggering hodgepodge of blues, punk, R&B and garage-rock that includes such gems as "Pussy Stank" and "Let Me Put It In." Williams has since signed to Chicago's Bloodshot Records and is living out his days touring, dressing like a pimp, acting like a grizzled old dirtbag, and generally being the most badass rock-and-roll motherfucker on the planet.
Friday, July 6, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)