Like a moth to a flame, this week’s must-see shows will suck you in, but may ultimately contribute to your untimely demise…
The first, with a grizzled and honest desperation. The second, with insanely maniacal exasperation.
And the third, with a huge gun.
I know, scary, right?
Okay, just kidding about the huge gun thing – kinda – not about the first two though…
Thursday, March 24th
James McMurtry, The Bottle Rockets at the Bottleneck in Lawrence
Man, I love the Bottleneck. They always get acts that seem just a tad too big to be playing there. Bands that played the night before at the Pageant in St. Louis, and that are playing the night after at the Ogden in Denver or at the Boulder Theater. James McMurtry is one of those acts. The son of famous author Larry Mcmurtry (Lonesome Dove, Terms of Endearment), James is known for his lyrical sense and ability to deliver stark descriptions of the American West, including why it’s all going to shit. At times Americana, at times roots rock, and at times plain old Texas country rock, McMurtry has garnered accolades for his guitar playing, too. The Washington Post recently noted: "Much attention is paid to James McMurtry’s lyrics, and rightfully so: He creates a novel’s worth of emotion and experience in four minutes of blisteringly stark couplets. What gets overlooked, however, is that he’s an accomplished rock guitar player. At a sold-out Birchmere, the Austin-based artist was joined by drummer Daren Hess and bassist Ronnie Johnson in a set that demonstrated the raw power of wince-inducing imagery propelled by electric guitar. It was serious stuff, imparted by a singularly serious band."
Friday, March 25th
Lewis Black at the Midland in KC
"Republicans are a party with bad ideas and Democrats are a party with no ideas," screams Lewis Black as he flails around stage in a sweaty suit and tie. Lewis is angry. About what? Just pick something, anything. The economy? Yep. Politics? Oh yeah. Stupid people? That’s right in his friggin’ wheelhouse. You’ve probably seen him before on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, looking like he’s about to have a heart attack, pop an embolism in his brain, or suffer a self induced stroke. Hell, maybe all three at once. Fresh off a Grammy win for 2011’s Best Comedy Album, "Stark Raving Black," this equal opportunity offender doles out insight that reveals the sheer absurdity of modern American life. Is there anything Lewis Black won’t take a shot at? Probably not.
The ACBs and Ghosty at Crosstown Station in KC
The ACBs have quickly turned into all the other local indie bands’ new favorite band. At a sweaty show in the Tap Room basement a few months ago I was utterly impressed by their cool sound, reminiscent of Weezer’s Blue Album. With crafted songwriting and decent hooks this band has seperated themselves a bit from the played out indie rock thing, electing instead to bring back simple buzzing guitar lines with clean, clean vocals. Seriously, if you’re at all into indie music, but maybe a bit tired of the whole "indie music" thing – you know, the "Vampire Weekend, whose member’s only jacket is tighter, and who needs harmonies" thing – then you’ll like the ACBs. Good catchy pop, but with an angle that seems less played.