Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper pioneered shock rock in the 1970s by murdering chickens and staging fake executions onstage. Marilyn Manson took up the mantle in the 1990s with his industrial-metal songs full of drug references, anti-religion messages and — my favorite — the obviously false rumor that he had one of his ribs removed so he could suck his own dick. Today, neither performer's shtick seems especially scary, but they both still have plenty of devotees. The two have wisely linked up this summer for the Masters of Madness Tour. Prediction: lots of black T-shirts, eye makeup and people on Ecstasy.
Thursday, June 27, at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater (633 North 130th Street, Bonner Springs, 913-721-3400)
Athens, Georgia's Futurebirds is a stoner-friendly kind of alt-country band: lots of noodling, reverb, open jams, and usually a pedal steel crying in the back of the mix. At Middle of the Map, the group covered "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak; I always kind of liked that song, but I think I like it more now. Nashville's Diarrhea Planet is enjoying some blog hype at the moment for its fiery live shows. The group plays ragged pop-punk that's not quite as ugly as its name suggests; underneath all the squalor are hooks and melodies. With Spirit Is the Spirit.
Tuesday, July 2, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
Few bands in recent memory have exploded as quickly and as thoroughly as Imagine Dragons, an alt-rock act that you possibly are hearing about for the first time. Selling a million copies of a record is a pretty rare feat in this day and age, but the Las Vegas group's 2012 debut album, Night Visions, went platinum last week. How? Imagine Dragons plays it pretty savvy with the influences. Its big hit, "Radioactive," is like a Coldplay song with faint dubstep mannerisms. Its other big hit, "It's Time," transitions from Mumford stomps into Killers-style synth pop. The album may as well have been created in a payola radio laboratory, but I've heard far worse on modern rock dials.
Friday, June 28, at Starlight Theatre (4600 Starlight Road, 816-363-7827)
In the 1970s, Tree Frog was a popular Lawrence-based, country-rock band with a sound similar to the Flying Burrito Brothers; the Byrds; and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Tree Frog toured nationally, had some regional success, but never got signed and was kaput by the time Reagan entered office. But the members (only one of them still lives in Lawrence) reunite every couple of years and play a show for the old fans. This is one of those shows.
Saturday, June 29, at Liberty Hall (644 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-1972)
Alejandro Escovedo, with Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys
It's possible that Alejandro Escovedo is such a cool dude, he's tight with scene musicians in dozens of towns in the United States. But it's just as likely that the reason he comes up from Austin once or twice every year is because he likes KC's scene and the people in it more than those of other towns. Here, the roots-rock singer-songwriter is bringing along some big Latin names: Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys. That's un gran espectáculo! Muy bueno!
Saturday, June 29, at Knuckleheads Saloon (2715 Rochester, 816-483-1456)
James McMurtry, with the Bottle Rockets
The son of novelist Larry McMurtry, singer-songwriter James McMurtry has inherited his father's gift for storytelling; the eye for detail and the ear for wordplay common to his Americana tunes are literary to the core. He's paired here with the Bottle Rockets, contemporaries of Uncle Tupelo and the Jayhawks in the early '90s Midwestern alt-country scene.
Wednesday, July 3, at Knuckleheads Saloon (2715 Rochester, 816-483-1456)
One upside of the implosion of the Kanrocksas Music Festival is that a lot of the bands have rescheduled at various venues in town. This Grouplove show at the Power & Light District has the added bonus of being free. The band's bright-eyed indie pop is polished and melodic, like a glossier version of the first MGMT album. With Middle Class Rut and Robert DeLong.
Friday, June 28, at the KC Live Stage at the Power & Light District (14th Street and Grand, 816-842-1045)
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
A post-"Home" hit has proved elusive for this band of fake hippies. Perhaps they will land one on their new, self-titled album, out next month? We'll find out soon. In the meantime, Sharpe and his cronies are continuing to tour like mad and return to Crossroads for a Saturday evening of folk-inflected Sixties throwback tunes.
Saturday, June 29, at Crossroads KC at Grinders (417 East 18th Street, 785-749-3434)