Music scenes are a lot like high school. Just as the popular kids aren’t necessarily the most talented students, trendy musicians tend to receive a disproportionate amount of praise. Josh Nelson intends to level the playing field with an “equal-opportunity online music community” titled Flood FM. Wednesday’s Flood Fest is designed to raise awareness for the endeavor. Six venues — Riot Room, Harling’s, Mike Kelly’s Westsider, the News Room, Fitz’s Blarney Stone and the Sidecar at the Beaumont — will feature 30 locally based acts. Participants include the hearty punk of Bent Left, the jam-band grooves of Brother Bagman, the inspirational folk of Attic Wolves and a plethora of DJs. All-access passes are $10 in advance and $15 on the day of the show. Single-venue admission is $8 in advance and $10 on the day of the show.
The legal system can’t stop the Schwag. James Tebeau, the bassist and vocalist of the St. Louis-based band, was recently sentenced to 30 months in prison for “maintaining a drug-involved premises.” The drama won’t halt the Schwag’s annual tradition of performing at the Uptown Theater on Thanksgiving. The Schwag, fixtures of the regional jam-band scene for 20 years, specializes in authentically replicating the sensibility of the Grateful Dead. Recordings of recent performances suggest that the band continues to perform Dead favorites like “Bertha” and “Playing in the Band” with carefree enthusiasm. Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $10 in advance.Josh Thompson with Ashley Ray
Few bumper stickers endorsing Barack Obama will adorn vehicles parked near the Beaumont Club on Friday. A concert at the Westport venue is headlined by tea party-friendly contemporary country artist Josh Thompson. “Way out Here,” Thompson’s signature song, extolls the values associated with the agrarian trinity of “John Wayne, Johnny Cash and John Deere.” Other rowdy Thompson songs praise small towns, beer and Merle Haggard cassettes. Ashley Ray, a former Kansan residing in Nashville, and Kansas City-based country band StonyHogg open the show. Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $14 in advance.Mark Chesnutt with The Belairs
It’s no secret that the output of Kenny Chesney and Taylor Swift bears little resemblance to the music of Ernest Tubb and Tammy Wynette. Mark Chesnutt’s insistence on maintaining the traditional honky-tonk sound has caused him to be cast aside by the country music establishment after racking up a string of fiddle-inflected hits like “Bubba Shot the Jukebox” in the 1990s. Chesnutt continues to perform songs that evoke barstools, shaky mornings and gunplay. Opening act the Bel Airs, “rockin’ rhythm ’n’ blues” veterans from Columbia, have been filling dance floors in Midwestern taverns, juke joints and roadhouses for more than 30 years.Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $29.50 in advance.Aaron Lewis with Randy Montana
Aaron Lewis, heavy rock’s prototypical sad sack as the creative force behind Staind, is making a gradual transition into contemporary country music. His sullen sensibility and delectably morose voice lend themselves to the format. “The Road,” Lewis’ latest country-tinged solo effort, was released earlier this month. Lewis’ popular live shows include acoustic-based renditions of solo material, Staind hits including “It’s Been Awhile” and a host of startling covers ranging from “Rainbow Connection” to Taylor Swift’s “Mean.” Randy Montana, a fledgling Nashville-based artist, opens the show. Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $29.50 in advance and $33 the day of the show.
Friday and Saturday
The excitement associated with Kansas City’s booming rock scene tends to obscure the distressing fact that only a few acts have managed to make a significant international impact in recent decades. The Rainmakers are among an elite group of locally based hit-makers that includes Puddle of Mudd, the Get Up Kids and Shooting Star. Vital material by the Rainmakers from the 1980s including “Let My People Go-Go” and “Downstream” are still beloved among listeners from Overland Park to Oslo. The Kansas City institution performs at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets to each show are $15 in advance.Sonic Spectrum Presents: A Tribute to Devo
A disturbing scene in an ambitious 1976 film produced by Devo opens with a character named General Boy divulging an earth-shattering secret. “Every man, woman and mutant on this planet shall know the truth about de-evolution,” General Boy announces. “Oh, Dad,” band mascot Booji Boys responds, “we’re all Devo!” Booji Boy’s realization will be validated 36 years later as Devo’s songs are interpreted by an unlikely cast of locally based musicians. Participants include the hard-hitting Federation of Horsepower, alt-country crooner Chad Rex and members of Roman Numerals and Be/Non. Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $7 in advance.
Twiztid with (He'd)PE and Potluck
Juggalos, among the most-reviled members of American society, need music too. Twiztid is second only to the infamous Insane Clown Posse as providers of the music of choice for the cult-like outcasts. Much like Kansas City’s Tech N9ne, Twiztid performs a misanthropic hybrid of rock and rap. “Abominationz,” the Detroit duo’s new album, overflows with disturbingly violent songs bearing titles like “Blood … All I Need.” Performances by (Hed)PE and Potluck, two California-based acts obsessed with marijuana, will precede Twiztid. Kansas City’s Freddy Grimes, a veteran of the annual Gathering of the Juggalos, opens the show.
Tickets to the 7 p.m. show are $20 in advance and $22 on the day of the show.