To rock or not to rock?
That is not the question this weekend, thanks to rocking bands, rocking comedy acts and rocking mixed martial arts action.
So are you ready to rock? Those paying attention will recognize the previous sentence as yet another unnecessary query. Never ask – just rock!
Southern blues rockers with a pedigree, Luther and Cody Dickinson – musician sons of seminal Memphis record producer and session player extraordinaire Jim Dickinson – form the core of the North Mississippi Allstars’ jam-happy, funky and even psychedelic sound. The band has kept the intermingling styles coming since 1996, with Luther contributing lead vocals and guitar that sear with personality and authenticity, sounding somehow both traditional and modern. There’s more than a whiff of the Allman Brothers Band here. Great example: The Allstars’ cover of the 1929 blues classic, “Rollin’ and Tumblin’.” Rock on, bros.
Friday 8:30 p.m.; Knuckleheads Saloon, 2425 Rochester St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $22.50.
2. Liza Anne
Young alt-rock singer/songwriter Liza Anne is touring in support of her new album, "Fine But Dying.” The ironic title notwithstanding, Anne isn’t kidding around with such songs as “Paranoid,” “Panic Attack” and “Turn for the Worse,” motivated by her own struggles with mental illness. The music may hook you, but it’s really the words that stick with you in Anne’s dualistic ditties pitting herself against herself. Can the power of rock lead to self-understanding? It’s at least a healthy start. And you can dance to it!
Saturday, 8 p.m.; the recordBar, 1520 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $10.
3. James Inman
Inspirationally crusty comedian James Inman calls Kansas City home, but he’s rocked comedy clubs across the country with his top-notch stand-up shows for decades. In the 2012 documentary film, “The Unbookables,” Inman joins other caustic and bizarre funny men in a van traveling to comedy clubs in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Texas, producing brutally funny results when things go well and just plain brutal outcomes when they don’t. See Inman in his trademark ball cap ranting on his home turf about religion, sex, politics and whatever other excoriating social commentary lends itself to laughter. Ask him why he hates poetry for an extra special earful. What’s interesting is that, in his own candidly cracked way, he may actually be a poet.
Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; Stanford's Comedy Club, 813 Walnut St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $5-$20.
4. Eddie B
Teachers rock! That includes elementary school teacher and stand-up comic Eddie B on his "Teachers Only Comedy Tour." The Houstonian’s popular YouTube videos regarding what's going on in the world of hardworking teachers include "What Teachers Really Say About Student Names While Calling Roll" (“Sema J and Laama J? Ain’t that James and Jamaal spelled backwards?”), "What Teachers Really Say About Teacher Appreciation Week ("I don't appreciate you finally finding the time to try to appreciate me") and "What Teachers Really Say About Student Hygiene ("You have a distinct tang about you"). All together now: Teachers rock!
Friday, 8 p.m.; Arvest Bank Theater at the Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $45, $65.
For those about to rock at this fundraising concert for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, local tribute artists Almost Kiss and KC/DC promise to salute you with the sights and sounds of the iconic bands they've successfully pretended to be for years. Almost Kiss's greatest claim to faux fame came with the official approval of bona fide Kiss member Gene Simmons in a 2010 episode of his reality TV series, "Gene Simmons: Family Jewels." Be assured that Gene doesn't wag his wild tongue in support of just any Kiss wannabes — and neither does Almost Gene. KC/DC will also come on strong with two veteran singers taking turns tackling the screaming personas of legendary AC/DC vocalists Brian Johnson and the long-gone Bon Scott – with bonus blaring bagpipes, bless 'em.
Saturday, 8 p.m.; Knuckleheads Saloon, 2715 Rochester St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $10.
The "FC" in FC mixed martial arts stands for "Full Contact." That means the gladiators who climb into the cage for this weekend's Shamrock Fighting Championships should be totally prepared to KA or expect to have their AK'd. If you don’t know what those letters mean, or even if you do, the safest way to participate is as a fan and experience the effect of rocking body blows in a purely vicarious way. Well, except for the flying sweat and blood that can spritz on those sitting super close to the crazy brave combatants. Have fun, fight fans.
Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Ameristar Casino, 3200 N. Ameristar Dr., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $35-$100.
Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at email@example.com.