Big Country

4/7 & 4/13
K ansas City’s freshly unveiled tourism campaign, with its “New Discoveries Daily” slogan and skyline logo, seeks to shed cowtown connotations. But even a metropolis needs to keep in touch with its rustic roots. For example, the hipster haven Portland, Oregon, spawned Hillstomp, a down-home duo whose minimalist blues tunes make 12-bar shuffles seem like epics. Using a slide guitar, a drum set made out of buckets and grill lids, and two high, lonesome voices, Hillstomp can make any club show feel like a front-porch hootenanny. It pays homage to the pre-amplification era without cowboy-costume gimmickry or stiff, stifling reverence, playing its primitive melodies with punk energy. Hillstomp sets up its salvage-yard stage show at the Brick (1727 McGee, 816-421-1634) on Thursday, then hits the Gaslight Tavern (401 North Second Street in Lawrence, 785-856-4330) the following Wednesday. (The length between gigs suggests that this old-timey group uses some appropriately antiquated mode of transportation, such as the Pony Express.) Both concerts start at 9 p.m. — Andrew Miller

Sweet Jesus

SAT 4/9
Thirty-four years ago, Brewer and Shipley would have been playing at a club catering to longhairs and high times, passing around their brand of mellow folk-rock laced with dry-mouthed wit. So their gig at the Community Christian Church (4601 Main Street) at 8 p.m. Saturday could be equal parts serious personal evolution and well-told joke. Known primarily for their stoner-freak jam “One Toke Over the Line,” the duo made a decade’s worth of music before Michael Brewer moved on to a solo musical career and Tom Shipley began producing documentaries. But since local radio station KCFX 101.1 drew them out of retirement in 1986, Brewer and Shipley have recorded two albums and resumed touring — to the relief of aging nostalgia types across the metro. This time, shouting “Freebird!” from the back row of church makes total sense. Tickets are $10-$20; call 816-561-6531 for more information. — Christopher Sebela

Full Speed Ahead

THU 4/7
Brooklyn’s Ambulance Ltd. has drawn frequent comparisons to My Bloody Valentine since its self-titled EP in 2003. But everyone forgets that it’s perfectly acceptable to draw inspiration from cult favorites — as long as your own band is more attractive. And these boys are. Particularly Marcus Congleton. We almost exclusively love bassists, but that pretty-boy frontman is damned cute. Lucky for us, the group spearheading the shoegazer revival with its strain of dreamy, spacy indie rock plays the Bottleneck on Thursday (737 New Hampshire, Lawrence; 785-841-5483). Autolux opens the all-ages show, which starts at 8 p.m.; tickets cost $10. — Annie Fischer