Blame Canada

SUN 5/15
Old-school punks love their lawsuits. First, members of the Dead Kennedys battled singer Jello Biafra for royalties, then Dictators frontman Handsome Dick Manitoba went all cease-and-desist on Dan Snaith’s band Manitoba. Snaith obviously doesn’t have trouble titling things, as evidenced by songs such as “Tits and Ass: The Great Canadian Weekend,” so he rechristened his outfit Caribou. Longtime listeners might consider the name change overdue given the striking difference between Manitoba’s first two albums. Snaith’s earliest intelligent-dance compositions favored atmosphere over assertiveness, but on 2003’s Up In Flames, he remade himself as a psychedelic rocker with a technological arsenal. Sonic squiggles and auxiliary instrumentation hide beneath the chamber-pop hooks; audiophiles need headphones to find these electronic Easter eggs. On Caribou’s recently released The Milk of Human Kindness, keyboard and guitar melodies shake in the wake of cymbal crashes. To reinforce these rhythms live, Snaith tours with a full band, including two drummers. They visit the Jackpot Saloon (943 Massachusetts, 785-832-1085) at 10 p.m. Sunday. — Andrew Miller

Host Office

TUE 5/17
Funny people aren’t necessarily humorous hosts, which is why some comedians flop on awards shows. Spoken-word artists can’t always translate their wit and wisdom into effective hosting gigs, either. But because she has the requisite crossover skills, including improvisational flair and inviting warmth, poet Natasha Ria El-Scari excels as Jazz Poetry Jam’s master of ceremonies. She provides amusing introductions and clever postpiece commentaries and teases readers playfully, needling one about his ladies-man reputation and admonishing another for addressing her as “Tasha.” And even though people might stay because of her skill as a host, they come for her own performances, during which she sets aside her amiable persona to address sex and race with invigorating candor. El-Scari’s pieces scathe and soothe in equal measure. Catch her at Tuesday’s 7 p.m. jam at the Blue Room (1616 East 18th Street, 816-474-8463). — Miller

Mod Squad

The Wylliams/Henry Danse Theatre gets the sort of raves we’d like for our own dancing style: captivating, exciting, powerful. (Of course, our recitals are limited to our bedroom.) This weekend brings an opportunity to catch the modern-dance troupe’s spring performance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s White Recital Hall (4949 Cherry Street). One of the dances, “Ozark Suite,” goes back to the region’s pre-Branson days, when square dancing — not an all-you-can-eat buffet — was the activity of choice. Time travel starts at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; call 816-235-6222. — Rebecca Braverman

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