Freedom of Choice

Freedom of choice is what you’ve got/Freedom from choice is what you want. Devo‘s classic chorus, perhaps the wisest couplet ever spoken by a man who wore stacked Legos as headgear, sums up summer’s quandary. An overabundance of entertainment options ensures at least one way to have a great time each evening while causing doubts about which choice is best and guilt about missed opportunities. Making the task even tougher is the one-night-only urgency: Pleasure Forever (the Hurricane, Friday, June 21) is more fleeting than its name implies, and Oliver’s Army (El Torreon, Monday, June 24) is not here to stay. In Devo’s parable, an indecisive dog licks one bone, sniffs another, goes in circles and drops dead. Quite a morbid moral, but clever clubgoers should be able to find an ideal destination without any canine casualties (unless they choose to see Ol’ Yeller at the Brick on Friday, June 21).

One way to achieve maximum efficiency is to concentrate on similar shows. For example, after seeing the U.K.-based Black Sabbath reincarnation Electric Wizard at the Brick on June 18, iron men and women should have been primed to catch local rockers Eric covering the gloom-metal pioneers’ catalog at a special tribute concert at the Grand Emporium on Wednesday, June 19. The musical faithful can witness Jesus Jones at the Westport Beach Club on June 20, keep it Kosher at El Torreon the next night, then Reach the Sky after being Saved by Grace at El Torreon on Saturday, June 22. Jam fans can groove for hours with the Allman Brothers on Tuesday, June 25, then maintain their buzz by making a long, strange trip to the Grand Emporium the next night to catch Madahoochie.

Another strategy is to alternate extreme styles, thereby broadening horizons and attaining inner-ear equilibrium. Are you a metal fan suffering Tinnitus (the Hurricane, June 19)? Then soothe your swollen ears with smooth jazz from Dave Koz (the Uptown, Sunday, June 23) or Christmas-in-July orchestral bombast from Mannheim Steamroller (Starlight Theatre, Sunday, June 23). Feeling insecure about impending mortality after seeing They Only Look Dead at the Roxy on Friday, June 21 — or, even worse, experiencing a lineup that’s infinitely more deserving of that billing when Foreigner, Night Ranger and Bad Company haunt the Verizon Amphitheater on Sunday, June 23? (“Can you hear me now … from beyond the grave?” Cue evil laughter and opening chords of “Sister Christian.”) Confront those fears head-on with the gallows humor and rockabilly riffs of the Hangmen and Boot Hill at Davey’s Uptown on Monday, June 24.

For those on a fixed budget, there’s GC5‘s free show at Recycled Sounds at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 25. For music fans with children in tow, Ralph’s World at Reading Reptile at noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, pairs adult-tested jazz and pop with silly kid-approved lyrics. The offspring-free can stay out late chasing Forbidden Fruit at a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. dance event in Lawrence; for details, call 816-881-1120 or 785-749-7345. Daytrippers can spend ten-plus hours at the Felix Street Square in St. Joseph checking out artists such as the Jason Riley Trio, the Scamps, Angela Hagenbach and Jorge Nila & the Jazz Ninjas at the Coleman Hawkins Jazz Festival; or they can catch Wicked Spectrum at RP’s Night Club in Topeka in a benefit show for Topeka Independent Living on Saturday, June 22; or make a Crossroads-style road trip to experience Britney Spears in the flesh at the Savvis Center in St. Louis on Saturday, June 22. Social butterflies can relate to the captivatingly chatty Myra Taylor and Friends at the Blue Room on Friday, June 21; loners will feel the pain of We Are the Only Friends We Have auteurs Piebald at the Bottleneck on Sunday, June 23. For hypochondriacs who attend only performances that sound like dire medical maladies, we prescribe Dysrhythmia (Replay Lounge, Sunday, June 23); Inphobic (America’s Pub, June 19) and Sister Mary Rotten Crotch (Davey’s Uptown, Saturday, June 22). And finally, musicians who wish they would have seen their names somewhere in this column still have a chance to get on the calendar: Show up at Mill Creek Brewery on Sunday, June 23, around 5 p.m. and bring your instrument. Owen Hawkins and Steve Miller, co-organizers of an upstart local blues-and-jazz showcase scheduled for July 19-21, are still scouting talent for their event at a weekly audition that doubles as a fund-raiser.

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