If by "country" you mean Whiskeytown, Uncle Tupelo or Social Distortion, then you might get along well with Lucero. With a lead singer that sounds like he swallowed a bucket of gravel and a simple, heartfelt approach to songwriting, Lucero goes for the gut and clamps down hard. Openers The Honorary Title are Doghouse Records' latest attraction, with a mixed bag of rock and emo influences from Bright Eyes to Jeff Buckley to Elvis Costello. Lucero will perform a free acoustic set at 6:30 p.m. today at Love Garden Records, 936 1/2 Mass., then will join The Honorary Title and The Glass at 9 p.m. today at The Bottleneck, 737 N.H.
The King of Bar Band Rock and his court of loyal Heartbreakers will be rocking out on an extravagant stage in Kansas City this weekend. The show will feature new material from Tom Petty's upcoming album, "Highway Companion," and plenty of his reigning, free fallin', don't-do-me-like-that classics. Long live the king! Petty and the Heartbreakers join The Black Crowes at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Bonner Springs.
Primus may finally be a thing of the past, but Les Claypool still has plenty of avenues to express his inner bass-slappin' weirdo. From Oysterhead to Sausage to The Frog Brigade to The Holy Mackerel, the only variable is the rotating casts of characters that join the cartoon-voiced master of ceremonies. Claypool's latest band includes percussionist Mike Dillon of Hairy Apes BMX and Gabby La La, an eccentric sitar-and-ukelele-strumming lady. Claypool joins Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey at 9 p.m. Saturday at The Granada, 1020 Mass.
Young pianist concert
Sixteen young virtuosos channeled hundreds of hours of practice and tension into the keys of a piano on the Lied Center stage earlier this week at the International Institute of Young Musicians. When the smoke cleared, 16-year-old Charlie Albright, of Centralia, Wash., emerged the victor. The second-place winner was Veronica Shi, 15, of Chandler, Ariz.; and Erin Hales, 15, of Fountain Hills, Ariz., took third place. Honorable mentions went to Yi-Ju Lai, Taiwan; Page Moon, Anchorage, Alaska; and Yvonne Chen, Herndon, Va. The winners will play a recital at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H. Free student recitals will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 20 and July 27 at the Lied Center.
Lou Costello began his career in vaudeville working, as did most comedians of the day, with a straight man who set up jokes and served as a foil. Bud Abbott stepped in one night when Lou's regular straight man was ill, and the rest is history. Perhaps best remembered for their "Who's on First?" routine, the duo appeared in nearly 50 films, some of the best of which will be featured in a July film series at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt. The free screenings are at 7 p.m. Fridays in the auditorium. The lineup includes: "Buck Privates," today; "The Naughty Nineties," July 15; "Mexican Hayride," July 22; and "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein," July 29.