THE KID’S ALL RIGHT: You should see Kid Rock at the House of Blues on Jan. 27 or 28 ($104-$135). Wait! Don’t stop reading yet. Although the once and future Robert James Ritchie has more than a few strikes against him (his chosen genre is rap-rock; he’s got a sex tape; he’s won American Music Awards), the good side of his ledger balances him out. Where your average rap-rocker is loath to leave the U.S., Rock travels to Iraq and Afghanistan with the USO. He once punched Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee. And his live show is loud, crotch-grabbing fun. You don’t have to really know his songs—as has been the case with me, both times I’ve seen him perform—to get what the Kid Rock thing is about. He is a Frankenstein, powered by simple hip-hop beats and classic rock. He is Whodini and Aerosmith and even Wolfman Jack, and he gives every damn thing he’s got onstage. He’ll win you over in spite of yourself. That takes talent.
PICKING UP: On Jan. 27, the Hard Rock Café on the Strip welcomes the Toasters ($12), and with them a legacy of bouncy third-wave ska that goes back to the early ’80s. Remember when we had third-wave ska bands playing at the Huntridge Theater? The Toasters might have been one of those bands, for all I can remember—skanking madly right alongside Let’s Go Bowling and Fishbone. If I can’t have the Huntridge, the Toasters will have to do.
NOW ON SALE: I’m just gonna come right out and say that Die Antwoord freaks my shit out. I know that the South African hip-hop group—scheduled to play the House of Blues on Feb. 25 ($25.50-28.50)—has some fairly sick tracks and a wholly distinctive look, but they scare me. You go. I can’t.