WRITTEN BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
For Digital First Media
Welcome to “Seven in Seven,” where each Friday we’ll be taking a look at shows coming to the region over the next week. Whether your musical tastes are rock and roll, jazz, heavy metal, singer-songwriter or indie, there’ll always be something to check out in the coming days.
Here are seven of the best for the week beginning May 8:
Brian McKnight – May 8 at The Keswick Theatre and May 9 at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center:
Brian McKnight might be best known for his 1999 hit “Back at One,” but the R&B singer isn’t one to simply rest on the laurels of a big single. He’s a dozen albums deep into his career at the age of just 45 years old, including the 2013 effort More Than Words. Now if he could just take home a Grammy Award McKnight would be all set; he’s been nominated a staggering 16 times without a win.
The Replacements – May 9 at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing:
Since reuniting in 2012 after a breakup that began in 1991, The Replacements have been tearing up stages with their unique brand of attitude driven rock and roll. Frontman Paul Westerberg and his crew might be a bit longer in the teeth, but they still have the snot-nosed punk ethos intact. Led but the sing-a-long favorites “Alex Chilton,” “Can’t Hardly Wait” and “I’ll Be You,” The ‘Mats have also been road testing some new material, which has hopes high that the stop at Festival Pier — the final show on the current tour of the States, might not be their last.
Radio 104.5 Birthday Party – May 10 at The Susquehanna Bank Center
Radio music festivals tend to be a bit of a dice roll, but to celebrate its eighth anniversary, Radio 104.5 has pulled together a surprisingly strong heap of talent to play its birthday show across the Delaware River. Death Cab For Cutie, Of Monsters and Men and fresh face Hozier top the bill, with support from up and comers like Meg Meyers, Night Riots and Holychild. The event is sold out, but of course the station still has a boatload of tickets to get in, you just have to listen to find out how to win them.
Nils Lofgren – May 10 at Sellersville Theater 1894
You know you’ve been around for a longtime when you’ve got a 10 disc box set out there to celebrate your career. That’s the fruits of guitarist and singer Nils Lofgren, who started his 45-year career by working professionally since age 17. He’s toured with Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Ringo Starr and is currently a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. After fronting the 70’s group Grin, Nils embarked on a solo career as well, and has been a sought after session player. Seeing his live set, it might be just enough for one to invest in Face the Music, that aforementioned collection.
Ministry – May 13 at The Theatre of Living Arts
One of the top industrial bands in music history, Ministry has made it a mission to lay down some of the most hard-charging and abrasive beats around. From the untouchable Psalm 69 in 1992 which featured the hits “Jesus Built My Hot Rod” and “Just One Fix” through the Cover Up album which had the group taking on songs by ZZ Top and The Rolling Stones to name a few, it’s been a steady march forward for the Chicago outfit. Dealt a blow in 2012 with the death of guitarist Mike Scaccia, band leader Al Jourgensen declared that the following year’s From Beer to Eternity would be the last Ministry studio release, but will continue on as a touring entity.
Steel Panther – May 13 at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center
Steel Panther might be a parody act of all things extreme about the 80s glam metal era, but their music is no joke. Having started out as Metal Skool and playing on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles where so many of the hair bands got their start, they decided to change their name to Steel Panther and quickly turned into a sensation around the world, embraced by not just music fans, but by the artists they make fun of who are in on the goof; they’ve even done time in recent years opening up for Def Leppard and Guns N’ Roses.
Saxon – May 14 at Reverb
In deep contrast to Steel Panther, Saxon is that type of classic metal outfit that always took itself seriously. That’s no necessarily a bad thing either, as they’ve influenced countless numbers of future rock legends like Metallica, Megadeth and Motley Crue. Since releasing their first, self-titled album in 1979, the UK based act has kept the metal flame burning, and later this year will see the release of their next record, their 21st.
Listen to these tracks:
Brian McKnight: “Back At One”
The Replacements: “Alex Chilton”
Death Cab For Cutie: “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”
Nils Lofgren: “Goin’ Back”
Ministry: “Jesus Built My Hotrod”
Steel Panther: “Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World”
Saxon: “Motorcycle Man”