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SEVEN IN SEVEN: A look at your week of concerts

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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 22:
D.R.I. – May 22 at Reverb: Dirty Rotten Imbeciles — best known as D.R.I. — are responsible for naming an entire genre in crossover thrash after their 1987 album called Crossover. Having formed in Houston, Texas, in 1982, the band never gained a mainstream audience, but the integration of their hardcore punk roots with thrash metal influences was a stylistic catalyst for their contemporaries like Suicidal Tendencies, Corrosion of Conformity, and Stormtroopers of Death. And while those artists may have gone onto more mainstream success at various points during their respective careers, D.R.I. remain pioneers of the genre and the show at Reverb is a great chance to catch them in a small venue.
Heart – May 22 at Valley Forge Casino: Having been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, many felt that was the year when Seattle bred sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson finally got their just due. The reality is that Heart didn’t need the ceremony to get their comeuppance, since 1973 they demanded it, getting respect from peers and fans alike in such a male-dominated arena. Due in no small part to the rock solid guitar playing of Nancy and the soaring vocals of Ann, gender doesn’t even matter — Heart has an always will rock.


William Fitzsimmons – May 23 at World Café Live – Upstairs: Since releasing his first album ten years ago, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X_2IdybTV0 has fully established himself as one of the better singer-songwriters in an overcrowded genre. The Pittsburgh native stands out by delivering heartfelt paeans to broken relationships and a torn apart soul. Earlier this month, he released a seven song EP named Pittsburgh, and has said in an official statement, “It’s a memorial for my grandmother, who lived her whole life there, and it’s an honorarium to my hometown.”


Ed Sheeran – May 26 at The Mann Center for Performing Arts: To get a sense of just how big Ed Sheeran has gotten, look no further than a tour date in the middle of July where he’ll be headlining the Wembley Stadium in his native England. The Mann Center isn’t quite the size of Wembley — not by a longshot — so it’ll be a treat for American fans to see him in what is a small venue for the singer-songwriter, all things considered. Sheeran’s latest album, last June’s X, hit number one both here and in the UK, and despite not being able to nab a single Grammy Award in the three categories he was nominated in this past season, he’s got a long, long future ahead of him.


Lyle Lovett with Vince Gill – May 26 at The Keswick Theatre: In a world where country pop is dominating both the charts and artists from Steven Tyler to Jon Bon Jovi have been commiserating with or sonically embracing the genre, it’s become more and more difficult to find the tried and true stars that bleed and sweat for their art. The dual billing of Lyle Lovett and Vince Gill represents a powerhouse pairing of two well-respected country artists that came to popularity before the current influx of crossover country.


Kansas – May 28 at Santander Performing Arts Center: Kansas is one of those bands that will never outrun the legacy they had in the mid-70s with hits like “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind.” It’s not a bad thing, there are just certain bands who had that time in history and that’s where they peaked; Boston, The Doobie Brothers and Supertramp. Earlier this year however, some interest was renewed in the band with the release of the fantastic documentary “Miracles Out of Nowhere.” Even if you’re not a fan of the Kansas (duh) natives, it’s a fascinating tale that has increased interest in the band, a renewed popularity that began a few years ago.
Rich Robinson – May 28 at Sellersville Theater 1894: The end may have come for The Black Crowes, who announced their breakup earlier this year, but long feuding brothers Rich and Chris Robinson continue to move forward with their solo material. One year ago this month, Rich released his third solo album, The Ceaseless Sight, which received positive reviews from critics and fans alike. It won’t be a surprise if the Crowes eventually find their way back together again, as they’ve done it a few times in the past, but the Robinson brothers on their own is nothing to laugh at.

SOUNDCHECK

Listen to these tracks:
D.R.I. – “The Five Year Plan”
Heart – “Magic Man”
William Fitzsimmons – “After Afterall”
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
Lyle Lovett – “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”
Vince Gill – “Whenever You Come Around”
Kansas – “Carry On Wayward Son”
Rich Robinson – “One Road Hill”

William Fitzsimmons Photo by Erin Brown

William Fitzsimmons
Photo by Erin Brown

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