COLUMN 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 Aug. 21:
Boney James – Aug. 21 at The Sands Bethlehem Event Center
During the course of his 21-year career, Boney James has built a solid reputation as a compelling live performer who averages about 50 to 80 gigs a year. Now, the four-time Grammy nominee and multi-platinum selling sax-man is continuing his artistic evolution with the recently released Futuresoul. Fusing his love for vintage soul music with a mastery of modern production, James has created another genre-bending work that drives critics trying to place him a neat little box absolutely nuts.
Every Time I Die – Aug. 21 at The Theatre of Living Arts
Speaking of confounding genre-bending, there’s no exact science to the resulting madness that is Every Time I Die’s signature blend of turned-to-eleven hardcore mixed with southern-fried metal. Over the last 15 years the band has consistently produced fan-favorite releases from albums Big Dirty to New Junk Aesthetic with last summer’s From Parts Unknown the highest charting of their career, cracking the Top 25. What’s next is anyone’s guess, but venues the size of the TLA may soon be left in the rearview as the ETID fanbase continues to grow.
Under the Sun Tour – Aug. 22 at Xfinity Live and Aug. 23 at The Sands Casino Bethlehem
If you needed any additional proof whatsoever that 90s nostalgia is in full effect this summer — especially after Straight Outta Compton dominated the box office recently — then look no further than this package tour which features some of the sunniest bands from the era of cargo pants and oversized T-shirts. Sugar Ray, Better Than Ezra, Eve 6 and Uncle Kracker will be repping the bouncy hits of their heyday like “Fly,” “Good” and “Inside Out.” And getting two dates in the region is priceless.
Melissa Etheridge – Aug. 25 at Longwood Gardens
Early in her recording career, Melissa Etheridge broke down barriers by acknowledging her sexual orientation when it was considered less than prudent to do so. In October 2004, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, a health battle that, with her typical tenacity, she won. And despite losing her hair from chemotherapy, Etheridge appeared on the 2005 Grammy telecast to sing “Piece of My Heart” in tribute to Janis Joplin, giving hope to many women afflicted with the disease. If that doesn’t come off as incredibly inspirational, you’ve got no soul. Last month, Etheridge released the DVD and home video for her show this past December at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles. Dubbed A Little Bit of Me: Live in L.A., it shows clearly that this is someone who needs to be experienced in a live setting.
Justin Hayward – Aug. 26 at ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks
Best known as the frontman and lead guitarist for The Moody Blues, Justin Hayward’s distinctive vocals have delivered hits like “Question,” “Isn’t Life Strange” and “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere” to legions of fans around the globe for nearly five decades. But when he does shows like this, on a much smaller scale and acoustically, it’s a chance for those same fans to experience his music in an entirely different manner and setting. And while this leg runs through mid-Fall, fans of The Moody Blues need not fret, another tour is already in the works.
Zoso: The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience – Aug. 27 The Theatre of Living Arts
It’s pretty obvious that rock fans won’t be getting a Led Zeppelin reunion probably ever. That’s a shame because with the late-July completion of the band’s catalog, re-releasing all of the original albums in remastered and expanded editions, their popularity has soared once again into the mainstream. Fortunately, the next best thing isn’t so bad; the tribute band Zoso, named after Jimmy Page’s sign from the fourth Zeppelin album, has been faithfully reproducing the live show from one of the biggest outfits in the history of music. Zoso doesn’t just do the music justice; they manage to get the intangibles down pat too. And if you close your eyes, it’s almost like a time warp back to the mid-70s.
Van Halen – Aug. 27 at The Susquehanna Bank Center
For years, all audiences wanted was for David Lee Roth to be back at the helm of Southern California party rockers Van Halen, and in 2007, they finally got their wish. Eight years later, the band is firing on all cylinders, with many fans and critics claiming they never sounded as good. This time around, there’s no album to promote, just the classics that pump out of backyard barbeque’s and sports cars all summer long. For the die-hards, there are also some deep cuts being brought out in concert, some for the first time ever. So if there’s one “can’t miss” rock show of the season, this is it.