STORY 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 Feb. 19:
Graham Nash – Feb. 19 at World Café Live Downstairs
Having helped shape the world around him through ideas, innovations, and influential works of art for more than four decades Graham Nash has hit the road to preview the release of his upcoming studio album, “This Path Tonight,” out April 15. The collection of 10 original songs is his first solo record of new music in fourteen years. As one of music’s most legendary singer-songwriters and vocal harmonists, Nash has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice — with The Hollies and Crosby, Stills & Nash – and is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is also an internationally renowned photographer and digital imaging pioneer.
St. Lucia – Feb. 19 at The Theatre of Living Arts
Though synth-pop has been an easy and reductive label used to categorize many artists — including St. Lucia, most of the songs on the band’s latest release, “Matter,” feature as much electric guitar, percussion and complex brass arrangements as synthesizers. Nearly every track on the album contains horns and multi-part vocal arrangements, their sophistication reflective of front man Jean-Philip Grobler’s lifetime of music study. But there’s nothing academic about a St. Lucia concert. Grobler and his cohorts are first and foremost a live band, with their reputation for dazzling, immersive shows fueling their rapid growth and status as global festival favorites.
Meshell Ndegeocello – Feb. 19 at The Ardmore Music Hall
Mercurial and masterful, Meshell Ndegeocello has survived the best and worst of what a career in music has to offer. She has eschewed genre for originality, celebrity for longevity, and musicals trends for musical truths. She has lived through the boom and bust of the industry and emerged just as she entered — as herself. Fans have come to expect the unexpected from Ndegeocello, and faithfully followed her on journeys into soul, spoken word, R&B, jazz, hip-hop, rock, all bound by a lyrical, spiritual search for love, justice, respect, resolution, and happiness.
Carrie Underwood – Feb. 21 at The Wells Fargo Center
Carrie Underwood’s “Storyteller Tour – Stories in the Round” is about as enormous as a 360-degree show can get. The tour’s 17 semi-trucks and 8 buses needed to produce the stage production is being dubbed as a no-expense-spared spectacle for the long ago “American Idol” star. Known for her vocal prowess and the ability to create stellar performance moments in any realm, Underwood spent much of last year working with her team to create the setup. The massive stage has seven elevator lifts and spans over 150 feet across the arena floor, with a main center stage expanse of 48 feet in diameter that rotates 360-degrees. The center lift can raise to 18 feet high. There are four satellite stages and three concentric LED rings that hover in the air and move throughout the show for visual moments and effects, plus four larger oval screens that provide video for fans on all sides of the arena. A very unique spotlight technology, the Black Track system, follows Carrie where ever she travels across the massive stage with aide by special beacons that have been built into her wardrobe. Simply put: it’s going to be quite the sight.
Lil Wayne – Feb. 23 at Sands Bethlehem Event Center
Controversial, chart topping, maybe retiring hip-hop star Lil Wayne is bringing his Dedication Tour to Bethlehem as part of what he is calling, “a personal thank you from Lil Wayne dedicated to all of his fans in cities he has rarely visited on his past tour runs.” It’ll also serve as a preview to what he has long been claiming to be his final album, The Carter V, which is slated to drop sometime this year. Wayne has always said he wanted to retire by age 35, and at less than two years away from that milestone, this might be the final time to catch him so close to the Montgomery County region.
The Shadowboxers – Feb. 24 at Johnny Brenda’s
The Shadowboxers have a passion for captivating lyrics, tight harmonies, and soulful vocals. Founding members Scott Schwartz, Matt Lipkins, and Adam Hoffman experienced an almost-instantaneous musical compatibility when they first started writing together eight years ago. Together with bassist Carlos Enamorado and drummer Cole McSween, they’ve forged a cohesive sound based on a shared reverence for the strong, taut harmonies of Simon & Garfunkel, D’Angelo, and The Beatles. The band’s unified sound has an R&B-soaked, smart perspective replete with an abundance of vocal talent and songwriting skill. In the short time they’ve been playing together, The Shadowboxers have found a collective voice that is intelligent, soulful, and catchy.
Henry Threadgill – Feb. 25 at Science Center Theatre
The jazz avant-garde genre has produced dozens of notable improvisers but relatively few great composers. Henry Threadgill is a member of that exclusive club; along with his fellow Chicagoans Anthony Braxton and Muhal Richard Abrams, he’s one of the most original jazz composers of his generation. Threadgill’s art transcends stylistic boundaries as he embraces the world of music in its entirety, from ragtime to circus marches to classical to bop, free jazz, and beyond. Such might sound merely eclectic, but Threadgill always sounds like Threadgill.
Michael Christopher’s “Seven In Seven” column appears regularly in Ticket.