COLUMN WRITTEN BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
For Digital First Media
Welcome to “Seven in Seven,” where each week we take 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 March 18:
Beach House – March 18 and March 19 at Union Transfer
Baltimore dream pop duo Beach House made fans wait for quite a bit to their follow up to 2012’s excellent Bloom. It was well worth it though when late August brought about the fantastic Depression Cherry. That wouldn’t be it though, as a mere six weeks later, another LP was released, coming as a total shock to fans and critics alike. Thank Your Lucky Stars wasn’t meant to have anything to do with its predecessor from just a month and a half prior, in fact some of the reviews even surpassed it. It’s obvious Beach House is feeling quite prolific these days, which is one more reason to make one of these shows.
Biz Markie – March 18 at The Theatre of Living Arts
Best known for the smash hit “Just a Friend” from 1989, sometimes Biz Markie doesn’t get his just due. But the New Jersey native has been such a driving force in hip-hop that he’s played with almost everyone in the genre that matters, and has stretched far beyond its constraints. Check out the turn he did in the late 90s with The Rolling Stones, appearing on their mega-hit “Anybody Seen My Baby?” from their Bridges to Babylon album. For those looking to hear the hit Friday, it’ll come, but so much more will as well.
The Four Tops and The Temptations – March 18 at The Keswick Theatre
I’ll be completely honest here: I have no clue who is playing this show. Both the Four Tops and Temptations on wax are the most legendary of Motown recording artists. But they are also two who have been raked over the coals in not only a plethora of lawsuits, but over the years there have been more than one of each representing the band name on the road at the same time. I’m pretty sure the Temptations’ lineup Saturday features Otis Williams, who penned the book that made for the stellar television mini-series. The Four Tops seem to be the one featuring Abdul “Duke” Fakir, the sole surviving original member. Whichever versions show up though, the indisputable fact will be the songs, and hopefully whomever it is does them justice.
Megadeth – March 19 at Sands Bethlehem Event Center and March 20 at The Electric Factory
Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine has had to face a lot of criticism in the past, much of it due to his own inflammatory statements directed at his previous outfit, Metallica, or just about any other subject he happened to have an opinion on. One thing he can’t be criticized for though is his stanch adherence to thrash metal. Sure, there have been some slips along the way, but with this year’s Dystopia – the fifteenth Megadeth album – Mustaine is in classic form, and receiving some of the best music reviews of his career. The bonus to this show? Crossover thrash legends Suicidal Tendencies are one of the openers.
José Gonzalez – March 23 at The Kimmel Center
Singer songwriter José Gonzalez is always a great artist to see in a live setting, but even for him, this tour is special, as it features revered chamber sextet yMusic. With the addition of strings, flute, clarinet and trumpet to José’s celebrated catalog, these shows are sure to be a special treat for all in attendance.
yMusic works in close quarters with contemporary composers and songwriters, developing ideas into vivid, communicative performances. Virtuosos, the six classically-trained instrumentalists are equally comfortable in the classical and pop worlds, having collaborated with artists from Ben Folds to Dirty Projectors.
Kirk Franklin – March 23 at The Tower Theater
Kirk Franklin is one of those rare Christian recording artists who have been able to cross over into the mainstream. From his time in Kirk Franklin & The Family and since going solo in 2001, there’s just something about his performances, his energy and his earnestness that resonates with a wider audience than most religious acts are able to reach. This tour is dubbed “Twenty Years in One Night,” which is pretty self-explanatory; Franklin will be reaching far back into his catalog and doing songs up to present day in a career spanning restrospective.
Andra Day – March 24 at The Ardmore Music Hall
There are certain artists where you want to get in on the ground floor when it comes to seeing them live. Andra Day is one of them. Despite the Ardmore Music Hall show being sold out this one is worth mentioning. Her debut Cheers to the Fall, which came out last August and was nominated for a Best R&B Album Grammy, is one of those vintage and soulful works yet catchy to the point where it hovers near pop. Heartbreak never sounded so good.