COLUMN 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 April 29:
Cowboy Junkies – April 29 at Sellersville Theater 1894
For more than 20 years, Cowboy Junkies have remained true to their unique artistic vision and to the introspective, quiet intensity, creating a critically acclaimed body of original work that has endeared them to an audience unwavering in its loyalty. The Trinity Session, the band’s seminal 1988 album, was a melancholic mixture of blues, country, folk, and rock featuring a collection of originals, covers and traditional songs. It remains their most popular work, though this past fall, the Toronto natives released an ambitious four disc box set called Notes Falling Slow. It features re-mastered versions of the albums, Open, One Soul Now and At The End Of Paths Taken as well as a fourth disc made up of new recordings of songs written during the making of those albums.
The Quebe Sisters – April 30 at Sellersville Theater 1894
When the Quebe Sisters from Texas take a stage, and the triple-threat fiddle champions start playing and singing in multi-part close harmony, audiences are usually transfixed, then blown away. It’s partly because the trio’s vocal and instrumental performances are authentic all-Americana. And whether the Quebes – their name rhymes with “maybe” – are decked out in denims and boots or fashionably dressed to the nines in makeup, skirts and heels, the fresh-faced, clean-cut sisters, all in their 20s, look as good as they sound.
Wild Belle – April 30 at Underground Arts
Growing up in Chicago to musical parents who flaunted jazz, African and folk music among their favorites, siblings Elliot and Natalie Bergman share the same musical vocabulary. Though they weren’t officially joined musically until Natalie laid down a rare vocal for Bergman’s 9-member, Afrobeat-influenced band Nomo, the duo soon branched off into Wild Belle. Cut to 2013, looked at as a band-to-watch on the heels of their debut album Isles, and the popularity of the duo continued to grow. Earlier this month, the outfit’s sophomore album, Dreamland, was released.
Santigold – May 1 at The Theatre of Living Arts
Santigold is Santi White, an artist and producer from Philadelphia who has gone on to reach international acclaim with her catchy, electro-influenced hits like “L.E.S. Artistes” and “Lights Out.” Neither calm nor mayhem, Santigold’s music bursts every color in between. This year marked the long-awaited release of 99¢, her third studio album and first since 2012. Was the anticipation worth it? Going by the singles “Can’t Get Enough of Myself” and “Chasing Shadows,” it certainly looks like it.
M. Ward – May 2 at Union Transfer
Renowned singer-songwriter and producer M. Ward was for years a fixture in the Portland folk scene where he created heart wrenchingly beautiful songs in a city that lends itself to introspection and subtlety. Known for his swooning voice and angelic guitar strumming, Ward’s 2003 release, Transfiguration of Vincent, caught the attention of fans and future collaborators, including Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, Cat Power and Jim James from My Morning Jacket, and also led him to put out albums as a part of Monsters of Folk and She & Him with actress and singer Zooey Deschanel. March finally saw him return to a solo outing called More Rain, his eighth LP.
The Used – May 3 and 4 at The Electric Factory
If you had told The Used back at the turn of the millennium that we’d still be talking about their self-titled debut 15 years later, there’s no way they would have believed it. The foursome from Orem, Utah, recorded it as bored teenagers living in an oppressive environment who had no idea that songs like “The Taste Of Ink” and “A Box Full Of Sharp Objects” would become the unexpected face of a new generation of youth culture. Since the band released their incendiary debut, they’ve gone on to put out five more acclaimed full-lengths, but band has always had a special place in their hearts for the first two albums, which is why they’re celebrating them in a live setting. May 3 will see the debut performed in full, with its follow-up, In Love and Death, getting the same treatment the next night. Both shows will see a bevy of other Used material played as well.
Generation Axe – May 5 at The Tower Theater
If you’re into the intricacies of the six-string, then the Generation Axe show is a full-fledged “do not miss show” on the calendar, with a handful of virtuosos on board to deliver a head spinning degree of guitar. Renowned solo shredders Steve Vai, Tosin Abasi and Yngwie Malmsteen will be joined by Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt and Black Label Society leader and former Ozzy Osbourne right hand man Zakk Wylde. Prepare for a technical explosion as each of them try to outdo each other with their respective sets.