COLUMN BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
For Digital First Media
Welcome to “Seven in Seven,” where each week 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 20:
Explosions in the Sky – May 20 at The Fillmore
Fresh off the April release of the band’s sixth album, The Wilderness, Explosions in the Sky are heading out for a long, long stretch of dates across Europe and North America. And if for some reason you don’t know their name, you definitely have heard their music, instrumental pieces which have served as the background mood setters for everything from hit television shows to major sporting events. Seeing Explosions in the Sky is, at the risk of sounding cheesy, like attending a symphonic rock show. Not unlike an orchestra, as it has the ability to pull out the same intense feelings from audiences.
Zac Brown Band – May 20 at BB&T Pavilion
Zac Brown Band has fully traversed the country and rock and roll genres and is now in the midst of their sixth headlining US concert tour. The tour’s name, “Black Out the Sun,” is inspired by a lyric from “Tomorrow Never Comes” off their latest album Jekyll + Hyde. This will be the band’s largest tour to date, no surprise considering how they just continue to grow with 15 number one radio hits, three Grammys and three consecutive number one albums on the charts and a litany of other awards and recognitions.
Justin Hayward – May 20 and 21 at Sellersville Theater 1894
If you missed seeing Justin Hayward back in August at the Musikfest Café, you’re in luck; he’s back in the region for not one but two nights. The frontman and lead guitarist for the Moody Blues is still on his solo trek, bringing the distinctive vocals featured on hits like “Nights in White Satin” and “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere” to audiences young and old like he has been doing for nearly five decades. Fans of his main band need not fret; this fall the Moody Blues will be back in live action, first with a five night stand in Las Vegas this October, with a string of dates having been announced in the Midwest afterward.
Chris Isaak – May 21 at Sands Bethlehem Event Center
On the heels of his first album of all new original material in six years, Chris Isaak, the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, actor and talk show host has returned from taking on the role as one of the panel judges on the new season of X Factor Australia to hit the road. First Comes the Night is filled with that familiar throwback yet fresh rockabilly sound reminiscent of the best of Sun Records. Isaak is one of the few artists out there keeping rock and roll so close to its roots, and he does it incredibly well.
LANY – May 21 at World Café Live
Los Angeles based alt/dream-pop act LANY began as a group of friends hanging out in a bedroom playing around with a computer and keyboard, who very quickly realized that there was something special between them. In just two years they’ve sold over 40,000 singles independently, have had several number ones on Hypemachine, hit number 39 on Spotify’s 100 emerging artists at SXSW, performed at Lollapalooza and sold out their first headline run. It all happened by the band doing it their own way, with everything recorded and produced by LANY themselves in their own apartment and having conjured up some of the year’s most exhilarating alternative-pop songs.
WMMR BBQ – May 21 BB&T Pavilion
The all-day music festival to unofficially kick off Philly’s summer concert season has a pretty solid lineup of hard rock. Disturbed, Shinedown, 3 Doors Down, Sixx: A.M., Collective Soul, Wolfmother and Red Sun Rising are all on the bill, one which is sure to be a tough one to top as the warmer weather hits and more and more package festivals crop up on the scene.
Kiefer Sutherland – May 26 at Sellersville Theater 1894
Let’s be honest; the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Kiefer Sutherland isn’t going to be going to check out his musical prowess. No, when one thinks of Kiefer Sutherland, they think of cinema classics like The Lost Boys, Stand by Me and Flatliners, the television show 24 and coming this close to marrying Julia Roberts. But just looking over that bit of history, he’s got some experiences to draw from, and draw from them he is, in one of the most clichéd ways possible; but turning them into country songs. Will it work? Probably not. Which is exactly why you should catch him live while you can.
Michael Christopher’s “Seven in Seven” column appears regularly in Ticket.