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SEVEN IN SEVEN: XPoNential Music Festival kicks off this week’s music best bets

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COLUMN 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 July 22:
XPoNential Music Festival – July 22 at BB&T Pavilion
The annual XPoNential Music Festival kicks off Friday, and this year is easily one of the best WXPN has thrown of the three-day event featuring more than 30 performers appearing over three stages. Headliners include Ryan Adams, Gary Clark Jr., Kurt Vile, Alabama Shakes, Tommy Stinson of The Replacements, Brandi Carlile and Old Crow Medicine Show. The rest of the bill in Wiggins Park isn’t anything to look over either; Mavis Staples, Father John Misty, Preservation Hall Band, Femi Kuti and Ben Arnold.
Colin Hay – July 23 at Musikfest Café at ArtsQuest Center
Though Colin Hay made his mark on pop music back in the ‘80s with Men at Work, he’s been far from idle in the years since his unmistakable tenor and witty, ska-influenced songs sent the Australian band to the top of the charts. His second-chapter career includes a dozen solo albums — Next Year People was released in February — and a variety of acting gigs; multiple appearances in the TV show “Scrubs” alone endeared him to a new generation of fans. There’s also a fantastic documentary on the singer that’s been playing the festival circuit called “Waiting for My Real Life,” proving that while chart success may be elusive, Hay is still as interesting a topic as ever.
Wild Child – July 23 and 24 at Boot & Saddle
With a name like Wild Child, this is an act that isn’t looking for a place to hide. Song after song, they wear their hearts on their sleeves, evident on their third album, Fools, which came out last year. The record is ambitious collection of lush indie pop that takes sad stories and transforms them into a jovial love letter to the power of music and the art of living with yourself. The Austin band brings a bunch of layers to the forefront with the songs; both musically and lyrically, giving the word “wild” a meaning of taking the risk to lay it all out there.
Jeff Beck – July 24 at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center
Over the course of Jeff Beck’s 50 year career, the trailblazing guitarist has earned many accolades. He has twice been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; first, as a member of the Yardbirds in 1992 and then again, as a solo artist, in 2009. He has earned a total of eight Grammy Awards during his long career, and routinely lands near the top of “to guitarists” lists — one of the few inclusions no one ever argues about. Making the difficult sound effortless is his main draw, and it continues on Loud Hailer, his first studio album in six years. As a bonus for this tour, Beck has brought another guitar legend along for the ride in Buddy Guy.

98 Degrees Courtesy of PMK-BNC

98 Degrees
Courtesy of PMK-BNC

98 Degrees – July 27 at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center
Dubbed the MY2K tour, while it’s unclear exactly what “MY2K” means, we know what it brings, and that’s some good old late 90s nostalgia. 98 Degrees were one of the B-listers when it came to boy bands, but they still got teenage hearts beating fast with hits like “Because of You” and “I Do.” For this tour, they are stacking the bill with reality boy band creation O-Town, singer songwriter Ryan Cabrera, and, to balance it all out, the girl band Dream.
D Generation – July 28 at Johnny Brenda’s
When D Generation came out in the mid-90s, they should’ve been huge. Grunge was on the way out and music fans needed something to sink their teeth into. Yet for some reason, it just didn’t happen, despite the perfect modern punk rock sound on the classic No Lunch in 1996. The NYC outfit disbanded after a lackluster follow-up in 1999, but return this year with Nothing is Anywhere. Is it time for DGen to go somewhere? It’s time to find out.
Rich Robinson – July 28 at Sellersville Theater 1894
It’s already been quite the year for former Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson. Not only has he released Flux, his fourth solo album, but he also recently wrapped a tour with Bad Company as a special guest guitarist. Earlier this year, he released expanded editions of his solo album catalog on CD and colored vinyl. Lots of people are still holding out for a Crowes reunion since their most recent disbandment was announced last year. And while it will happen down the road at some point for sure, don’t miss the opportunity to catch Rich in a setting where he’s really shining.

Listen to a song from each artist below:

Michael Christopher’s “Seven In Seven” column appears regularly in Ticket. 

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