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 Sept. 9:
Adele – Sept. 9 and 10 at Wells Fargo Center
There are very few legitimate solo superstars who have come out in recent years, those who are talents on par with the likes of Madonna, Elton John, etc., those artists who are guaranteed to sell out multiple nights at an arena whether they have something new to promote or not. At the young age of 28 years old, it appears Adele has joined that club. The UK songstress has a talent that transcends age or musical trends like many of the other headlining acts out there. Touring on her third album, last year’s 25, the singer-songwriter is doing two nights here and a most impressive six night stand at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden.
Culture Club – Sept. 9 at The Electric Factory
As one of the top outfits of the MTV era in the mid-80s, Culture Club fell off the map like so many of their contemporaries did, but they did it in a drug-fueled, tabloid headline stealing manner like few others managed. Thankfully, Boy George and Co. have gotten it together and put all that behind them as the 80s nostalgia continues to widen its appeal to generation after generation. Their songs churn out like a hit parade from a timeless jukebox with “Karma Chameleon,” “Miss Me Blind” and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” staples of an era sadly gone by, but preserved onstage each night by Culture Club.
The Lumineers – Sept. 9 at the Mann Center for Performing Arts
Folk rock heroes The Lumineers are one of the unlikeliest success stories of the past few years. A scruffy independent Americana trio out of Denver, their irresistible anthem “Ho Hey” took the world by storm in 2012, followed by a second chart-topping single “Stubborn Love” and then “Submarines.” That success took them on a journey from the Grammys, President Obama’s iPod, to composing the music for a song Jennifer Lawrence sang for “The Hunger Games.” Their self-titled debut album became a multi-million seller and this April they finally returned with their second album, Cleopatra, affirming the band is in for the long haul.
Pig Destroyer – Sept. 9 at Union Transfer
Virginia extreme sound revolutionaries Pig Destroyer deliver savage grindcore that is both intentionally confrontational and thoroughly pummeling. The band formed in Virginia in 1997, when vocalist J.R. Hayes and Agoraphobic Nosebleed guitarist Scott Hull united in their efforts to create utterly destructive grindcore. As soon as the band, also featuring founding drummer John Evans, began rehearsing, they found that their common musical interests produced intelligent and incendiary compositions. After releasing a self-titled demo, which was met with critical acclaim, the band released their first full-length, Explosions in Ward 6. Strongly positive reactions to not just their debut but four succeeding records have established Pig Destroyer as one of the best new grind acts to have emerged worldwide in the last decade.
Echo & The Bunnymen – Sept.10 at Union Transfer
Post-punk alt-rockers Echo & The Bunnymen came to popularity at a time when the Cure, the Smiths and New Order were filling the dark, sometimes Goth-tinged void left by the demise of Joy Division during the early 80s. The rest of those bands blew up, but Echo & The Bunnymen called it a day right before getting their chance in 1988. By the time of the outfit’s return in 1994, the landscape had changed musically, but there remained — and remains — a need for the haunting type of songs the group continues to convey.
ZZ Top – Sept. 11 at Sands Bethlehem Event Center
Trends come and go in the music industry, but the seemingly unmovable force in rock and roll is the “That Little Ol’ Band from Texas,” ZZ Top, who are creeping on 50 years with the same lineup, the same dirty, get-down-and-boogie music they’ve been doing from day one. In that time, there’s been some changes on the scene, mainly the visual medium MTV in the 80s, but somehow, three guys in “Cheap Sunglasses,” two with beards down to mid-chest, were staples of the channel that based itself on pretty boys who often looked better than they sang. Today, you’ll get little argument that the trio are bona fide legends. They’re Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, hard rockin’ and still bad…nationwide.
Superhuman Happiness – Sept. 14 at Boot & Saddle
Made up of a group of artists based in the New York City area, Superhuman Happiness released their second full length record, Escape Velocity, one year ago. Written and recorded over a three-year period, the album contrasted the band’s debut, Hands, in that the collaborations were less formal, and the performances were more collage like, assembled over time through countless sessions of overdubs. The result is a slightly more electronic soundscape, as opposed to the more pop rock of their first. Multi-instrumentalist Stuart Bogie is often credited with being the leader of Superhuman Happiness, but over just a few short years, it feels like much more of an equal collective than anything else.