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 Nov. 13:
Alfio – Nov. 13 at Sellersville Theater 1894
As an Australian native of Italian descent, the classically trained Alfio has been captivating audiences around the world with powerful vocals combined with charming comedic banter for years. He brings a new approach to the tenor tradition through modern interpretations of English and Italian standards, and on this tour, he’s been focusing on three of the greats in Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Andrea Bocelli. Don’t expect a glorified karaoke though; Alfio brings his own personality into the shows, the music and the personal, humorous nature of his exchanges with the audience.
Fitz and The Tantrums – Nov. 13 at Sands Bethlehem Event Center
Brimming with imagination, energy and genre-smashing scope, Fitz and The Tantrums defied the odds to become an indisputable phenomenon, a chart-topping, show-stopping modern pop combo unlike any other. The Los Angeles-based sextet formed in 2008 and released their debut, Pickin’ Up the Pieces two years later. Featuring the smash hit “MoneyGrabber,” the record received rave reviews for its indie-pop/neo soul hybrid. Earlier this year, the band released their self-titled third full-length effort, and led by the single “HandClap,” is proof positive they aren’t going away anytime soon.
Pentatonix – Nov. 13 at The Liacouras Center
Arlington, Texas based elctro-pop outfit Pentatonix has that special a cappella swag, something that most singing groups tend to lack. They can sing, dance, harmonize and put together a respectable arrangement in just minutes. Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying, and Kirstie Maldonado formed a trio during high school together before adding the final two members, Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola, the day before their audition on the third season of NBC’s The Sing-Off, and PTX was born. They ended up winning, and since then have been making strides in the music industry with their modern style and electronic sounds. Late October saw them embrace the holiday season a bit early with the release of A Pentatonix Christmas, which they’ll be featuring at the show in North Philly.
Sleeping with Sirens – Nov. 13 at The Fillmore
Sleeping with Sirens drive right to the core of the place inside that connects people through music, with urgent anthems and earnest ballads that communicate authentic, raw, transparent emotions through melody, a rhythmic punch and that intangible essence that makes one feel alive. Fronted by Kellin Quinn’s intimate vocal revelations, the emo outfit arrives drenched in a warm vulnerability that has affected fans around the world. This spring, the band released Live & Unplugged, but you can expect the volume to be jacked up all the way at The Fillmore.
Stryper – Nov. 17 at Reverb
It’s never been easy for Christian artists to break into the mainstream, and near impossible in the arena of heavy metal. Stryper changed all that in the 80s, unapologetically wearing their loyalty to the Lord on their sleeves. Currently, they are celebrating the album that was responsible for them becoming a household name, To Hell with the Devil. Not only will they be playing the classic featuring the hits “Honestly” and “Calling on You” in full, but after taking a short break, will return to the stage for another full-set of hits. And yes, they have broken out the familiar yellow and black outfits, which band frontman Michael Sweet has said are the originals that still fit three decades later!
Smokey Robinson – Nov. 18 at the Academy of Music
When it was announced Bob Dylan would be receiving the Nobel Prize, “For having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” it brought to mind the accolade the songwriting legend once bestowed upon Smokey Robinson, calling him America’s “greatest living poet.” It’s a hard compliment to argue with, as the Motown legend was behind some of the biggest, most well-known hits not only with his act The Miracles, but for label mates like The Temptations, Brenda Holloway and Marvin Gaye. A half-century into his career, Robinson continues to enthrall and inspire artists young and old.
Stevie Nicks and The Pretenders – Nov. 19 at Sands Bethlehem Event Center and Nov. 20 at Wells Fargo Center
Here’s a bill that shouldn’t be missed no matter what. Featuring two of the strongest, high profile legends who’ve shown that rock and roll isn’t all about male domination, Stevie Nicks and Pretenders’ frontwoman Chrissie Hynde blazed their own path. The former stepped out of the shadow of Fleetwood Mac to launch her wildly successful solo career in the early-80s, while Hynde has been the sole keeper of the Pretenders flame while bandmembers have come and gone. It’s a bonus that there are two area dates, one in Bethlehem and one in Philly the following night.