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SEVEN IN SEVEN: Parquet Courts, Birds of Chicago among this week’s best bets

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WRITTEN BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
For Digital First Media

Welcome to “Seven in Seven,” where each Friday 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 Jan. 29:
Kris Kristofferson – Jan. 29 at Sands Bethlehem Event Center
There’s very little in the entertainment industry Kris Kristofferson hasn’t tried or achieved. Not only is he one of the most recognizable country music artists, he’s also acted in films like “A Star is Born” – for which he won a Golden Globe – the Blade franchise and the underrated thriller “Deadfall.” But it always comes back to the music, whether it’s teaming up with the likes of Barbra Streisand or Jackson Browne or taking part in the 80s supergroup the Highwaymen alongside Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, the melody is what he always comes back to. And at 80 years of age, he’s showing no signs of reigning it in.
Parquet Courts – Jan. 31 at Union Transfer
Five studio albums in, Parquet Courts have made an undeniable impression on the indie-rock music scene by littering their lyric sheets with question marks and interrogating the outside world to varying degrees. Last year, the Brooklyn quartet released Human Performance, their highest charting and first with all four band members contributing. The result was a dissection of the anxieties of modern life with the group’s most innovative and emotional collection of songs to date.

Parquet Courts will be at Union Transfer on Jan. 31. Photo by Ben Rayner

Parquet Courts will be at Union Transfer on Jan. 31.
Photo by Ben Rayner

Birds of Chicago – Feb. 1 at World Café Live Upstairs
Birds of Chicago formed in 2012 when Allison Russell and JT Nero put their existing groups – Po’ Girl and JT & The Clouds, respectively – on hiatus. Since then, the band has focusing on touring more than ten months out of the year, playing shows across North America. Released just over a year ago, their album Real Midnight showcased Nero using Russell as his muse to create a rootsy Americana effort for the ages.
Aaron Lewis – Feb. 2 at The Trocadero
While 90s nu-metal act Staind is well into its second indefinite hiatus, frontman Aaron Lewis embraces his successful second act as a country artist. Like so many other rockers in recent years, the Vermonts native has embraced the sounds of the South, leading the country lifestyle and embracing its values. His goal to prove it’s not necessarily where you were raised were confirmed when his sophomore album in the genre, September of last year’s Sinner, debuted at the top of the country music charts.
Bear’s Den – Feb. 2 at Underground Arts
London-based folk act Bear’s Den played music in various incarnations before officially forming in 2012 quickly developing a cult following in their short existence as a result of their writing, harmonies, D.I.Y. approach with custom hand-stamped CDs and extensive touring. It was only after finding their identity on the road, which was documented in the film Austin to Boston, which the pair made up of Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones began to focus on studio recordings. Their 2014 debut Islands was released to widespread international critical acclaim. They received Ivor Novello Award nomination, the U.K.’s most prestigious songwriting accolade, for the track “Above the Clouds of Pompeii,” ultimately losing to Hozier in the category of Best Song Musically and Lyrically.
Alter Bridge – Feb. 4 at The Trocadero
October saw Alter Bridge release their fifth album, The Last Hero, to positive reviews from fans and critics alike. Despite being made up of three-quarters of late 90s band-people-love-to-hate Creed, the group has managed to carve itself out a completely different place in music history than the one where Scott Stapp was their lead singer. Myles Kennedy on vocals makes them sound much more like an authentic hard rock outfit, one not afraid to embrace their influences like Iron Maiden, Van Halen and more from the genre’s canon.

SOUNDCHECK
Listen to these tunes:
Kris Kristofferson – “Help Me Make it Through the Night”
Parquet Courts – “Dust”
Birds of Chicago – “Cannonball”
Bear’s Den – “Above the Clouds of Pompeii”
Aaron Lewis – “Granddaddy’s Gun”
Alter Bridge – “Show Me a Leader”
The London Souls – “Steady”

The London Souls – Feb. 4 at The Ardmore Music Hall
The London Souls’ unique reinterpretation of classic hard-hitting rock and roll recalls elements of the past with an ever-present, slow burning energy, which feels surprisingly contemporary. Made up of guitarist/singer Tash Neal and drummer/singer Chris St. Hilaire, the duo has been a best-kept secret among New York City concertgoers since the forming in 2008. The layered vocals and rollicking rhythms recall the 70s era of bands like Badfinger, Bad Company and even Led Zeppelin. This is a show to see, as there’s no telling how much longer before the news gets out about how unique these two are.

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