COLUMN 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 March 19:
José James – March 19 at The Foundry
On his fourth album for the prestigious Blue Note label, José James wanted to create something that would inspire people. Love in a Time of Madness accomplishes the feat, as James worked with an international group of writers and producers to craft a new sound and style motivated by such influences as Frank Ocean, Usher, and John Legend, extending the R&B and hip-hop thread that has run throughout much of his work. Live though is where James’ music is most at home, and Love in a Time of Madness needs to be heard in that setting.
Solas – March 19 at World Café Live – Downstairs
For more than two decades, Solas has been the quintessential – and local – Irish-American band, bursting onto the music scene with fresh and unexpected arrangements of age-old tunes, compelling originals and covers, and consummate musicianship. Last year saw the group put out their 11th album, All These Years, and they’re on the road now to celebrate its release and Solas in general. The outfit has, from their inception, captured the musical world’s attention, and as the tour winds down in their hometown, it’s only fitting that the gig take place just after everyone has spent the weekend celebrating their Irish-American heritage on St. Patrick’s Day.
A Great Big World – March 20 at World Café Live
A Great Big World first enchanted listeners everywhere in 2013 on their quintuple-platinum Grammy Award-winning song “Say Something” with Christina Aguilera. Their full-length debut, Is There Anybody Out There?, bowed at the number three spot on the charts, and its 2015 follow-up, When The Morning Comes, earned critical acclaim as the single “Hold Each Other” accrued over 17 million-plus Spotify streams. Earlier this month, the duo – made up of Ian Axel and Chad King – released a cover of “When I Was a Boy” originally by Jeff Lynne’s ELO. The World Café Live show is part of a 10-date “An Evening with Ian and Chad” unplugged jaunt.
Bring Me the Horizon – March 22 at The Liacouras Center
British outfit Bring Me the Horizon have long been leading the charge for the resurgence of metal – be it from England or otherwise. But rather than do the same thing over and over again, their sound has matured and the musicians have grown.
Their last album, 2015’s That’s the Spirit, marked their biggest sonic leap yet, further incorporating electronic components to the standard head bangers. It’s certainly not happy and cheery by any stretch, but it has further set the band apart from any of their perceived contemporaries who may get stuck in a rut of doing the same thing over and over.
Dope – March 22 at Reverb
Dope were one of those bands who came in on the mainstream rise of nu metal toward the end of the millennia. Following the backlash against the genre, they faltered quite a bit with sound and lineup changes, but seem to have gotten back on track at what they do best, aggressive industrial riffs and harsh vocals. Last year’s Blood Money, Pt. 1 saw them reunite the classic lineup and return to the road to positive reviews from fans.
Pimps of Joytime – March 23 at Ardmore Music Hall
Anyone familiar with the Pimps of Joytime live experience knows the feeling; it’s that moment when a deep bluesy groove morphs into a full-on EDM dance beat, or the sensation when the wide-eyed audience collectively elevates in sync with the band’s borderline tangible energy. Whether it’s mashing up ‘70s funk tones with modern dance beats all mixed with original samples, it’s a unique mosaic of sound. Today’s DJ culture can be exhausting in its sameness, but for those eager to dance with abandon, Pimps of Joytime are the “something different” antidote.
Garth Brooks – March 24, 25 and 26 at Wells Fargo Center
Even those who hate on country music have to begrudgingly respect what Garth Brooks has done not just for the genre, but music as a whole. He’s hands down one of the biggest entertainers of the last 25 years, and currently he’s on a staggering three-year tour with his wife, Trisha Yearwood, opening the shows, a three-night stand of which is taking place at the Wells Fargo Center. There are very few artists across the entirety of the musical spectrum that can pull something like that off, but Brooks manages to do it effortlessly.