Friday, November 2
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
If anyone should be a star, it's Grace Potter. Commercial enough to sing duets with Kenny Chesney, she's also freaky enough to trip out occasionally with folks like Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne and Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, who produced parts of her latest album, The Lion The Beast The Beat. Vermont native Potter plays a mean guitar and pumps out vibrant waves of gospel-style organ while wailing over it all with a passionately fiery and notoriously powerful set of pipes. On top of that, the long, tall, blondish brunette (who already has a dark-chocolate candy bar named after her) is drop-dead gorgeous -- not that that should really matter. What does matter is that Potter's onstage intensity and pyrotechnics are well matched by founding drummer Matt Burr, guitarist Benny Yurco and intuitively wild lead guitarist Scott Tournet. On the new record, the Nocturnals move further away from the bluesy classic rock of their early releases into a shinier, sleeker and slightly more experimental pop sound. Although the overall songwriting is inconsistent, Potter still exudes considerable soul and charisma on stronger tracks such as "Turntable," "Loneliest Soul" and "Timekeeper." --Falling James
Just one year after undergoing emergency throat surgery, music megastar R. Kelly is set to appear at the Nokia for the West Coast leg of his Single Ladies tour. One of the most prolific figures in R&B, the South Side Chicago native captured the national pornographic imagination in 1993 with the release of his erotically imbued (now sextuple platinum) solo debut, Twelve Play. Having penned compositions for such icons as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Luther Vandross, the triple Grammy Award winner is recognized by the RIAA as one of the best-selling artists ever in the United States. His 20-year career, sometimes overshadowed by scandal, is detailed in his newly released autobiography, SoulaCoaster: The Diary of Me. --Jacqueline Michael Whatley
Saturday, November 3
Luis and the Wildfires
Luis and the Wildfires have one stand-up bass and four kick-ass dudes doing rock & roll with rare vigor. Hives compatriot Luis Arriaga is the guy up front tearing his heart out while he sings (and using the guitar strapped to his back more as a battle-ax than an instrument). Their most recent album, Heart Shaped Noose -- on home label Wild, of course -- matched snarling Them, Tom Waits and Joy Division covers with a Spanish-language reincarnation of "Baby, Please Don't Go" with punked-up smashers like "No More Days" and future classic original "I'm a Man," which begins with the most Arriagarific line ever: "Please forgive me, friends/if I seem strange/I'm still in love." Mandatory for anyone seeking rock, roll and reality. --Chris Ziegler
Sunday, November 4
Chicano Batman, Buyepongo, Anthony Valadez at Day of the Dead
Chicano Batman is soul, although there's a lot more to this band than just soul music. There's psychedelia and tropicalia and cumbia, done up DIY in the most noble, garage-recorded tradition. If you ever saw the gigantic Chicano Batman logo -- the Dark Knight merged with the UFW eagle -- painted in triumphant colors across singer/keyboardist/guitarist Bardo Martinez's bedroom wall, you'd get it. This band is a dream made real. (And made even realer on the new Joven Navegante EP, with four songs of electrified experimentalism, actually.) This performance is part of a Day of the Dead extravaganza, including the mighty Buyepongo and the frenetic chicha-inspired La Chamba, who howl like maniacs when they really get going, as well as DJs Sloepoke and Anthony Valadez. --Chris Ziegler
See also: *Buyepongo Bring the Motherfucking Ruckus
The collision of punk and funk resulted in a new, bass-heavy genre that encompassed everything from the straightforward vibe of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Doggy Style to weirder, harder and more aggressive groups such as Gang of Four and The Middle Class. The early-'80s New York band Bush Tetras were definitely on the artier side of things, with Cynthia Sley intoning dourly mesmerizing broadsides like "Too Many Creeps" and "Stand Up and Fight," while former Contortionists guitarist Pat Place chopped up angular shards of glassy funk. Sadly, founding bassist Laura Kennedy, whose buoyant, throbbing lines were such a major component of the group's early sound, died from liver disease last year. However, her replacement, Julia Murphy, has been with the reunited band for seven years now, and dubby tracks like "Das Ah Riot" still feel timeless. --Falling James
For details about these shows and more live music happening in the city this week, check out our Concert Calendar.
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