Upcoming shows you should check out
Rod Stewart, for real this “Time”
After 18 months of protraction, the saga of Rod Stewart’s date with Greensboro might actually come to a conclusion on Thursday. Since his original performance with Stevie Nicks was announced in March 2012, the singer’s Great American Songbook-based tour stop in the Triad has been canceled after a sudden “illness” (when there’s a Groupon for your concert issued the week before, sniffles are likely to ensue), rescheduled with another Stevie entirely (of the Winwood variety) and postponed once again to accommodate the release of his new album, Time, his first comprehensive work of new material bearing mostly his songwriting, really since 1991’s Vagabond Heart. And it’s really not bad for what at this point could be accurately labeled “mumcore.” It runs the full Rod-o-sphere from the gravelly classic rocker (“She Makes Me Happy”) to the football anthem “Can’t Stop Me Now” to a Blondes Have More Fun-era disco joint like “Sexual Religion.” The deluxe edition even throws it back to Rod’s fascination with Tom Waits via an idiosyncratic take on “Cold Water.” Rod’s tourmate, however, is as likely a spoiler as the singer ever could have enlisted. Winwood showed his jammy side on tour with the Allman Brothers over the summer, but his unimpeachable pop catalog should get some attention. As much as 10-minute, airtight renditions of “Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys” or “Glad” might appeal to the summertime crowds, there’s no better a time and place for lovingly sentimental pop gems like “Valerie” and “Finer Things” than his first gig with Rod, which just so happens to come in Greensboro.
The Wood Brothers find their muse
Even though he’s one of the preeminent bassists of modern and avant-garde jazz, Chris Wood has had his hands full for more than 20 years holding down a groove alongside drummer Billy Martin that can contain the fantastical bouts of weirdness to which Hammond B3 god John Medeski is prone. As Medeski Martin & Wood, the unit has dug out a well defined niche by skirting the out regions of jazz, convincing festival crowds that they’re a jam band while also convincing hardcore jazz fans that they’re anything but, and making some of the best kids’ records on the market. But Chris Wood’s muse is a fickle one, and his best work this year has been done alongside his brother Oliver. As the Wood Brothers, their fifth album Muse almost feels like a novelty in an age of overreaching production values in Americana. It’s a stripped-down, highly bluesy affair that is folksy by aesthetic, if not entirely by history. The closest comparison to Oliver’s froggy tenor one might hear is Randy Newman, but their stealthy chord changes and oddball time signatures melt into the album’s structure so fluidly they might as well be singing Woody Guthrie. Check out their cover of Michael Jackson’s “PYT” they provided for The Onion AV Club for evidence of how skillfully they handle complicated material, or see them at the Blind Tiger this Friday night. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door, and Philly songwriter Chris Kasper opens at 8:30 p.m.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be a Furniture Market pass holder?
The Beach Boys are playing the High Point Furniture Market this Sunday night, but of course, without a market pass, not even Rhonda can help. That premise, however, begs the classic question: Which incarnation of the Beach Boys is this? After the culmination of their 50 th anniversary tour in 2012, that picture became a little clearer on the surface, but even more complicated underneath. After Mike Love, Al Jardine, Brian Wilson, Bruce Johnston and even David Marks got back together for a short run of rather incredible shows and a really good, if fairly misunderstood album, the Beach Boys decided they were going forward with touring… just without Wilson, Jardine and Marks. And by Beach Boys, that should read Mike Love, the guy who owns the name and captains the ship to the detriment of his more creative bandmates. Jardine, in the meantime, remains on tour with his Endless Summer Band, while Brian Wilson, predictably, has the plummest assignment — a tour with Jeff Beck and Blondie Chaplain. That’s not to say that Love’s version is without merit. It’s easy to forget just how many remarkable pop tunes the Beach Boys wrote until Love and company fire them off jukebox-style over two hours. Maybe next time, though.