Upcoming shows you should check out
Living the luxury purple
The first wave of Minnesotan funk and soul in the mid ’70s was a blast of cold air to a genre that had gone deeper and deeper into bouncy groove and warm horns. Bands like 94 East and Flyte Tyme brought flanged-out guitars, icy synths and detached vocals into the mix, and the scene that would give birth to Prince and Morris Day would arise from it. It’s all lovingly detailed in an outstanding compilation Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound, put out this year by the Numero Group, but that highly distinctive sound has essentially been preserved in Twin City tundra thanks to a collection of groups inspired and produced by those early snow-funk pioneers. Mint Condition are arguably the area’s preeminent musical progeny not named Prince, but they have also served as the aesthetic baseline for it while Prince is the boundary pusher. Mint are no slouches live, though. Percussion guru Stokely Williams’ core unit has stuck together for two decades, and over that time developed a repertoire that’s just as comfortable exploring trad jazz and Latin rhythms as much as they are smooth ballads. They’ll flex that instrumental muscle when they come to the Carolina Theatre this Friday night with Greensboro chanteuse Vanessa Ferguson. Tickets are $44.50, $36.50 or $24.50, and the show starts at 8 p.m.
The late-ish show with Erykah Badu
There was one thing missing from Janelle Monae’s September stop at the campus of NC A&T University to record a stomped-up version of her single “QUEEN” with the Marching Aggies: the laissez faire croon of Erykah Badu affirming “No, no, the booty don’t lie.” Monae’s girl-power jam with the actual QUEEN was a playful period following a world tour for 2010’s New Amerykah Part Two where Badu dipped her toes in abundant waters, like the beautiful verse on Robert Glasper’s “Afro Blue” or her regretful contribution to the Flaming Lips’ overtly shocking “Western Esotericism.” With three years for the promotional machine to cool down following her last album, her stop at the Greensboro Coliseum on Friday night stands to be reflective of that wanderlust. She’s been covering Outkast and Bob Marley, and going deep into early material (most notably, the dependable finisher “Tyrone,” which fell out of rotation for a period). As capricious as she is IRL, she’s equally so onstage. See, for example, her 10 p.m. start time for Friday’s War Memorial Auditorium show. Tickets start at $65.
David Bromberg visits High Point
As prone to wild exaggerations as artist bios often are, David Bromberg’s is as serious as can be when it says he’s “toured everywhere and played with everyone.” The stylistically elusive 68-year-old songwriter has studied under the Rev. Gary Davis and worked with Bob Dylan, George Harrison John Prine, Bonnie Raitt, Carly Simon, Ritchie Havens and almost all of the Grateful Dead, before bowing out of the music business in the ’80s for a time. The two decades of extremely sporadic releases that followed have left Bromberg as something of an unheralded name when stacked up against his contemporaries, but the man whom Jerry Jeff Walker once described as being “the reason man created stringed instruments” is earning those palms all over again. His most recent work, September’s Only Slightly Mad, will be the centerpiece of his visit to the High Point Theatre this Saturday night with his eight-piece backing band, and it’s mostly an array of sly covers from Blind Willie Johnson to Conway Twitty, executed with typical Brombergian cheek. The handful of solo tunes like the gospel-tinged “I’ll Rise Again” or the subtly psychedelic “World of Fools,” however, show that Bromberg’s prime is far from over. Tickets are $20 and $25, and the show starts at 8 p.m.