upcoming shows you should check out
WALE A LAST MINUTE ADDITION TO THE CAROLINA THEATRE
Wale was selling out 2,500-person rooms as recently as last year, thanks in part to being the darling of Pitchfork, but a promoter who works with him told me not long ago that he’s on the down swing in popularity. Chalk it up to the rise of guys like BoB and Wiz Khalifa, but also the mediocre quality of his shows when not backed by a live band. His funky go-go sound just doesn’t translate as well as it could to the DJ deck. Good thing he’s back on tour with the band. A last-minute addition to the Carolina Theatre’s itinerary, his performance on Wednesday begs for attention. And that’s not for fear that his cousin — actor Gbenga Akinnagbe, better known as The Wire’s Chris Partlow — might put your body in a boarded-up row house. Presented by UNCG’s Campus Activities Board, Wale arrives in town with a pair of acts on the cusp in support. By now, most hip-hop fans are aware of the national profile acquired by Durham’s the Foreign Exchange, but Atlanta emcee Donnis carries with him the label “next,” despite a lukewarm reception of his EP Fashionably Late. He’s first up for the 7 p.m. show. Tickets are $20 for public and $10 for students, and can only be purchased through the Carolina Theatre’s box office.
WE’RE CHANGING OUR NAME TO “YEAH!” WEEKLY
For all the great cub bangers Usher has given us, his infliction of Bieber on the world is a forgivable sin. When his OMG Tour hits the Greensboro Coliseum on Tuesday, just about one week before the Chocolate-Domed One, it arrives like a heralding of the Messiah, but Usher’s show is clearly a few steps up. A live band (though some bits are probably still canned), pyrotechnics, expensive props and far better music. The women at his shows probably won’t land you 10-15, either. He’s always taken his cues from Michael, but the constant wardrobe changes and bombastic choreography he employs says he’s taking a little bit from Janet these days as well. Opening up for him will be Trey Songz, who seems like he’s making his 20th appearance in Greensboro in the past 12 months. Tickets start at $29.50, and the show begins at 7:30 p.m.
CHRISTMAS ENTERTAINMENT THE WAY FRANK CROSS ENVISIONED IT
For anyone trying to work themselves into the Christmas spirit, Trans Siberian Orchestra sound like just the ticket. Problem is, by the time the three-hour epic is concluded, it’s likely that some might find themselves renouncing Christmas music for the rest of their lives. With a cast of 36 guitarists, singers, percussionists, keyboardists and string musicians performing a marathon of holiday classics and ambitious originals in front of one of the most expensive light shows currently on tour, yeah, it sounds like a good time. Truth is, its massively overwrought sound is everything that turns bands like Stryper and Europe into punchlines, and the retina-frying pyrotechnics make the infamous “Denno – Senshi Porygon” episode of PokÃ©mon look like a Kazimir Malevich painting. Then there’s the hokey, home-cooked narrative involving an angel who meets a man in a bar to convey the real meaning of Christmas. It starts off with some promise, but quickly disintegrates into an incomprehensible mess. Their worst offense of all may be their cobbling together of Beethoven’s 10 th Symphony from what scraps exist, and filled out by their own hubris, though the disgraceful cover of the Beatles’ “Help!” is staking its claim. A better idea is to watch Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! on Hulu, but if you must go, there’s a 4 p.m. and an 8 p.m. performance at the Greensboro Coliseum on Wednesday, Dec. 8. Tickets are $25 and up, but think twice about sitting too close.