Before the rainy remnants of Hurricane Hermine filter into Southern New England later this long weekend, music lovers should take advantage of our glorious if dry weather at Rhode Island’s annual Rhythm and Roots Festival in Charlestown. After a Friday night opening that includes bluesman Duke Robillard and initial dance sets from Donna the Buffalo and Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Chas, Saturday kicks into gear with Lucinda Williams, the Taj Mahal Trio and a reunion by bluegrass gals Uncle Earl. Sunday rolls around with Bruce Hornsby, the David Grisman Sextet and ex-Blasters mates Phil and Dave Alvin with their smoking band the Guilty Ones. And that doesn’t count the workshop and storytelling sets on multiple stages at Ninigret Park, as well as a Mardi Gras parade. Here’s the web site.
Yet for the rare Labor Day weekend, there’s a ton of other stuff going on. Friday offers African fusion bassist Richard Bona at Scullers Jazz Club, the Funky Meters (anchored by Art Neville and George Porter Jr. and featuring guest guitarist Eric Krasno from Soulive) at the Cabot in Beverly, topical singer/songwriter (and mean acoustic guitarist) Ani DiFranco at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, and the final show by great Boston indie-rockers Guillermo Sexo at O’Brien’s Pub.
Boston’s underground scene also comes alive Saturday with the seventh annual Starlabfest at the Somerville Arts Council’s cool ARTfarm site at 10 Poplar St. The lineup includes smart locals like dream-pop combo Mini Dresses and hip-hop duo STL GLD (Moe Pope and the Arcitype) as well as Montreal’s rockabilly madman Bloodshot Bill and New Jersey’s feisty rock outfit Screaming Females. Here’s the whole Starlabfest scoop.
On a larger scale on Saturday, Kanye West rides his floating platform stage over the floor of the TD Garden as part of his career-spanning The Life of Pablo tour, KISS rock and rolls all night at Worcester’s DCU Center (aren’t those costumes getting a bit cumbersome to wear by now?) and the B-52’s get everybody movin’ and everybody groovin’ at Lowell Summer Music series in Boarding House Park.
Chicago also brings the horns and old hits to the Cape Cod Melody Tent on Saturday and the South Shore Music Circus on Sunday. But Sunday’s big show finds Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler stretching out in his new country guise, with his Nashville band Loving Mary (though you can expect recast Aerosmith gems), at the Citi Wang Theatre. And if you’ve got gas in the tank on Monday before returning to work or school, the Heavy hits the Sinclair. How do you like them now?