The Ballroom Thieves complement their acoustic rock with the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra in Rockport, Mass.
Father John Misty hatched one of 2015’s best albums in the melodramatic I Love You, Honeybear, marrying sardonic wit with sweet emotion after finding true love in real life. But it’s the stage where the alter-ego of ex-folkie Josh Tillman takes flight with demonstrative showmanship to match the sharp-tongued twists of his tortured soul. And he’ll benefit from the orchestration of his full touring band when Father John Misty hits House of Blues on Friday. Too bad it’s the same night as White Denim; that overhauled Texas band just dropped its most infectious and stylistically free-wheeling album, Stiff, and returns to the Sinclair with ex-Apollo Sunshine opener Sam Cohen likely chipping in on guitar. Here’s a recent live taste of White Denim and a jump to my recent interview with frontman James Petralli.
Friday also marks the diverse but ultimately hard-rocking finals of the Rock & Roll Rumble at Cuisine en Locale’s Once Ballroom, and the annual rock contest’s new Somerville home has proven to be an enjoyable, wide-open space to mingle and catch Boston’s best rising bands. This year’s final slate boasts wild card UsLights (whose electronic pop boasts emotive vocals and active live drums), grungy indie-rockers Weakened Friends (featuring punchy Field Effect bassist Annie Hoffman) and dark, metallic favorites Worshipper, who surmounted the semi-finals with fill-in lead guitarist Craig Small (ex-Waltham) while Alex Necochea tours with another band in Europe. And following the last slot by Worshipper (again with Small), the burly, reborn Scissorfight lends extra pummeling as the guest band while ballots are tabulated by WZLX host Anngelle Wood and her crew. After three weekends (and a few more preliminary nights), it’ll be sad for that celebration of the local rock community to end, but for many scenesters, it’ll also lend a welcome rest.
One of New England’s most stirring, acoustic-rooted bands, the Ballroom Thieves, are rolling through a regional tour with the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra (a string section of teenagers who study at Portland’s Maine Academy of Music) that stops at Rockport’s beautiful Shalin Liu Performance Center on Saturday. Pink Talking Fish hits the Paradise Rock Club the same night with its particular hybrid tribute to Pink Floyd, Talking Heads and Phish (and Prince?). And trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis brings his heavyweight New Orleans 2nd Line Quintet (with pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist Reginald Veal and drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith) to Scullers Jazz Club as well.
Then two music-related alternatives stand out on Sunday. Alto saxophonist Grace Kelly plays with bassist Bruce Gertz in honor of her late mentor Frank Morgan after a 3 p.m. Coolidge Corner Theatre screening of the Morgan documentary Sound of Redemption in Brookline. And Arlington’s Regent Theatre toasts its centennial with a gala performance that offers vaudeville-inspired acts like Busty Keaton and Alex the Jester as well as a screening of Mary Pickford’s silent film “Rags” with piano accompanist Jeff Rapsis, plus a cameo by comic Jimmy Tingle.