It would be worth the Friday-night trip to the Cabot in Beverly just to catch Jean-Luc Ponty — the violinist who went from the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Frank Zappa to recording his own popular ’70s jazz-rock — with his band sporting guitarist Jamie Glaser, keyboardist Willy Minko, bassist Baron Browne and drummer Rayford Griffin. But the frontman of this assemblage is now Yes co-founder Jon Anderson, whose high-pitched vocals offer an angelic counterpoint to Ponty’s musicians. And their less-than-imaginatively named AndersonPonty Band will put their own cozy spin on classics from the catalogs of both musicians. Also on Friday, the round-table Session Americana holds court at Cuisine en Locale’s Once Ballroom.
Saturday afternoon brings the Radio 92.9 EarthFest back to the DCR Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade with the ridiculously catchy Fitz and the Tantrums (above, ahead of their self-titled new album with “HandClap”), alt-rockers Joywave and Canadian rock-grass group the Strumbellas as well as local all-female contest winner Flight of Fire. That night, guitar virtuoso Shun Ng teams with the J. Geils Band’s harp ace Magic Dick (with Ruby Rose Fox opening) at Rockport’s Shalin Liu Performance Center, while Irish soul-rocker Christian McNeill returns to Thunder Road for a record release party with the Tim Gearan Band and blues upstart Julie Rhodes. And a second edition of Chetstock takes over the Once Ballroom with a lineup that includes surviving/reunited local bands Xanna Don’t, Harlequin, the Real Kids, the Classic Ruins and Randy Black. It’s all to support the Pine Street Inn in honor of Richard Rooney, the late owner of Chet’s Last Call, a former dive bar off Causeway Street that provided a launching pad for ’80s underground-rock bands.
Another area native, alto saxophonist/singer Grace Kelly, recently seen in Stephen Colbert’s late-night TV band, rolls back to her alma mater on Sunday with a concert at the Berklee Performance Center, while the indie-folk duo of Jesca Hoop and Iron & Win’s Sam Beam converge at the Wilbur Theatre.