It’s almost all about Boston Calling this Memorial Day weekend, but there are some other shows of note. Country journeyman Rodney Crowell leads his trio at City Winery on Friday before releasing an acoustic album of his classics, while alt-rock renegade Thalia Zedek teams with fellow noise-savvy guitarist Jason Sanford (Neptune) and drummer Gavin McCarthy in their band called E at Jamaica Plain’s Midway Café. Club d’elf stretches its dub/jazz/Moroccan fusion with slide guitar alchemist David Tronzo and trumpeter Phil Grenadier at the Lizard Lounge the same night, and the Center for the Arts in Natick presents the Security Project, a Peter Gabriel tribute that’s anchored by his ex-drummer Jerry Marotta and includes singer Happy Rhodes and onetime King Crimson touch guitarist Trey Gunn.
Saturday brings contemporary country star Jason Aldean to Mansfield’s Xfinity Center, while rich-voiced singer/songwriter Raul Malo swings by Rockport’s Shalin Liu Performance Center as he winds through northern New England on a solo tour before he hits the road this summer with his alt-country band the Mavericks. “It keeps my repertoire sharp,” Malo told me this week of the shows, which let him dig into his old solo repertoire and covers as well as share stories with the audience. Also on Saturday, singer/fiddler Lillie Mae plays Atwood’s Tavern after playing Boston Calling earlier that day (if not also with mentor Jack White that night).
Ah yes, then there’s Boston Calling, the city’s own major rock festival, taking over the Harvard Athletic Complex fields for the second year. In addition to respective daily headliners the Killers, Jack White (pictured) and Eminem, look for undercard catches that include indie-rocker (Sandy) Alex G and (alas, too early in the evening for psychedelic projections) Portugal. The Man on Friday, the lacerating Oh Sees (later playing an after-show at the Sinclair) and hip-hop mover Tyler the Creator on Saturday, and bass virtuoso Thundercat and cathartic singer/songwriter Julien Baker on Sunday. Click here for my recent interview with Baker and here for the schedule for Boston Calling, which promises more food, fewer lines and broader pathways. Also note: since Stormzy cancelled on Sunday due to illness, Boston rapper Cousin Stizz returns to man that time slot.