They call him the Modfather, though Paul Weller (pictured) remains a musical chameleon. When the 59-year-old English rocker hits House of Blues on Friday, expect him to play a nugget or two from both his ’70s punk/mod revival trio the Jam and his ’80s blue-eyed soul outfit the Style Council. But he’ll also draw from several fine solo albums that range from Winwood-esque roots rock to scrappy glam-rock. He’ll play electric and acoustic, switch from guitar to piano, and has another rocking band that includes Ocean Colour Scene guitarist Steve Cradock.
Of course that’s just one piece in a bustling Columbus Day Weekend for concert activity. Friday also includes the New Jersey-born pop singer Halsey climbing the neon stairs to fame at TD Garden and the North Carolina Americana/folk combo Mandolin Orange at Royale. And don’t forget the annual weekend-long Honk! festival, which kicks off Friday at Once Ballroom (free) before its activist street bands from both near (Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band) and far (San Francisco’s Brass Liberation Orchestra) take over Davis Square on Saturday and march to Harvard Square on Sunday. Access the entire Honk! schedule here.
Another annual event, the John Coltrane Memorial Concert at Northeastern, celebrates its 40th anniversary with a week of events capped by its ensemble concert (with a 20-piece lineup including Carl Atkins, Leonard Brown, Bill Lowe, Stan Strickland and John Lockwood) on Friday and mighty Coltrane collaborator Pharoah Sanders’ quartet (with William Henderson, Nat Reeves and Johnathan Blake) on Saturday, both at Northeastern’s Blackman Auditorium.
Saturday’s also hopping with the eclectic soul-funk of Chicano Batman at the Paradise Rock Club (jump here to my recent interview), the return of electronic rockers Front 242 to Brighton Music Hall and the Canadian indie-rock collective Broken Social Scene to House of Blues, and the levity of eccentric British pop-rockers Glass Animals at Agganis Arena. But the weekend’s biggest arena action comes in the sharp choreography of the multi-talented pop sparkplug Bruno Mars, who brings his uptown funk to TD Garden both Saturday and Sunday.
Start your Sunday with a Ballroom Blitz! — a rockin’ flea market with Petty Morals, Lady Pills and Muck & the Mires in the late afternoon. Then celebrate the guitar that night with the interpretative jazz supergroup Hudson (featuring guitarist John Scofield, keyboardist John Medeski, bassist Larry Grenadier and drumming icon Jack DeJohnette) at the Berklee Performance Center, while ex-Bostonian axe wizard Reeves Gabrels (the Cure, David Bowie) brings his Imaginary Friends to Framingham’s Amazing Things Arts Center, starting a run of area dates that includes the Middle East Upstairs on Oct. 18. Transcendent folk-rockers Strand of Oaks play the Sinclair on Sunday as well. But since it’s a long weekend, don’t forget that dark synth-pop purveyors Future Islands (fronted by the wildly charismatic Samuel Herring) invade the Orpheum Theatre on Monday.