The cheeky title of Superchunk’s What a Time to Be Alive doesn’t mean that things are just peachy with the election of Donald Trump. Quite the opposite. The Trump thing riled up singer/guitarist Mac McCaughan enough to reassemble his seminal North Carolina indie-rock group (pictured) for an amped-up and politically edged new album and tour that hits the Sinclair on Friday. Likewise, Boston rock luminary Juliana Hatfield shared her reproach for Trump on last year’s Pussycat, only to pull an about face with her recent tribute album to Olivia Newton-John. Hatfield and friends should pull from both—along with some of her early ’90s alt-rock hits—when she lands at Somerville’s Once Ballroom in a smart pairing with Abbie Barnett the same night. Friday also brings veteran roots omnivore David Bromberg’s quintet to City Winery and Georgia country-rocker Brent Cobb (brother of hip Americana producer Dave) and his band to Great Scott.
Saturday’s swimming with concert options, from Black Violin (a hip-hop group fronted by classically trained string players) at the Berklee Performance Center to the return of Benin-born, Berklee-groomed guitarist Lionel Loueke’s sublime trio at Scullers Jazz Club. Cowboy Junkies bring their mesmerizing melancholy to Fall River’s Narrows Center for the Arts, while club-goers closer to the jam-band beat might favor the Motet at the Paradise Rock Club or Ghosts of Jupiter at Thunder Road. And the Cabot in Beverly offers an interesting Saturday night, following the documentary film Boys from Nowhere: The Story of Boston’s Garage-Punk Uprising with apt live sets from the Nervous Eaters and Willie Alexander & the Boom-Boom Band.
Boston boasts a wide range of creative musicians and cool listening spaces, but the Boiler House Jazz Series at Waltham’s Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation combines the most unique setting with the most unusual musical pairings. Tucked into the brick, vast-ceilinged boiler room of a former factory, the intimate venue surrounds listeners with artifacts from the industrial revolution as they listen to duos presented by musical curators Ken Field (Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic) and John Bechard (Journeys in Sound). Last month, Club d’elf bassist Mike Rivard and slide-guitar alchemist Dave Tronzo dug into a mesmerizing dialogue there, and expect similar surprises this Sunday when percussionist Maria Finkelmeier teams with saxophonist/poet Tim Hall. Click here for more info.