Welcome to November’s best spread of shows. First up, rock fans who lament the retirement of both Midnight Oil and R.E.M. and haven’t seen The Tragically Hip should enjoy themselves at House of Blues on Friday. They’ll probably be in the company of excited Canadians who cross the border to catch that veteran quintet in smaller halls than in their mutual homeland. Fronted by Gord Downie, who’s equally enigmatic in his lyrics and stage movements, the Hip just released a typically solid new album, Now For Plan A, as the band amazingly approaches its 30th year as an intact unit. Here’s one of my favorite Hip songs live from a few years back: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6emctNoSONI&list=UUJlTNV-9HgE8ihg-Ghd0ZbA&index=13&feature=plpp_video.
Tame Impala won’t remain an unknown species in the mainstream for long. The groovy Australian psych-rockers led by Kevin Parker are becoming a hot commodity in this country with an advance Friday sellout at Royale: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmtHUWnifa4&feature=relmfu. And speaking of psych-rock, Texas pioneer Roky Erickson, who can boast a mind-blowing backstory of drug imprisonment and mental illness, made a stellar comeback with 2010’s True Love Cast Out All Evil, backed by the band Okkervil River. The scraggly singer/guitarist and his hearty touring band return to rock an intimate early set at T.T. the Bear’s Place: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBZFP0qLOjs&feature=related. Local Irish expatriate Christian McNeill and his soul-rock review Sea Monsters also open a two-night stand at Precinct on Friday. They’re toasting their long-overdue Everything’s Up For Grabs, which exceeds expectations, fleshing out McNeill’s songs (led by the dynamite “Zero”) with a cast including Duke Levine, Lyle Brewer, Jesse Dee, Tim Gearan and Nicole Nelson, who recently shined on “The Voice.” Here’s a glimpse of some Sea Monsters action from a performance at Q Division studio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyXRsyNUhdY&feature=relmfu.
But the weekend’s hometown highlight remains Human Sexual Response, playing Boston for the first time in nearly 25 years at House of Blues on Saturday. The playfully provocative art-punk septet (with four singers, three musicians) turned this town on its ear before breaking up in 1982. Members moved on to other projects (the Zulus, Sugar and Frank Black) and moved around the country. But they’re back to celebrate a new live DVD that should be available at this rare reunion. Here’s a song from that 1982 concert shoot http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swXqa_jkfvs and you can hop to my recent feature on the Humans here: http://www.improper.com/going-out/aroused-again/. Alas, you’re not about to see Pink Floyd reunite, but you might experience the next best thing when the Australian Pink Floyd plays Saturday at the Citi Wang Center and Sunday at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H. I’m not keen on tribute bands, but when you’re invited to play Floyd guitarist David Gilmour’s 50th birthday party and present a light show to rival that of your models, you’re liable to make fans happy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktPsFI9Noqw.
Sunday offers a couple of other great options. Singer/rapper Lauren Hill has been absent or erratic in the decade-plus since her fame with Fugees and her wondrous solo debut The Miseducation of Lauren Hill. But she’s back in action of late (if not quite at the top of her game), and her appearance with firebrand rapper Nas at House of Blues offers a two-for-one payoff. The two headliners are also likely to team up as they have along the way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7EN9oOP7os. And haunting indie-rocker Sharon Van Etten makes a welcome return to the Paradise Rock Club in support of her album Tramp: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVA2CsM4R44.