A diverse world of concert options this weekend. People were buzzing when Bruce Springsteen opened his recent New Zealand shows with a solo acoustic cover of “Royals,” including the honored Lorde. Now the ballyhooed young pop princess is out on her own hot tour, gracing the Orpheum Theatre on Friday. And even with those pre-recorded backup vocals that she uses live, you gotta give Lorde credit for maintaining a minimalist sound and mood that that keeps the focus on her shy self. It’ll only get harder to pull off as the excited crowds swell.
Jazz expands in complex directions with three Friday night choices. In his first local concert since joining the Harvard faculty, critically acclaimed pianist/composer Vijay Iyer plays a Celebrity Series concert at Sanders Theatre, both in duet with U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinksky in a set called POEMJAZZ and in a second half with his acclaimed trio with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore, seen here. The snappy fusion collective Snarky Puppy comes to the Berklee Performance Center — I expect a scaled-down edition from this smoking recent live session, but who knows how many Puppies gravitate to Berklee! And at the Lizard Lounge, Club d’elf continues to blur the lines of jazz, dub, groove-rock and Moroccan music with a lean, mean cast that includes Cuban trumpeter Yaure Muniz and experimental slide guitarist Dave Tronzo, a virtuoso who can manipulate his strings with various objects (seen here in a past Club d’Elf showdown that included keyboardist John Medeski).
Rock-wise, this is also the weekend leading into St. Patrick’s Day, so you can count on the Celtic-rooted Dropkick Murphys to fire up the House of Blues Friday through Sunday – and who knows what weird covers the Dropkicks might toss in, based on this free-for-all finale! On Saturday, the Middle East Downstairs picks up the annual Reykjavik Calling concert, this year mixing Icelandic bands Retro Stefson, Sin Fang and Hermifervill with Boston groups the Love Experiment and Skinny Bones. And it’s free with an RSVP on the Middle East website. But the weekend’s most exotic offering might be the local debut of Lo’ Jo in a World Music/CRASHarts booking at Johnny D’s Uptown on Saturday. A French sextet that co-founded the annual Festival in the Desert of northern Mali, Lo’ Jo transforms chansons with pop, reggae, jazz, funk, cabaret, klezmer, Roma and West African styles. Here’s a recent taste of Lo’ Jo in concert.
Finally, for my Thursday Throwback, while drummer Billy Cobham took a more swinging, traditional jazz route with Ron Carter and Donald Harrison tonight at the Regattabar, here’s what made Cobham a legend: check out his scorching drums/guitar showdown with John McLaughlin that dominates this 1972 clip of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Now that’s fusion overload.