Weekend Ideas: September 23, 2016

Music and beer at City Hall Plaza, Tom Jones, Berklee Beantown Jazz Fest and more.


A bustling jazz block party, a rocking beer fest and a sassy pop-star homecoming all highlight this first weekend of fall. Friday also includes the option to catch Welch pop icon Tom Jones warm up his sonorous voice (if not his swiveling hips) at the Orpheum Theatre on Friday. Not far away, the Copenhagen Beer & Music Festival kicks off the same night on City Hall Plaza with New Jersey indie-rock veterans Yo La Tengo, eclectic Montreal folk-rockers the Barr Brothers (featuring Brad and Andrew Barr, once of Rhode Island’s the Slip) and Boston’s angular rock upstarts Vundabar. And on the jazz front, guitarist John Scofield recasts classic country tunes with his Country for Old Men project (featuring bassist Steve Swallow, drummer Bill Stewart and organist Larry Gouldings) at the Berklee Performance Center on Friday to kick off the Beantown Jazz Festival.

Berklee’s Beantown jazz fest truly peaks on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. along Columbus Avenue in the South End with a free multi-stage outdoor bash including seven-time Grammy Award-winning vocalist Al Jarreau, drummer Billy Hart and his trio with bassist Ben Street and the Bad Plus pianist Ethan Iverson, a cappella group Pitch Slapped, pianist Laszlo Gardony’s sextet and many others. And the Copenhagen beer fest continues on City Hall Plaza with two Saturday sessions balanced by headliners Mariachi El Bronx and Lucero—you can jump to my recent interview with Lucero frontman Ben Nichols here as well.

Nantucket-bred pop star Meghan Trainor finishes her first big tour behind her Grammy Award for Best New Artist at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion on Saturday and Sunday with a hand from Katy Perry and Pink’s creative director, while eclectic Belgian pop singer Selah Sue performs at the Brighton Music Hall on Saturday. And Sunday includes three events of note. The Concert Across America to End Handgun Violence presents a particularly strong cast at the Brighton Music Hall with Marissa Nadler, Bill Janovitz with Tanya Donelly and Mike Gent, Vapors of Morphine and Hallelujah the Hills. Swedish indie-pop group Peter Bjorn and John, best known for their whistle-happy 2006 hit “Young Folks,” rolls into Royale. And the percussive bhangra group the Dhol Foundation shakes the Sinclair.

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