Weekend Ideas: May 16, 2014


The Afghan Whigs broke through in the ‘90s with hard-edged, soulful and literate alt-rock and broke up in 2001. But the Cincinnati-bred group, led by passionate frontman Greg Dulli, reformed in 2012 and returns to the Paradise Rock Club on Friday, behind its first album in 16 years, the convincing Do to the Beast. Here’s a recent live blast of Afghan Whigs. Another middle-American band with ’90s roots, the Faint took its own recent break before its new Doom Abuse, blowing beyond its danceable synth-rock past with a neo-punk freshness that should keep Royale entertained the same night. Also, catch up with some great local bands (including Kingsley Flood, Spirit Kid, Eddie Japan, Will Dailey and Jesse Dee) at the 2104 HarpoonFest at that Boston waterfront brewery. And for a different take on Friday through Sunday at Harvard Square space Oberon, local singer/songwriter Peter Mulvey and the Crumbling Beauties recast Rain Dogs, the 1985 masterpiece where Tom Waits struck a fine balance between his sensitive lyricism and kitchen-sink abrasion. Here’s Mulvey and the combo performing one of Waits’ best-known songs from that album.

Rain’s likely on Saturday morning, but the afternoon looks clear for Radio 92.9’s 2014 Earthfest at the DCR Hatch Shell on the Esplanade, peaking with an odd combination in Jamaica’s legendary Wailers (yes, once Bob Marley’s backup band) and commercial pop headliner Neon Trees, seen here in concert. Saturday night shows include Canadian indie-rockers Tokyo Police Club stirring up the Sinclair, the electronic-based Metronomy getting groovy at the Paradise, and Swans working extremes between hushed beauty and brute force at Royale; expect to hear expansive Swans workouts like this title track from new album To Be Kind. Finally, for fans up for a road trip (and lucky tickets), Bruce Springsteen closes his spring tour with the E Street Band at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun on Saturday and Sunday. He’s been especially loose with his sets of late, rotating and breaking out songs from throughout his career along with surprising covers, including this Clash gem, which benefits from having Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello along on guitar. And back on the local front Sunday, Atwood’s Tavern in Cambridge serves the spunky rockabilly sounds of Kim Lenz & the Jaguars, sampled live here.

Finally, for a Thursday throwback, the Black Keys are back in the spotlight for their recent “Saturday Night Live” slot, Danger Mouse-tweaked new album Turn Blue and a show coming up at TD Garden on Sept. 21. Here’s the Akron duo back in their more roughshod blues-rock days with a 2003 club show in Austin, Texas.

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