Weekend Ideas: September 4, 2014


It’s (almost) all about Boston Calling this weekend, with the most dynamic, varied lineup yet for the three-day music festival on City Hall Plaza – and hard to believe, single-day, two-day and three-day passes remain. Besides such stellar headliners as the National, Lorde, the Replacements, Childish Gambino, Neutral Milk Hotel and Nas with the Roots, there are many rising stars to catch, from locals Lake Street Dive to Future Islands, the War on Drugs, San Fermin and the 1975, seen here at a recent show. And unlike most fests from Lollapalooza to Newport Folk, the back-and-forth twin stages mean continual music without your having to miss a thing – unless you want to leave and come back. Here’s the whole rundown, including the stage schedules.

On any other weekend, Steely Dan at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion would be a big deal on Saturday — and it still is for those who want to bask in the sly, sophisticated songs of Donald Fagan and Walter Becker. Hard to believe that Steely Dan once relegated itself to the studio, given its crack semi-annual runs with a jazzy large ensemble spiced by a horn section, backup singers and drummer Keith Carlock, who’s particularly explosive on this classic.

There are also a handful of notable club shows. Friday boasts North African desert guitarist Bombino at the Sinclair while Handsome Dick Manitoba fronts Dictators NYC at the Middle East Downstairs to keep the punk-rock legacy of his Dictators tenure alive. Texas’ iconoclastic rockers White Denim pull into town a day earlier than their Boston Calling slot to play a Saturday night after-party at the Sinclair (where the Roots’ Questlove DJs on Sunday). And just over the New Hampshire border at the Portsmouth Music Hall, the hip country-folk troubadour M Ward shares his charms on Saturday as part of the theater’s Intimately Yours series.

Finally, for my Thursday Throwdown, I look forward to the return of King Crimson at the Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre on Sept. 15-16 by looking back at Crimson’s last tour before guitarist Robert Fripp (bathed in blue in this full 2008 show) disbanded his evolving prog-rock unit. Not that it’ll be the same this time out. Fripp retained only Pat Mastelotto (as part of a three-drummer lineup that commands the front line onstage) and bassist Tony Levin, while bringing in old Crimson saxman Mel Collins. Expect more than a fair share of instrumental intensity nonetheless.

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