Weekend Ideas: November 14, 2014

Bob Dylan hasn’t always pleased in recent years on his never-ending tour, given his ever-weathered mumble and interpretive liberties with classic songs. Yet the word of late is that he’s in better voice, settling into his odd new role as a new-millennial minstrel. Dylan’s been serving two sets heavy on ballad-y originals from the pre-rock stew of country, jazz and blues on 2012’s Tempest and other recent standouts, and even encoring on occasion with Frank Sinatra’s “Stay With Me.” He has Charlie Sexton and Boston’s own Stu Kimball on guitars, eschewing that instrument himself in favor of hands-free vocals when not at an acoustic piano. And he likes the lights down low. So you know what to expect (sort of) when Dylan slips into the Orpheum Theatre on Friday. Here’s a taste.

TV on the Radio hasn’t fully regained its momentum since losing bass player Gerard Smith to cancer in 2011. However, the soulful Brooklyn art-rockers are poised to turn it on again with Seeds, a new album out next week and sounding like one of the band’s best – and most accessible – albums, complemented by a Friday date at the Paradise Rock Club. The same night also sizes up a hearty, textural party at the Sinclair with another Brooklyn band, San Fermin, a chamber-pop outfit assembled by classically trained composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone and sporting co-ed vocalists, horns, strings and percussion. Friday also offers earthy, emotive flamenco vocalist Diego El Cigala in his Boston debut presented by World Music/CRASHarts at the Berklee Performance Center.

Saturday strikes a balance between the light and the dark in a folky vein at the Middle East. Locally bred bluegrass-crossover gals Della Mae, who have toured the actual Middle East, promise to preview the follow-up to last year’s Grammy-nominated gem This World Oft Can Be in the club’s larger downstairs room, with Kristin Andreassen (ex-Uncle Earl) joining the bill. Upstairs, also with New England connections, there’s a dark yet joyful, folk-rocking mashup with O Death, Death Vessel and Tigerman WOAH, particularly joyful in the stage resurrection of O Death from the Oct. 30 theft of its van, equipment and merchandise in LA. The band has raised $26,000 in donations through a GoFundMe campaign, though some of its original instruments are irreplaceable. And both Saturday and Sunday at House of Blues, snazzy LA popsters Fitz & the Tantrums ride their successful evolution from retro-soul similar to the Dap-Kings to new-wave dance rock closer to Hall & Oates.

Sunday, in fact, offers the weekend’s busiest, most diverse batch of concerts. British guitar icon Johnny Marr steps up to the mic with his band at the Paradise Rock Club, dipping into songs from his days in the Smiths as well as recent solo albums. Midwest-born, New England-bred and Nashville-based, singer-songwriter Joe Fletcher brings his wry, lyrical storytelling to Atwood’s Tavern. A quartet of siblings, breaking dance-pop band Echosmith packs the Middle East Downstairs in the wake of the group’s smash single “Cool Kids.” Back to the World Music front, veteran Brazilian star Milton Nascimento brings his venerable charms to Berklee, possibly to pick up the accordion as well as his guitar with his band. And jazz guitarist/composer Pat Metheny takes another spin through the area, appearing at Worcester’s Hanover Theatre with his adventurous electro-acoustic Unity Group that includes saxman Chris Potter, picking up some repertoire from the original Pat Metheny Group.

Finally, for my Thursday Throwback, with Neil Young celebrating his 69th birthday this week, here’s Young in a full British TV concert from 1971.

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