Weekend Ideas: December 5, 2014


Best known as the red-haired captain of Vermont jam-kings Phish, guitarist/singer Trey Anastasio also regularly sets sail with his own band, a groove machine that’s expanded from a trio to group with horn section over the past 15 years. The Trey Anastasio Band opens a two-night stand at the Orpheum Theatre on Friday with a repertoire of shared Phish tunes as well as its own covers and originals, including a taste of upcoming album Paper Wheels and TAB standards like this. In a similar vein for an after-show, the funky Berklee-spawned, Brooklyn based ensemble Turkuaz lets loose at the Middle East Downstairs. Trombone Shorty also wraps up a two-night visit to House of Blues with his funky, high-powered New Orleans rock fusion. And over at Great Scott, Northampton’s noisy indie-rock upstarts Speedy Ortiz open a residency of three consecutive Friday nights.

Saturday brings charismatic, crowd-pleasing English rockers the 1975 to House of Blues with a sleek, dark but dance-y mashup that more closely echoes the decade after the band’s name. North Shore soul-rockers the Ross Livermore Band, on a recent tear to release a video a month like this one, plays Great Scott the same night. And the short-lived if somewhat legendary ’70s Cleveland art-punk combo X_X (pronounced Ex-Blank-Ex), which was recently profiled in the Sunday New York Times, has regrouped behind founder John Morton for a limited tour that slips into the Midway Café in Jamaica Plain on Saturday. Morton, formerly of proto-punks the Electric Eels, tends to balance the weird and the abrasive, at times manipulating a theremin as well as throttling a guitar.

Sunday brings the certainly legendary Cat Stevens (now named Yusef Islam) to the Citi Wang Center to Boston for the first time since the ’70s troubadour known for songs like “Wild World,” “Peace Train” and “Father & Son” converted to Islam and left the secular music business. On his short American tour, with paperless tickets to cut down on scalpers, Islam/Stevens has been performing his hits (which also include this one) as well as a chunk of his bluesy new album Tell ’Em I’m Gone. The same night, fans of both jazz and jam-bands can celebrate the reunion of Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood at House of Blues. It’s a chance for guitarist John Scofield to mesh fun, gnarly grooves with MMW, a group that has its own avant-jazz roots at New England Conservatory. Here’s MSMW performing a track from its new album Juice, a more accessible effort from the all-star improvisers.

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