Weekend Ideas: January 23, 2015


An eclectic spread of rock, jazz and country this week. First, Garth Brooks dipped his toes back in the water at Las Vegas, now he’s returned from retirement to hit the road. He’s in Boston for the first time in more than 17 years, rounding out a four-night stand at TD Garden with two shows on both Friday and Saturday and another on Sunday. And Brooks must enjoy the chance to share the bill with his singer-wife Trisha Yearwood. On another front, ArtsEmerson dips into a double night of localized rock at the Paramount’s Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre. Rootsy rabble-rousers Tigerman WOAH and the atmospheric Faces on Film take over the intimate downtown stage, followed by psych-folk charmers Quilt and loop-savvy soloist Julia Easterlin on Saturday. All great artists casting uniquely textured spells in a fresh, welcome setting.

On the other hand, jazz artists who are pushing the sonic parameters of their craft dominate this weekend’s landscape. That’s clearly what Bill Frisell does, making his distinctly processed electric guitar swell, sigh and sting across genres. On his cozy new Guitar in the Space Age and tour that includes two Friday shows at Scullers Jazz Club, the Berklee graduate takes a rubbery ride through surf, pop and folk chestnuts of the ’50s and ’60s with empathetic pedal-steel ace Greg Leisz, bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen. Even more adventurous in terms of covering classic material, the Bad Plus (pianist Ellen Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer David King) tackles free-jazz renegade Ornette Coleman’s 1972 landmark Science Fiction on Saturday at the Berklee Performance Center. In that quest, the trio will be augmented by Tim Berne, Ron Miles and Sam Newsome on horns (as pictured above).

Back to rock – and the covering of an entire album, the Tragically Hip revisits its 1992 favorite Fully Completely in the course of the Canadian band’s Saturday show at House of Blues. New Orleans’ iconoclastic roots-rockers the Iguanas blend R&B and Tex-Mex with Cajun and zydeco in an early show at Johnny D’s Uptown the same night. And it’s also a busy week for New Hampshire-bred singer Laurie Sargent. She and drummer Billy Conway recently lost their Montana farm house to fire (there’s a crowdfunding campaign to replace lost items and defray rebuilding costs). She’s spending this weekend at Club Passim, opening for Kris Delmhorst on Friday and Saturday and Caitlin Canty on Sunday before Sargent hits the Lizard Lounge on Thursday to perform Carole King’s Tapestry, another classic album given an unexpected reading.

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