Weekend Music Ideas: April 21, 2017

Rock & Roll Rumble Finals, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Juliana Hatfield and more.


All comes down to tonight in the 2017 Rock and Roll Rumble at Somerville’s Once Ballroom, as the last three bands standing from an original field of 24 throw down for the crown. And of course, they’re quite different from each other. Wild card Hey Zeus has a good shot as the most showy, flogging sleazy hard rock that falls between Motorhead and Soundgarden with tribal asides, all delivered before an illuminated cross plucked from the trash and a near-gratuitous gong. The Rupert Selection already edged out Hey Zeus once in the semifinals with its deceptively pithy three-piece mash, which manages to echo both Nirvana and Helmet with its inwardly thick guitar sonics and outwardly kinetic drumming shifts. And Carissa Johnson pulls the last slot of the competition, showcasing the singer/bassist’s tuneful, punk-steeped songcraft and her own spunky, driving trio, which also knows how to tear up the stage. For the cherry on top, 2007 Rumble winners Township also rock a guest set while the judges deliberate over the 2017 victor. Here’s a rundown of set times and other info for Friday’s shebang.

It can be difficult for a jazz vocalists to raise a mainstream profile these days, particularly when history boasts such lofty luminaries as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. But Cecile McLorin Salvant (pictured) has quietly surged to the challenge with frisky, virtuosic elegance, which will be on display when she sings Saturday at Sculler Jazz Club with New Orleans pianist Sullivan Fortner. There’s a reason that her album For One to Love won a Grammy last year.

Pop-rockers Aimee Mann and Juliana Hatfield both began their solo careers here in the ’90s and both wind back to town on Sunday behind distinctive new albums. West Coast resident Mann plays the Wilbur Theatre after reaching another high-water mark with her melancholy introspection on Mental Illness. Hatfield pulls no punches on her spontaneously recorded curve ball Pussycat, its anger over the election of Trump bound to bubble over into her show at the Sinclair.

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