Weekend Music Ideas: July 20, 2018

Joe Russo's Almost Dead, Eagles, Foo Fighters, Janelle Monae and more


The weekend kicks in with more glorious weather to go truckin’ down to the harborside Blue Hills Bank Pavilion on Friday to soak in songs from the Grateful Dead songbook. Just don’t expect a nostalgic Dead cover band in Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, which refashions Dead tunes through creative improvisation with an edge and attitude that puts JRAD on a plane to rival any of the jam-bands on today’s circuit. Meanwhile, Old 97s frontman Rhett Miller revs up his following with a solo show at City Winery, while the recast Eagles keep flying the flag with Vince Gill and the late Glenn Frey’s son Deacon aboard at TD Garden the same night.

Speaking of artists with a Dead dalliance, Saturday afternoon offers a drive out to Webster’s lakeside Indian Ranch to catch Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers and Los Lobos, while the evening presents heavyweight options. Foo Fighters kick off their two-night stand at Fenway Park, where Dave Grohl (not tied to a throne as he was there with a broken leg in 2015) leads the troops in streamlined, energy-wound rock anthems and covers aimed to bring the best out of the crowd. And acclaimed singer/actress/activist Janelle Monae nods to Prince in presenting her artful brand of mysterious and charismatic pop-R&B behind her liberating new album Dirty Computer at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion. And speaking of a liberated crew, Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys delve into their dark, playful musical circus at Once in Somerville on Saturday.

Sunday’s worth a short road trip as Michael Franti and Spearhead (who just headlined last weekend’s Green River Festival) spread their good vibes at the South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset, while the wonderful jazz singer Dianne Reeves makes the scene at Rockport’s sublime Shalin Liu Performance Center.

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