Lainey Schooltree spent four years incubating Heterotopia, a double-album rock opera about a character who loses her body in a shadowy parallel world called Otherspace. And concert-goers can lose themselves when the local singer/pianist and her band perform the whole thing at Harvard Square’s A.R.T. cabaret/theater stage Oberon on Friday with 3-D light sculptures complementing the prog-rock.
Other Friday highlights include the soulful roots-rock singer Amy Helm closing out her Lizard Lounge residency, the Berklee Global Jazz Institute 2017 Summit (with a band including Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano and Terri Lyne Carrington) honoring Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Ella Fitzgerald at the Berklee Performance Center, alt-folk rocker Thao Nguyen of the Get Down Stay Down performing solo at the Sinclair, and the long-anticipated opening of Sonia—the Middle East’s new 320-capacity room in the former space of T.T. the Bear’s Place—with Doom Lover, Creaturos and others.
Synth-iced ambient R&B-rockers Radclyffe Hall have largely moved their focus to New York during the past year, but return to Great Scott on Saturday. But Sunday bookends the weekend with more choices from three excellent concerts and the start of an annual Boston rock tradition that presents the best of the local scene.
Oddly named Australian outfit King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard roll into Royale like a surging freight train, serving psychedelic rock at tempos sometimes more akin to speed-metal and with textures from hypnotic guitars and double drums. Sunday also offers the cerebral solo musings of piano savant Brad Mehldau in a World Music/CRASHarts program at Berklee, while offbeat heavy-rockers Pile return to their local stomping grounds with a choice date at the Sinclair. And Sunday’s the first night of the preliminaries in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble, which takes over Once Ballroom next week. Here’s the schedule for the 24 bands.