Weekend Music Ideas: May 4, 2018

Lake Street Dive, Breeders, Vijay Iyer, Brandi Carlile, Utopia and more


Take your pick from a full plate of live music this weekend, with a particularly diverse, crowded Friday slate. The Boston-bred combo Lake Street Dive expands its infectious brand of pop, soul and jazz on new album Free Yourself Up and adds touring keyboardist Akie Bermiss to fill out possibilities at the Sinclair before a round of summer festival dates. The classic lineup of the Breeders — led by ex-Pixies outlier Kim Deal and her sister Kelley — makes another splash at House of Blues behind new album All Nerve (and yes, it would be fun if onetime member Tanya Donelly returns for a cameo).  Rounding out local connections on Friday, Grammy-nominated pianist/composer and Harvard professor Vijay Iyer and his trio with new bassist Nick Dunston and crack drummer Tyshawn Sorey finish a two-night stand at the Regattabar.

Friday options keep on rolling. Acclaimed Canadian folk veteran and queer icon Ferron shares her songcraft at City Winery. Virtuosic Brooklyn guitarist/vocalist Steve Gunn returns to Somerville’s Arts at the Armory. Nashville-based soul singer Nicole Atkins pushes aside her alcohol-fueled past and finds her true voice on new album Goodnight Rhonda Lee and a show at Middle East room Sonia, while Everyone Orchestra jams Downstairs at the Middle East, with leader Matt Butler conducting a crew with guitarists Al Schnier (moe.) and John Kadlecik (Further) and drummer Michael Travis (String Cheese Incident). And dynamic Americana singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile graces the Orpheum both Friday and Saturday behind her new album By the Way, I Forgive You.

On Saturday, slyly insightful and soulful British rocker Graham Parker holds court solo at City Winery. Pianist Nik Bartsch’s Ronin achieves a hypnotic minimalist groove on Awase — the Swiss jazz group’s first release in six years, named after a martial-arts term for “moving together” — and a show at Berklee’s Café 939 that same night. And hard-grooving instrumental combo Tauk return to Brighton Music Hall on Saturday before moving on to a bigger stage at Boston Calling later this month.

Sunday proves just as intriguing. Photographer Kelly Davidson documents local music families in her new exhibit “Rock Parents” at Somerville’s Once Lounge, celebrated with a free early-evening event that includes performances by John Powhida International Airport and Walker Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys. The charming, distinctive Texas-born singer Kat Edmonson performs at City Winery and the eccentric New York dance combo Brazilian Girls hits Brighton Music Hall.

However, the weekend’s biggest reunion comes from Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, Sunday at the Orpheum Theater. The famed singer/producer gets to shred guitar and share vocals with former bandmates in bassist Kasim Sultan and drummer Willie Wilcox (in addition to touring keyboardist Gil Assayas). It’s been 30-plus years, so don’t expect Rundgren to climb a pyramid like he did back in the day at the Orpheum. But fans can still expect some visual eye candy across two sets splitting the ’70s-born band’s early prog-rock era and later pop-rock exploits.

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