Weekend Music Ideas: November 16, 2018

Letters to Cleo, Tash Sultana, Jim James, Lake Street Dive and more.


It’s almost a Thanksgiving for Letters to Cleo. The ’90s Boston alt-rockers have made the Paradise Rock Club a welcome annual reunion stop – as the matured band rocks that much harder and tighter and frontwoman Kay Hanley’s grown into an impressive vocalist with power and clarity in the here and now. Drummer Stacy Jones also performs double duty when his band American Hi-Fi opens at the ’Dise on Friday and Saturday. Diehard Cleo fans can even buy a two-day pass.

Friday night’s for Deadheads and other jam-band fans as well. Bob Weir returns to the Boch Center Wang Theatre to cap a two-night stand, floating (mainly) Grateful Dead chestnuts and tunes from his other projects with stripped-down combo the Wolf Bros., comprised of acoustic bassist Don Was and drummer Jay Lane. But surprise guests have showed up along the tour, with My Morning Jacket associate Jim James making the most sense for Weir’s Thursday show before James moves across the street to the Shubert Theatre for his own solo acoustic show on Friday. Guitarist/singer Tom Hamilton – who happened to be Weir’s guest in Philly – also hits town on Friday with fast-sparking new jam-band Ghost Light at Brighton Music Hall. Jump here for my recent chat with Ghost Light keyboardist Holly Bowling.

Aussie singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tash Sultana brings her one-woman show to House of Blues on Friday, while eccentric English singer/guitarist Robyn Hitchcock alights at City Winery (with eclectic local bluesman Ryan Lee Crosby in the Winery’s Haymarket Lounge). Also with history from across the pond, producer Alan Parsons first claimed fame by engineering Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, before the prog-pop Alan Parsons Project cracked the Top 40 at the dawn of the ’80s – and the band plays Medford’s Chavalier Theatre on Friday. And as if Boston’s theater district isn’t busy enough on Friday, blues-soul veteran Boz Scaggs brings his lowdown to the Wilbur Theatre, while rising South African-born singer/songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov plays the first of two nights at Royale.

Saturday continues the weekend’s wild cornucopia of sound with Boston-bred sensations Lake Street Dive at the Wang Theatre as well as onetime Lizard Lounge compatriot Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles at Atwood’s Tavern. Banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck, tabla master Zakir Hussain and bass ace Edgar Meyer also bring their cross-cultural collaboration to a Celebrity Series concert at Sanders Theatre the same night. And blues-soul upstarts the Marcus King Band hit the Sinclair for the first of two nights on Sunday. Here’s my recent chat with guitar prodigy King.

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