It’s a killer fall weekend that includes the debut of a new multi-venue rock fest in Lowell, two-night stands by electro-rock outfits Nine Inch Nails and Chvrches, the return of a world music superstar, and the local premiere of a documentary on the late owner of rock club Chet’s Last Call that will be followed by live bands.
Lowell-bred promoter Chris Porter – who’s booked Bumbershoot and now the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival on the West Coast in addition to Boston clubs like Once and Mama Kin – brings his hometown into the mix with the Town and the City Festival. Named after a Jack Kerouac book, the event brings more than 50 acts to varied Lowell venues on Friday and Saturday. The inaugural lineup leans heavily to genre-spanning local talent, including Kingsley Flood, Will Dailey, Ed OG (a local hip-hop pioneer), Ali McGuirk, Chris Trapper and Abbie Barrett – and an especially notable Saturday church billing of Kristin Hersh and Damon & Naomi. Here’s the schedule breakdown for the Town and the City Festival.
It was only a matter of time before Trent Reznor resurrected Nine Inch Nails, but the group’s Cold and Black and Infinite Tour drops the layered-screen visuals of past tours for a starkly stripped-down attack, unleashed Friday and Saturday at the Boch Center Wang Theatre – with special guest the Jesus and Mary Chain. English singer/songwriter Michael David Rosenberg, better known by his stage name Passenger, charmed the Newport Folk main-stage crowd this past July with just his voice and guitar – and he returns to play the Paradise Rock Club on Friday.
Scottish electro-pop group Chvrches (pictured), centered by captivating singer Lauren Mayberry, brings its synth-rooted swells to the Orpheum Theatre both Saturday and Sunday, while the popular alternative boy band Brockhampton engages at Agganis Arena on Saturday. And Mayberry doesn’t provide the only fresh burst of female energy this weekend: Saturday brings European pop singer Alice Merton to the Paradise and the growingly bold Mitski to House of Blues, where she’s followed on Sunday by rocking Aussie wordsmith Courtney Barnett.
Sunday also marks the return of Senegal’s longtime musical ambassador Youssou N’Dour (the Afro-pop giant who co-sang Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes”) at the Sinclair, while the Psychedelic Furs – still fronted by Richard Butler and his bass-playing brother Tim – light their way at the Cabot in Beverly. And Sunday’s Arlington premiere of “Chet’s Last Call – a Story of Rock and Redemption” at the Regent Theatre will be followed by live sets from Randy Black and the Heathcroppers, Bim Skala Bim, the Dogmatics and others who played that lovingly seedy, seminal ’80s club once located above Causeway Street near the Garden.