Weekend Music Ideas: October 20, 2017

Queens of the Stone Age, Benjamin Booker, Guns N' Roses and more


Benjamin Booker’s eponymous 2014 debut was a modest punk-blues revelation that didn’t always translate as well onstage, where the Southern upstart could veer into shambolic simplicity. But he’s slowed down and smoothed out those edges on his new album Witness, adopting more classic soul icing that doesn’t require him to bang a guitar. We’ll see how it plays out at the Sinclair on Friday. Another option on the same night: Montreal indie-rockers Wolf Parade, whose solid Boston Calling set was largely overlooked at that festival, howl at Royale.

Saturday’s main event would be Queens of the Stone Age (pictured), storming the big stage of Agganis Arena. QOTSA may be injecting a touch more synthesizer to go with the brash experimentation of its Mark Ronson-produced new Villains, but you can also count on Josh Homme’s crew to rock in down and dirty fashion. At the other end of the spectrum, you can get hushed with singer Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions at Royale; don’t expect to hear any nuggets from her former group Mazzy Star, just a similar vein of lush, spectral, low-light hypnosis.

Saturday also brings modern Philly-based R&B stylist Son Little – who like Benjamin Booker, has collaborated with Mavis Staples — to the Sinclair. And the married pair of local singer/songwriters Kris Delmhorst and Jeffrey Foucault tag team at Once Ballroom to showcase her haunting new The Wild as well as his material for an upcoming album. Jump here to my interview with Delmhorst.

On Sunday, the reunited classic lineup of Guns N’ Roses (at least Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan) take a victory lap at TD Garden on Sunday. Hopefully they won’t be running late so they’ll have time to squeeze in 30-plus songs, lately including covers by the likes of the Who and Soundgarden alongside original rockers “Sweet Child O Mine” and “Welcome to the Jungle.”

Different strings engage when singer/fiddler Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards, which includes cellist Valerie Thompson (Goli, Fluttr Effect), take over A.R.T.’s intimate Oberon space in Harvard Square. And also on Sunday, in conjunction with luthier Steve Klein’s exhibit “Breaking the Mold: 50 Years of Innovation in the Art of Guitar Building” and a day-long symposium at Concord’s Umbrella Community Arts Center, impressionistic master Bill Frisell will perform a nighttime concert with his longtime drummer Kenny Wollesen.

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