Weekend Ideas: February 20, 2014


Friday’s a big night for Boston-bred sensation Lake Street Dive, which appears on “The Late Show with Dave Letterman” hours after taking the stage at the Sinclair, the first of two advance hometown sellouts with one at Royale to follow on April 6. But things have already been snowballing for the foursome of former New England Conservatory undergrads who blend soul, jazz and pop into a fresh, dynamic attack topped by the soaring vocals of Rachael Price. The group just released its new album Bad Self Portraits in the wake of such coups as 1.4 million YouTube hits for its sidewalk cover of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and a spot at the star-studded Inside Llewyn Davis concert in New York where Lake Street Dive brought the house down with this original.

Speaking of another band with local (sic) roots, Berklee alumnus Ari Picker has stripped his North Carolina outfit Lost in the Trees from an orchestral folk-rock sextet to a dreamy electronic pop quartet for its new album Past Life and plays the Museum of Fine Arts’ Remis Auditorium on Friday. Here’s a taste of the retooled Lost in the Trees in concert. And over at House of Blues the same night, Railroad Earth delivers its hearty, bluegrass-steeped jams for its faithful following.

Saturday offers the Boston debut of Israeli star Asaf Avidan at the Somerville Theatre. The show’s presented by World Music/CRASHarts, but Avidan’s not a “world music” act. He’s a haunting folk-pop artist with an arresting voice that evokes the sound of Nina Simone and Jimmy Scott more than his deep-voiced idol Leonard Cohen. And since singer/guitarist Avidan is performing solo, that voice will get plenty of space as it does on this live rendition of the title track from his album Different Pulses. You can also jump here for my recent interview. Also on Saturday, saxophonist Bill Evans has played with Miles Davis and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, but he’s been blending bluegrass and jazz with his fusion group Soulgrass, which plays the Regattabar the same night, albeit without the couple of cool guests from this clip. Also, the (again) Boston-rooted singer Eilen Jewell weaves her spell at the Sinclair on Saturday.

Parents looking to finish school vacation week with a kid-friendly bang also might want to consider the Boston debut of Circus Oz, an Australian performing troupe that’s invaded the Shubert Theatre through the weekend with a loose, attitudinal mix of juggling, acrobatics, humor and music.

And RIP Bob Casale, the guitarist from Devo who died from heart failure this week. Devo was a one-of-a-kind band that delighted and perplexed from the get-go, evidenced in this week’s throwback concert clip from 1980. I especially love the wacky choreography of “Uncontrollable Urge,” which begins at the 6:16 mark.

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