Which shows are the ones that folks should definitely hit up? Well, that’s what we’re here for.
It’s that time of year again. The air gets that noticeable chill attached to it; the leaves are turning shades of yellow, orange, and brown; and suddenly you feel the need to wear a hoodie outside. Fall has arrived and when it comes to this post-lockdown era of live music it means that shows are moving inside for the next six months or so.
It also means that you should be fully vaccinated by now or at least be tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis so you can actually enter one of the Boston metro area’s great music venues to check out a show. Now, which shows are the ones that folks should definitely hit up? Well, that’s what we’re here for, and here is a list of musical escapades that no one should miss out on over the next few weeks.
Idles October 12 @ House of Blues 15 Lansdowne Street, Boston
In the Brexit era of the United Kingdom, one of a few acts bringing a resurgence of punk angst is Idles from the city of Bristol. Their third album, Ultra Mono, which came out last year via the New York city label Partisan Records, is one of the best albums of 2020. They also have their fourth installment, Crawler, coming out next month on Nov 12. Be prepared for all the floors of the House of Blues to be in a frenzy when these guys get amplified with a setlist that promises to be chock-full of songs from both the previous record and the one that’s on the way. Also, show up early to see Brooklyn art punks Gustaf bring some weirdness to kick things off.
Start Time: 8pm Ticket $: $30 – $102 Ages: All Ages
John Legend October 17 @ Orpheum Theatre 1 Hamilton Place, Boston
For the past 20 years, there have been very few musicians who’ve had as much of a presence in contemporary R&B as John Legend. He’s one of only a handful who have extended the branch from the style’s glory days of the ’70s and reinvigorated it. You also can’t deny his incredibly smooth and vibrant voice; it’s stunningly captivating, and one can only imagine what it’ll sound like with the Orpheum’s tried-and-true acoustics. It’s going to be awesome seeing him with a full band while having a classic vibe akin to Otis Redding, Al Green, or one of the many other legends that’ll come to mind. I don’t know much about Kirby, who is opening up the show as part of Legend’s Bigger Love Tour, but show up when the doors open to give him a listen.
Start Time: 7:30pm Ticket $: $54.50 – $224.50 Ages: All Ages
Kitner (Album Release Show) October 22 @ O’Brien’s Pub 3 Harvard Avenue, Allston
By the time 2021 ends, you’re probably going to see Kitner’s debut album Shake The Spins on a lot of best of lists around here and in other publications around the world. Led by vocalist and guitarist Conor Maier and guitarist, bassist, and backing vocalist from Boston acts Choke Up and Holiday Music, the band’s lineup is rounded out by Brianne Costa on keyboards, bass, and backing vocals; and Will Buiel on drums. Kitner echoes ’90s emo with a major Desaparecidos-meets-the Get Up Kids vibe while incorporating string instruments and harmonicas. The rest of the lineup for the release of Shake The Spins features bands from all over New England with fellow Bostonians Kind Being, Manchester’s Happy Just to See You and Providence’s Twin Foxes joining in on the fray. It promises to be one of the best underground rock shows you’ll see over the next few months.
Start Time: 9pm Ticket $: $10/advance $12/day of Ages: 21+
Tsunami of Sound October 30 @ Midway Cafe 3496 Washington Street, Jamaica Plain
There’s really nothing like a good old-fashioned matinee rock show, and the folks at TinyOak Booking have one going on the day before Halloween. Surf rockers Tsunami of Sound promise to bring a sonic storm as they headline an extravaganza of riffs. Rounding out the day will be a whole lot of shredding courtesy of the Jonee Earthquake Band, the Ghost Truckers, and GypsyMoths. What else are you going to do on a Saturday afternoon? Hit up a museum? Those places are way too quiet anyway.
Start Time: 3pm Ticket $: $10 Ages: All Ages
JPEGMAFIA November 3 @ Royale 279 Tremont Street, Boston
The world of underground hip-hop always has artists pushing the envelope. We have a few doing this in Boston and it’s happening all over the world, but Baltimore’s JPEGMAFIA is definitely one of a new wave of artists leading the charge. He’s 100% DIY with how he makes his own beats and rhymes while also having a certain authenticity to his craft. He also recently put out the single “HAZARD DUTY PAY!” for free on Oct 1, and it’s a total banger. Will he perform this live when it comes to the Royale? Probably, so come see it live.
Start Time: 8:30pm Ticket $: $25/advance $30/day of Ages: 18+
Turkuaz November 5 @ Big Night Live 110 Causeway Street, Boston
Everyone needs some funk in their life, and one of the best funk acts on the planet is Brooklyn’s Turkuaz. Originally formed at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, this nonet (band with nine members) is a groovy arsenal that makes people dance. They’re a lot of fun to experience live, whether you’re the type who likes to move their feet or the type who just bobs their head to the rhythms. I’m a sucker for any band with a horn section, so that’s why they made the list. Turkuaz is also a band I’ve been hearing about for nearly 10 years, and you have to be really good if you’re going to be the subject of conversation among music fans for that amount of time.
Start Time: 8pm Ticket $: $25 – $54 Ages: All Ages
Wolf Alice November 11 @ Paradise Rock Club 967 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston
One of my favorite albums that’s come out so far this year is Wolf Alice’s third installment, Blue Weekend, which was released back in June. It shows a ton of growth in the collective songwriting within the quartet of guitarist and vocalist Ellie Rowsell, guitarist Joff Oddie, bassist Theo Ellis, and drummer Joel Amey. The London act has seen widespread acclaim with nearly every publication out there calling this the band’s best record so far. It’s going to be awesome seeing them play some of the songs live at the most legendary venue in the city. This is an ideal evening for the alt-rock purists among us.
Start Time: 8pm Ticket $: $25 Ages: 18+
Opeth & Mastodon November 18 @ Wang Theatre 270 Tremont Street, Boston
Let me get this out of my system before I do it inadvertently in the future, but when I hear or read the name Wang Theatre my inner 10-year-old laughs. Your inner 10-year-old does as well, and if they don’t then you’re lying. Located within the Boch Center, the theatre is going to the prime location for two titans of metal. Swedish progressive metal juggernauts Opeth and Atlanta heavy metal badasses Mastodon are going to be bringing the thunder to the Wang, and yes, I wrote this sentence on purpose. I highly suggest showing up early to check out Zeal & Ardor, especially if you think delta blues and black metal is an awesome musical combination.
Start Time: 7pm Ticket $: $39 – $354 Ages: All Ages
Monophonics November 19th @ Brighton Music Hall 158 Brighton Avenue, Allston
Anyone who knows me well knows I love soul music, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that I’m putting a show featuring an act of that particular variety on this list. Coming out of California’s Bay Area, Monophonics have that Motown vibe on lock. Also, keyboardist Kelly Finngan’s voice is extraordinary. It might get frigid by the time they come through Allston, but Monophonics’ music will make you feel warm right when they come through the door. Ghost Funk Orchestra will also be opening up the night so be prepared to get movin’ and groovin’.
Start Time: 8pm Ticket $: $33