The Phoenix Reporter and Item (http://www.phoenixvillenews.com)

CONCERT HIGHLIGHTS: Bully, Tiësto and The Contenders among next week’s best bets


By Michael Christopher, For Digital First Media

Friday, November 10, 2017

Welcome to “Seven in Seven,” where each Friday we take a look at shows coming to the region over the next week. Whether your musical tastes are rock and roll, jazz, heavy metal, singer-songwriter or indie, there’ll always be something to check out in the coming days.

Here are seven of the best for the week beginning November 12:

The Contenders – November 12 at World Café Live - Upstairs

The legendary Levon Helm said that if you give it good concentration, good energy, good heart, and good performance, the song will play you. If that’s true, then Jay Nash and Josh Day are well and truly played by the set of songs, evident on their latest LP, Laughing with the Reckless, which came out at the beginning of the month. The collection breathes with musicality and grit in the tradition of heroes like The Band, Tom Petty, The Dead and Bob Dylan. Thrumming and heady, with a steady heartbeat and a hint of honky-tonk, the music of the Contenders speaks of wanderers and highways, lovers and losers, good times and missed chances.

Tiësto – November 12 at Sands Bethlehem Event Center

World renowned DJ Tiësto is a name that no longer needs an introduction. He is synonymous with the best of electronic music, and continues to inspire a generation of up-and-coming young artists. After conquering the house and trance worlds, as a superstar producer he led the charge in helping electronic music crossover into the mainstream with his 2014 album, A Town Called Paradise. At this point in his career, Tiësto has toured the world countless times, performing for millions at Ultra, Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival and other festivals, in addition to the innumerable clubs that he headlines.

Janet Jackson – November 13 at The Wells Fargo Center

The most talented of the Jacksons not named Michael, Janet Jackson managed to carve out her own identity as the ‘80s wore on, specifically with the albums Control (1986) and Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989). The latter had a staggering eight singles released, including the massive hits “Black Cat,” “Miss You Much” and “Love Will Never Do (Without You).” Her popularity waned slightly, due in no small part to the Super Bowl controversy in 2004, but Jackson has been able to rise above, reinventing herself with a more socially conscious set of ideals in recent years.

Bully – November 14 at First Unitarian Church

Indie alt-rock outfit Bully have gone through a lot of changes since their debut, Feels Like, which came out in 2015. That shift, which comes with a new record label and a wealth of experiences from touring nonstop, is reflected in their latest album, Losing, which came out in late October. Punctuated by frontwoman Alicia Bognanno’s distinctive delivery, which cane veer from piercing to melancholy, it’s a dozen songs representing the growth of a band who will be a force for many years to come.

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real – November 14 at Union Transfer

Since forming a decade ago, the buzz surrounding Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real has been quietly intensifying. During that time, the young singer/songwriter/guitarist and his bandmates have played relentlessly and built a devoted underground following. Nelson’s profile continued to rise when he contributed three songs and heavenly vocals to his dad Willie Nelson’s 2012 album, Heroes, their voices blending with an already potent DNA. More recently, things took another turn skyward when Neil Young decided to make Promise of the Real his touring and studio band. Young has guided the musicians ever since as they’ve backed the legend on tour around the world and on his two most recent albums. Now fans are getting the chance to see them in much more intimate settings, like Union Transfer.

The Ballroom Thieves – November 17 at Johnny Brenda’s

Boston act The Ballroom Thieves have made some pretty decent inroads in the world of music since forming in their dorm room back in 2010. Stylistically, the trio finds a captivating blend of acoustic styles, blending folk conventions with modern hymnals, delta blues grit with rich harmonies, exploring the basic constructions of pop music while almost wholeheartedly rejecting its restrictions at the same time. Rough times have helped them explore the darker corners of their sound – which is why they chose to forgo the standard label release cycle to put out last year’s Deadeye by themselves. Sharing it provided exposure therapy, letting their fans pay witness to these hardships and the resulting creative evolution while simultaneously helping the band move on from rough times.

The Revivalists – November 17 at The Fillmore

In rock ‘n’ roll, you’ve got to walk the well-trodden path of the genre’s forefathers one step at a time. Each gig under your belt makes for another fan, while every record serves as the next totem for your legacy. It’s a proverbial rite of passage, and there’s no skipping to the end. New Orleans seven-piece The Revivalists didn’t take any shortcuts. Their roots-driven rock sound logged countless miles on the road, cultivating a high octane live show and a studio presence equally steeped in instrumental virtuosity and charismatic vocal magnetism.

Soundcheck

Listen to these tunes:

The Contenders – “Lincoln, 1958”

Tiësto – “BOOM”

Janet Jackson – “Black Cat”

Bully – “Feel the Same”

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real – “Find Yourself”

The Ballroom Thieves – “Sea Legs”

The Revivalists – “Wish I Knew You”