CONCERT HIGHLIGHTS: Ed Sheeran, Dispatch, James Taylor among next week’s best bets

Ed Sheeran will be in town July 11 and 12 for performances at Wells Fargo Center.

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 July 9:

Dispatch – July 9 at the Skyline Stage at the Mann Center for Performing Arts

Heralded as one of the biggest independent rock bands in history, indie folk act Dispatch hit a major career milestone in 2004 when they played an outdoor concert in Boston that drew over 110,000 people and were dubbed by Rolling Stone magazine as the hosts of the largest independent music event ever. Three years later, the band continued to impress fans and critics alike with three consecutive shows at New York City’s Madison Square Garden and as of 2011 have reunited for good. Last month saw the release of their sixth album – and first in five years – America, Location 12.

James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt – July 9 at Wells Fargo Center

James Taylor’s music embodies the art of songwriting in its most personal and universal forms. Bonnie Raitt is a respected guitarist, expressive singer, and accomplished songwriter, a veritable institution in American music. It only makes sense then that the two would be a perfect fit in concert, with a litany of hits between them and a similar audience.

Now, Now – July 10 at Boot & Saddle

With the release of their new song “SGL,” indie pop act Now, Now emerge from a transformative and transitional few years since their last shows played in support of their 2012 sophomore album Threads. Much has changed, with the mutual and amicable departure of guitarist Jess Abbott which is only a fraction of the story. Below the surface lay challenges, struggle, and a lot of growth for KC Dalager and Brad Hale as people, musicians, and songwriters. And while as a duo they find themselves back to the same dynamic they started with over a decade ago, they couldn’t be further from who they were when two friends who met at marching band practice and started making music together in a basement.

Ed Sheeran – July 11 and 12 at Wells Fargo Center

Ed Sheeran is coming to town for a two night stand to celebrate his landmark third studio album, “÷” (pronounced “Divide”), which came out at the beginning of the year. The album by the England-born singer/songwriter includes the universal hit singles, “Shape of You” and “Castle On The Hill,” both of which made incredible chart entries after their simultaneous release. “Shape of You” debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 – Sheeran’s first time atop the overall chart – and remained there for 12 weeks total. Meanwhile, “Castle On The Hill” entered the charts at No. 6, establishing Sheeran as the first artist to ever have two singles make simultaneous top 10 debuts in the chart’s 58-year history.

Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper – July 12 at BB&T Pavilion

On paper, Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper touring together doesn’t make much sense. Then you realize that between the two of them, Stewart and Lauper have been awarded nearly every industry award and honor for their incomparable catalog of hits and activism, among them Grammy and American Music Awards, two inductions into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the ASCAP Founders Award for songwriting and a knighthood for Stewart; and an Emmy and Tony Award for Lauper. Lauper owned MTV in the ‘80s, while Stewart created quite the history playing with Jeff Beck in the 60s, Faces in the 70s and a wildly successful solo career in the 80s – and beyond. Suffice to say, it looks like a solid pairing after all.

Gorillaz – July 13 at Festival Pier

Gorillaz is the most successful virtual band ever, fronted by four wildly talented but totally disparate characters: pretty-but-vacant singer 2D, satanic bassist Murdoc Niccals, Japanese guitar prodigy Noodle and amiable man-mountain drummer Russel Hobbs. Behind the scenes of the British alt-rock band is Blur frontman Damon Albarn who created the group with comic book artist Jamie Hewlett. Earlier this year, the cartoon outfit released their fifth album, Humanz, featuring guest spots from the likes of Noel Gallagher, Vince Staples, Grace Jones and De La Soul…some of whom are planning to pop up randomly throughout the North American tour.

Zac Brown Band – July 13 and 14 at BB&T Pavilion

Last year was a record-breaking one for Zac Brown Band. Their “Black Out the Sun” tour broke attendance records at Camden’s BB&T Pavilion and Boston’s Fenway Park, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum hosted a career-spanning exhibition exploring the group’s rise to fame. They celebrated the milestone of 25 million singles and eight million albums sold, and a historic fifteen number one radio singles, along with the distinction of becoming the second act ever to top both the country and active rock formats. While a well-deserved rest might be in the cards, it’s not happening anytime soon – especially with a new album, Welcome Home, dying to be heard live by legions of fans.

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