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 May 20:
Damien Jurado – May 20 at Johnny Brenda’s
Singer/songwriter Damien Jurado has done a lot in his two-decade plus career, but his latest album, this month’s The Horizon Just Laughed, is his first self-produced LP, making it more personal and more rooted than even his Maraqopa trilogy. Like his previous works, this one started with a dream, and feels like a beautiful collage. Its narrative is pieced together through musical letters and postcards, with each part contributing to its greater whole, and providing snapshots of one’s journey to find a sense of place and connection to a changing world.
Lawrence – May 20 at The Foundry
After years of consuming the songs of Stevie Wonder and Janis Joplin, Lawrence released their 12-song debut LP, Breakfast, in March of 2016. Led by siblings Clyde and Gracie Lawrence, the New York-based soul-pop group doesn’t shy away from the oft-maligned idea of pop music, but instead is on a mission to write the music they wish “pop” sounded like. The band blends old-school and new-school vibes, combining their love of The Beatles, Randy Newman and Etta James with Beyoncé, Ben Folds, and Amy Winehouse to create songs that are as tender and soulful as they are explosive. They’ve just announced their highly anticipated second album, Living Room, which is slated for a September release.
Dierks Bentley – May 20 at BB&T Pavilion
Probably no other artist on country radio in the past 15 years could manage the kind of range and versatility that Dierks Bentley has, especially when one considers the broader record. He’s had a string of No. 1 singles and written the majority of them. He’s performed at Lollapalooza, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Bonnaroo and the CMA Music Festival, tailoring his sets to each diverse audience. His instantly recognizable voice and acoustic/electric hybrid sound have propelled him to membership in the Grand Ole Opry and, in 2011, a performance for President Barack Obama at the White House. He’s currently touring in preview of his June 8 album, his ninth, titled The Mountain, which will likely be his seventh No. 1 LP on the country charts and may very well land atop the Billboard 200.
The Ballroom Thieves – May 20 at Sellersville Theater 1894
The early days of The Ballroom Thieves, which really weren’t all that long ago, consisted of just a dorm room, an acoustic guitar, and a djembe drum, when they first began making music together in 2010 while attending college just south of Boston. The minimalism of these early jam sessions continues to permeate in the purity of the band’s recent music, while songwriting has only grown in complexity. Live though is where their blend of roots rock and folk really comes alive, given an extra kick with the addition to the set of songs from this month’s new Paper Crown EP.
BulletBoys – May 22 at Kung Fu Necktie
BulletBoys formed in 1988 at the very peak of the Los Angeles glam metal movement, beginning as a collection of talented musicians from high profile bands such as King Kobra and Ratt. Using their credentials, they were able to quickly capture the attention of music fans around the world while front man Marq Torien emerged as one of the most underrated vocalists of the era. Their hit single “Smooth Up in Ya” was one of the highlights of the era, and while they suffered the same fate as many of their contemporaries when grunge exploded, have found new life in the current wave of 80s nostalgia.
Lissie – May 25 at World Café Live - Downstairs
Country and folk rocker Lissie is currently touring on the spring release of her fourth album, Castles. Written predominantly from her farm in Northeast Iowa, the LP represents a new openness in Lissie’s approach to songwriting and recording. Having moved out of the music industry machine and back to her native Midwest, the grounded nature she found living and working on a farm seems to have ushered in a period of exploration, resulting in a sonic portrait of an artist who has always been on the move and is finally creating a sense of permanency a chance to catch her breath and reflect.
The Kooks – May 26 at The Trocadero
A dozen years after the debut album Inside In/Inside Out introduced The Kooks as teenage contenders for the indie pop crown, they are now a band who have withstood the knocks, weathered the storms, and beaten the odds to come through the other side a harder, hungrier unit. Currently hard at work on album number five, with its title and release date TBA, the group are now pulling out their hits on this current tour.