Welcome to ‘Seven in Seven,’ where each Friday we’ll be taking 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 Sept. 23:
Warm Drag – Sept. 23 at Johnny Brenda’s
Warm Drag are a musical two piece out of Los Angeles that comes at you like two devils on your shoulders, one of them telling you to take that drug, hook up with that person and steal that car. The other devil is whispering that you should hit the reverb pedal and turn the volume all the way up to 11. Vashti Windish handles the vocals while Paul Quattrone provides the instrumental atmosphere with two Akai MPC 1000 samplers, resulting in post-noir noise disco brilliance contained within their self-titled debut LP which came out last month.
The Vibrators – Sept. 24 at Underground Arts
With a career lasting over four decades, UK punk rock outfit The Vibrators have shared concert bills with everyone from Sex Pistols to Iggy Pop, never compromising and never fitting into a nice little package – unless said package was shredded from the inside out with attitude and energy. Last year, to celebrate their 40th anniversary, they released the LP Past, Present and Into the Future, featuring a unique line-up with contributions from former and current members of the band.
Simple Minds – Sept. 24 at Sands Bethlehem Event Center
Earlier this year, Simple Minds – best known for their hit “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – released their 18th studio album, Walk Between Worlds. The title references the music contained within, which has two distinct sides; one revisits the glassy guitars and new wave dance grooves of the post-punk era and the second half explores more cinematic sounds the band gravitated toward in later years. It’s a fitting acknowledgement of the band’s 40-year history, one where they were considered the standard bearers for a new kind of rock in the '80s when they took the art-rock invention of post-punk and constructed a musical colossus by adding rousing choruses and a touch of Celtic soul, but despite changing trends evolved at their own pace.
For more on Simple Minds, see our article on Page 4.
James Bay – Sept. 25 at Festival Pier
One way to avoid a sophomore slump as an artist is to completely revamp his or her sound, which is exactly what UK singer/songwriter James Bay did on this year’s Electric Light. It rocks much harder than his 2015 debut LP Chaos and Calm, but retains the emotional intensity that made him a star in the first place. Add that to an appearance on Saturday Night Live as the musical guest, an opening stint for The Rolling Stones and sold out shows around the world, it’s clear that the risk Bay took is paying off big time.
Time for Three – Sept. 25 at World Café Live - Upstairs
Time for Three, or TF3 for short, has performed from Carnegie Hall and the famed jazz club Yoshi’s in San Francisco to European festivals, NFL games and the Indy 500. Try to think not only of another act with those credentials, but one that is a classically trained strings trio. Don’t think too hard though – there’s no one else out there who has done it. The World Café Live show is a bit of a homecoming for the trio as the original members of the trio came up together at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music.
Belly – Sept. 28 at Union Transfer
Belly hit hard and fast when they landed on the alternative rock scene in 1993 with the smash single “Feed the Tree,” but in just three short years the group broke up. Tanya Donelly, who was also a member of The Breeders and then Throwing Muses, went on to carve out a solo career, but there was always a demand for a return of Belly. Fans were rewarded for their patience in 2016 when the group reunited for a tour which lead to a new LP, Dove, which came out earlier this year to praise across the board.
Social Distortion – Sept. 28 The Electric Factory
There are few punk outfits as reliable live as Social Distortion, who always seem to make the fall that much better when they roll through town with their unique brand of SoCal rock. Led by the eternally tortured with his heart on his sleeve frontman Mike Ness, the band has nothing new to promote this time around, which will make for an evening of hits, rarities and what will likely be one of the best shows of the season hands down.