Ok folks, this week is insane -- the number of excellent shows that did not make the cut for this post could easily fill another, if not for the nagging reality that time is finite. We don't want to short-change you though, so here's the runner-up rundown: Crowbar at Fubar on Monday, Cursive at Off Broadway and Comeback Kid at Fubar on Friday, and (deep breath) Birdman & Mystikal (and special guest) at the Ambassador, Kix Brooks at Pop's, Judge Nothing's reunion show at Fubar, Steddy P and DJ Mahf's record release at Cicero's, the Mountain Goats with Water Liars at the Gargoyle and the English Beat at Blueberry Hill. Remember also that this Saturday is international Record Store Day, so many of the area's vinyl purveyors will be having parties with live music as well. Details for these and all of our other showlistings can be found on our recently re-designed concert calendar (oooh, fancy).
Click through to read about the other not-to-be-missed shows of the week, including appearances by Willie Nelson, the Hood Internet, Mucca Pazza and more:
La Dispute Mon., April 16, 7:00pm @ The Firebird - $12 By Ryan Wasoba Grand Rapids' La Dispute might make you nostalgic for the pre-Internet days of punk rock, that era when post-hardcore and emo were indistinguishable and bands made names for themselves through relentless touring rather than relentless digital campaigns. The workhorse quintet's devotion to its craft comes across on its newest album Wildlife, which finds relief from modern anxiety in classic devices like dynamic outbursts and lyrical over-shares. The band headlines its show at the Firebird, but it has been seen on tour with the likes of Thrice, Thursday and Hot Water Music: Bands who, like La Dispute, understand the importance of ground-level promotion. Frontman Jordan Dreyer Sounds Like: That dude from MewithoutYou, a less melodic Omar Rodriguez-Lopez circa At The Drive-In or a less drunk Craig Finn circa Lifter Puller.
Willie Nelson Tue., April 17, 8:00pm @ The Pageant - $45-$65 By Katie Moulton From this 2010 show review: While Willie Nelson may be a counterculture outlaw, he doesn't buck the popular opinion of his loyal fans: He plays the songs they adore and expect to hear. While I was fine that Willie played no tracks from his last album American Classic, a set of jazzy standards that lacked his earthy spark, I was hoping to hear a sample from his upcoming album Country Music, to be released on April 20. But the setlist was pure Willie, with 26 songs and two medleys clocking in at just under 90 minutes, and it deviated little from the set he played last summer on the small stadium tour. Even the way the band tore through three big hits straight out the gate - before setting in on their true rhythm - seems to have become standard. By the time the band switched into "Crazy" - the next breath after "Funny How Time Slips Away" - Willie and the rest seemed warmed up and got steadily looser as the show went on. He began shredding, and his voice, along with his signature guitar tone, rose to the forefront - unique, ageless, wry and wistful in equal parts. Man and instrument often seemed in conversation, as on "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground," (the first slowed-down moment thirteen songs in), when the lonely guitar filled in the spaces, seeming like it was trying to explain the things its player left unsaid.
The Cave Singers Wed., April 18, 8:00pm @ The Gramophone - $10-$12 By Christian Schaeffer From this 2011 show preview: If you needed more proof that bucolic folk music remains a dominant strain of modern indie rock, look no further than the chameleonic career of Derek Fudesco. After helping form the shit-kicking garage-rock band Murder City Devils and dance-punk stylists Pretty Girls Make Graves, the guitarist and bassist went in a grainier, quieter direction with the Cave Singers. The trio welds stripped-down, acoustic folk melodies with Pete Quirk's well-worn but emotionally resonant vocals. The band just released No Witch, its third overall record but first for indie tastemaker Jagjaguwar. The Cave Singers' rustic aesthetic meshes well with the label's history for releasing adventurous, oft-experimental folk music.
Kim Massie Thurs., April 19, 10:00pm @ Beale on Broadway - $7 By Annie Zaleski Although the word "diva" is so overused it's almost a useless descriptor, Kim Massie is one vocalist who deserves the honor. With its brash, gospel-influenced strains of vibrato, Massie's voice can be as big and broad as Aretha Franklin's, but it contains just enough Etta James-ian blues to undercut this strength with sorrow. When Massie sings the standard "At Last," you can close your eyes and imagine her voice as a vocal preacher, laying down the lyrics like audible commandments, just as easily as you can imagine the sound slinking down a smoky stage moonlit by a lonely spotlight. Massie is always -- and effortlessly somehow -- magical, spiritual and glowing.
Red Horse Fri., April 20, 8:00pm @ The Sheldon - $35-$40 By Roy Kasten The term "supergroup" has never been more ridiculous than when applied to singer-songwriters, who, when tiring of the solo acoustic trade, band together for a bit more oomph. Such is the case with Red Horse, a trio featuring Eliza Gilkyson, John Gorka and Lucy Kaplansky. The former remains one of the brightest, if least notorious, songwriters in Austin, while the latter two have been remaking the New England folk scene in their own witty and wise image. If the three veterans haven't influenced every folkie to follow them, it's not for lack of talent or consistency. Listen up, young strummers. You might learn something. What to Expect: Singer-songwriters can tend towards the dour and predictable, but Red Horse never is. The trio's originals pierce with honesty; its stories slay with surprising humor.