Tag Archives: bands

SXSW: 4 bands headed to music fest denied entry into US

Organizers of the South by Southwest music festival say at least four international bands have been denied entry into the U.S. and that other performers have had their visa waivers revoked.

SXSW officials said this week that every year there are some issues with bands entering the U.S. for various reasons.

But the latest travel problems come amid tensions over President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration.

The band Massive Scar Era, whose members are from both Canada and Egypt, posted on Facebook it wasn’t going to “jump to conclusions” about why they were denied entry.

But they noted they have gotten to SXSW twice before with the same documents.

SXSW officials say they’re trying to ensure customs officials treat artist visa waivers as valid.

New music: Panic! At the Disco, Savages, Coasts, Sierra Hull

Panic! At the Disco :: ‘Death of a Bachelor’

Lead vocalist Brendon Urie is now the only official group member of Panic! At the Disco, but he hasn’t lost any of the band’s trademark frenetic energy in the mature, conceptually tight Death of a Bachelor. Inspired by Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday, Urie appealingly croons on the album’s title song and the closing ballad “Impossible Year.” “Crazy=Genius” is a winking look in the mirror set to warped big band drums and horns. “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time” kicks off with the B-52’s “Rock Lobster” guitar riff in a clever farewell to the party life, due to Urie’s marriage, a sobering influence on his life and this album. As always for Panic records, Death of a Bachelor is a dizzying melting pot of genres and styles, but there are moments of brilliance that sink in well with repeated listening.

Savages :: ‘Adore Life’

As turgid guitars swirl on “The Answer,” the opening cut of Adore Life, you might feel instantly transported back to the early 1980s. The all-female British quartet Savages takes its vocal cues from Siouxsie and the Banshees while the muddied chaotic guitar and drum attack might call to mind Public Image Limited. There are moments when the sound climbs into a cleaner space, like the crackling drums that kick off “Evil” and the a cappella statement opening “I Need Something New,” but a dark, dense, throbbing mix is never far away. There is an energy in the music of the Savages that matches some of the best post-punk bands.

Coasts :: ‘Coasts’

English rock band Coasts was signed to a recording contract with Capitol Records in late 2014, in the wake of the breakthrough successes of similar-sounding bands like Bastille and Imagine Dragons. Even if you didn’t know that, you might be able to guess; there is little on the self-titled debut that sounds original. The band does hit catchy, sing-along peaks on the dance-rock of “Modern Love” and the album opening single “Oceans.” However, the lesser tracks simply try the listener’s patience. With better editing, Coasts might have a strong future on the poppier side of alternative radio but, for now, too many tracks are throwaways.

Sierra Hull :: ‘Weighted Mind’

At age 13, Sierra Hull was a bluegrass prodigy signed to Rounder Records, the best label in the business. At 16, her debut album hit No. 2 on the bluegrass charts. In Weighted Mind, her first album in five years, she reveals she has grown beyond bluegrass into a traditional but sophisticated singer/songwriter. This album, co-produced with Bela Fleck, has a moving instrumental beauty. And Hull’s lyrics continually remind you of her voice’s originality. It’s a rare glimpse into the heart and soul of an artist hard at work.

New music: Coldplay, Troye Sivan, Tom Jones, Babyface

Coldplay :: ‘A Head Full of Dreams’

To even the most hardcore Coldplay fans, last year’s Ghost Stories, put together in the wake of Chris Martin’s breakup with Gwyneth Paltrow, might have sounded a little mopey. The one exception was the band’s collaboration with Avicii, “A Sky Full of Stars,” a top 10 hit that pointed in a more upbeat direction for the future. That moment is here on A Head Full of Dreams. With pop-soul producers StarGate in tow, songs like “Fun” and “Hymn for the Weekend” lift us up again. Paltrow even makes a guest appearance on “Everglow,” seemingly to let us know all is OK going forward. Don’t look for deep revelations about life here — this album doesn’t have the power of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida. But if you want some reassurance that the sun will come out after hard times, Coldplay is again your band.

Troye Sivan :: ‘Blue Neighbourhood’

Australia’s Troye Sivan is a 20-year-old gay man who grew up in a Jewish community in Perth and came out at age 15. That personal experience underlines the emotional gravity of the glistening pop music on his debut album. He has been praised by the likes of Taylor Swift and Sam Smith, and for good reason. If you fell in love with Lorde’s music and are looking for where to turn next, Blue Neighbourhood is a good option. The chilliness of the musical arrangements on songs like “Heaven” live in contrast to the deeply human impact of the lyrics: “Without losing a piece of me, how do I get to heaven?” Troye Sivan is a name to remember.

Tom Jones :: ‘Long Lost Suitcase’

Set aside any preconceived notions you might hold about legendary Welsh pop crooner Tom Jones. Long Lost Suitcase is the third album he has released since 2010 that digs deep into blues-infused roots. The opener “Opportunity to Cry” gives hints to what Elvis Presley might have sounded like if he lived into his 70s, and Jones even covers Gillian Welch’s “Elvis Presley Blues.” The arrangements here are subtle and put the spotlight squarely on Jones’ rich, resonant voice. On some songs, the showman in Jones milks the emotion for maximum dramatic effect, such as the nearly a cappella “He Was a Friend of Mine.” However, he is probably at his best with the simple chug of uptempo album closer “Raise a Ruckus.”

Babyface :: ‘Return Of the Tender Lover’

Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds first gained success in the music industry outside the spotlight, as a keyboard player, songwriter and producer. When he did step to the front of the stage in 1989 with the album Tender Lover, he earned multi-platinum success and top 10 pop smashes like “It’s No Crime” and “Whip Appeal.” It has been 10 years since his last solo album of original material. Despite the title, Return of the Tender Lover is not a reprise of the previous release. Instead, it sounds more like an effort to take the spirit of the original and apply it to contemporary smooth R&B sounds. The result is a pleasure to hear. The album kicks off with the joyful “We’ve Got Love” and elsewhere includes reunions with past collaborators El DeBarge and the vocal group After 7. This album is your contemporary soundtrack to a romantic winter night with the one you love.

The Sets List: Colors and Chords, Local H, Louis Prima Jr. and more

On stage in Wisconsin: Colors and Chords, Local H, Louis Prima Jr. and more

Colors and Chords 

7 p.m. Nov. 24 at Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee. $25. pabsttheater.org.

Want to help children and young adults on the autism spectrum develop graphic design skills with the help of professionals in the field? Of course you do. So you should stop by Colors and Chords, the fundraiser that pairs seven local bands (including Nineteen Thirteen, Testa Rosa and Jon Mueller and Chris Roseneau of Volcano Choir) with seven local artists, who’ll create works on the spot inspired by the bands’ 20-minute sets. You can discover more about the nonprofit they’re supporting, Islands of Brilliance, at islandsofbrilliance.org.

Local H 

9:30 p.m. Nov. 28 at High Noon Saloon, Madison. $13, $15 day of show. high-noon.com.

Chicago-based punk rock duo Local H has been performing with new drummer Ryan Harding for two years and so far he and original guitarist/vocalist Scott Lucas are living up to the 25-year reputation set by the band, cranking out singles, covers and a new album (Hey, Killer). And, most importantly, their live shows are still as chaotic and exciting as ever. They’ll return for a set to High Noon Saloon, with Madison acts The Hussy and Dumb Vision opening.

Louis Prima Jr. & The Witnesses 

4 p.m. Nov. 29 at Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee. $40. pabsttheater.org.

Ready for a full day of big band and swing music? That’s what WMSE is offering for its second annual Big Band Grandstand, a fundraiser to support its operations. Headlining the day is Louis Prima Jr., heir to one of the swing era’s biggest names and a fine jazz and pop musician in his own right. He and his big band The Witnesses will be joined by the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Rhumba ensemble.

Kid Cudi 

8 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Orpheum Theater, Madison. $45, $50 day of show. madisonorpheum.com.

Kid Cudi burst on the hip-hop scene in 2008 with “Day ’n’ Nite,” but as his career’s progressed, he’s shifted from breakout star to cult favorite. That’s arguably a good shift for him — it’s given him the opportunity to experiment with unique sounds including frequent flirtation with indie rock. His latest record, Speedin’ Bullet to Heaven, is set to drop in less than a month, so glimpses of it should be visible in his set at the Orpheum.

Best Coast 

8 p.m. Dec. 2 at Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee. $17. pabsttheater.org.

Sophisticated, sparkly and psychedelic — that’s Best Coast in a nutshell. The LA-based duo released its third studio album, California Nights, earlier this year, revealing it to be yet another dreamy yet dark exploration of the West Coast aesthetic they’re surrounded by. Hopefully they can bring some of that California sunshine along with the gloom to their Turner Hall gig. Midwestern indie rock band Cloakroom opens.

The Sets List: Andrew McMahon & New Politics, Umphrey’s McGhee, more

Andrew McMahon & New Politics 

6:30 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Rave, Milwaukee. $27, $32 VIP. therave.com.

Andrew McMahon (of Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin fame) and New Politics don’t objectively sound that much alike. But this music veteran gone solo and group of Danish newcomers share one important trait: They’re infusing their respective pop and rock genres with a healthy dose of electronic instrumentation. That’ll make them a perfect duo for the dance-friendly Rave. Australian band The Griswolds and soulful singer-songwriter Lolo will amp up the crowd as opening acts.

Umphrey’s McGhee

8 p.m. Oct. 29, 30, 31 at the Riverside Theater, Milwaukee. $28, $30 day-of-show. pabsttheater.org.

No trick, just treat: “improg” (that’s “progressive improvisation”) rock band Umphrey’s McGee is returning to Milwaukee for its third Halloween residency since 2012. The Oct. 31 show is sold out, as are three-day passes, but there’s still time to jump on the Thursday or Friday night shows, both of which should feature the same jam energy — if not more, since the band won’t have just played a bunch of shows in a row. Think about it.

Vic & Gab Farewell Show

8 p.m. Oct. 31 at the Pabst Theater, Milwaukee. $10. pabsttheater.org.

OK, this isn’t as bad as it looks. Yes, sisters Victoriah and Hannah Gabriela Banuelos will no longer be pop rock duo Vic & Gab once we turn the calendar page to November. But they won’t be walking away from music — just retiring their original name as they change direction musically. So consider this “Save the Last Dance for Me” show one last hurrah for the Vic & Gab you love, before the duo becomes the “something else” you love.

Flannel Fest 2015

5 p.m. Nov. 7 at High Noon Saloon, Madison. $20, $25 day-of-sale. high-noon.com.

It’s getting chilly out there, so warm up at Flannel Fest, Madison’s annual celebration of Americana acts in their own backyard and from around the country. This time around, artists include acclaimed Madisonians like The Whiskey Farm, Beth Kille and The Mascot Theory, as well as Austin-based headliners Micky and the Motorcars. Bonus: By warming up here, you keep people warm somewhere else — the event is a benefit for the Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund, a nonprofit that helps thousands of people in need keep their heat and power on in the summer and winter.

The Avett Brothers 

7:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Weill Center, Sheboygan. $57 to $77. weillcenter.com.

The Avett Brothers have been through Wisconsin a bunch in 2015. But if you’ve missed your chance to catch these indie folk rock stars so far this year, they’ll give you one more shot at Sheboygan’s Weill Center. And you should take it. The band’s been touring in support of their exceptional 2013 album Magpie and the Dandelion for quite some time and should be releasing another record, their 12th, in early 2016. So if you stop in to celebrate what’s come before, you might get a glimpse of what’s coming next. 

Zedd

7 p.m. Oct. 30 at Alliant Energy Center, Madison. $35, $40 day-of-sale. alliantenergycenter.com.

Sure, you could plan to spend your pre-Halloween Friday freezing on the streets, getting an extra day of tricking and treating and all that jazz. Or you could show your “true colors” and party with Zedd, the electronica artist whose debut last year made him a star practically overnight. He’s celebrating the release of his sophomore album True Colors and has a multisensory, visual experience planned to go with it. You can always hit State Street the next night.

Global Union celebrates 10 years of multicultural music

When you start a music festival from scratch, it’s not supposed to go as well as Global Union has gone. But Alverno Presents’ annual world music festival is the exception that proves the rule. Neither artistic director David Ravel nor assistant director Rory Trainor would say putting the festival together is easy — either back when they were working on the inaugural 2006 edition or the 10th anniversary show later this month — but they do admit it’s been increasingly successful since day one.

“That this is 10 years old just feels kind of staggering,” says Ravel. “I had never done anything of this size before, so there was a definite ‘fools rush in’ aspect to the first year. And, at the risk of all kinds of hubris, it really worked.”

The structure of the festival has stayed much the same over the past decade. For a single summer-turning-to-fall day in September (early festivals stretched across two days before Ravel and Trainor condensed things a few years ago), Bay View’s Humboldt Park bandshell plays host to a variety of musical acts from around the world. Visitors are encouraged to spread out across the lawn in front of the stage, surrounded by food vendors and merchants, and there’s a strong emphasis on acts that prompt audience members to get up and dance — not, at this point, that many of the fest’s regular attendees need much prompting.

It’s a format that Trainor says differs from that of most other world music festivals in the region, in cities like Madison or Chicago. Those festivals feature multiple venues, many of which are indoors, and even their outdoor venues have acoustics that allow them to book acts that require a more developed sound system. “At Humboldt Park, we’re just blasting out into an awesome natural amphitheater,” he says, and the acts they pick tend to reflect that.

Not that Global Union is trying to compete with those other festivals. In fact, it’s their existence that prompted Ravel to launch Global Union on nine months’ notice back in 2006.

The story, as Ravel tells it, is a mix of serendipity and practical inevitability. He already had the germ of the Global Union idea in early 2006, planted there when he went to check out Madison’s World Music Festival at the invitation of cultural arts and theater director Ralph Russo. Watching what Russo was able to do in the context of the festival that he wouldn’t otherwise be able to fit into a season of programming, Ravel learned that “venues matter, and where you place things matter.”

That seed would come to fruition faster than he imagined, though. While in New York City listening to a set by Luciana Souza, who was scheduled to perform later in Alverno’s season, Luciana’s agent approached him with an acquaintance eager to talk to Ravel. “He says, ‘My name is Mike Orloff; I do the world music festival in Chicago. I need there to be a world music festival in Milwaukee. I want you to do it,’” Ravel says. “And I kind of said, ‘Sure,’ because that’s what you do when you meet Mike Orloff.”

Orloff’s dogged insistence came from more than just a passion for new world music festivals — Alverno Presents launching a world music festival was a key component in the improvement of his festival and all those in the Midwest. A festival in Milwaukee completed a loosely organized route connecting Bloomington’s Lotus World Music and Arts Festival, World Music Festival Chicago and the Madison World Music Festival, making all those festivals more appealing to booking agents and foreign artists because they can do multiple gigs in a tour.

“The idea,” Ravel says, “is if these people are coming from all the way, say, Poland, just for your show, it’s ridiculously expensive and nobody can do it. But if they’re coming all the way from Poland to do six shows in the northern Midwest, their costs get amortized over three to six festivals and it all becomes manageable.”

The inaugural Global Union had a good turnout, estimated by Trainor to be about 5,000 people over two days — a strong showing for any festival in its first year. Still, Ravel says it took a few years for people to truly understand what the festival was about. But word of mouth helped Global Union grow, and Ravel says the increasing success of the festival also helped validate Humboldt Park as a venue, benefiting other performances like the Chill on the Hill series.

It’s also helped that world music “route” blossom, with new series springing up in Minneapolis, Cedar Rapids and Whitewater. Trainor, who’s been directly responsible for programming the festival for the last three years, says he’s increasingly finding that members of the world music management community will work with him and fellow Midwestern world music groups to book gigs in conjunction with an East or West Coast tour.

But one of the biggest benefits of the series, Trainor says, is that it gives Milwaukee a chance to engage with the global music community in a way they can’t always achieve. “We’re bringing in artists to make Milwaukee a global center for that day.

ON STAGE

Alverno Presents’ Global Union festival runs from noon to 6 p.m. on Sept. 19, at Humboldt Park, 3000 S. Howell Ave. Admission is free. Visit alvernopresents.alverno.edu for details.

 

Global_Union_Graphic_Dummy

The Sets List: | Blitzen Trapper, New Pornographers, Rickie Lee Jones, more

Blitzen Trapper

With Blitzen Trapper in town, it really will be a fantastic holiday weekend for Madisonians. The experimental country/folk act got its start in Portland, Oregon, and stayed there for a while, but when their self-released album Wild Mountain Nation went big in 2007, they found themselves sharing their gifts with the world and picking up influences from it too. New album VII carries on the tradition, with bluesy motifs lifted from their travels throughout the country.

9:30 p.m. July 4 at High Noon Saloon, Madison. $15.
high-noon.com.

MAMA Awards Show 

7 p.m. July 12 at Overture Center, Madison. $20. overturecenter.org.

Madison has its own version of the Grammys, and you don’t have to be a seat filler to check out the action. Sponsored by the Madison Area Music Association, the MAMA Awards honor local musicians and educators while serving as a fundraiser for local music programs. This year, a Lifetime Achievement Award will be granted to producer and Garbage co-founder Butch Vig, and local artists Keon Andre Band, The Mascot Theory, Meghan Rose and Isabella Wu, among others, will perform. It’s a Madison-star-studded night in the making.

The New Pornographers 

6 p.m. July 17 at King Street outside the Majestic Theater, Madison. Admission is free.
majesticmadison.com

Free music is always wonderful. But even at Madison’s spectacular Live on King Street series, The New Pornographers are an especially good option. Led by no less than three talented artists who have found success solo — indie rockers A.C. Newman and Dan Bejar and alternative singer-songwriter Neko Case — the band is way too good to be giving the proverbial milk away for free. So drink up while you have the chance, Madisonians.

Rickie Lee Jones 

8 p.m. July 16 at the Pabst Theater, Milwaukee. $39. pabsttheater.org.

“Beatnik kitty cat” is a sweet moniker, and Rickie Lee Jones seems to deserve it. In the last three decades, the singer-songwriter has experimented with style and sound, but always stayed close to her jazz roots. At this intimate Pabst show, she’ll reflect on a career that began back in 1979 with her self-titled debut and a Grammy for best new artist and continues to this day with The Other Side of Desire, her first collection of new work in more than a decade.

Dan Navarro 

8 p.m. July 18 at Shank Hall, Milwaukee. $15.
shankhall.com

The Pyrrhic victory of a great songwriter is that no matter how big the song gets, you never know the writer. It’s Pat Benatar who’s famous for “We Belong,” for example, not Dan Navarro, the man who co-wrote the song for her. But Navarro is a songwriter bucking the trend. In the ‘90s, he recorded and toured with his writing partner, the late Eric Lowen, as Lowen & Navarro, and Navarro’s since taken the act solo, with his first album slated for release this year.

U2 stages high-tech ‘Innocence & Experience’ show

U2’s latest live show included a call to fight AIDS, condemnation of the 1974 car bombings in Ireland, the voice of Stephen Hawking, high-tech stage gimmicks and just over two hours of music, including most of its 2014 album, “Songs of Innocence.”

The Irish quartet brought its “Innocence & Experience” tour to the Forum on May 26, the first of five nights in the Los Angeles area.

Launched earlier this month in Vancouver, Canada, the North American and European tour continues through Nov. 15. The band performs at the United Center in Chicago June 24-25, June 28-29 and July 2.

Performing together since 1976, front man Bono, guitarist the Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. know how to put on a rock show. But they were lacking a little in energy and excitement for their opening LA performance, perhaps relying too heavily on the giant horizontal screens suspended above their high-tech stage.

As with U2s previous arena tours, the stage plays a starring role in the show. The massive screens worked for some numbers, such as Bono’s autobiographical “Cedarwood Road,” lending an effect that made him look like he was walking through a cartoon town. But when the foursome performed between the parallel screens during “Invisible” and “Even Better than the Real Thing,” they appeared to be playing on TV, not live on stage.

Still, they hit all their marks and sounded album-tight. They opened with the new, “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone),” and the old, “Electric Co.,” from their 1980 debut. The set included such hits as “Vertigo,” “I Will Follow,” “Beautiful Day” and “With or Without You.”

After “Bullet the Blue Sky,” Bono held his hands above his head and said, “Don’t shoot. I’m an American.” While performing “Pride,” inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr., Bono called on the spirit of the late leader.

“Dr. King, we need you in Ferguson and Baltimore now more than ever,” Bono said. “We need the spirit of nonviolence, the spirit of love.”

The singer also lauded Irish voters for saying “love is the highest law” by legalizing same-sex marriage last week.

“They’re putting the gay into Gaelic,” he quipped.

The band was at its best when the gimmicks gave way to the music. Mullen marching with a snare drum gave new power to “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” and a stripped-down version of “Every Breaking Wave,” with Bono accompanied by the Edge on piano, was stirring.

A clip of Hawking’s voice played before the band returned for its encore. He talked about the necessity of becoming “global citizens” as a tout for Bono’s anti-poverty organization, One, flashed on the giant screens.

Bono also used the encore to discuss AIDS and an effort to end transmission of the disease between mother and child in the next five years. He sang a few bars of Paul Simon’s “Mother and Child Reunion” to make the point before the band closed with “One.”

The Sets List | Big Data, Belle and Sebastian, Bleachers, more

Big Data 

7:30 p.m. April 1 at the Rave, 2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. $15. therave.com.

Admittedly, Big Data is not big yet. Which is weird, because the electronic music project had one of last summer’s most underrated jams (the disco-influenced, sinister “Dangerous”) and the producer behind it, Alan Wilkis, is turning big monumental things, like NSA surveillance and our growing reliance on technology, into stuff you can dance to. But with its new album 2.0 finally out, Big Data should be moving beyond the Internet underground soon.

Belle and Sebastian

8 p.m. April 4 at Overture Center, 201 State St., Madison. $39. overturecenter.org.

Almost 20 years into their musical career, Belle and Sebastian still have more than a few tricks up their sleeve. The indie pop band has never quite regained the luster of their earliest albums, the super-underground Tigermilk and their name-making smash “If You’re Feeling Sinister.” Yet their latest effort, Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, shows that the band still has more to offer, turning in a work that ventures onto the dance floor more brazenly than any album before. Come for the Europop take on Sylvia Plath, stay for the indie music veterans still making waves. Honeyblood opens.

Cactus Club Comedy & Music Show

9:30 p.m. April 3 at the Cactus Club, 2496 S. Wentworth Ave., Milwaukee. $7. cactusclub.dostuff.info.

Don’t force yourself to choose between a comedian and a rock band. Get both at the Cactus Club’s latest combination show, featuring a stacked slate of stand-up artists and two sets by the evening’s featured artists. This time around, the artist-in-residence is indie rock act Twin Brother, hot off its Turner Hall debut last month, performing with seven local comics. 

Bleachers 

8 p.m. March 31 at the
Majestic Theatre, 115 King St., Madison. $26. majesticmadison.com.

His fun. bandmate Nate Ruess has the radio’s ear right now, but Jack Antonoff has the retro ‘80s sound on lockdown with his side project Bleachers. Accidentally crafting the tracks for his debut Strange Desire in his spare time on the road, Antonoff taps into the nostalgia of his childhood, evoking a modern day John Hughes-soundtrack sound that still resonates 25 years later. The best part is all that ‘80s angst is happening in the here and now, so until fun. gets back together it’s all yours for the taking. Joywave and Night Terrors of 1927 open. 

Clean Bandit 

9 p.m. April 4 at the Majestic Theatre, 115 King St., Madison. $20, $22 day of show.
majesticmadison.com.

It’s too bad “Mozart’s House” wasn’t the single that actually put Clean Bandit on the map, because it’s the track that perhaps best hints at the British act’s fusion of classical and electronic music. Instead, we got “Rather Be,” a more-than-worthy, infectious alternative. Clean Bandit won’t perform with any of the guest artists featured heavily on their album, but reports from elsewhere across the country suggest that doesn’t make their live shows any less exuberant. 

The Sets List, February 26, 2015

Ariana Grande 
7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee. $27 to $67. bmoharrisbradleycenter.com.

The mantle of teen pop queen is a lofty one to bear. In 2015, the crown that’s anointed the brows of Britney, Xtina and Miley has been passed along to former Nickelodeon star Ariana Grande. But Grande’s got one thing her predecessors would have killed for: pipes reminiscent of a young Mariah Carey. Whether she will ultimately join the ranks of her foremothers or become this generation’s Jessica Simpson depends as much on how her fickle audience ages up as anything else. For now, enjoy having a nice whistle tone-toting songstress in the public eye once again. Special guests Rixton and Cashmere Cat open.

The Gaslight Anthem
8 p.m. March 12 at the Pabst Theater, Milwaukee. $25. pabsttheater.org.

Sharing the same Jersey roots, it’s no wonder The Gaslight Anthem sounds like a classic Springsteen album. But frontman Brian Fallon isn’t content to just be The Boss Lite. With the band’s latest album Get Hurt, The Gaslight Anthem has shaken up its style, injecting arena rock, folk and pop influences into the heartland sound the members know so well. They’ll be preceded by guests Northcote and The Scandals.

Kongos
8 p.m. March 1 at The Rave, Milwaukee. $20. therave.com.

It’s hard to figure out how to describe the exact sound of the Kongos brothers, until you look into their recent history. While the four-piece band of brothers may be based out of Phoenix now, they spent their childhoods in South Africa and their biggest hit, “Come With Me Now,” is heavily influenced by the 1990s era genre known as kwaito, characterized by a slowed-down house beat and accordion accompaniment. Sir Sly and Colony House open.

Count This Penny
7:30 p.m. March 6 at Stoughton Opera House, Stoughton. $15. ci.stoughton.wi.us.

Count This Penny doesn’t sound like a Madison band, and they almost weren’t. The city caught a break when married duo Amanda and Allen Rigell relocated from Tennessee to the Midwest and brought their recently formed Appalachian pop act with them. Now a four-piece, Count This Penny is one of the hottest bands in the state, with clear, harmonic tunes reminiscent of the defunct Civil Wars. They’ll play this one last gig before heading down to SXSW — so catch them now while you can still be ahead of the hype.

Gaelic Storm 

8 p.m. March 11 at the Barrymore Theater, Madison. $30. barrymorelive.com.

8 p.m. March 12 at the Meyer Theatre, Green Bay. $30. meyertheatre.org.

8 p.m. March 17 at the Pabst Theatre, Milwaukee. $30. pabsttheatre.org.

When you think of Celtic rock, you think of Gaelic Storm. (Unless you’re a Dropkick Murphys fan, in which case we’re deeply sorry.) The genre-bending band has been touring like mad ever since a cameo in Titanic catapulted them to fame, and 2014 marked the release of Full Irish, a greatest-hits album that collects the best tracks from their past decade. But it’s in performance that the band really shines, so you’re in luck: Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater has been the band’s St. Patrick’s Day home for years, which means they always make sure to drop in at venues elsewhere in Wisconsin, too.

Lily & Madeleine
9 p.m. March 7 at The Frequency, Madison. $10, $12 at door. madisonfrequency.com.

Neither Lily nor Madeleine Jurkiewicz has broken into a third decade of life, yet this sister duo already has two albums to their name and a big fan base in the folk music community. On the latest LP, Fumes, Lily & Madeleine face their approaching adulthood head-on, with ethereal, harmonic vocals that speak of two young women in transition. They’ve vowed to keep their audience happy with an album every year for at least three years, which means their current tour may be the origin point for that third album’s nascent tracks.