Allstar Weekend @ The Paramount, Huntington
Refugees from the Radio Disney camp that included a cover of the Lion King’s “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” recorded for the Disneymania 7 collection, Allstar Weekend spent last year on quite the career rollercoaster. In addition to releasing its second album All the Way on Hollywood Records and a tour with Selena Gomez & the Scene, the band announced founding member Nathan Darmody was leaving the band and more recently, that Allstar Weekend was parting ways with Hollywood. Expect plenty of pop nuggets like “Come Down with Love” and “The Weekend.” And given the recent tragic death of Whitney Houston, don’t be surprised if Allstar Weekend puts some extra oomph into their own “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” an original featuring the chorus from the Houston smash of the same name.
Soweto Gospel Choir @ Tilles Center, Greenvale
Following in the footsteps of countrymen Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the Soweto Gospel Choir blends traditional African music with elements of gospel and American pop. Along with recording a quartet of albums teeming with earthy rhythms, rich harmonies, and a stellar percussion section, SGC has found itself working alongside a number of more traditional western music superstars including Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, Bono and Celine Dion. The group’s live show is as captivating as its music thanks to a mix of energetic dancing and vibrant, colorful costumes.
Aretha Franklin @ Radio City Music Hall, Manhattan
It’s only February and it’s been an emotional rollercoaster of a year for Aretha Franklin. Three weeks after announcing that she was going to take the marital plunge for the third time with William Wilkerson, the Queen of Soul posted on Facebook that the nuptials were off. But the biggest blow came via the unexpected death of goddaughter Whitney Houston, a devastating event that Franklin said was “so stunning and unbelievable.” The Detroit native has already started paying tribute to Houston by singing “I Will Always Love You” during her recent shows along with offering a brief sermon for her loved one. Expect more of the same and the hope that this great music will help ease some of the pain caused by Whitney Houston’s passing. (Also appearing on February 18.)
The World/Inferno Friendship Society @ Ollies Point, Amityville
Did you know that there is a musical genre called cabaret punk? Did you know that the World/Inferno Friendship Society creative collective traffics in this kind of dramatic fare? Did you know that the WIFS has recorded song cycles devoted to a broad array of topics including Weimar-era Germany, Paul Robeson Jonathan Fire*Eater with last year’s The Anarchy and the Ecstasy having a heavy bluegrass influence? Did you know that the WIFS will be bringing its brand of kitchen-sink theatricality out to Long Island after playing a show in its Brooklyn backyard? (Also appearing on February 18 @ Music Hall of Williamsburg.)
John Mayall @ YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts, Bay Shore
Rightfully considered the Godfather of British Blues, John Mayall used his Bluesbreakers as a training ground for a myriad of legendary musicians including Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jack Bruce, Mick Taylor, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood and Andy Fraser. So profound was Mayall’s influence that the seeds for Fleetwood Mac and Cream were inadvertently planted by the future OBE recipient. Five decades on, septuagenarian Mayall continues to tour and record, with 2010’s Tough being his latest outing and Texan Rocky Athas being his latest axe-wielding discovery.
Aaron Lewis Solo Acoustic @ NYCB Theatre, Westbury
Even though he’s better known as the lead vocalist and a founding member of nu metal band Staind, Aaron Lewis has been stepping out as a solo artist and playing acoustic shows since he was 17. While Staind is still active, Lewis has spent the last few years reshaping himself as a country artist starting with last year’s Town Line EP getting good reviews and featuring “Country Boy,” a radio hit featuring contributions by George Jones, Chris Young and Charlie Daniels. And while this Westbury show will undoubtedly be showcasing Lewis’ country music roots, don’t be surprised to hear a number of Staind song including “Tangled Up in You.”
Dion @ Joe’s Pub, Manhattan
Infinitely more talented than any of the teen idols peers save for Bobby Darin, Dion DiMucci not only carved out a considerable legacy with hits like “Ruby Baby” and “The Wanderer,” but also dabbled in folk and the blues with impressive results. So it’s no shock that giants like Lou Reed and Bruce Springsteen call him a major influence. The latter genre has been DiMucci’s muse in recent years with the brand-new Tank Full of Blues rounding out a trilogy of records dating back to 2005’s Grammy-nominated Bronx in Blue and 2007’s Son of Skip James. These collections found him dabbling in the canons of Robert Johnson and Howlin’ Wolf while sprinkling in a number of solid blues originals. Fear not former bobby-soxers, the Bronx native will invariably be dipping into the songs that took him from Belmont Avenue to the stage of American Bandstand.
Flogging Molly/Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears @ Hammerstein Ballroom, Manhattan
Even though Flogging Molly has the requisite punk-meets-Celtic music roots lumping them in the same class as The Pogues and The Dropkick Murphys, the band has a direct link to ‘80s metal outfit Fastway by way of frontman/founding member Dave King, who previously called Pete Way and Motorhead’s “Fast” Eddie Clark bandmates. Two decades later, King and his crew are five albums into a well-respected career with the latest album being last year’s Speed of Darkness being the latest. Flogging Molly brings its 8th Annual Green 17 Tour, a countdown up to St. Patrick’s Day, through the Big Apple with Austin funk outfit Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears help with the heavy lifting.