6 Can't Miss Concert Picks for October and November

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Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club

Saturday, October 17 | Laurie Auditorium

With the U.S. opening an embassy in Cuba this year — and the impending invasion of the first McDonald's in Havana only a matter of time — it's hard to fully put into perspective how shocking the eponymous 1997 release from the Buena Vista Social Club was. The Afro-Cuban style, so pervasive in the 1940s and '50s, had re-emerged from nowhere, with its original makers still capable of the same fire. Since that time, several members of the original lineup have passed, including pianist Rubén González and vocalists Compay Segundo and Ibrahim Ferrer. The remaining members, reformed as the 13-piece Orquesta Buena Vista, now look to keep the flame going for one last tour. — J.D. Swerzenski

Gang of Four

Saturday, October 24 | Paper Tiger

Formed in '77, Gang of Four accomplished the unenviable task of merging the sexual, perpetual slink and grind of disco with the crude, radical and unkempt treble assault of punk rock. It was something many bands at the time attempted but so few demonstratively accomplished. They were Marxist music for the roller rink. With tunes like "(Love Like) Anthrax," the B-side to one of the best debut singles — "Damaged Goods" — of any UK band post-Invasion, the Gang achieved one of the last admirable feats of 20th century writers and rockers alike: being banned by their government. Although guitarist/vocalist Andy Gill is the one remaining original member, this is a bucket list show. — D.T. Buffkin

Stevie Wonder

Saturday, October 31 | AT&T Center

In 1976, 26-year-old Stevie Wonder arguably pulled off the greatest three-album streak in music with the towering Songs in the Key of Life, an 84-minute, double LP (triple if you count the 4-track EP) that offered ample acreage for his sprawling genius. Wonder, now 65, has set out to perform Songs in full, backed by a "very big band" to help pull off the album's wide-ranging and intricate arrangements. Beyond guaranteeing performances of the album's big hits "As," "Sir Duke" and "Isn't She Lovely," the tour also offers a chance to hear deep cuts like "Contusion" and "Saturn" that never make it into Wonder's regular sets. And don't worry, he's also promising to provide an encore of hits, just in case you were afraid he wouldn't play "Superstition" on Halloween night. — JDS

The King Khan & BBQ Show

Tuesday, November 3 | Paper Tiger

It was recently posited that prejudice against the young was the final form of discrimination yet to be fully confronted in the U.S. If inaccurate, at least it's a provocative observation as "hipster" is used so pejoratively by young and old squares alike. King Khan & BBQ Show is a hipster band. That is, in no other time in the West during the last 100 years could their musically reverent and lyrically sacrilegious welding of junkyard doo-wop and pep rally punk be so well received — mostly by little shits in Vans, cutoff shorts, and flannels. But, fuck 'em, gang. In the immortal words of KK&BBQ, "I don't give a FUCK, whatchu doin' to me!" Bring your folks. — DTB

Brad Mehldau Trio

Wednesday, November 4 | Aztec Theatre

"It's as if he were aware of jazz tradition but entirely unencumbered by it," The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings wrote of pianist Brad Mehldau nearly 20 years ago, a time in which the truth of that comment has only grown. Backed by his equally open-minded (and talented) trio of bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, Mehldau has charted the course of modern jazz more than any other figure: refashioning Radiohead, Soundgarden and Sufjan Stevens into jazz standards, bridging jazz and classical with the help of Kanye West collaborator Jon Brion, and establishing a new Art of the Trio for contemporaries Vijay Iyer and Jason Moran. From a technical level, there are few more accomplished in jazz than Mehldau and his trio; there are even fewer that make it so easy to enjoy. — JDS

Moving Units

Saturday, November 21 | Limelight

Moving Units is the band I wish was playing at every gay bar that isn't country or western themed. Their Newest LP Neurotic Exotic sounds suspiciously like they're reaching for the high-fructose rock candy crown of modern dance music I believed singer Blake Miller was critiquing and détourning on Dangerous Dreams and Moving Units. Maybe it was the company he kept (31G Records, Festival of Dead Deer). Miller sounded anxious, too coked-up to fuck but completely lucid, empathetic and sexual; dry and nasal — like he'd been up for days reading Anaïs Nin and snorting horny goat weed and cotton. New single "The World is Ours" is an unwanted glitter-dong in my face. Praying for oldies. — DTB


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