Winter Arts Guide: Concerts and Comedy Events
By Summer Lin, with additional contributions by Shaula Clark
Boston Comedy Festival
Now in its 16th year, the Boston Comedy Festival—which invades venues all over Boston for a full week—brings with it Flight of the Conchords’ Todd Barry, Simpsons writer Dana Gould, Bob’s Burgers regular Andy Kindler, and many more.
November 6-14, multiple venues, bostoncomedyfest.com.
World indie rock band Beirut is setting out on a fall tour fresh off an album release, No No No.
November 7, 7 p.m., House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St., Boston, 888-693-2583, houseofblues.com.
British rock band Django Django is making the trek across the pond following its newest album release Born Under Saturn.
Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox
Self-described as “pop music in a time machine,” Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox runs modern chart-toppers through a classic-jazz filter—think doo-wop covers of Miley Cyrus or a ragtime “Tainted Love.”
Carly Rae Jepsen
The “Call Me Maybe” songstress will be heading to Paradise Rock Club on her Gimmie Love tour in the wake of her third pop album, Emotion.
Best known as everyone’s favorite Office nemesis and beet farmer Dwight Schrute, actor Rainn Wilson comes to the Wilbur Theatre to promote new book The Bassoon King.
Self-proclaimed Texas gentleman and multi-talented kick-drummer/harmonica player/guitarist/singer/songwriter Shakey Graves is playing not one but two nights at the Royale this fall. Talk about a multitasker.
The 51-year-old Tool frontman (and Arizona vintner) Maynard James Keenan may find Tool fans to be “insufferable people.” Let’s hope the good Reverand takes more kindly to Puscifer fans.
Meg Myers and Ruby Rose Fox
Sultry-voiced Boston Music Awards notable Ruby Rose Fox joins Meg Myers, whose “Lemon Eyes” is one of the greatest unsung earworms of 2015.
Craig Robinson & the Nasty Delicious
The Office‘s Craig Robinson and his seven-man band will be laying down his usual mix of lyrical comedy and jazz and funk music.
King Khan & BBQ Show
Forget the torrid history of break-ups and make-ups for this Canadian garage rock duo. King Khan & BBQ Show have patched things up in time for a tour and a new album, Bad News Boys.
2014 was a big year for the Seattle-based electronica duo, but 2015’s been no slouch, either, as they put out a new and improved version of their In Return album. See why CatacombKid and BeachesBeaches have headlined over 20 major music festivals in their few short years as a band.
Hello, Garfunkel, our old friend. You’ve come to play for us again. No sounds of silence here: The ’60s folk legend brings his 90-minute stage show—a mixture of music and reading from his autobiography—to the Wilbur.
!!! (Chk Chk Chk)
The Sacremento dance-punk band with the excitable name presents their sixth full-length album, As If. Openers include Boston indie dance rock band Animal Talk.
Shamir has taken his crown off the mantel for a bit while he brings his new album, Ratchet, on tour. Just remember not to try and touch it or there’ll be scandal.
Get ready laugh your heart out. In his first tour since, “What,” comedian Bo Burnham will be returning to the stage at the Shubert Theater for his “Make Happy” tour.
Lexington native Eugene Mirman of Bob’s Burgers fame will be taking the stage at the Paradise Rock Club for his “I’m Sorry (You’re Welcome)” tour. A warning to Boston parking attendants: Do not cross this man, or prepare for an absurdist public taunting.
Newport Folk Presents: The Ballroom Thieves
The homegrown Americana-tinged indie-folk trio spent this past year gigging at SXSW, Boston Calling, and yes, the Newport Folk Festival. Can they top themselves in 2016? Only time will tell—but get a sense of where things are headed.
My Morning Jacket
Speaking of Boston Calling and Newport Folk Festival: If you missed My Morning Jacket at those two major regional gigs, you get another shot at seeing them this year, as the Louisville rockers return to Boston in support of their latest, The Waterfall.
Have no fear on this dark night: Canadian songbird Grimes will be delivering her usual dose of electronica-infused synthpop beats at the Paradise Rock Club.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis and his orchestra keep the artistry, the passion, and the innovation of jazz alive and well. Marsalis surrounds himself with the best and brightest jazz talent, with a repertoire vast enough to intrigue even the nerdiest of jazzbos.
The Wombats may think your body is a weapon, but they’re pretty devastating themselves, if their international trail of sold-out shows is any indication. That said, maybe their missile-guidance technology could use a little improvement, considering they originally scheduled this show for September and had to postpone. But we’ll forgive them.
The Sheila Divine (Record Release)
After nearly a decade of off-again-on-again status, legendary local band Sheila Divine seems to be back for good (we hope), releasing new record The Morbs this past October.
Ed Kowalczyk Performs Throwing Copper Unplugged
Want to see the most ’90s thing ever? Get to YouTube and search for Live’s “Lightning Crashes.” Go ahead, we’ll wait. It’s been 20 years since Throwing Copper‘s shaved-head-with-braided-rat-tail and placenta-splattered lyrical mysticism dominated the airwaves (yes, we communicated via waves back then). Relive the magic at Brighton Music Hall.
This Manchester four-piece will be returning to the states on December 3 to promote its upcoming synth-laden pop album, Like It When You Sleep for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It.
The twerkmaster herself will be taking over the stage at the House of Blues in support of psychedelic-pop album Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz.
While many reviewers seem a bit too eager to compare Joanna Newsom to a woodland creature, we can’t deny her rather bewitching presence—just watching her tune her instrument is compelling, never mind her masterful harpistry.
December 6, 7:30 p.m., Orpheum Theatre, 1 Hamilton Pl, Boston, 617-482-0106. Buy tickets.
Fans won’t have to walk a thousand miles to see Carlton show off her impressive pipes—she’s coming to the Brighton Music Hall this December.
Trailer Park Boys
Our favorite trailer park bad boys are back with Trailer Park Boys’ “Dear Santa Claus, Go F#ck Yourself” tour.
December 10, 8 p.m., Orpheum Theatre, 1 Hamilton Pl, Boston, 617-482-0106. Buy tickets.
Kiss 108 Jingle Ball
Kiss 108’s annual Jingle Ball returns to the TD Garden this December with the Weeknd and Nick Jonas.
Comedian Jim Gaffigan brings his dad jokes and Hot Pocket shade-throwing to the Wilbur Theatre.
This December, Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller hits the road to promote his newest album, GO:OD AM.
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones Hometown Throwdown
As local Boston holiday traditions go, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Christmas party more raucous than the one Dicky Barrett and pals put together. It’s the only time of year when it’s good fashion sense to pair brothel creepers with Santa hats.
Andrew W.K., master of all things Party, throws the New Year’s bash to rule them all, playing I Get Wet in its entirety.
The House of Blues gets an infusion of rhythm, courtesy of the Roots this January.
Things we were disappointed by in 2015: The Mets. Things that we’re excited about for 2016: Metz. After dropping a “ballistic new single” in October, the Toronto noise-punks announced they’d be paying us a visit in January.
Shaq’s All Star Comedy Jam
Shaquille O’Neal’s All Star Comedy Jam brings top-tier talent—including Last Comic Standing’s LaVar Walker, Bill Bellamy, Tony Roberts, and Black-ish’s Deon Cole—to the Wilbur Theatre this January.
For one of the last shows at the soon-to-be-closing Johnny D’s, see one of the last comics to be a cast member of MADtv.
Anyone who misses the year 2000, take note: Boy band O-Town is coming to Allston in 2016.
“Del McCoury and Woody Guthrie”
Woody Guthrie isn’t with us anymore—but the music of Dust Bowl Troubadour who wrote “This Land Is Your Land” lives on. And tonight, 76-year-old bluegrass legend Del McCoury performs never-heard-before Guthrie lyrics, thanks to exclusive access to Guthrie’s archives granted by the family.
January 23, 8 p.m., Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy St., Cambridge, 617-496-2222. Buy tickets.
Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club
After 16 years of bringing Cuban music to international ears, the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club bids fans “Adios.” This January, see the Grammy winners on their farewell world tour.
January 23, 7:30 p.m., Orpheum Theatre, 1 Hamilton Place, Boston, 617-482-0106. Buy tickets.
The British are coming! English rock band Muse will be bringing their bass-heavy rock sound to TD Garden on January 25.
Lately, the Chicago-based alternative rock band has been making a big splash in our fair state every summer with their Solid Sound Fest at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. But just because June is a long ways away doesn’t mean you have to wait till the thaw to get a dose of Jeff Tweedy and company.
January 29, 7:30 p.m., Orpheum Theatre, 1 Hamilton Pl, Boston, 617-482-0106. Buy tickets.
The “Summer of ’69” comes to the winter of 2016, as Canadian adult-contemporary superstar Bryan Adams takes the stage at the Orpheum, in support of Get Up!, his first album of entirely new material in seven years.
February 13, 8 p.m., Orpheum Theatre, 1 Hamilton Place, Boston, 617-482-0106. Buy tickets.
Your antidote to Valentine’s Day comes in the form of Killing Joke, the UK post-punk band responsible for such goth-club floor fillers as “Love Like Blood,” and whose doom-and-gloom stylings had a profound impact on the likes of Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden.
30 Rock alum Tracy Morgan returns to the Wilbur with his “Picking Up the Pieces” tour this February.
Coheed and Cambria
This past year marked the 20th anniversary of Coheed and Cambria, the emo-prog band with its own fictional sci-fi universe: Heaven’s Fence, “a collection of 78 planets held in place by interconnecting beams of energy.” This February, they’re summoning all Children of the Fence to the House of Blues, where they’ll play cuts off their latest album, The Color Before the Sun.
Country pop princess Carrie Underwood brings her “Storyteller” tour to Boston.
Janet Jackson and her incredible pipes should be well-rested, after postponing her “Janet Jackson Unbreakable” tour show from October to February.
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