Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, Silversun Pickups, Carrie Underwood, Sister Hazel and Flogging Molly highlight this week's Fab Ten.
The Beat's affection for unique, clever or otherwise interesting (to us) band names is the stuff of legend (not really).
We have to admit, the groovy rockers in the Michigan funk-jam-prog quintet Ultraviolet Hippopotamus may have tried a little too hard, but for some reason, we find the abbreviation UV Hippo fun.
Classic jam-band trappings abound, but are augmented by calculated risk-taking and a less-trippy approach to the long-form rock song.
Check out UV Hippo Friday, Dec. 7, at the Scarlet and Grey Cafe. Tickets are $10. Visit scarletandgreycafe.com.
Canadian-born Jordan Cook – aka Reignwolf – is a modern blues-rocker with some throwback shops. The Beat hears a little Paul Rodgers in his voice and a little Gary Moore in his playing.
No less than the late, great Jeff Healey once introduced Cook as the finest player in the world.
Cook tears it up soulful solo or battering-ram band style, so either way, get set for a heart-pumping show Saturday, Dec. 8, at The Basement, as Reignwolf hits town in support of his new record, Seven Deadly Sins.
Tickets are $5. Visit promowestlive.com.
The fact that The Beat gets vibes both Pixies-y and Breeders-esque from indie rock trio Eternal Summers leads us to believe that singer/guitarist Nicole Yun is a bit Kim Deal-ish.
Indeed, the '80s post-punk ethic that infuses Eternal Summers' new record, Correct Behavior – the band's first since expanding from duo to trio – leads to tunes both playful and heavy.
Eternal Summers opens for Nada Surf Sunday, Dec. 9, at The Basement. Tickets are $16/$18. Visit promowestlive.com.
Full of shimmer and fuzz, L.A.'s Silversun Pickups and frontman Brian Aubert possess a mannered ardor, plenty capable of scaling the heights of pop-rock flair.
SSPU headlines the CD102.5 Holiday Show Sunday, Dec. 9, at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion with Delta Spirit, The Features and Cloud Nothings. Tickets are $25/$27, with a portion of proceeds benefitting 102.5 for the Kids. Visit promowestlive.com.
It seems pretty obvious that Carrie Underwood represents the greatest success of any American Idol alum. But, given Nashville's keen ability to identify talent (and good looks), The Beat wonders if she might not have become a megastar anyway.
No matter how she get here, Underwood's career is in pretty rarified air, what with all the record sales and awards and being a member of the Grand Ole Opry and her pop culture impact beyond simply being a country singer.
Underwood's "The Blown Away" Tour hits the Schottenstein Center Tuesday, Dec. 11. Hunter Hayes opens. Tickets are $43-$63. Visit schottensteincenter.com.
Recently reunited with original singer Jesse Leach, members of Killswitch Engage are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the band's landmark "New Wave of American Heavy Metal" album Alive or Just Breathing.
That celebration includes hitting the road for a tour that includes a Tuesday, Dec. 11, date at the Alrosa Villa. Shadows Fall and Acaro open.
Tickets are $20.02. Visit alrosavilla.com.
Gainesville, Fla., quintet Sister Hazel is on the feel-good southern pop timeline that traces the years from Hootie to Zac Brown.
You remember the breakout single, All for You, now more than a decade old. But since, Sister Hazel has continued to make pleasant, smart, well-crafted modern pop-rock.
With openers My Silent Bravery and Breaking Laces, Sister Hazel plays the Newport Music Hall Wednesday, Dec. 12. Tickets are $17/$20. Visit promowestlive.com.
Continuing the sibling theme, Kent, Ohio natives Jessica Lea Mayfield and David Mayfield are on the road together this winter, and will play a Thursday, Dec. 13, show at The Basement. David is the picker – an award-winning mandolin and guitar player who also released his debut CD The David Mayfield Parade in 2011. His sister is the muse, a minimalist-singer-songwriter who, in addition to making her own records, co-wrote much of the DMP record.
Tickets are $12. Visit promowestlive.com.
Groove-funk crazies Family Force 5 challenge perceptions of the kind of music being made by clean-looking Christian kids.
Of course, this kind of danceable crunk rock has broad appeal, and Atlanta-based FF5 is most-often subtle in its spirituality.
With openers Rupture Ruckus, Capital Kings and Everyday Sunday, Family Force 5 will play the Newport Music Hall Thursday, Dec. 13. Tickets are $16.50/$18. Visit promowestlive.com.
Celtic rockers Flogging Molly have always been a working man's band. With the group's latest record, Speed of Darkness, founder Dave King and mates have taken that motif to a new level, writing the album during a three-month stay in Detroit and focusing on the nation's economic struggles through the eyes of those in the Motor City.
Since forming in the mid '90s (indeed, King met many of FM's six other members in traditional Irish fashion – over a pint), Flogging Molly has fused traditional Irish instrumentation and progressions with a raw, punk-rock ethic.
Plan to get sweaty, pump a fist and raise a wrist with Flogging Molly and opener Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Thursday, Dec. 13.
Tickets are $27/$30. Visit promowestlive.com.
A prolific and prodigious penner of adult pop-rock pleasantry, Chicago's Todd Carey is every bit the tunesmith of better-known contemporaries such as John Mayer or Jason Mraz.
Touring in support of his latest EP, The Duets Project, Carey will play the Scarlet and Grey Cafe Sunday, Dec. 9. Sharing the bill are Honor By August and JD Eicher. Visit scarletandgreycafe.com.