With apologies to This Is Spinal Tap, there’s a fine line between progressive and distracted. Or, in more concrete terminology, a fine line between genius and demented.
Pacific northwest pop-rockers Menomena walk or straddle that line, always without concern for which side and always comfortable walking and straddling all at once. Witness the band’s latest, Moms.
To add to the fun, the band’s name (perhaps purposefully?) reminds us of that novelty song from the ’60s.
With opener Guards, Menomena plays The Basement Friday, Feb. 15. Tickets are $13/$14. Visit promowestlive.com.
Martin Sexton’s voice is an instrument of unique dimensions.
An accomplished guitarist and clever songwriter, Sexton frames his words and notes to allow him to use his voice to full and varied effect – from dusty-road troubadour to cowboy wail to gospel-blues tenor to smooth soul jazz crooner.
Did we mention it works on straight-up rock ’n’ roll as well? Think 21st-century Van Morrison.
Sexton will play the Newport Music Hall Friday, Feb. 15. Tickets are $20/$25. Visit promowestlive.com.
At once rootsy and arty, Akron’s Shivering Timbers employs a freewheeling approach to rock ’n’ roll that places them somewhere between Bonnie Raitt and The Black Keys (also from Akron).
Led by married couple Sarah and Jayson Benn (and armed with a cool name, in The Beat’s estimation), Shivering Timbers is on the road (with 5-year-old daughter in tow) in support of its second record, Sing Sing.
Shivering Timbers plays Rumba Cafe Friday, Feb. 15. Openers include The Ramshacklers and Rumpke Mountain Boys. Tickets are $7. Visit columbusrumbacafe.com.
Stevie Wonder, James Brown and others laid the ground work, but it was the vision, creativity and, um, psychedelic “inspiration,” we’ll call it, of George Clinton, that fully realized funk music. (No disrespect intended to Sly & the Family Stone or the Isley Brothers.)
Parliament and P-Funk crystallized funk for its time, and Clinton remains a grand master to this day.
Clinton plays Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Saturday, Feb. 16. Tickets are $28/$30. Visit promowestlive.com.
Rock legends The Who play the Schottenstein Center Sunday, Feb. 17. What could The Beat tell you that you don’t already know? Roger and Pete are awesome!
Up-and-coming R&B/rock ‘n’ roll act Vintage Trouble opens. You’d think that would be a pretty cool gig.
Tickets are $39.50-$129.50. Visit schottensteincenter.com.
In that glorious place where Justin Bieber meets Fall Out Boy, you find The Ready Set.
TRS is the stage name for Indiana-born pop artist Jordan Witzigreuter, who, faced with the need to tour, has since formed a more formal “band.”
You have likely heard, if nothing else, Love Like Woe (which we assume is a purposeful double-meaning) and perhaps his new single, Give Me Your Hand.
The Ready Set is co-headlining a tour with similarly minded New York pop artist Outasight, a tour the visits the A&R Bar Monday, Feb. 18, Tickets are $15. Visit promowestlive.com.
Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Justin Jones take divergent approaches to contemporary pop-rock, but each is representative of the best in the next wave of talent for each approach.
Brit Leftwich plies a delicate tunefulness in the Ed Sheeran mold. Touring in support of his new EP, In the Open, Leftwich plays the Rumba Cafe Monday, Feb. 18. Tim Easton and Megan Palmer share the bill. Tickets are $12. Visit columbusrumbacafe.com.
Jones, a native of Virginia, writes sterling guitar pop-rock, a sort of modern version of Lindsey Buckingham or post-John Mayer, outdoing either in earthiness, however. Jones plays Woodland Tavern Tuesday, Feb. 19. Tickets are $8. Visit woodlandstavern.com.
If it sounds for a moment as if The Beat has taken over Gary Seman’s food coverage, blame Arlo Guthrie and Suzanne Vega. Yes, the writers of Alice’s Restaurant and Tom’s Diner, respectively, both play central Ohio Tuesday, Feb. 19.
Guthrie, of course, is a member of American folk’s royal family, and a standard-bearer for the movement that saw the rebirth of folk music in the late 1960s.
He plays Newark’s Midland Theatre. Tickets are $32-$52. Visit midlandtheatre.org.
Vega represents the crossover folk movement rooted in Boston and New York in the 1980s. And for those not paying attention, she’s continued to work since releasing Luka in 1987.
She plays the Lincoln Theatre. Tickets are $20-$25. Visit capa.com.
A perfect midweek treat for little ones comes to the Lincoln Theatre courtesy CAPA and the touring company from ArtsPower, the East Coast performing-arts troupe that brings its music theater adaptation of the beloved children’s book The Rainbow Fish to town for two shows at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20.
As with the best in children’s art, the show both entertains and teaches.
Tickets are $5. Visit capa.com.
The Beat has always felt that rockers Soul Asylum and Goo Goo Dolls followed a similar career arc.
Both began their lives as post-punk college rockers, helping define alt-rock in the early ’90s. Eventually, both began to focus more on songwriting, Soul Asylum breaking into the mainstream with Runaway Train, and the Dolls with Name.
For whatever reason, the Goo Goo Dolls were able to sustain this new pop-rock approach, while Soul Asylum plateaued, went on hiatus, worked intermittently, and sadly marked the passing – from throat cancer – of co-founding member Karl Mueller.
Soul Asylum has a new record, Delayed Reaction, and is on tour, with a stop planned Thursday, Feb. 21, at the A&R Bar. Miles Nielsen opens. Tickets are $20. Visit promowestlive.com.