A decade or so ago, the music world was rife with a new generation of anthemic, down-tuned arena rockers, inspired by post-grunge bands such as Creed and Bush. SoCal trio Smile Empty Soul was among them, but labors on amidst a changing rock landscape, occasionally releasing a record sure to appeal to fans but with fresh sounds as well -- the brand-new Chemicals no exception.
Smile Empty Soul joins Hed(pe) and Sunflower Dead at the Alrosa Villa Friday, March 21. Tickets are $23.40. Visit alrosavilla.com.
A few days late, perhaps, but Saturday, March 22, at the Newport Music Hall is the perfect time and place for those who aren't quite ready to let go of St. Patrick's Day, courtesy the reels, ballads and modern rockers of Gaelic Storm. And not just for the music, either, assuming what singer/accordionist Patrick Murphy told The Beat some years back still holds -- that the band likes to share a pint with audience members after a show.
Once the breakout Celtic act from Titanic, Gaelic Storm is now a member of the genre's ruling class, deftly blending the contemporary and traditional. Last year's The Boathouse album was the fourth Gaelic Storm record to debut at the top of Billboard's World Albums Chart.
Tickets for An Evening with Gaelic Storm are $22. Visit promowestlive.com.
We're not sure why Disney still thinks a pop-star version of the signature song from an animated musical is a requirement -- we don't see every young lady age 4-24 singing along with Demi Lovato's version of Frozen's Let It Go.
It's an unfair comparison for the former child star (few singers should invite comparisons to Idina Menzel), not that Lovato isn't without chops or star power of her own. Perhaps most of all, though, is an authenticity that Lovato can bring to the song, given her own personal struggles.
But if you thought her music was going to stay "grown-up" after the heart-rending Skyscraper from Unbroken, you miscalculated, as her latest, Demi, is a melodic pop-rock record full of hit tunes such as Heart Attack and Neon Lights.
Lovato's Neon Lights Tour stops at Nationwide Arena Saturday, March 22. Cher Lloyd and Fifth Harmony open. Tickets are $29.50-$62.50. Visit nationwidearena.com.
BONUS: Like Lovato, ZZ Ward is a stylish 20-something woman musician. But she cut her musical teeth on her dad's blues records and secret trips to late-night hip-hop clubs as a teenager in Portland, Ore. She brings her blues-rock band to the A&R Bar Tuesday, March 25. Grizfolk and The O'Mys open. Tickets are $15. Visit promowestlive.com.
Oh, it's been a long time since Michael Fracasso called Ohio home (born in Steubenville, schooled at OSU), but once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye.
Fracasso's latest CD, Saint Monday, is another collection of masterfully penned and performed tunes from the singer-songwriter, with strong characters, strong narratives and carried by Fracasso's expressive tenor.
Zeppelin Productions welcomes Fracasso to Natalie's Coal-Fired Pizza Sunday, March 23. Tickets are $20. Visit nataliescoalfiredpizza.com.
What's not to like about local singer-songwriter Sally Fingerett, the "big sister" of the Four Bitchin' Babes.
She's especially appealing to music writers, armed with quip after quip to describe the rotating quartet she's held together for more than 20 years -- "Childhood friends who didn't meet until we were in our 40s"/"The sorority we were never asked to join in college"/"We're bitchin' but not bitches" -- take your pick.
The current cast of Babes -- Fingerett, Debi Smith, Deirdre Smith and Marcy Marxer -- will present "Mid-Life Vices A Guilt-Free Musical revue" Wednesday, March 26, at the Southern Theatre. Tickets are $27/$39.50. Visit capa.com.