Quite a few major acts will be sweeping through the area, with a full weekend of standout concerts at Hartford’s XL Center in October and a blockbuster follow up less than two weeks later. There’s certainly plenty of smaller shows as well, and more variety than you can shake a guitar at.
Here’s a list of solid (though clearly not exhaustive) pics for the next few months:
BLAKE SHELTON: The end of summer means the end of the Comcast Theatre’s season, but country star Blake Shelton promises to make it go out with a bang when he performs Sept. 6. “The Voice” star is called Entertainer of the year by the Country Music Association, plus it’s hard to imagine a country concert in Hartford being anything less than a party. Information: www.livenation.com.
BLACK JOE LEWIS AND THE HONEYBEARS: This group out of Austin slams out a blend of fuzzy garage rock and bluesy funk at Spaceland Ballroom on Sept. 25. Material from their brand new LP “Electric Slave” takes more of the rock tact, but their upbeat and soulful rhythms are more than enough to get feet off the ground and dancing. Information: www.manicproductions.org
BATHS: This one man project out of Los Angeles employs atmospheric but moving electropop beats. The result is something mellow and generously layered that’s both interesting, and good for the hip kids to dance to. Baths is at the Iron Horse in Northampton on Oct. 4. Information: 413-586-8686 or www.iheg.com
JOHN LEGEND: A year ago we said Legend had one of the silkiest voices in music today, and that his performance in support of the unreleased “Love In The Future” was worth seeing. Both that performance and album were postponed a solid year (“Future” is finally on the way, set to land Sept. 3). Legend keeps his word on performing at MGM Grand on Oct. 20. Information: 866-646-0609 or www.foxwoods.com.
BIG GIGANTIC: In an electronic dance music world dominated by robotic “whirr whirr chugga whirrrrrrr” sounds, Big Gigantic stands up with powering live drums, blazing saxophone, and live improvisation that makes their sets a dance party for the modern age rather than a false future. The duo are at the Calvin Theater in Northampton on Oct. 23. Information: 413-586-8686 or www.iheg.com
PEARL JAM: Grunge came and grunge went, but the lion unleashed more than 20 years ago is still gnashing its teeth. Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam are back out on the scene with a tour stopping at Hartford’s XL Center on Friday, Oct. 25, with the album “Lightning Bolt” set to be released 10 days before. Information: 860-249-6333 or www.xlcenter.com
DRAKE: It would be tough for the Young Money star to outdo the number of special guest appearances in last year’s Club Paradise tour stop at the Comcast, but if that show was any indication, this Saturday, Oct. 26 concert will be a big hit. Miguel opens, and will tear up the stage with his impeccable dance moves. The XL Center will be busy that weekend but hey, you only live once. Information: 860-249-6333 or www.xlcenter.com
PHISH: Hartford gets decidedly more mellow on Sunday, Oct. 27, when Phish plays at the XL Center as part of their 30th anniversary tour. The modern day kings of the jam bands have a group of cultish followers that follow them from city to city, not to mention a legion of resident fans and college aged kids. Phish have been known to turn songs into extended jams that last more than 20 minutes. Information: 860-249-6333 or www.xlcenter.com
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: Fresh off the Legends Of Summer tour with Jay-Z, Timberlake is embarking on his own to support the “20/20 Experience”. A second album of the two-part experience drops Sept. 30, a little over a month before his Nov. 7 performance at the XL Center. The Grammy Award winner is all but guaranteed to put on an astounding performance, and hopefully there’s not another peep about a reunion with his 90’s bandmates. Information: 860-249-6333 or www.xlcenter.com
CHRIS CORNELL: The Soundgarden frontman is taking a little time away from the re-activated band to embark on another solo tour this fall, including two area dates. Cornell will perform acoustic renditions of songs throughout his catalog, including tracks from Soundgarden’s new “King Animal.” He plays Northampton’s Calvin Theater on Nov. 17, and the Shubert Theater in New Haven Nov. 20. Information: 413-586-8686 or www.iheg.com, and 203-562-5666 or www.shubert.com.