Tonight’s Concert Picks: Beak> at Underground Arts, The Music of John Denver at Keswick, Former Belle at MilkBoy, Aesop Rock at Union Transfer, Willy Mason at World Cafe Live


BEAK>’s sound isn’t far from that of its British contemporaries Hot Chip. Dark melodies and lyrics are delivered with electronic flourishes. The band’s first two albums could be described as dance-ably sad. Fortunately, the reverse (being sadly danceable) isn’t true. Their success is due in part to BEAK> being something of a super group. The trio is comprised of Geoff Barrow (producer of Portishead), Billy Fuller (of Fuzz Against Junk) and Matt Williams (of Team Brick). The group came together officially in 2009 and has released two albums and an EP to date. BEAK> has also had a chance to sharpen its (…beak?) live show with recent international tours. They’re currently on the road again and playing our own Underground Arts tonight with Instamatic. Tickets and information for the 21+ show are available here. Below, stream BEAK>’s track “Mono.”

This month, John Denver will be touring. How?  Technology continues to push the boundaries of what a constitutes as a concert. If it wasn’t obvious after Beyonce’s Super Bowl halftime show (in which projections of Beyonce herself served as the artist’s back-up dancers)—concert technology is changing the way we experience our favorite artists.  Denver’s estate has organized a “live touring experience” in honor of Denver. Vintage footage of Denver performing with his band will be projected as a live string section plays along with the concert video. The tour is called “A Rocky Mountain High Concert,” and should be a technological high point this February for Denver fans from Buffalo to Austin. The John Denver Rocky Mountain High Concert comes to the Keswick Theater tonight. Tickets for the all ages event can be found here.  Below, watch a video of Denver performing “Back Home Again.”

Former Belle has toured the world, but it’s coming home for the release of Cathedral. The project was started by Philadelphia native Bruno Catrambone in 2010 and has since toured with the likes of Fences, Color Revolt and Owen. Cathedral is Former Belle’s debut full-length EP. Released Wednesday, it has already attracted favorable reviews. The album has a youthful folk energy to it, even on its quieter tracks; most songs sound they could have been on the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack. Catch Former Belle and celebrate Cathedral at the group’s album release party tonight at MilkBoy. Tickets and information for the 21+ show with Commonwealth Choir, Geology and Market East are available here. Below, watch the music view for “Amsterdam” from the group’s 2011 EP.

Every so often, Aesop Rock proves his commitment to the underground all over again.  Since his breakthrough in the late 90’s, Aesop Rock (also known as Ian Bavitz) has developed a reputation as a serious, dark and verbose artist.  His collaboration with friend and producer Blockhead was so successful, Rock’s 2003 album Bazooka Tooth, which he produced himself, was received by listeners with skepticism.  The album proved critically successful and instigated a series of production roles that kept Aesop Rock busier between albums.  Four years went by before his next LP, None Shall Pass, followed by another four-year hiatus.  Last year, Aesop Rock came back with Skelethon, an album that challenges any notion that he might be irrelevant or phased out.  He’s touring Skelethon and will be performing tonight at Union Transfer.  Tickets and information for the all ages show are available here.  Below, stream the single “Zero Dark Thirty” from Skelethon.

Willy Mason is touring the eastern seaboard this week.  Next month, he’ll be in the UK and he’s been booked for festivals through September.  If it seems like this 28-year-old folk singer’s career is doing remarkably well, consider his early support.  One of the first listeners to vouch for his music was Conor Oberst.  It also doesn’t hurt that Mason is the son of two folk singers, and has been at this for far longer than even his 2005 debut album Where the Humans Eat might suggest.  Mason released his third album last year, Carry On.  He brings his new album and old-school style to World Cafe tonight.  Tickets and information for the all ages show are available here.  Below, listen to his track “Restless Fugitive.”



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