Tonight’s Concert Pick: Sufjan Stevens at Academy Of Music

Sufjan StevensHere we were, thinking we knew the real Sufjan Stevens—the banjo-slinging, indie-folk singer-songwriter with a penchant for spiritual themes, an obsession with history and geography, and an overall demeanor that earned him the distinction of being (as Pitchfork put it) the “poster boy for mannered indie-dude sensitivity.” Turns out, the Detroit-born critics’ darling is just a regular pissed-off guy, every bit as confused and melodramatic as the rest of us (albeit, much better of putting said anger and confusion to music). The recently-released The Age Of Adz is arguably Stevens’ most personal album to date, with Stevens’ frustration and bitterness laid out for everyone to see—both in the lyrics and in the artwork (which comes courtesy of paranoid schizophrenic and misogynist artist Royal Robertson). Then again, it sounds like there’s also some outside influences at work. In a recent interview with Exclaim, Stevens stated, “I did get very sick last year and had some serious health issues…it was really confusing and catastrophic in a lot of ways because it was a virus I had that affected my nervous system and I no longer had control of my responses to circumstances and events,” before adding, “So, this record, The Age of Adz, is, in some ways, a result of that process of working through health issues and getting much more in touch with my physical self.” Yikes. We’re glad to hear he’s feeling better these days. And we hope that selling 36,000 copies of The Age Of Adz in its first week helps ease any lingering pain of what sounds like an incredibly difficult songwriting process. Sufjan Stevens performs at 8 p.m. at The Academy Of Music; tickets are SOLD OUT.

Also playing: Shearwater + Damien Jurado at Johnny Brenda’s (8:30 p.m., 21+, $10); Bob Mould at Sellersville Theater (8 p.m., $25)