For the past few years Mavado has been in the same predicament that’s afflicted so many other dancehall superstars: he’s practically a demigod in Jamaica, but barely anyone in the U.S. knows who he is. This is despite the fact that his American fan base consists not just of dancehall geeks but also of massive rap stars. Jay-Z and Drake are fans, Snoop and French Montana have both featured him as a guest on songs, and hip-hop kingmaker DJ Khaled has signed him to a record deal. But even given his lack of crossover in the States so far, Mavado could still break out here: his signature style is supersmooth, highly melodic, and unlikely to strike an audience already acclimated to Sean Paul as too exotic to handle. Then again, he seems to be doing just fine without us. —Miles Raymer DJ Ringo and One Blood open. $35, $49.95 VIP
When Philadelphia modern-soul singer Bilal Oliver released his 2001 debut, 1st Born Second, he was poised to be the next big thing out of the Soulquarians collective, which also included D’Angelo, ?uestlove, and J Dilla. But during the decade that he kept his modest following waiting for a second album, the jazz-bred vocalist seemed to do little more than sing hooks on hip-hop tracks for artists such as Common, Little Brother, and Clipse. In 2010, when he finally dropped Airtight’s Revenge, it was worth the wait—he found a sharp edge he’d previously missed. He advances that sound on his recent third album, A Love Surreal (Entertainment One), whose title makes a not-so-subtle wink to John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. The single “West Side Girl” makes his debt to Prince obvious, but on most of the album Bilal makes it harder to parse his influences by scrambling them together—the small-scale electronic soul of Timmy Thomas; the earthy, tightly coiled R&B of D’Angelo; the late-night humidity of current urban jazz, represented by pianist Robert Glasper, who guests on the album; the idiosyncratic melodies of Stevie Wonder. On love songs colored with uncertainty and disappointment as well as desire, his voice alternates between a raspy yet malleable falsetto and a throaty, declamatory high tenor. Bilal’s current material isn’t as hooky as the work of, say, Frank Ocean or Miguel, but they’d be less likely to exist if he never had—and he’s got a stylistic breadth and depth of feeling all his own. —Peter Margasak PJ Morton and Avery Sunshine open. $35, $30 in advance
Your Turn (Northern Spy) is the second and best album by Ceramic Dog, the knotty rock trio led by guitarist Marc Ribot. The group’s 2008 debut, Party Intellectuals (Pi), felt a bit slick and chilly, but the new one—with raw, vibrant production by Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier—is elbow deep in blood and grit, and Ribot sounds his most inspired and concise, even on extended solos. Supported by bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Ches Smith, he skips among genres and tropes without sounding at all dilettantish: a sort of punk-blues hijack of 60s rock (“Lies My Body Told Me,” about struggling against the procreative impulse), furiously swinging instrumental surf rock (“Your Turn”), quaint rocksteady (“Ain’t Gonna Let Them Turn Us Around”), early jazz (“The Kid Is Back!”), and even a version of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.” Ribot is at best a serviceable vocalist, and when he crosses over from his usual crankiness into outright bitterness—most egregriously on “Masters of the Internet,” an artless rant about musicians getting screwed by online piracy—it’s hard not to cringe, even though the sentiment is understandable. Luckily, though, he lets his guitar do most of the talking. He’s built a career by flouting expectations and yanking the rug out from under his own music, but in Ceramic Dog he often leaves well enough alone—and even when he does take things sideways, it’s easy to hang on for the ride. —Peter Margasak The Lee Ranaldo Band headlines.