Monday, March 10, 2014

Best shows to see: The Wonder Years, Pat Metheny Unity Group

Posted By on 03.10.14 at 11:05 AM

Pat Metheny Unity Group
  • Pat Metheny Unity Group
If you've got access to a friend's ex-girlfriend's father's coworker's HBO Go account, chances are high that you spent the weekend binge-watching True Detective and could stand to spend an evening or two away from the glow of one screen or another. Fortunately there are plenty of concerts to see during the next few days.

Tonight there's Ice Balloons at Empty Bottle and J A Cohen at Hideout. Tomorrow night you can check out Mike Doughty at City Winery or Cheer-Accident at Bar DeVille. On Wednesday there's Him at House of Blues.

There are plenty of other concerts to go to this week—head to Soundboard for all our show listings and check out a couple picks from Reader critics after the jump.

Mon 3/10: Wonder Years at House of Blues

It took me quite some time to get hooked on pop-punk outfit the Wonder Years, but they recently got me with their even-handed approach to making songs about the suburbs: "The Wonder Years' sublime 'We Could Die Like This' is one of many high points on last year's The Greatest Generation (Hopeless), the group's fourth full-length; it's about the way certain trinkets, memories, and sensory triggers (such as the smell of Coppertone) can make you nostalgic for a place that's no longer home. (The Wonders Years are based in Philadelphia now, but the formed in suburban Lansdale.) Front man Dan Campbell sings with heartfelt earnestness but not too much sentimentality—a welcome change from some of his past performances—and the band's big, crunchy sound helps balance out the sugar." Modern Baseball opens.


Tue 3/11: Pat Metheny Unity Group at Symphony Center

"When guitarist Pat Metheny formed this group a couple years ago (as the Unity Band), people took notice at once—it was his first lineup to include a tenor saxophonist since the 1980 album 80/81, which featured both Dewey Redman and Michael Brecker," writes Peter Margasak. "The Unity Band's self-titled 2012 debut featured tenor saxophonist Chris Potter (widely regarded as the preeminent horn player of his generation), drummer Antonio Sanchez, and up-and-coming bassist Ben Williams, but it was a bit of a mixed bag—for every driving, exploratory piece, there was another bogged down by fussiness and by Metheny's weakness for novel instrumentation, especially his cloying guitar synth and unwieldy Orchestrion. A few weeks ago this ensemble, which had become a quintet called the Unity Group with the addition of multi-instrumentalist Giulio Carmassi (he plays piano, vibes, cello, brass, and woodwinds), released its follow-up, Kin (Nonesuch), and what little restraint Metheny exercised on the previous album is gone."

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