Mike D’s Top Five Can’t Miss Shows of January

1. Sun, Jan 18: Balance and Composure, Ovlov, Wargames; $13 advance / $15 day of; 8pm doors / 8:30pm show; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket. Finally Doylestown, Penn.’s Balance and Composure return to Rhode Island. The band, while often grouped in with the new explosion of emo and pop punk acts like Title Fight and Tigers Jaw, stand out by bringing a great understanding the soft / loud aspect of the bands that made alternative rock exciting in the 1990s like Nirvana, Jawbreaker and Sunny Day Real Estate. Their last full length, Things We Think We Are Missing reminds me of another favorite record that was influenced by similar acts, Cave In’s 2000 release Jupiter. Connecticut’s Ovlov also have a feel of the ’90s indie revival to them, reminding me of a punkier Sebadoh with touches of Lou Barlow’s previous band Dinosaur Jr. Westport, Mass.’s Wargames are also on the verge of becoming a national act. Check them out before they leave for their European tour this spring.
2. Sat, Jan 24: The Copacetics (CD Release), Riki Rocksteady, The Pomps, Out Of System Transfer; $10; 8pm; All ages; Firehouse 13, 41 Central St, Providence. The Copacetics’ new self-titled CD is a fantastic showcase of their talent — a perfect recording that captures what makes seeing them such a fun experience. An eight-piece rocksteady ska band that perfectly blends all the musicians for a cohesive and rewarding dance party. Lead track, “Summer’s Coming,” takes me away to a place that isn’t this miserable New England winter. Make sure to get there early and wear light clothing. A small, packed room of people dancing will make for a hot January night. Hard to pick out a stand-out song from this record, but so far “Blood From a Stone” stays with me. I hear it’s free at the CD release — another reason to get there. Connecticut’s Riki Rocksteady, Boston act The Pomps, and Brooklyn’s Out Of System Transfer round out the bill.
3. Sat, Jan 31: Point Break Live; $25 advance / $30 day of; 8pm; 18+ only; The Sinclair, 52 Church St, Cambridge, Mass. I am one of the many people who believe that Kathryn Bigelow’s Academy Award for Best Director in The Hurt Locker was merely a posthumous trophy for the Academy realizing the mistake of not celebrating the greatest movie of all time: Point Break. Bigelow’s 1991 action crime flick was not only perfectly blended a surplus of violence with California surf, but created a cult following for millions of people with good taste. The movie has something for everyone — bank robbers who dress up as ex-presidents in tuxedos, Gary Busey, Keanu Reeves trying really hard to act, the Red Hot Chili Peppers getting their asses kicked, Tank Girl — everything one could ask for. Point Break Live recreates the film in a live theater experience with one catch: It selects from the audience a random person to come up and act as Keanu Reeves. I hope they pick me. I have been practicing my “I. Am. An FBI. Agent.” line for 14 years.

4. Sat, Jan 31: The Upper Crust, The Worried, The Viennagram; $10; 8pm doors / 9pm show; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St., Pawtucket. If you are a fan of theatrics and don’t want to travel to Boston, have no worries. The Upper Crust is the show for you. They return to Rhode Island on the heels of a successful trip to LA where they took part in Tenacious D’s music and comedy festival. The Crust are kings of banter and aristocratic snobbery. An easy way of describing them would be if AC/DC, Spinal Tap and Jane Austen decided to get a project going. Powdered wigs, period costume and more sass then one should consume, The Upper Crust is an experience not to be missed. Rounding out the bill are punk rock veterans The Worried and art punk stalwarts The Viennagram.

5. Sat, Feb 7: John Reilly and Friends featuring Becky Stark and Tom Brosseau; $18 advance / $20 day of; 8pm; All ages; The Columbus Theater Upstairs, 270 Broadway St, Providence. I remember watching John Reilly play drums a very long time ago in a Jon Spencer Blues Explosion video, and wasn’t necessarily convinced of his drumming ability. Fast forward a decade to his performance on the drums in Step Brothers — serious progress in drumming-acting chops. For actors who are musicians, John is light years ahead of Dogstar — a nice combination of roots with a little bit of bluegrass and folk standards. Becky Stark, from LA indie act Lavendar Diamond, really stood out. The Columbus upstairs is the perfect spot for this soiree.