1. Fri, Feb 13: Kool Keith, Party Bois, Medusah Black, Balam, and music by DJ Nook and Dan Tanner; 8pm doors / 9pm show; $13 advance / $15 day of; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket. My favorite rapper of all time. Greatest rapper of all time? No, but he is the most eccentric and off-the-wall rapper of all time. Founding member of iconic hip-hop group Ultramagnetic MCs, Keith Thornton made a career out of making records as personas such as Kool Keith, Dr Dooom, Black Elvis, and Dr. Octagon. Dr. Octagon’s 1996 album Dr. Octagonecologyst, his first solo record and most acclaimed, is an intriguing blend of sex, gore, science fiction and the absurd. To get an idea of how eccentric Keith lyrically is and the control of pop musical culture he possesses, check out the track “Drugs” from Spankmaster. I asked him before his 2001 show at Lupo’s if he was going to play “Drugs.” Keith told me hadn’t learned it yet. The strange world that lives in Keith’s head spews out and isn’t meant to replicated, but he keeps producing. He’s released 16 albums in the last nine years.
2. Sat, Feb 21: Power Of Love (Huey Lewis & The News Cover Band), Hippy Johnny (The Modern Lovers Cover Band), Bikini Whale (B-52’s Cover Band); 8pm doors / 9pm show; $10 advance / $12 day of; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket. Boston’s Power of Love is bringing what Rhode Island has always needed: a Huey Lewis & The News Cover Band. Every time Huey comes to town, I want to pay homage to the music, but I don’t want to pay $50. Power of Love doesn’t try to be ironic or tongue-in-cheek when playing Huey’s music. They do an ernest job of playing the original arrangements, but attack them with fierce rock ‘n’ roll savagery. The five-piece and full horn section is comprised of many former and current members of Boston indie and punk bands such as Big D And The Kids Table, The Fatal Flaw, Razors In The Night and more. They created a scene in Boston with cover bands to acts like Billy Joel, Prince and Cheap Trick and now play to sold-out rooms. This is the first time they have come to the area and are bringing their friends Bikini Whale, a B-52’s cover band. This show also marks the second appearance of Providence’s premier Modern Lovers Cover Band, Hippy Johnny.
3. Tues, Feb 24: Dr John and the Nite Trippers; 7pm doors / 8pm show; $85; All ages; Narrows Center, 16 Anawan St., Fall River, Mass. Two acts on my never-have-seen-and-want-to list are coming to the area. The first is the Swans at the Columbus. The other, Dr John, I have been meaning to see for years. He usually plays every other year at the Newport Jazz Fest, but I am worn out from the Folk Festival, which falls the week before. The 74-year-old songwriter still has it, blending blues, jazz, zydeco and rock ‘n’ roll. His biggest hit was “Right Place At The Wrong Time,” but he is best known for his long body of work that has gained him a cult following and as well as musician admirers and contributors such as Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger and even Spiritualized. If you can’t make it to New Orleans Jazz Fest, then you should get out to The Narrows. The ticket shock can be canceled out by the venue’s BYOB policy.
4. Fri, Feb 27: The Gaslight Anthem, Northcote, The Scandals; 7:30pm doors / 8:30pm show; $25 advance / $28 day of; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket. Fresh off their European tour with hometown heroes Deer Tick and pop punk stalwarts Bayside, New Jersey’s The Gaslight Anthem come back to Providence. The band’s sound and crowd have grown alot since the days of them playing the Living Room (RIP). While the foundation might have been based on punk rock acts like The Bouncing Souls and Hot Water Music, the band also has been influenced by mainstay acts as fellow New Jersey icon Bruce Springsteen, The Replacements and Tom Petty. Lead singer Brian Fallon stated that their 2014 album, Get Hurt, was influenced by Pearl Jam’s No Code. Canadian punk folkies Northcote and New Jersey straight-ahead-punk-rock The Scandals open.
5. Sat, Feb 28: Two Cow Garage, Six Star General, The Pourmen, The Mcgunks; 8pm doors; $10; All ages; Firehouse 13, 41 Central St, Providence. I always take notice when a band is from Columbus, Ohio. Some of my favorite punk acts, such as New Bomb Turks, Cheater Slicks (by way of Boston) and Gaunt are from the city. Two Cow Garage has been touring the country for a decade and half with similar acts like Drag The River and Lucero, playing salt of the earth country touched with a dab of punk. Garage fuzz punks Six Star General, New Bedford’s celtic folk punks The Pourmen, and Providence’s rock ‘n’ punk mainstays The McGunks open the bill.