Remember MTV Unplugged? Freakin' awesome idea. Thanks to that acoustic concert program, families united across America. Finally parents saw past the electronic bashing of kids' favorite rock stars. The stripped-down style appealed to not just ma and pa but also opened the flap for a broader fan base. I think Boston-based Godsmack is hoping for a similar result. The alternative metal group has a new acoustic album and is pitching its power cords while on the road. The show will feature acoustic versions of new stuff as well as big hits like "Voodoo" and the newer "Serenity." Frontman Sully Erna, apparently a devout Wiccan, slaps my theory. He recently noted that the acoustic album developed from the band's penchant for performing some acoustic numbers during its live performances. Sure, why not reveal marketing strategies? "We decided to do an acoustic record because we have always messed around with acoustic versions of our music and gotten great reactions to it," he said. "Reworking the songs this way shows a different side of the band."
Thursday, September 16, 8 p.m., $36.50, Big Easy.
In the early '90s, a major label record company yanked its contract with The Samples because it felt the Colorado-based group was hopelessly uncommercial. To their chagrin, that's exactly what caused a stir among fans of the post-folk rock scene. In those early days, their music was often compared to that of The Police, Bob Marley and Neil Young--whom they credit as influences. Over the years, subject matter in their songs has changed little (love, hope and earth themes), but with acquired maturity and the go-round of musicians, their sound ripened with 2004's emotive Black and White. P.S.: Beat on the street is that the Samples' name originated from being starving artists; they were so poor they had to feed off samples at local grocery stores.
Sunday, September 19, 7:30 p.m., $12, Big Easy.
Black Tape for a Blue Girl
Halo Star is the ninth album for Black Tape for a Blue Girl--but the first in more than a decade to feature high-flying male vocals. At times BTBG sounds like Moroccan street music; other times it's reminiscent of an echo-y Gregorian chant. The band claims to be the originator of darkwave music, which is something like gothic folk under the umbrella of the apocalypse. What a brilliant marketing strategy: If you sing to the public in a convincing way about the end of the world, they will rush out and see your music for perhaps the last time--before the world actually ends. But it could backfire and audiences might go see something happier like The Samples. Audra and Murder Man open.
Sunday, September 19, $10, The Venue.
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
When you hear a band uses homemade instruments, you think one of three things: 1. Dinky spoons and broom-with-string setup 2. Banging on radiators à la industrial noise akin to a daycare group or 3. Elitist artistic license pushers with "novel" sounds and rhythms. However, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum is none of them. Though the five-piece group makes their instruments, they are avant-garde in a purely rocking way. They are true performers, known for their amazing live shows in which members dress in costume, wear face paint and take on stage personas.
Tuesday, September 21, 9 p.m., $3, Neurolux.
Six local musicians are hooking up for a special Singer Songwriter Showcase. Each songwriter will perform two solo numbers, then all six will unite on stage to play one original song by each artist. Performers are Bill Coffey, Dale Keys, Steven Fulton, Christine Thomas, Doug Cameron and Rochelle Smith. Pick your favorite. Added instruments are drums, bass, piano, cello and violin. Pick your favorite. This event, organized by a handful of companies, gives the singer/songwriters a place to showcase their skills in an intimate theater setting.
Saturday, September 25, 8 p.m. $15 in advance or $20 at the door, Egyptian Theatre.
Jeff Baker's New Album
Jeff Baker has a voice that makes vicious villains melt into suckling kitty cats. The Boise jazz vocalist is already an accomplished recording artist (ahem, Baker Sings Chet), but he's ready to raise his own standards. Baker is now in Seattle recording a new album at Studio X, in what is apparently a unique recording session; he's letting the press document all aspects of the recording process. The disc will be nationally released and hopefully join the successful echelon of his last project, which made the top 50 worldwide jazz album sales and was in heavy rotation on jazz radio stations across the country. Way to go, homeboy! :