Slick Rick Warehouse Live, April 11
Arguably the greatest pure storyteller in rap history, UK-born "Slick" Rick Walters first appeared alongside Doug E. Fresh as the tag team responsible for the 1985 touchstones "The Show" and "La Di Da Di." Great as those songs were, though, he really made his reputation on 1988's The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, vastly expanding hip-hop's vocabulary and setting an almost impossibly high bar for future MCs through the complex, often explicit narratives of "Treat Her Like a Prostitute," "The Ruler's Back," and more.
Not long after, though, Rick was convicted of attempted murder after a domestic dispute involving his cousin, a situation that indirectly led to problems with both the INS and Department of Homeland Security for years. Somehow he managed to release the 1999 album The Art of Storytelling amid all the drama, and was finally pardoned by then-New York Gov. David Paterson in 2008. Since then he hasn't released any new music, but at least -- thank God -- has resumed touring for Adventures' 25th anniversary. With Rich Williams, ACRE and Kyle Hubbard. CHRIS GRAY
Big Head Todd & the Monsters House of Blues, April 11
Colorado blues-rockers Big Head Todd & the Monsters may be one of the most durable bands around. Playing together since the mid-'80s, the veterans are nothing close to a nostalgia act even after a quarter of a century. With a raw, soulful sound that has progressed and evolved with each passing year and every new musical avenue, Todd Mohr and company have kept the interest of critics and fans alike. Their eighth album to date, Black Beehive, is a bit more old-school and lyrically intense, yet somehow it's still every bit the Big Head Todd that fans have grown to know and love. ANGELICA LEICHT
Craig Kinsey House of Blues (Bronze Peacock Room), April 12
Erstwhile ringleader of Houston's rowdiest Americana roustabouts, the Sideshow Tramps -- who are hopefully just on an extended hiatus -- Craig Kinsey takes his nickname/honorific "The Reverend" seriously; he's part Dylanesque troubador with a fondness for Lightin' Hopkins, part carnival huckster.
On American Roots and Machines, his second solo release after 2011's The Burdener, Kinsey brings alt-pop jingles, Sacred Harp singing, and more under his musical big top, climaxing with a 14-minute ballad about the friendship between a Confederate deserter and a runaway slave. Due soon on brand-new local label Splice Records, the LP "was not intended to be a concept album, but it looks like it is," Kinsey told us back in January. With Quiet Morning & the Calamity, Fox Parlor and Kevin Kendrick. CHRIS GRAY
Los Lobos Arena Theatre, April 12
Los Lobos may have gained the mainstream's attention with their cover of Richie Valens' "La Bamba" back in 1987, but nothing about these East L.A. rockers is or ever has been anything but original. After 40 years and more than a dozen studio albums (never mind their copious compilation and soundtrack appearances), there's no denying that Los Lobos have mastered their craft.
They have honed a sound as unique and eclectic as the East LA neighborhood the group sprung from. The six-piece continues to rely heavily on their Latin roots, incorporating everything from barrio music and corridos into any number of rock elements, which keeps their sound as fresh and intriguing as possible. With the Robert Cray Band. ANGELICA LEICHT
List continues on the next page.
Celtic Woman Hobby Center, April 13
Four wholesome Irish lasses still riding the residual popularity of the early-2000s Riverdance craze -- as seen on PBS, etc. -- Celtic Woman was designed to appeal to the millions of sons and daughters of Erin, and of course those who are Irish at heart; you know, people who will forever get misty-eyed upon hearing "Danny Boy" no matter how many times they hear it.
Mixing traditional Celtic tunes with pop production values has turned out to be more profitable than anyone could have possibly imagined: Celtic Woman's latest album, Emerald: Musical Gems (which in fact includes "Danny Boy"), marks the group's eighth straight time to debut at No. 1 on Billboard's World Music Albums chart. So don't even try to deny it: the pipes, the pipes are calling... CHRIS GRAY
FIVE OTHER SHOWS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER By Chris Gray
Pat Travers: Boom boom, out go the lights. (Concert Pub North, April 11)
Classic Numbers: Don't you want me, baby? (Numbers, April 11)
Juan Gabriel: Mexican pop star, seller of more than 30 million albums, heads norte. (Toyota Center, April 11)
Markus Schulz: Miami-based global trance star's "Scream 2" tour might get loud. (Stereo Live, April 11)
Helstar, Venomous Maximus, Warbeast, etc.: Local metal blowout to salute Helstar's forthcoming This Wicked Nest; look for an interview later on Rocks Off. (Fitzgerald's, April 12)
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
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