Between the Buried and Me
Warehouse Live, July 13
Between the Buried and Me don't know the meaning of the word “enough.” Each song crafted by the North Carolina five-piece rewrites the rules of progressive metal – which doesn't have that many to begin with — by setting their formidable technical skills loose across a vast stretch of musical terrain roughly bordered by Queen, At the Drive-In and Dream Theater. Since their 2002 self-titled debut, each of BTBAM's seven LPs has registered a higher chart debut than its predecessor, through 2012's The Parallax II: Future Sequence (No. 22). Now the group might have outdone themselves with Coma Ecliptic (Metal Blade), a concept album told from inside the mind of a coma patient revisiting his past lives. With Animals as Leaders and The Contortionist.
Imagine Dragons, Metric, Halsey
Toyota Center, July 16
Imagine Dragons have the distinction of being the first rock band with a debut album released in the 2010s to headline arenas. It helps that the LP in question, 2012’s Night Visions, contains one of the decade’s leading earworms in “Radioactive,” a song whose half-life now holds the Billboard record for most weeks in the Hot 100 at 87. (It peaked at No. 3.) This band is so hot that followup “Demons,” a similarly slow-burning fusion of twinkling melody and rafter-reaching chorus, had just left the charts when sophomore album Smoke + Mirrors appeared this February. To help them get over this first arena-tour hump, the Dragons have chosen a pair of excellent support acts: Emily Haines’ Canadian New Wave revivalists Metric and Halsey, the 20-year-old Jersey synth-pop ingenue whose “New Americana” is already looking like a “Radioactive”-size hit.
Tyler, the Creator
Warehouse Live, July 16
Tyler, the Creator is not so much a rapper as a human lightning rod. As a founder and arguably the most recognizable figure within Odd Future, the controversy-baiting L.A. alt-rap collective that may or may not be defunct, Tyler has thus far hit on a winning combination of filterless MC and troll supreme; he’s been successful enough to rope Kanye and Lil Wayne to feature on his most recent LP, Cherry Bomb, anyway. His music is similarly all over the place, as driven by rock and jazz as Pharrell’s various productions, but there’s very little convention in anything he does. How much of whatever comes out of Tyler’s mouth (or his tweets) he really believes, and how much he's just saying to get a rise out of people is almost beside the point: either way, he’s exceptionally good at getting people’s attention. With Taco.
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Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson
NRG Arena, July 16
Back in the ‘90s, there could have been quite a backstage row between Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson over whose name appeared first on the marquee. Nowadays the alt-rock superstars’ joint “End Times” tour could as easily be a cheeky reference to their numbered arena-headlining days as to the plentiful apocalyptic visions in their music. Nevertheless, the size of the venues on the tour speaks to the enduring drawing power of both bands, while critics have rallied around their latter-day efforts like Manson’s The Pale Emperor and the Pumpkins’ Monuments to an Elegy as much as their vintage efforts, if not moreso.
Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas
Fitzgerald's, July 16
Jessica Hernandez's Facebook bio claims the Detroit singer plies both "dark soul" and "gothic pop," equally apt terms for an artist whose music juggles effervescence and melancholy without much of a lag. Last year's Secret Evil (Instant Records), announces itself with splashy uptempo openers "No Place Left to Hide" and "Sorry I Stole Your Man," but really rounds into form with the reggae-laced "Dead Brains" and midtempo ballads "Over" and "Neck Tattoo." The specter of Amy Winehouse looms (how could it not?), but Hernandez is a striking new retro voice. With the Flamin' Hellcats.