Another year gone, another slate of shows to look forward to for 2013, of both the gargantuan, stadium-sized variety and the so-close-you-can-feel-Kendrick-Lamar's-sweat variety. Here's ten to get your year started off right:
Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel, Providence, R.I., Fri., Jan. 11 ($27.50)
- With the release of the widely-acclaimed good kid, m.A.A.d. city album, Kendrick Lamar has become the newest "savior of hip-hop." Rap concerts aren't always the greatest, but Lamar is apparently a worthy performer who showcases his rapid-fire rapping ability with gusto -- even though his stature is best described as diminutive.
Hot Stove, Cool Music
Paradise Rock Club, Boston, Sat., Jan. 12 ($40)
- Hot Stove, Cool Music is that event that NESN shoves down your throat every year around the fifth inning of each Red Sox game. The draw is the opportunity to hear some pretty good music that's supplemented by people like Peter Gammons, who nobody would ever want to see perform in any other venue otherwise. As long as Bronson Arroyo isn't there doing his awful Pearl Jam covers, it should be a good time.
The Wilbur Theatre, Wed., Jan. 16 ($72.70)
- Back in the '60s, Smokey Robinson was a Motown machine, a powerhouse who churned out hit after hit both with his band The Miracles and as a writer for groups like The Temptations (he wrote "My Girl" and "Get Ready"). At age 72, he can still bring it.
Paula Cole Trio
Bull Run Restaurant, Shirley, Sat., Jan. 19 ($38)
- If you ever made it through more than one episode of Dawson's Creek, you'll likely remember the theme song, Paula Cole's maudlin "I Don't Want to Wait." The Rockport native also had an even bigger hit, the way cooler "Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?" which should have definitely been the theme song to Dallas, Friday Night Lights or Cowboys Vs. Aliens.
Paradise Rock Club, Boston, Sat., Jan. 19 ($30)
- The Darkness is the band that had that hard-charging, falsetto-singing jam "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" way back in the day, and now they're back with an album released in August called Hot Cakes. The Spinal Tap-ish album cover has scantily clad women posing on a stack of pancakes with syrup dripping off of them; pancakes -- and scantily clad women -- have never looked more unappetizing.
Lowell Memorial Auditorium, Sat., Jan. 19 ($55)
- Despite their annoying attempts at spelling, Lynyrd Skynyrd have been pioneers of southern rock for the past 40 years. Even though Gary Rossington is the only original member still in the group, Skynyrd can still rock out with the best of them, especially for "Free Bird," which the crowd will be yelling for from the start of the show.
Tupelo Music Hall, Londonderry, N.H., Sat., Jan. 19 ($15)
- Local up-and-comers The Brew return to their home state with a show at Tupelo Music Hall. The Brew, whose drummer Aaron Zaroulis has familial roots in Lowell, are renowned for putting on rollicking live shows that touch on everything from improvisational rock jams to Queen-sounding, piano-based ballads. Check them out.
Orpheum Theatre, Boston, Sun., Jan. 20 ($68.30)
- Soundgarden sometimes get lost in the shuffle when Gen-X'ers wax poetic about the Seattle grunge scene, but Chris Cornell had more singing talent than Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain combined. After meandering for a few years in the should-have-been-better Audioslave, Cornell helped release King Animal, Soundgarden's first album in 16 years, in November.
House of Blues, Boston, Wed., Jan. 23 ($35)
- There probably isn't any better potential live club banger than Ellie Goulding's "Lights." The thumping beat, the catchy chorus and the opportunity for a crazy lights show is all you'd really need to have a good time. But her new album Halcyon is pretty good too. Still haven't figured out what she sees in Skrillex though.
Hanover Theatre, Worcester, Fri., Jan. 25 ($48)
- Heart, who are now proud members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, hope to continue their wave of good fortune with a hard-rocking show at the Hanover Theatre. Ann and Nancy Wilson have still got it, and if I was there, I'd be asking for their perfect version of "The Battle of Evermore." But that's me.
Follow Pete McQuaid on Twitter @sweetestpete.
The year ahead
TD Garden in Boston has a slew of big names on tap for the first half of the year. Mumford and Sons will perform Tues., Feb. 5, and Lady Gaga will perform Wed., Feb. 27. Pop starlets Rihanna and Pink will appear Sun., March 10, and Thurs., March 28 respectively. The musical drama queens of the past, Fleetwood Mac, will perform Thurs., April 18, while the musical drama queen of the present, Justin Bieber, will perform Sat., July 20.
Agannis Arena in Boston will have Passion Pit on Sat., Feb. 9, and Sigur Rós on Sat., March 16. fun. comes to the Orpheum Theatre Fri., Feb. 1, and One Direction comes to the Comcast Center in Mansfield Wed., June 26.
Gillette Stadium will host Bon Jovi Sat., July 20, Taylor Swift Fri.-Sat., July 26-27, and Kenny Chesney and Eric Church Fri.-Sat., Aug. 23-24. If that's not enough bombastic stadium music for you, make sure to check out Jason Aldean at Fenway Park on Fri.-Sat., July 12-13.
Closer to home, Little Big Town comes to Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Sat., Feb. 16. At Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H., Maroon 5, Neon Trees and Owl City will play Sun., Feb. 17, while The Who will play Sun., Feb. 24. Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom will have old favorites (Yes, Sat., April 6; America, Sat., April 13) and cover versions of them (One Night of Queen, Sun., April 7; The Fab 4, Thurs., July 18).
We'll keep you updated on more upcoming shows as they are announced, so check back each Thursday for concert news, album reviews and silly one-liners at whatdoUwannado.com.