There’s nothing wrong with listening to music in the privacy of our headphones and bedrooms, but there’s something cathartic about experiencing music live, surrounded by other screaming fans.
If you’re looking for opportunities to appreciate new music this fall, there’s something for everyone. The music you listen to as a young adult may shape your taste for the rest of your life, so be sure to exhaust your options and keep an open mind!
Senses Fail — Town Ballroom
There’s plenty of pop culture nostalgia to go around. Punk rock artists like Senses Fail, which relieved listeners, namely adolescents, of the isolating depths of hopelessness by invoking violent imagery in the early 2000s. Their loud laments and strong, expeditious guitar strumming put a tune to what it means to let your intrusive thoughts win. If there is one night to indulge in punk, it’s this night.
Digable Planets — Town Ballroom
The prolific yet meticulous sampling of melodic jazz coupled with the profound and slick lyricism from ‘90s hip-hop artists is the unforgettable trademark of the Brooklyn-based trio, Digable Planets. The group is celebrating the 30th anniversary of their debut album, “Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space),” which was named after an essay by Argentinian writer, Jorge Luis Borges. In this project, the members aspire to Borge’s theory that time and space are conceptual and explore that through the lens of Afrofuturism.
Bruno Major — HISTORY (Toronto, ON)
Self-described as a Randy Newman-inspired lyricist, a Chet Baker-inspired singer, and a James Blake-and J Dilla-inspired producer, Major invites listeners to ponder the breadth of the human experience. Whether it’s somber or romantic, you’re bound to take away an earnest lesson from Major’s subdued vocals and sensitive production of the piano and guitar.
Broken Social Scene — Town Ballroom
This indie-rock collective may fluctuate between having six and 19 members, but their sound is never compromised by any absences. They deviate between and beyond the softness and roughness of rock while experimenting with pop-adjacent ambient sounds. Although they were formed in the early 2000s, their sound may resonate with fans of Sufjan Stevens, the National and Big Thief today.
Wu-Tang Clan and Nas — Scotiabank Arena (Toronto, ON)
Notable for being the arbiters of the hip-hop sound, the Wu-Tang Clan and Nas have struck listeners since the ‘90s with their poetic and personal lyricism. While both artists could headline their own shows, the charisma behind their rhythmic camaraderie reminds listeners that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Stevie Nicks — Keybank Center
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Fleetwood Mac singer carries herself in a majestic manner. She sings so frequently about mystic experiences that she’s often characterized as a witch. Regardless, the impenetrable allure of her coarse alto and poised stage presence against what remains of rugged ‘80s rock instrumentals today will leave you bewitched.
Thundercat — Buffalo Riverworks
Thundercat’s “Them Changes” has had its run on TikTok, but don’t let that make you think that his discography isn’t worthwhile. Thundercat impressively produces a blend of funk, jazz and R&B, while preserving the whimsical nature of jazz. The spontaneous riffing of his bass, synths and innocent lyrics make the listening experience exciting and unpredictable.
Tennis and Sam Evian — Asbury Hall - Babeville
Tennis is the result of the deep affection between husband and wife, Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore. The duo deliver mesmerizing vocals, plump synths and a “retro” — although they prefer timeless — pop and rock sound from their infusion of ‘60s and ‘70s melodies. Sam Evian, who’s produced for Big Thief and frequently contributes to Cass McCombs’ projects, has crafted his own discography by drawing inspiration from the 60 demos he’s scratched through during the pandemic. Evian combines tinges of Marvin Gaye and John Coltrane with a deep psychedelic rock sound.
Ms. Lauryn Hill and the Fugees — Scotiabank Arena (Toronto, ON)
Revered for creating one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time, Lauryn Hill set the precedent for future neo-soul artists through a revolutionary blend of R&B, hip-hop, blues and soul after releasing her only studio album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” The prose from Hill’s husky yet tender voice illuminates an optimistic attitude toward the personal and social deprivation that she and her community suffer from.
Hill jump-started her musical career on the Fugees’ album, “The Score,” where the trio’s reggae cover of Roberta Flacks’ “Killing Me Softly With His Song” shortly prompted worldwide recognition. The Fugees, made up of Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel, named themselves after a shortening of “refugees.” They originated a cross-cultural movement with Afro-Caribbean roots in their dynamic sound of reggae, hip-hop, jazz-rap and R&B.
Tenzin Wodhean is an arts editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org