News Column

Fall arts 2014: Drake vs Lil Wayne, Lorde top pop music offerings

August 18, 2014

By Jim Harrington, Contra Costa Times



Aug. 18--It's like clockwork.

As soon as the summer begins to wind down in the Bay Area, the music scene seems to heat up. That's certainly the case this year, as a terrific cast of pop, rock, R&B, country and hip-hop stars are headed our way this fall season.

The embarrassment of riches is due, in large part, to the number of annual festivals and big concerts that take place each fall in the Bay Area. We're talking about such landmark gatherings as San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (Oct. 3 to 5; www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com), Treasure Island Music Festival (Oct. 18 and 19; www.treasureislandfestival.com) and the Bridge School Benefit concerts at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View (Oct. 25 and 26; www.bridgeschool.org).

And don't forget about the new kid on the block -- the First City Festival -- which returns for its second year with Beck, Phantogram, The National and other indie-music acts Aug. 23 and 24 at the Monterey County Fair and Event Center (www.firstcityfestival.com).

But aside from these annual A-list shows, there are a host of other great shows to look forward to. Here are five can't-miss shows:

--Drake Vs. Lil Wayne: It's a clash of the titans, featuring two of hip-hop's most popular artists. Who will come out on top? That's hard to say, given that they are both phenomenal talents. However, it's a safe bet that the real winners will be the fans. Details: 7 p.m.Sept. 16, Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View; $35 to $139.50, www.livenation.com.

--Luke Bryan: He's arguably county music's hottest artist, having charted a staggering seven No. 1 singles over the past five years. During that same time period, the Georgia native has also won the Academy of Country Music Awards' Entertainer of the Year trophy (in 2013) and become one of the genre's top touring acts. He's popular enough in the Bay Area to warrant shows at both Shoreline and Concord. Details: 7 p.m.Oct. 17, Concord Pavilion; Oct. 18, Shoreline Amphitheatre; $29.50 to $59.25, www. livenation.com.

--Lorde: Few artists have lived up to the hype as well as Lorde. Everyone was forecasting big things from this New Zealand singer-songwriter, who was just 16 when her first EP was released, and she's surpassed all expectations. Lorde crafted both 2013's best pop song ("Royals") and album ("Pure Heroine"). She also proved, during her shows last year at the Fillmore, Fox Theater and Oracle Arena, to be every bit as good onstage as she is in the studio. Details: 8 p.m.Oct. 2 and 3, Greek Theatre, Berkeley; $49.50, www.ticketmaster.com.

--The Weeknd: The rising R&B star has the music world talking about "Kiss Land," the accomplished full-length studio debut that was released last fall. However, many listeners already knew about The Weeknd (aka, Canadian singer-songwriter-producer Abel Tesfaye) from his mixtapes and work with other artists. He headlines an overall solid bill, which also features hot hip-hop hero ScHoolboy Q and soul singer Jhene Aiko. Details: 8:30 p.m.Oct. 10 and 11, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, S.F.; $49.50, www.ticketmaster.com.

--Elton John: The term "legendary" is tossed around too lightly, but not with regard to Sir Elton's career. He's truly one of the greatest of all time, in the same league with such immortals as Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Stevie Wonder. It's an honor to get to hear him perform such utter classics as "Levon," "Tiny Dancer" and "Your Song." Details: 8 p.m.Oct. 2, SAP Center, San Jose; $29.50-$159.50, www.ticketmaster.com.

Follow Jim Harrington at twitter.com/jimthecritic and www.facebook.com/jim.bayareanews.

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(c)2014 the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)

Visit the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.) at www.contracostatimes.com

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Source: Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, CA)


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