The Short List: FRB Staff Concert Picks of the Week (October 8 – 14)

Each week, Front Row Boston’s staff gives you our Short List: the bands and musicians in and around town we think you should hear.

Sunday 10/8 — Strand of Oaks at Great Scott

We fell in love with Tim Showalter (aka Strand of Oaks) when we first saw him perform at Boston Calling. We even got to ask him our favorite question: if it all ends tomorrow, what’s the last song you would want to hear? You can check out his answer here.

Tim’s coming back for what we expect will be another amazing performance. His latest album “Hard Love” is a solid exploration into the balancing act between overindulgence and accountability. Recounting his decadent tour experiences, his struggling marriage, and the near death of his younger brother, the album emanates an unabashed, raw, and manic energy that embodies both the songs and the songwriter behind them.

Tim adds: “For me, there are always two forces at work: the side that’s constantly on the hunt for the perfect song, and the side that’s naked in the desert screaming at the moon. It’s about finding a place where neither side is compromised, only elevated.” Singer-songwriter (and New Hampshire native) Jason Anderson will open.

Tuesday 10/10  — Against Me! at the Paradise Rock Club

It’s hard to believe that Against Me!, one of the most exciting and politically outspoken punk bands of our time, has been around for 20 years. It’s also hard to believe that it’s been 5 years since lead singer Laura Jane Grace came out publicly as a transgender.

It was more than a tumultuous time for the band, and Laura’s personal life. They released three albums after, all of which embody this raw and honest look into the entire experience and the emotions that came with it. Laura tells NPR’s Rachel Martin: “There were definitely songs in the past that were me dealing with living this gender dysphoria, and sometimes they were really direct and no one picked up on it — but oftentimes, they were more veiled in metaphor.”

She adds: “Feeling that what you’re doing is being misinterpreted by most people, because it’s not being presented in the proper context, was something that built to a breaking point for me.” You don’t want to miss this show. And we *think* a 2nd show has been added on 10/11? Bleached, and The Dirty Nil will open.

Thursday 10/12 — PVRIS at House of Blues

It feels like only yesterday we were talking about attending PVRIS — errr back then “Operation Guillotine” — shows out in the Merrimack Valley. But it’s been 5 years since the band’s taken on that name, or likely played a show out in the Merrimack Valley. Fast forward to 2017 and PVRIS are bigger than ever and making a homecoming to play a show at the House of Blues, and they’re bringing a new album with them. “All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell” is the band’s sophomore release and is chock full of maturity. However, if you listen closely you can still hear remnants of that same gritty sound from back in the day.

Guitarist Alex Babinski tells express.co.uk: “We had fun making it and we got to express ourselves in every way and that is the most important thing when making music.” Flint Eastwood will open.

Friday 10/13 — Ministry at The Palladium in Worcester

Ministry. Ministry, where have you been?! It doesn’t matter, we’re just glad you’re back. It’s October and we need all the metal.

The legendary industrial-metal band has been around for 35+ years – but that amount of time doesn’t come easy. They found their mainstream success in the late 80s/early 90s with a series of anti-establishment albums, and broke up after 27 years. It wasn’t until about 6 years ago that they began recording albums again and going out on the road; toying with the idea of actually ‘getting the band back together’. And frontman Al Jourgensen? He’s almost 60 years old. But that’s not stopping him. Because it’s official; the band is back and out on the road for a 21 day tour that begins in Worcester, and they’re testing the waters before releasing a new album in 2018. The wicked awesome CA-based Death Grips will be joining.

As if seeing all this show wasn’t cool enough, it’s actually part of something bigger; something that you must attend. It’s Worcester’s annual Rock and Shock horror festival. Now, this is not your run of the mill horror convention. Rock and Shock is a blend of horror celebrities and the coolest metal shows out there, mixed up with a slate of other amazing genre-related fare – needless, it’s one hell of a good time. The event runs all weekend. Tickets are on sale; VIP, weekend, and individual days, concerts only – you can get them all here. We can’t recommend this show enough so take the drive West and attend. As for us? We. Go. Every. Year. We’ll see you there!