Always wanted to see Joey McIntyre and Brian Littrell on the same stage? Now you can, thanks to the boy band supergroup NKOTBSB that combines members of New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys. The nine guys bring their flashy stage show to town on Sunday. Expect collaborations on the two songs they recently recorded together, "All in My Head" and "Don't Turn Out the Lights," and on vintage material like NKOTB's "Single" and the Boys' "The One." There's a segment of the show where each troupe gets the stage to itself for a run of its greatest hits. Jordin Sparks, the American Idol winner from season six, opens this pop extravaganza.
- David Hiltbrand
They are hardball junkies who also happen to be terrific rockers. The Baseball Project brings together Steve Wynn, Scott McCaughey, Peter Buck, and Linda Pitmon for songs that revel in our national pastime. Their Volume 2: High and Inside, picks up where they left off on 2008's superb Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails. Writing from their boomer perspective, Wynn and McCaughey alternate bittersweet odes to flawed and/or tragic heroes such as Mark Fidrych and Tony Conigliaro with clever and lighthearted fare about "Panda and the Freak" and "The Straw That Stirs the Drink." Their storytelling ability and grasp of historical detail is matched by the songs' relentless tunefulness. (For this show, Mike Mills will pinch-hit for Buck.)
- Nick Cristiano
The self-titled collaboration between indie singer-songwriters Thao and Mirah is really a triangulation: the sonic imprint of co-producer Merrill Garbus, aka tUnE-yArDs, is all over it. For her songs, Thao Nguyen brings some of the off-centered funk from her work with her usual band the Get Down Stay Down ("Rubies and Rocks"). For hers, Mirah Zeitlyn, who grew up in Bala Cynwyd before transplanting to the Pacific Northwest, brings her delicate voice and forceful lyrics ("Hallelujah," which alludes to the Leonard Cohen song of the same name). Garbus adds an abrupt, playful sense of rhythm and space (and authors one song, "Eleven"). Garbus won't join them at the First Unitarian Church on Thursday, but for added incentive, check out the lush, layered sounds of newcomers Bobby on the undercard.
- Steve Klinge