Fresh off a triumphant South by Southwest, Philadelphia's own the War on Drugs is back home for a triumphant hometown show Friday night at the Tower Theatre. To repeat, TWOD's Lost in the Dream was the best rock album of 2014, with its fluid, transporting mix of classic-rock influences - Dylan, Springsteen, Dire Straits - and the driving four-on-the-floor rhythms of German motorik bands like Kraftwerk and Neu. The opening act, Australian songwriter Tamara Lindeman, a.k.a. the Weather Station, compels you to get there early.
- Dan DeLuca
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," Whitey Morgan declares in song, bluntly laying out his view of country music and his disdain for the current state of Nashville - "the Hollywood of the South." Thanks to the Michigan native's songwriting prowess and the barroom-ready chops of the 78's, the group's brawny brand of traditional country has plenty of the "honky-tonk heart" that Morgan prizes. "Where Do You Want It," a Dale Watson song about Billy Joe Shaver - now there's a pair of unrepentant honky-tonkers - appears on the band's recent in-concert album, Born, Raised, and Live From Flint and gives you an idea of who the musicians' heroes are. Which doesn't mean Morgan and company aren't above jumping genres to deliver a smoldering version of Springsteen's "I'm on Fire."
- Nick Cristiano
It's a 1980s and '90s R&B and hip-hop throwdown! Keith Sweat takes the lead. The 53-year-old started making women scream in 1987 and '90, with his first two records, which went three and two times platinum, respectively. Jams like "Nobody," "Just a Touch," and "Twisted" are still boss, canonical, baby-making classics. The quartet from Atlanta and former Bad Boy alums, 112, hit it big with "Peaches and Cream," of course. Some of you may have even slow-danced to "Only You" or "Anywhere." Then there's Ginuwine, the consummate sex-hungry bachelor, who is lawfully required to perform "Pony" on command. Rob Base is in the house, too. He partnered with DJ E-Z Rock to lay down the iconic "It Takes Two." Plus, Whodini's together again, and they'll be sure to bring out the future-funky "Friends." If all that weren't enough, Doug E. Fresh hosts.
- Bill Chenevert