Weekend's best live bets: Joy Formidable, Girls, Miranda Lambert, Kelly Clarkson and more
MIRANDA LAMBERT @ 1STBANK CENTER
Miranda Lambert has struck a delicate balance: Together with kindred artists like Jamey Johnson, she's made country music palatable once again to the sanctimonious scads of big-city, Tea Party-loathing dissenters, infusing the genre with a newfound sense of authenticity missing since the days of her legendary outlaw forefathers. At the same time, she's managed to write earnest, heartfelt, everyman ballads like "The House That Built Me," as well as gritty, angst-filled anthems of empowerment like "Gunpowder and Lead" and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" that resonate with rank-and-file fans of modern country, affording her truckloads of crossover appeal and street cred -- not to mention a serious leg up on her contemporaries.
THE JOY FORMIDABLE @ BLUEBIRD THEATRE
Ritzy Bryan and Rhydian Dafydd pretty much grew up together in North Wales and formed their first band, Tricky Nixon, while living in Manchester. When that outfit split up, in 2006, the two wasted little time in putting together what would become the Joy Formidable when they moved back to Wales. Over the next five years, the three-piece created a bright sound comprising broad vistas and sweeping dynamics, pushed along by a notable urgency and exuberance. Immediate comparisons could be drawn to the shimmering electricity of Split-era Lush and the wiry guitar experimentation of Medicine, but this act seems to hurl itself into the music with a startling forcefulness worthy of its name. Its most recent album is titled The Big Roar, which is entirely fitting for a group that doesn't promise anything it can't deliver.
REBELUTION @ THE FILLMORE
It's taken time and experience for Eric Rachmany to learn how to be comfortable in the spotlight. Rachmany, frontman for the Santa Barbara reggae outfit Rebelution, is soft-spoken and humble, a songwriter who's uncomfortable writing lyrics about his own experiences. Rachmany says he's dealt with the duties of fame in different ways, from writing songs from different perspectives to incorporating a saxophone player in the band's live shows.