Alltech Fortnight Festival: Nickelback, Buckcherry and Three Days Grace
6:15 p.m. Oct. 8 at Rupp Arena. $42.50, $69.50. (859) 233-3535 or Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or Ticketmaster.com.
What kind of fun, you might ask, could the Alltech Fortnight Festival cook up as it heads into its final weekend? How do you think it can compete with a free outdoor evening of world-class string music and numerous other Friday events?
Well, try this on. The festival is bringing back three bands that headlined Rupp Arena in the past 20 months for a single evening. Not only that, it will be using as headliner the Canadian rock troupe that deflected all kinds of critical ire in recent years to pack in 17,000 fans last year at Rupp.
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The star attraction I speak of is Nickelback. The band's concert on a Friday in February 2009 remains one of Rupp's biggest draws in recent years. Following with another show so soon without a new album is a practice usually adopted by country acts that play the arena. But Nickelback seems to have no fear of being a repeat customer in a bad economy: Singer Chad Kroeger and company continue to tour behind the band's immensely popular 2008 Robert "Mutt" Lange-produced album, Dark Horse.
As openers, Nickelback is employing two similarly loud and proud bands — Buckcherry and Three Days Grace — that headlined smaller Rupp shows.
Buckcherry tore out of Los Angeles during the mid-'90s and scored guitar-savvy hits Lit Up and Check Your Head. The band promptly crashed, burned and rose again with a new lineup and a platinum-selling comeback album titled 15. It performed with Avenged Sevenfold and Papa Roach at Rupp in March 2009.
Toronto's Three Days Grace, which co-headlined Rupp with Breaking Benjamin in February, is touring behind the pseudo-metal renewal sound of its album Life Starts Now and, in particular, the affirmative radio-friendly hit Break.
Note the early show time of 6:15 p.m. for this rockfest. Doors open at 5 p.m. for general admission floor seating and 5:15 for reserved seats.
Kids, bring your stamina. Adults, bring the Excedrin.
Spotlight Lexington: Sam Bush and J.D. Crowe and the New South
6 p.m. Oct. 8 at Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza. Free. Spotlightlexky.com.
Over at the Courthouse Plaza on Friday night, bluegrass rules, with two members of the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame — Sam Bush and J.D. Crowe — playing for free at Spotlight Lexington.
Mandolinist/fiddler Bush and Grammy-winning banjoist Crowe have been pioneers of progressive Kentucky string music for years. They even collaborated on one of Crowe's most underrated New South albums, 1986's Straight Ahead.
Over the years, both have experimented with new country and bluegrass sounds. Bush pursued it with the New Grass Revival before becoming a highly in-demand studio and touring collaborator with the likes of Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett and longtime pal Béla Fleck. Today, his own bands and recordings have found significant favor with jam-band audiences. But his newest album, Circles Around Me, is a return to more bluegrass-rooted material, with songs by Bill Monroe, the Country Gentlemen and, quite fittingly, the New Grass Revival.
Lexington/Nicholasville bandleader Crowe, thankfully, remains a visible bluegrass innovator around these parts, having played at the Festival of the Bluegrass in June and his own Wilmore festival over Labor Day weekend. His self-titled 1975 album with one of his first and most famous New South lineups (it included dobroist Jerry Douglas, guitarist Tony Rice and singer/mandolinist Ricky Skaggs) remains a cornerstone recording of progressive string music. Crowe is working on a CD reissue of two long out-of-print concert recordings cut in Japan by that lineup.
Crowe's current New South band features guitarist/vocalist Rickey Wasson, mandolinst/vocalist Dwight McCall, bassist Kyle Perkins and dobroist Matt DeSpain.
Asylum Street Spankers
9 p.m. Oct. 8 at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Ave. $20. (859) 309-9499. Cosmic-charlies.com.
All good spankings must come to an end. The acoustic Americana vaudeville troupe known as Asylum Street Spankers is calling it a day after 17 years on the road.
It will make one last stop in Lexington on Friday night at Cosmic Charlie's. That's the same room where the Spankers made its local debut in summer 1996. At the time, the Woodland Avenue night spot was known as Lynagh's Music Club.
The band's only vocalist, co-founder and musical director, Christina Marrs, remains from the original lineup. Longtime vocalist/raconteur Wammo recently left the band because of family commitments. The remaining Spankers for this final farewell tour will be Marrs (on guitars, ukulele and musical saw), guitarist/vocalist Nevada Smith, multi-instrumentalists Charlie King and Trevor Smith, fiddler/guitarist Shawn Dean, bassist Morgan Patrick and drummer Mark Henne.
After 14 years of Lexington shows featuring more than 50 musicians covering folk, country, jazz, swing, hip-hop and more, what comes to mind is the title from the Spankers' 1996 debut studio album: Spanks for the Memories.
7:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at Collexion, 111 E. Loudon Ave. $5. (859) 536-5568. Collexion.net.
We've run out of room! Luckily, you can read about Saturday's David Sanborn concert at the Singletary Center for the Arts on Page 4. But we invite you over to The Musical Box's blog at LexGo.com to read about a not-to-miss Outside the Spotlight performance Sunday by Vox Arcana.
The Chicago trio sports three remarkable artists who have become longstanding friends of Lexington audiences: drummer Tim Daisy, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and clarinetist James Falzone.
The trio's new album, Aerial Age, is a highly animated blend of modern classical composition and spacious improvisation. Please note that the series is trying out a new venue for this concert. It will be held at Collexion, an "art/technology/performance" space at East Loudon Avenue and North Limestone.
I spoke to Daisy last weekend about the band's new music. Please join us on the Web for our conversation.