8 p.m. Oct. 30 at Norton Center for the Arts in Danville. $60-$125. 1-877-448-7469. Nortoncenter.com.
It's Halloween weekend, but that won't stop the Rev. Al Green from spreading the Sunday morning word on Saturday night at the Norton Center for the Arts.
Known for a trailblazing string of Willie Mitchell-produced hits during the '70s and a powerfully visible arsenal of gospel recordings since then, Green remains an immensely emotive soul-music stylist.
Luckily for us, he has made Kentucky something of a regular stop in recent years. He poured on the soul power with classics including Tired of Being Alone and Love and Happiness two autumns ago at the Norton Center. Green also took center stage at the ill-fated HullabaLOU fest in July at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
The highlight of both performances was, curiously, not one of his own singles — although his version of Let's Stay Together at the 2008 Norton Center show was pretty fine. It was instead Green's cover of the 1971 Bee Gees hit How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?, which was delivered as a roaring soul-music affirmation.
The Rev doesn't live solely in the past at his shows. He has cut three splendid Blue Note albums in the past decade — 2003's I Can't Stop, 2005's Everything's OK and 2008's Lay It Down — to round out his repertoire.
Need something to keep the creepy crawlies at bay this Halloween? An evening with the Rev. Al ought to do the trick.
My Morning Jacket
7:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at the KFC Yum Center in Louisville. $52.05. Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or Ticketmaster.com.
How do you break in a new arena? How about with one of your city's most prominent and industrious rock exports?
Admittedly, Louisville's My Morning Jacket isn't the first act to play its new hometown arena, the KFC Yum Center. The Eagles christened it a few weeks ago. But the band will get to use the venue as a homecoming base Friday night after one of its most curious road treks.
Frontman Jim James and company have just completed an intensive New York residency that began on Broadway with a performance of The Way That He Sings on The Late Show with David Letterman. MMJ then played an houlong post-show set at the Ed Sullivan Theatre; it can been seen at CBS.com/late_night/liveonletterman.
The band then detoured to Woodstock, N.Y., as a special guest at one of Levon Helm's famed Midnight Ramble concerts. After a 10-song set, James teamed with Helm for some of the latter's songs with The Band, including It Makes No Difference.
Then came the really wild run. Last week, MMJ went back to Manhattan to play five club shows in six nights at Terminal 5. During the engagement, the band performed each of its studio albums in its entirety in chronological order (from 1999's The Tennessee Fire on Oct. 18 to 2008's Evil Urges on Oct. 23). Encores included covers of tunes by Elton John, Erykah Badu, Rod Stewart, Danzig, Black Sabbath and more.
So after giving New York literally all it had, My Morning Jacket is returning home Friday for a show that could cover anything and everything.
Louisville's Wax Fang and members of the Louisville Youth Orchestra will open the performance. Wax Fang will be in Lexington on Saturday for a performance at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Avenue, with Ultra Pulverize and The Broken Spurs. (9 p.m. $8. (859) 309-9499. Cosmic-charlies.com.)
Chicago Luzern Exchange
4 p.m. Oct. 31 at Collexion, 111 E. Loudon Ave. $5. (859) 536-5568.
In 2002, Swiss tuba player Marc Unternährer found himself in the midst of Chicago's fruitful free jazz and improvisational music scene as part of a sister cities program. Among the artists he fell in with who shared like-minded musical views were cornetist Josh Berman, saxophonist Keefe Jackson and drummer Frank Rosaly.
Two years later, an album was cut over a two-day stretch in July. Released in 2005 as Several Lights, it's a far-reaching, pastiche-style recording. Some of its tunes seem like bursts that last about 30 seconds (Three of Three and One of Three, for example; the later Two of Three doesn't count as it runs on for more than a minute). Others, like the 13-minute Take the Place, take their time working up a full, gloriously fractured lather.
Thus the world was introduced to the Chicago Luzern Exchange. Lexington, through Ross Compton's ever- adventurous Outside the Spotlight Series, has witnessed three-fourths of the quartet on numerous occasions. Several of them, in fact, were quite recent.
Berman, Jackson and Rosaly are all members of the collective known as Fast Citizens, which played here last year just before Christmas, although Rosaly had previous performance commitments and wasn't part of the tour. The drummer did perform here last month as part of the extraordinary Jeb Bishop Trio.
That brings us to Unternährer, whose plaintive, patient solo kicks off Walls, one of the highlights of Several Lights. Throughout the album's 19 tunes, Unternährer works as both catalyst and complement to the melodic demolition. On Five Handfuls, for instance, he rides shotgun to Jackson's tenor sax frenzy. Then, on Someone Came and Took Yours and Left You His, an intriguing harmony develops amid the brass and reeds, even though Unternährer's tuba colors remain mostly in the shadows of cornet and sax.
The Chicago Luzern Exchange is releasing an indie EP disc, The Hideout, in conjunction with its current tour, which stops in Lexington on Sunday. Take note of the early show time, 4 p.m. The concert is the second outing at the OTS series' new performance home (for now), Collexion, which is located rather inconspicuously at Loudon Avenue and North Limestone.
Yep, Sunday is Halloween. And while the trick-or-treaters won't hit the streets until just before dusk, you can bet the Exchange will pack a sound into the waning daylight hours that will be sufficiently frightful and robust.