Music News & Reviews

Hip-hop maestro Devin the Dude returns to Lexington

Devin the Dude brings his unique style to Buster's on Saturday.
Devin the Dude brings his unique style to Buster's on Saturday.

Devin the Dude

9 p.m. Nov. 27 at Buster's Billiards & Backroom, 899 Manchester St. $15. (859) 368-8871. Bustersbb.com.

What was the great credo that Jeff Bridges uttered in a haze during The Big Lebowski? "The Dude abides."

Well, Devin Copeland has been living that philosophy for the past decade. The Florida-born, Texas-bred hip-hop stylist known as Devin the Dude — dubbed by The New York Times' Kelefa Sanneh as "a brilliant oddball with a spaced-out flow" — has made a career out of laid-back, funk-derived grooves that celebrate some of life's grand vices.

Over the years, he also has rubbed musical shoulders with hip-hop royalty including Dr. Dre, Nas and Xzibit and with contemporary R&B star Raphael Saadiq. All helped out on Devin's 2002 sophomore album, Just Tryin' ta Live.

Devin's newest album, Suite #420, drastically downsizes the guest list but not the chilled beats and stoner humor that have earned him the title "the AC/DC of trashy stoner rap" from the online music encyclopedia Allmusic.com.

A regional favorite for years and a veteran of several Lexington performances at the now-demolished Dame, Devin returns Saturday for some post-Turkey Day beats at Buster's Billiards & Backroom with Natti (of CunninLynguists), Nemo Achida, Fidel Hasflow and DJ Warren Peace as show openers.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at Rupp Arena. $26-$58. (859) 233-3535 or Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or Ticketmaster.com.

One of the great unintended lessons of Thanksgiving weekend is that you had best be prepared to be filled with the yuletide spirit. That's because as soon as Turkey Day ends, the Christmas season kicks into full, unrelenting gear.

Not that there is anything wrong with that. It's just that some sights and sounds of the season are more gently persuasive than others. The music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra clearly does not go gentle into that good night. In fact, the return of the earth-shaking rock battalion on Wednesday is a holiday season wake-up call that is all but inescapable.

The brainchild of manager, producer and composer Paul O'Neill, the TSO is like a cross between Kiss and Spinal Tap. Arena-rock excesses rule at every corner. Things explode. Lots of things. There are flames. There are lasers, lifts, enough lighting effects to be seen from space (well, almost).

Then comes the music: rock opera-style seasonal recordings including 1996's Christmas Eve and Other Stories, 1998's The Christmas Attic and 2004's The Lost Christmas Eve that have become multiplatinum hits, and non-holiday works including 2000's Beethoven's Last Night and 2009's Night Castle that have increasingly kept the TSO on the road during spring and summer.

Finally, we have the touring version of the TSO itself. It's an 18-member performance ensemble of singers and instrumentalists augmented by an onstage narrator who helps with the flow of musical story lines that might otherwise be stifled by the pyrotechnics.

Subtle it's not. But with the TSO heading our way next week, one thing will be certain. By the time the band leaves town, there will be no mistaking what time of year it is.

On the dots

Every Thanksgiving weekend, the semi-retired Cincinnati prog-pop trio Psychodots plays Southgate House, 24 East Third Street, Newport. The band's history doesn't resonate much down our way. But it shouldn't have to. Need to escape the relatives for the night? Up for a brief road trip to witness a world-class pop troupe full of instrumental invention and tunes with majestic pop hooks? Then a Friday night out with Psychodots in Newport is for you. (9 p.m. $12. (859) 431-2201. Southgatehouse.com.)

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