Spring fever

Ten shows you didn't know you'd be going to
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  December 30, 2009

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NOBODY’S ABUELA Omara Portuondo sings at Sanders Theatre February 26.

As action-packed as the holidays are, they can be a real dead zone when it comes to decent shows. That's why we get so excited after the turn of the year, when all sorts of up-and-coming bands break their stir-crazy streaks and hit the road. Big names abound this winter and spring (Mariah, Jay-Z and yes . . . Yes, in full effect) but what follows are 10 sleeper shows that we'd hate for you to miss.

WALE | Harpers Ferry | January 16 | There are commercial rappers who phone in their live shows — take, for example, Killa Cam, whose recent Harpers Ferry performance yielded just three songs and a couple of wet T-shirts — and then there are dudes like Wale, who have grown into the buzz that their mammoth marketing budgets have delivered. It's odd that the DC MC is still performing at mid-sized venues (the guy has publicly fondled Lady Gaga more than a few times, after all), but that's all the more reason to check him at this level, before dancers and pyrotechnics get all up in the way. Horny male rap fans should take note: regardless of how real you find Wale, this jam will be chock-full-of T&A.
158 Brighton Ave, Allston | 9 pm | $25 | 617.254.9743 or www.harpersferryboston.com

STATIK SELEKTAH | Middle East downstairs | January 30 | Though his Showoff camp has hung its collective hat in New York City for three years now, Boston-bred DJ-producer Statik Selektah throws raucous hometown release parties every time he drops one of his fabulous collaborative cornucopias. Built as vehicles to showcase his beats alongside rhymes by hip-hop's top MCs, Statik's first two discs gleamed with throwback nostalgia and futuristic flows. With contributions from Showoff associates including Reks and Termanology — as well as heavyweights like Bun B — his 100 Proof (The Hangover) (Brick) and subsequent Bean release bash should pick the script up where he last left it.
480 Mass. Ave., Cambridge | 9 pm | $18 | 617.864.EAST or www.mideastclub.com

LIGHTS | T.T. the Bear's Place | January 31 | Please note there are two Lights: there's the sticky-sweet girly-fresh candy-pop Canuckette who is touring around with Owl City all spring (April 23 at the House of Blues), and then there's Lights — the Brooklynite trio of Sophia Knapp, Linnea Cedder, and Alana Amram. We're pushing the latter. Their recent debut full-length for Drag City, Rites, was somewhere between a tab of brown acid and a Lisa Frank sticker — a trippy pop odyssey of stoner guitars, loping drums, and vocals that float like blobs in a lava lamp, delivered with a childlike sweetness that lightens up what could be hazardous heaviness. Consider your mellow safe from any undue harshing.
10 Brookline St., Cambridge | 9 pm | $10 | 617.492.BEAR or www.ttthebears.com

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