Live music picks: June 24-30
TODAY Steve Miller Band Miller’s timeless hits — including “The Joker,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Take the Money and Run” and “Jet Airliner” — are familiar to folks who weren’t even born when these songs hit the charts. His greatest hits set is among the 100 biggest-selling albums of all time in the U.S., with more than 13 million sold. And at 67, the enthusiastic and gregarious Miller is still a concert staple. As he told me in an interview in 2008, “My plan is to play my entire lifetime. As long as I can do it, I’m going to do it.”8 p.m. June 24. $26-$75. Chastain Park Amphitheatre, 4469 Stella Drive, Atlanta. 404-733-4949. TODAY Paul Thorn A former boxer and the son of a Church of God minister, Thorn has slowly built an audience with his scruffy charm and terrific songs that straddle the boundary between country and rock. He can be laugh-out-loud funny one moment and have you weeping in your beer the next. He has a knack for combining the poignant with the ridiculous, which is a pretty rare talent. His latest studio album, 2010’s “Pimps and Preachers,” debuted at No. 83 on the Billboard 200, marking a new chart pinnacle for Thorn.8:30 p.m. June 24. $20; $17.50 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354. SATURDAY R. Kelly, Keyshia Cole, Marsha Ambrosius No amount of scandal can tarnish Kelly’s ability to fascinate the music-buying masses. It’s been a while since he scored a major hit, but he remains a popular concert draw. Like Kelly, California native and Atlanta resident Cole’s songs do better on the R&B charts than the pop charts. That’s a shame, because they’re usually classier than the competition. Take the Grammy-nominated “Heaven Sent,” which went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart. It’s beautiful simplicity, as the singer croons “I wanna be the one who you believe in your heart is sent from …” and then another, softer Cole coos “sent from heaven” before the first phrase ends. Ambrosius, formerly of Floetry, is promoting her debut album, “Late Nights & Early Mornings,” which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart in March. The album’s second single, “Far Away,” was a Top 5 R&B/Hip-Hop hit.8 p.m. June 25. $59.50-$99.50. Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive N.W., Atlanta. 404-878-3000. SUNDAY Dinosaur Jr. One of the most critically adored bands of the late 1980s and very early ’90s. The roaring wall of sound, particularly J Mascis’ guitar overdrive, was an obvious influence on Nirvana’s late Kurt Cobain and Co. as well as the shoegazer bands of the early ’90s. It’s a minor miracle that the band ever reformed, since the disintegration of the original trio led to lawsuits and bitter songs. Rock ’n’ roll might never forget, but it obviously forgives sometimes. And you just might get a chance to hear about some of the behind-the-scenes issues, since Henry Rollins will be interviewing the band live at the show. 8 p.m. June 26. $30.50; $28.50 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354. WEDNESDAY [Expletive] Up Choosing a name that guarantees you’ll never get it printed in a mainstream publication is so punk rock that it seems suspiciously gimmicky. This Toronto outfit is the real deal, though. These musical trailblazers are so assured that they’ve released a concept album. Some have even dubbed “David Comes to Life” a rock opera. Either way, it’s one of the best-reviewed albums of the year, and combines gruff and aggressive power with subtle melodic details. Among the glowing reviews is this from Atlantic Monthly: “Ambitious and brave. The music is both uncompromising and inviting, moving with an undeniable force and grace.” The band is no stranger to critical acclaim. The sextet’s previous album, “The Chemistry of Common Life,” won Canada’s Polaris Prize, an annual award given to the best full-length Canadian album.8:30 p.m. June 29. $12. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave., Atlanta. 404-522-3950. THURSDAY Foster the People This California trio has made a big impact with its debut album, “Torches.” The album bowed at No. 8 on the strength of the track “Pumped Up Kicks,” a punchy, hook-heavy track being touted by many as one of this summer’s anthems. That success means this show is already sold out, but you can still see the band if you’re willing to wait a few months. Foster the People returns to the Masquerade Sept. 21.7 p.m. June 30. Sold out. The Masquerade, 695 North Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-577-8178.