Quite the array of shows we have this evening before the day before Turkey Day. Bruno Mars at South Side Music Hall Peter Gene Hernandez, aka Bruno Mars, was supposedly born in Hawaii, but I have my doubts. The Hawaiian Health Authority refuses to provide a bona fide copy of an authentic birth certificate, so I'm guessing Mars is from, well, Mars. Whatever his origins, Mars has come a long way since his days as an Elvis impersonator. From writing and producing hits for other artists to becoming a rising star, Mars has a nice, soulful voice and an eye for good material. "Just The Way You Are" (not the Billy Joel song), is just about as perfect as modern R&B/pop can be. Take a date and leave the inner music critic at home.
Hey Monday, Cartel, The Ready Set, This Century and We Are The In Crowd at The Prophet Bar Cassadee Pope is all of 21 years old and leads Hey Monday, a poppy punk band hailing out of Florida. Besides Pope's energy and vocal chops, there's not much to distinguish Hey Monday from, say All Time Low or Fall Out Boy. That probably means she'll be a megastar the day after tomorrow. A bit more interesting is The Ready Set, an Indiana outfit lead by Jordan Witzigreuter. Mixing some electronica and R&B into his pop/emo confections, Witzigreuter writes songs like "Love Like Woe" that can be annoyingly diverse and hummable at the same time. Plus he has great hair. Nitzer Ebb, //Tense// and Corporate Park at The Granada Although the British electronic/post-punk trio Nitzer Ebb definitely saw its heyday in the late 80's, the band's influence can still be heard today. Industrial Complex, Nitzer Ebb's first effort in over 15 years, was released early in 2010 and features the same driving beats and shouted vocals that informed the band's heralded, early work.
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Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin and Lonely Forest at House of Blues' Cambridge Room In spite of having an incredibly stupid name, Missouri's Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin plays indie pop with wit and charm. The band's recently released fourth effort, the Chris Walla produced Let it Sway, features bits of folk and alt-country alongside the lo-fi, almost pop. Songs such as "My Terrible Personality" and "All Hail Dracula!" are catchy, funny and mostly endearing.