Todd Rundgren's Utopia
Todd Rundgren certainly has been prolific throughout his four-decade career. It's a key reason why his fans are so ferociously devoted. Many of his vital melodic phases have been roundly ignored; others, like his TR-i years, should have been. But one of Runt's most prized musical turns — the mid-'70s prog-rock era, when he performed with Utopia — is truly one for the ages. Utopia began in 1973, releasing an album a year later that included a handful of classics, including the 30-minute whopper "The Ikon." But even if Rundgren decides to skip that song onstage, this short reunion tour with Utopia promises plenty of proggy goodness. The band for this run features Kevin Ellman, Jesse Gress, Moogy Klingman, John Siegler, Ralph Schuckett, and Kasim Sulton. It's Utopia's first tour in 35 years, and with only 11 dates scheduled, there's every indication that this is the Todd show to see for the foreseeable future. — Peter Chakerian
8 p.m. Saturday, November 12. Akron Civic Theatre. Tickets: $37-$57; call 330-253-2488 or go to ticketmaster.com.
When they released their self-titled debut EP in 2008, the California quintet Crystal Antlers seemed unstoppable. Each track offered a diverse yet kindred dose of delightful indie psych-pop that left fans yearning for more. The following year's debut full-length, Tentacles, reined in some of this free-form excitement and turned out to be kind of a snoozer. So the band took a little break, regrouped, and headed to Mexico to record its latest album, Two-Way Mirror. And in a way, Crystal Antlers have reinvented themselves. They sound bigger and better now. Just take a listen to "Summer Solstice," the album's first single, to hear how much the band has evolved over the past couple of years. Their music takes on some new dimensions on Two-Way Mirror, which should explode onstage. Check them out when they stop at Now That's Class this weekend as part of their current tour. — Logan Boggs
With Scarcity of Tanks, Shoreway, and Street Eaters. 9 p.m. Sunday, November 13. Now That's Class. Tickets: $8; call 216-221-8576 or visit nowthatsclass.net.
In a way, Soul Coughing embodied the true spirit of the 1990s, when genres blurred and alt-rockers began experimenting with electronic music and hip-hop beats. Frontman Mike Doughty, originally a New York City folk singer and poet, combined avant-garde rock, jazz, funk, and hip-hop with a hint of grunge in his music. His distinct vocal style — a blend of beat poetry, slacker rapping, and raspy singing — helped distinguish Soul Coughing from the growing pack of alt-rockers that sprung up in the early '90s. They were odd but invigorating, slinging some truly weird lyrics. I'm still not sure what "Super Bon Bon" is all about, but it certainly sounded awesome on the radio. Doughty has released a handful of solo albums since Soul Coughing broke up in 2000. The most recent, Yes and Also Yes, doesn't stray too far from his band's formula, merging quirky beats with free-form wordplay. If it ain't broke, why fix it? — Eddie Fleisher
With Moon Hooch. 8 p.m. Sunday, November 13. Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $20; call 216-383-1124 or visit beachlandballroom.com.
Judas Priest's current tour is called Epitaph, and they recently replaced founding guitarist K.K. Downing with a guy half his age. But they're not ready to hang up their leather just yet. The band claims this will be its final world tour, but they'll still show up from time to time, and they might even have a new album left in them. Still, this is almost certainly your last chance to see the classic Priest onstage. Four decades on, they're still a ferocious live act. Rob Halford may not run around like he used to, but he's still got most of his epic range, and the group's powerhouse, rifftastic metal anthems remain undeniable. Priest came up in an era when metal songs were ultra-memorable sing-alongs — hell, they invented the style. And if you can't find it in you to pump your fist and scream when you hear "Breaking the Law" or "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," maybe you're better off just staying at home when they come to town this week. — Phil Freeman
With Black Label Society and Thin Lizzy.
7 p.m. Tuesday, November 15. Quicken Loans Arena. Tickets: $35-$62.50; call
888-894-9424 or visit theqarena.com.
Booker T. Jones
The list of songs Booker T. Jones has been associated with over the past five decades says all you need to know about the legend. He was only 18 when he co-wrote "Green Onions," one of pop's best and most popular instrumentals. He fronted the MGs, a group of ace studio musicians that pretty much served as Stax Records' house band in the 1960s, backing Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, and dozens of other R&B greats on their biggest hits. And he recently recorded albums with the Drive-By Truckers and Neil Young. Jones' latest record, The Road From Memphis, is an autobiographical document of both the evolution of soul music and Jones himself since the 1960s. His thick, honeyed organ is all over tracks backed by the Roots and sung by Sharon Jones, Lou Reed, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, and Matt Berninger from the National. Jones celebrates his 67th birthday with a pair of shows at Nighttown on Saturday. — Michael Gallucci
8 and 10 p.m. Saturday, November 12. Nighttown. Tickets: $50; call 216-795-0550 or visit nighttowncleveland.com.
Under the Radar
As half of the dreamy pop duo Azure Ray, Maria Taylor has picked up many famous fans over the past decade, including Conor Oberst (they've worked on Bright Eyes albums and record for his label) and NPR listeners. On her own, Taylor is a bit more aggressive, playing a sort of indie folk that has some bite. Her latest solo album, Overlook, was recorded in her native Alabama with homegrown musicians, who give the album a rustic kick her duo albums occasionally lack. She's at the Grog Shop on Saturday. — Michael Gallucci
Under the RadarWe hesitate to call Mister Heavenly a supergroup, since the three bands the members previously played with — Man Man, Islands, and Modest Mouse — haven't really reached the super part of the stratosphere (except for maybe Modest Mouse, but the guy in Mister Heavenly isn't Isaac Brock). But the music on their debut album, Out of Love, is still pretty good. Fun fact: Michael Cera (yes, the actor) has shown up onstage to play bass with them from time to time. They're at the Grog Shop on Tuesday. — Michael Gallucci
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