5 Music Shows to Catch This Week

Your choices range from old-school hip-hop to Japanese hard metal.


Ben Folds & yMusic

Elle Varner @ World Live Cafe  | Thursday, May 5th, 2016
The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter has devised her own genre: “trap jazz.” With influences from Kanye West and Adele, the multi-instrumentalist coins a curious style, mastering a mixture of soul and hip-hop. Her latest studio album, Four Letter Word, finds balance between trap beats and ballads. Since the release of her first studio album, Perfectly Imperfect,in 2012, Varner has collaborated with icons like The Roots, J. Cole, Trey Songz and Miguel. “Refill,” the second single dropped from her debut album, clutched a nomination for Best R&B song at the Grammys in 2013.

Ben Folds & yMusic @ The Filmore Friday, May 6th, 2016
In his latest world tour, the renowned rock sing-songwriter collaborates with sextet instrumental troupe yMusic. The group, which exquisitely synthesizes orchestration and popular music, features local chellist Gabriel Cabezas, who is a product of the Curtis Institute of Music and has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra. yMusic’s elegant compositions harmoniously and hauntingly weave together with Folds’s euphonious voice. The instrumentalists have been praised by NPR’s Fred Child as “one of the groups that has really helped to shape the future of classical music.”

Baby Metal @ Electric Factory  | Saturday, May 7th, 2016
The all-gal Japanese metal band makes a stop in Philly on their Legend – Metal Resistance world tour. Famed for their fusion of heavy metal and “J-Pop,” Suzuka Nakamoto, Yui Mizuno, and Moa Kikuchi pepper belligerent sounds with an ironic soprano delicacy. The group is acclaimed across the globe, and recently won the Alternative Press Music Awards for Best International Band of 2016.

Justin Bieber @ Wells Fargo Center | Saturday, May 7th, 2016
What would a concert round-up of this week be without some mention of Bieber breezing through the city? In his Purpose World Tour, the heartthrob fosters a fresh tone and temper since his Selena saga — a parting we’ve all felt the repercussions of with perpetual playings of “Sorry” on the radio. The breakup may have done him some benefit, as Billboard hails “Justin Bieber Proves His Growth on ‘Purpose’, which was the fourth best-selling album of 2015. 

Here’s an acoustic version of the reconciling anthem:

Del the Funky Homosapien @ Union TransferSunday, May 8th, 2016
The tunes of Teren Delvon Jones, better known as Del the Funky Homosapien, will transport you back to the infancy of hip-hop. Amid the verses of The Sugarhill Gang and Dr. Dre, this underground MC was on the forefront of rap at the end of the 20th century. He kicked off his career writing lyrics for Ice Cube’s Da Lench Mob in 1990. Since his debut album dropped over a quarter of a century ago, Jones has revamped his sound to suit the new millennium — but flames of that early funk haven’t burned out.