Top 5 Concerts This Week

The stars have aligned and we have five awesome concerts coming to Cincinnati this week.
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Photograph Courtesy Sufjan Stevens

From indie to country to classical to pop, Cincinnati hosts five shows on five different nights. Make sure you’re in attendance for at least one of them.

1. Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens is one of the titans of indie music. Not many artists with indie cred can claim multiple Top 10 albums or a 15-year solo career with tours to every corner of the world. This time around, Stevens is touring in support of his March release Carrie & Lowell, which earned a 90/100 rating on Metacritic (read: “universal acclaim”), making it one of the most well-reviewed albums of the year. It’s not happy, but it’s really good. If you’re interested in being potentially reduced to tears in a large theater full of people, this is the show for you. November 13, 8 p.m., Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., downtown, cincinnatiarts.org

2. Ben Folds
Speaking of indie music kingpins, Ben Folds brings his act to Cincinnati this week as well. Maybe you know him from his work with Ben Folds Five, his solo albums, his international tours, his work with William Shatner and “Weird Al” Yankovic, his gig as a judge on NBC’s The Sing-Off, or his contributions to soundtracks for animated movies like Over The Hedge. There’s no simple way to classify Folds or his career, but he’s been doing his thing since the ’80s. He’s currently touring with yMusic, a classical group from New York City who released a collaborative album with Folds in September called So There. November 12, 8 p.m., Taft Theatre, 317 E 5th St., downtown, tafttheatre.org

Ben Folds with yMusic
Ben Folds with yMusic

Photograph by Allan Amato, Courtesy Big Hassle Media

3. Jamey Johnson
If country/folk/singer-songwriter tunes performed by a grizzled guy with a long beard are your thing, then Jamey Johnson is your man. His 2008 single “In Color” hit Top 10 on the country charts, which is impressive for an artist who was dropped by his record label less than two years earlier. Johnson’s true gift is his songwriting ability. Whether he’s showing off on his own songs, or writing #1 hits for artists like George Strait, Johnson never fails to impress: He racked up nine Grammy nominations between 2009 and 2013. November 11, 8 p.m., Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, bogarts.com

Jamey Johnson
Jamey Johnson

Photograph Courtesy Webster PR

4. Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and have since been named one of the greatest bands of all time by Rolling Stone. Although the enigmatic group has been on the rocks for years, lead singer and co-founder Brian Wilson has since embarked on a substantial solo career, having released 11 solo albums since 1988. His most recent effort No Pier Pressure hit shelves in April. See a living legend at the Taft Theatre. November 14, 8 p.m., Taft Theatre, 317 E 5th St., downtown, tafttheatre.org

5. Kinky Friedman
In case the name “Kinky” isn’t a giveaway, the 71-year-old Texan is an interesting character. He’s been an singer, a songwriter, a humorist, a columnist, a novelist, and a politician. He ran for Governor of Texas in 2006. He’s friends with both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Since 1973, he’s released 13 albums on 11 different record labels. He’s responsible for quips such as You’ve got to find what you love and let it kill you and Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder. The man is an enigma. Watch him go to work at one of the most underrated venues in the area. November 9, 7:30 p.m., Southgate House Revival, 111 E. 6th St., Newport, ages 18+, southgatehouse.com

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