If you’re exhausted by the nostalgia industry — you know, the re-re-remastered box sets of classic albums released just in time for Christmas, the never-ending stream of album anniversary tours, the ceaseless barrage of documentaries chronicling whoever’s glory days, your local grocery store’s incomprehensible need to keep “Jack & Diane” and “Band on the Run” on repeat — know that you are not alone. The phenomenon has hit fever pitch, causing talent bookers everywhere to wring their hands over how they will convince audiences to keep buying tickets to shows by under-45 talents.
They need not worry. Contemporary bands and nostalgia acts remain relatively safe as cultural institutions. In fact, we’re seeing something intriguing happen in between these poles. Luminaries who could easily roll out a nostalgia tour and play whatever album is due for an anniversary in its entirety have chosen to do, well, not that.
Three such acts play The Fox in the coming months: former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant and his band The Sensational Space Shifters, The Who frontman Roger Daltrey, and Noel Gallagher, best known for being one-half of the pair of brothers and all of the brains behind ’90s rock titans Oasis. (Two golden gods and a brunette walk into a venue, am I right?)
And bless them, since all three aren’t taking the quick cash grab. While Daltrey has promised his night will include the obligatory Who hits, he also plans to roll out rarities and selections from his solo career.
Plant, forever distancing himself from (and dogged by) Zeppelin reunion rumors, is carrying on with strictly personal projects. He released the critically acclaimed Carry Fire last autumn, folding bluegrass and country flavors into songs that only vaguely resemble Led Zeppelin III’s folksier moments. In other words, rehashing “Whole Lotta Love” or “Good Times Bad Times” is out of the question. Doing so would seem trite anyway.
And then there’s Noel Gallagher: too young to be a classic rock god, too old to be a hip modern legend, and too famous to be touted as a major inspiration by rising artists looking to seem cool and knowledgeable in interviews. (You lose any claims to underground cool the moment you write “Wonderwall”.) Like Plant, Gallagher has spent an exorbitant amount of time insisting the reunion isn’t happening — much to the chagrin of the British music press and Liam Gallagher’s bank account — instead building his solo career into something worth hearing whether or not you remember when (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? was the biggest record in the world.
Gallagher released his third solo album, Who Built the Moon?, last year to well-deserved positive reviews. It’s crisp, smart, elated rock ’n’ roll — and, like Plant, it’s immediately distinct from the records he wrote while involved with his respective musical monolith.
So, in a strange turn of events, we’re no longer rooting for the band to get back together. We’re here for a bold second act.
Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters play The Fox Theater on Tuesday, Feb. 23.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds play The Fox Theater on Saturday, March 10.
Roger Daltrey plays The Fox Theater on Thursday, March 15.
Five Other Performances We’re Excited About
The Independent, Feb. 12
Before Rolling Stone declared him an artist to know and before he wooed Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night audience, R.LUM.R was an unknown classical guitarist working the Orlando bar scene. Thanks to the mysterious magic of Spotify algorithms, the 27-year-old is now an R&B sensation with a falsetto capable of stopping you in your tracks.
Peach Kelli Pop
Great American Music Hall, Feb. 16
If Lisa Prank had a house band, it would be Peach Kelli Pop. These Angelenos embrace all things girly with their sparkling yet scuzzy garage pop, all performed at breakneck speed and top volume. Don’t miss the deliriously fun cover of the Sailor Moon theme.
Rickshaw Stop, Feb. 24
Two things make Shamir stand out: his androgynous countertenor voice and his natural aversion to staying within a single genre. His debut album Ratchet arrived chock-full of zippy disco-house bangers; last year’s Revelations was all introspective lo-fi indie. Both are worth a listen.
Swedish American Hall, Feb. 25
A critical darling from the start, Waxahatchee (a.k.a. Katie Crutchfield) is finally pulling in the audiences she has always deserved. Her artfully considered indie-rock songwriting hit a new peak on last year’s evocative Out in the Storm, a record equally indebted to Joni Mitchell and Sleater-Kinney.
The Independent, Feb. 28
A classic Nashville girl living in the modern world, Margo Price writes songs equally digestible by people who know their stuff and people who would just rather not sit through a full country song. Don’t just take our word for it: Her half-Loretta Lynn, half- Brandi Carlile style caught the ear of Jack White, who promptly signed her to his Third Man Records.