Three Must-See Acts This Week

Jorja Smith on Friday and Saturday at the Warfield, Behemoth on Friday at the Regency Ballroom, and Derrick Carter on Friday at Public Works.


Jorja Smith

8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23-24, at The Warfield. $27.50;

On the tail end of a watershed year for the English crooner, Jorja Smith’s smooth vocals and introspective lyricism make her one of R&B’s most exciting young artists. The 21-year-old studied music while in grade school, citing Amy Winehouse’s Frank as a pivotal influence on her artistry, and eventually moved to London after graduation to further her career. Smith’s debut single “Blue Clouds,” self-released on SoundCloud in January 2016, was an instant hit, and her second single “Where Did I Go?” put her on the industry’s radar, eventually receiving a cosign from Drake, who eventually teamed up on “Get It Together,” a bright spot on her 2017 mixtape More Life. Smith began her year with a spot on the Black Panther Soundtrack with “I Am,” a grimy, appropriately cinematic neo-soul-meets-hip-hop cut that spotlights her versatility. The singer’s range and sonic diversity would be further put on full display on Smith’s debut album, Lost & Found, an elegant collection of pop-infused R&B that is anchored by Smith’s heartfelt delivery, which makes her sound simultaneously vulnerable and powerful.

Behemoth. Photo by Maciej Boryna

Blackened death metal


7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 23, at The Regency Ballroom. $35;

Some 25 years into their tumultuous — and at points, controversial — career, Poland’s extreme metal greats Behemoth seem to have more momentum than ever, and they’re at what could be their creative peak. The unapologetically abrasive group, formed in 1991 by vocalist and guitarist Adam “Nergal” Darski — who remains the sole founding member to remain — became legends within Poland’s underground metal scene, but failed to break through internationally due to poor promotion. Behemoth’s first big hit came at the beginning of the millennium with its fifth album, Thelma.6. It was the first to receive worldwide distribution, and the band found further success with 2004’s Demigod, a masterwork and the most fully realized album at that point. That phase saw the band’s core lineup solidify with drummer Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński and bassist Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski. Behemoth was on track to fulfilling the promise of its name in the metal world, but the worst was feared in 2010 when Nergal was diagnosed with leukemia — although he fought off the cancer after a year of treatment and brutal perseverance. 2014 saw the dark metal overlords’ return with The Satanist, a dynamic and beautifully aggressive opus that hears the band at their most haunting, with Nergal’s anti-Christian lyricism more thoughtful and eloquent than ever. Behemoth continues where The Satanist left off on I Loved You At Their Darkest, an album that dives deeper into occultist themes in an atmosphere that captures complete hopelessness and devastation. 

                                                   Derrick Carter


Derrick Carter

9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 23, at Public Works. $17;

A true legend who helped pioneer Chicago house, Derrick Carter has been an underground dance staple in a career that spans three decades. The dance music trailblazer began DJing as a child in his bedroom with makeshift equipment, becoming a figurehead within Chicago’s house by his teens. He made his debut as a producer with 1987’s classic cut “Love Me Right,” later expanding his sound to include disco, jazz, and hip-hop. It is Carter’s creative versatility and encyclopedic knowledge of music that helped the underground hero’s legacy extend far past the heyday of Chicago house, as the enterprising DJ and producer is consistently booked at top clubs around the world, namely in Europe (where Carter lives most of the year). At many points in his career, the elusive Carter has had the opportunity to work with mainstream artists, but he’s always chose to remain loyal to his underground roots and steadfast to his passionate brand of soulful house. 

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