Three Must-See Acts This Week

STS9 (Friday and Saturday at the Warfield), MadeinTYO (Monday at Slim's), and Guster (Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at Bimbo's).



7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25-26, at The Warfield. $40;

Continuing down a path first explored by legendary jam bands like The Grateful Dead and Phish, Sound Tribe Sector 9 (or STS9) are pioneers within the jam scene for blending electronic-focused music with classic psychedelia and jazz influences. Consequently, they’ve developed a massive fan base that regularly sells out the country’s highest-regarded venues. Since the release of their 1998 debut album, Interplanetary Escape Vehicle, STS9 have displayed their ambitious approach with experimentation, unafraid to incorporate any genre into their malleable sound. Although STS9’s studio releases are undeniably excellent, the group truly shines in a live setting, combining traditional rock instrumentation with electronic flourishes that allow the musicians onstage to come together masterfully for a climactic effect, similar to a post-rock show. With consistent touring, STS9 have earned a deeply loyal fan base around the world, and have remained steadfast in their political activism and charity, donating a portion of each tour ticket. Their new show, “Cave of Crystals,” promises characteristically stunning production value, focused as it is on allowing the musicians to build off each other’s energy on stage in an organic manner. 




8 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28, at Slim’s. $25;

After scoring a viral hit with the inescapably fun single “Uber Everywhere” — which currently sits at double-platinum certification from the RIAA — MadeinTYO has followed up on that surprise sensation. His impressive debut album, Sincerely, Tokyo, was one of the last year’s standout hip-hop releases. The emcee, born Malcolm Jamaal Davis to a military family in Honolulu, moved around throughout his childhood until he spent the remainder of his teenage years in Japan, where he finished high school. Davis then moved to Atlanta to live with his brother, rapper 24hrs, where he became inspired to release music of his own. MadeinTYO’s initial singles “I Want” and “Uber Everywhere,” proved to be instant successes, the latter of which has gained over 1 billion cumulative streams. He went on to collaborate with stars like Travis Scott and 2 Chainz while preparing the release Sincerely, Tokyo, which was released to glowing reception last October. The album is a decisively darker and more mature turn for the rapper, highlighted by instantly catchy bars and welcome guest appearances from Tinashe and Blood Orange. The album delivers on bringing sing-along hits promised with “Uber Everywhere,” but establishes MadeinTYO as a rapper who has developed into a refined lyricist. 

Guster | Photo by Alysse Gafkjen

Indie rock


8 p.m., Wednesday-Friday, Jan. 30-31 and Feb. 1, at Bimbo’s 365. $30;

Boston’s Guster have amassed a cult fanbase throughout their career through successful singles like “Satellite” and “Amsterdam,” but the indie rockers have not relied on nostalgia for their later releases, as their knack for experimentation and their pop-driven sound equally appeals to both newcomers and longtime fans. The core trio — Adam Gardner, Ryan Miller, and Brian Rosenworcel — met while attending Tufts University, playing shows around Boston before independently releasing their debut album Parachute in 1995. The group’s third album, 1999’s Long and Gone Forever, was Guster’s first dip into the mainstream, with singles “Fa Fa” and “Barrel of a Gun” showcasing the band’s talent for crafting catchy but melancholic choruses anchored by Miller’s potent songwriting. Guster’s next two albums, 2003’s Keep It Together and 2006’s Ganging Up on the Sun, expanded beyond the folky jangle-pop influences into lusher production, and proved to be critical successes that gained some traction on the charts. Last Friday saw the release of Guster’s eighth and most recent studio album, Look Alive, and hears the band shine with stellar pop sensibilities and a brightly refreshed sound with new instrumentation that doesn’t alienate longtime fans of the group. Look Alive is a testament to how a band approaching 30 years of existence can refine themselves into sounding just as fresh and exciting as ever.

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