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Critic's picks

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic will play the House of Blues this month. George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic will play the House of Blues this month. (Cheryl Gerber/Associated Press/File 2010)
By Sarah Rodman
Globe Staff / February 6, 2011

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GANG OF FOUR Since their 2004 reunion, it would appear the seminal slash-and-burn, Brit post-punks have come back to stay for a while. Last month the band — inspiration to countless descendants from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Franz Ferdinand — garnered strong reviews for “Content,’’ its first album of new material in over a decade. Expect plenty of those songs to be wound around the group’s late ’70s and early ’80s classics. Feb. 7, 8 p.m. Tickets: $25. Paradise. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

JOSH RITTER & THE ROYAL CITY BAND Ritter and his crack crew have dubbed this show, and a few others around Cupid’s big day, the “Valentine’s Day Brawl.’’ But these folk rockers (touring behind 2010’s “So Runs the World Away’’) are lovers not fighters, so expect the brawl to be a strictly musical throwdown. Anyone attending the show with a special someone can also send a dedication request to Ritter’s website, www.joshritter.com/dedications, and the band members will read random love notes throughout the show. Feb. 11, 7 p.m. Tickets: $25-$35. House of Blues. 800-745-3000, www.livenation.com

GEORGE CLINTON & PARLIAMENT/FUNKADELIC The years pass and Clinton — shorn of his trademark Day-Glo weave — and P-Funk continue to turn this mutha out. With upward of two dozen musicians participating, expect the funk density reading to be heavy. Feb. 18, 7 p.m. Tickets: $29-$39. House of Blues. 800-745-3000, www.livenation.com

DAVID GRAY Following his summer outing with fellow troubadour Ray LaMontagne, Gray returns with a stripped-down approach, doing acoustic-based renditions of tracks from his recent album “Foundling’’ and his entire catalog. Gray also says his onstage approach will be closer to a recording session than a show, resulting in a quieter, more intimate vibe. Feb. 21, 8 p.m. Tickets: $35.50-$50. Citi Wang Theatre. 800-432-7250, www.telecharge.com

GALACTIC/TROMBONE SHORTY & ORLEANS AVENUE Allston Rock City gets a major infusion of Crescent City jubilance as these two New Orleans musical institutions team up for a steamy night of funk, jazz, hip-hop, and rock. Also letting the bon temps roulez will be special guests Cyril Neville of the Neville Brothers and Corey Henry of the Rebirth Brass Band. Feb. 25, 9 p.m. Tickets: $28. Paradise. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

BON JOVI The New Jersey rockers return, unwilling to rest until every one of their fans is made to realize that they give love a bad name. Expect all the hits — and a healthy dollop of their most recent album, 2009’s “The Circle.’’ 7:30 p.m. March 1. Tickets: $17-$147. TD Garden. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

SMITH WESTERNS These buzzy Chicago rockers are garnering raves for the dirty glam pop sound and youthful exuberance of their new album, “Dye It Blonde.’’ Famous fans include MGMT and Girls, who tapped the trio to open recent tours. Check them out on their first headlining jaunt. March 2, 8 p.m. Tickets: $12. Great Scott. 866-468-7619, www.ticketweb.com

MOTÖRHEAD A documentary on one-of-a-kind Motörhead main man Lemmy Kilmister is making the rounds (out on DVD Feb. 15), but don’t expect any movie star attitude when the Brit brings his brawny band of metal brawlers to town in support of their new album, “The World Is Yours.’’ Cult favorites Clutch and Valient Thorr warm up the house. March 1, 7 p.m. Tickets: $29.50-$39.50. House of Blues. 800-745-3000, www.livenation.com

ELTON JOHN Don’t be surprised if the legendary piano man has an extra-special glow and looks a little tired when he gets to Worcester. John and his longtime partner recently welcomed a son, which should certainly put a song — or several dozen classic ones — in his heart. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has been digging deep into his catalog as well as rocking out some of the tracks from his recent collaboration with hero Leon Russell, “The Union.’’ March 12, 8 p.m. Tickets: $27-$137. DCU Center. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

ROD STEWART & STEVIE NICKS Get ready for a rasp-fest as the standards and classic-rock loving Brit and Fleetwood Mac’s benevolently witchy woman co-headline this tour. He’s touring behind a compilation of his recent rock covers; she’s gearing up for her first album of all-new material in a decade. Mash-up suggestion: “Rhiannon-fatuation.’’ March 30, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $49.50-$149.50. TD Garden. 800-745-3000. www.ticketmaster.com

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