15 can’t-miss concerts in Boston this October

From Elton John to Christina Aguilera, Nine Inch Nails to J. Cole.

Elton John performs onstage during his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" final tour at Capital One Arena on Sept., 21, 2018, in Washington, D.C. –Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP

A “Crocodile Rock”-er taking his final trip to Boston and a Southern rapper making his first appearance on the Garden stage are just two of this town’s October music events.

Soulful newcomers

Deep-voiced British songwriter Hozier hit it big with his 2014 self-titled debut, which spawned Grammy-nominated hit “Take Me to Church.” With a new EP entitled “Nina Cried Power,” the singer will find his way to the House of Blues with Irish duo Hudson Taylor. (Monday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.; House of Blues, Boston; $45-$75; all ages; with Hudson Taylor; tickets available here)

Leon Bridges
This Texas vintage soul songwriter will hit Agganis Arena in support of his sophomore album, May’s “Good Thing.” Arrive early to check out fellow Lonestar State rhythm-makers Khruangbin, whose instrumental psych-funk is getting quite the buzz of its own. (Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.; Agganis Arena, Boston; $41-$76.50; all ages; with Khruangbin; tickets available here)


Tank and The Bangas and Big Freedia
Two of the Big Easy’s most exciting acts will team up for one big show at Royale. Soul collective and NPR-championed former buskers Tank and The Bangas will be joined by the Queen of Bounce, Big Freedia. (Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 8 p.m.; Royale, Boston; $52-$160; all ages; tickets available here)

Strong songwriters

Cat Power
Songwriter Chan Marshall has been performing blues-tinged folk rock under the moniker Cat Power since the early ’90s. She’s back with her 10th album, “Wanderer,” and will be playing the Paradise along with Chicago poet and songwriter Willis Earl Beal. (Friday, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m.; Paradise Rock Club, Boston; $32; 18+; with Willis Earl Beal; tickets available here)

New York multi-instrumentalist and lyricist Mitski has had a prolific six years, releasing five critically-acclaimed albums, including her latest, “Be the Cowboy.” Headlining her biggest Boston show to date, the songwriter will take her tour to the House of Blues. (Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.; $22.50; all ages; tickets available here)

Mountain Man
Vermont singing trio Mountain Man had gone quiet shortly after the success of its debut 2010 album, as vocalist Amelia Randall Meath found success with electropop group Sylvan Esso. Now the band is back together for a second album, “Magic Ship,” and the harmonies of Mountain Man will come alive again onstage at the Sinclair. (Saturday, Oct. 27 at 9 p.m.; The Sinclair, Cambridge; $25; 18+; with The Dead Tongues; tickets available here)

Pop superstars


Justin Timberlake
N*SYNC graduate Justin Timberlake has played just about every big stage there is, from the Super Bowl halftime show to the Grammys to “Saturday Night Live.” Touring in support of his latest solo album, “Man of the Woods,” Timberlake will play TD Garden this month. (Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m.; TD Garden, Boston; $55-$275; all ages; tickets available here)

Christina Aguilera
Pop royalty Christina Aguilera has gone through many creative phases since launching her singing career as a teenager. Behind the release of “Liberation,” her first album in six years, Aguilera will play the Wang Theatre with legendary OutKast lyricist Big Boi. (Monday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m.; Boch Center Wang Theatre, Boston; $45; all ages; with Big Boi; tickets available here)

Hip-hop heavy hitters

J. Cole
Carolina-bred rapper J. Cole has quickly worked his way up the hip-hop chain, finding greater success with each of his five albums since 2011. April’s “KOD” has launched him to his biggest stages to date, including TD Garden. (Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m.; TD Garden, Boston; $45-$145; all ages; with Young Thug, Jaden Smith, Earthgang, Kill Edward; tickets available here)

J. Cole performs onstage during the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 20, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. —Christopher Polk / Getty Images For Clear Channel

Chief Keef
Chicago drill rap superstar Chief Keef claimed to have retired from rap in 2016, but went on to put out a handful of mixtapes and a standout album, “Dedication,” in 2017. Touring through Boston in support of the record, the lyricist will headline the House of Blues. (Monday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m.; House of Blues, Boston; $22-$35; all ages; tickets available here)

’90s rockers

Liz Phair
Chicago rocker Liz Phair has had an illustrious 25-plus-year career, covering everything from grungy rock to power pop. She’ll play Royale along with Boston favorite Speedy Ortiz. (Monday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m.; Royale, Boston; $35-$38; 18+; with Speedy Ortiz; tickets available here)


Violent Femmes
Milwaukee acoustic punk group Violent Femmes has plenty of hits on its resume as part of a career that goes back to the early ’80s. Still running off the buzz of 2016’s “We Can Do Anything,” the trio’s first album in 16 years, the band will play Royale with fellow Minnesotan Your Smith. (Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m.; Royale, Boston; $35-$59.50; 18+; with Your Smith; tickets available here)

Nine Inch Nails
Industrial rock pioneer band Nine Inch Nails recently put out its ninth studio album, “Bad Witch,” and is touring with fellow noise rockers The Jesus and Mary Chain. They’ll find their way to the Wang Theatre for two consecutive nights. (Friday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.; Boch Center Wang Theatre, Boston; $112-$250; all ages; with Jesus and Mary Chain, Daniel Avery (10/19), Death in Vegas (10/20); tickets available here)

Rock royalty

Elton John
Rocket man Elton John has embarked on one final tour and is including Boston in his plans. The songwriter has won countless awards, sold more than 300 million records, and has even been knighted. He’ll play TD Garden for a final Boston show. (Saturday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m.; TD Garden, Boston; $220; all ages; tickets available here)

Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, Lila Downs, Steve Earle
A handful of folk’s finest songwriters will share the stage to raise money for the Women’s Refugee Commission. Country legend Emmylou Harris will lead the bunch, which also will include California folk rocker Jackson Browne, Oaxacan songwriter Lila Downs, and acoustic picker Steve Earle. (Saturday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m.; Orpheum Theatre, Boston; $63; all ages; tickets available here)

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