Concerts

12 must-see concerts at Boston’s top venues this winter

Rock, country, funk, rap and more are on the agenda from December-February.

Carrie Underwood, Anthrax, and George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic are all headed to Boston this winter. Boston Globe File

Looking for your live music fix this winter season? Here are 12 acts definitely worth checking out at Greater Boston’s top venues, organized by genre. (Sites include TD Garden, Roadrunner, MGM Music Hall at Fenway, House of Blues, City Winery, and DCU Center; check out our guide to smaller venues here.)

Best rock concerts:

Modest Mouse at Roadrunner

Modest Mouse released its second LP, “The Lonesome Crowded West,” in 1997. Although it would be dwarfed in sales by later efforts, it is almost surely the band’s most influential recording in the unsubtle, epic-in-scope, and sometimes unnerving indie rock vein that they were mining at the time. The occasion of this landmark recording’s 25th anniversary is the reason for Modest Mouse’s current nationwide trek. On this tour, Isaac Brock and drummer and fellow lone original member Jeremiah Green – along with decade-long stalwart Russell Higbee (bass guitar) and new member Simon O’Connor (guitar) – will perform the 15-track, 74-minute opus from its first note to its last. However, Brock is sure to also break out crowd-pleasers such as “Float On” and “Ocean Breathes Salty,” two of the singles from the million-selling 2004 album “Good News for People Who Love Bad News.” Friday, Dec. 16, 8 p.m., Roadrunner, 89 Guest St., Boston, $49.50-$75.

Los Lobos. – Piero F. Giunti

Los Lobos at City Winery

Long before they became an established, critically lauded, Grammy-winning band, Los Lobos was an LA-based quartet playing cover songs at weddings and parties. That was a half-century ago. In ensuing years, they became a quintet, wrote original material that combined Mexican folk influences with rock preferences, and were “discovered” when they were asked to record their own take on Richie Valens’ “La Bamba” for the 1987 film of the same name. And they’ve never stopped growing, or rocking. Their newest album, “Native Sons,” has them returning – in style – to their early days, with new versions of songs by other LA-based artists, including The Beach Boys and Buffalo Springfield. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 16 and 17, 8 p.m., City Winery, 80 Beverly St., Boston, $65-$75

Robin Lane at Club Passim

It’s about time that Robin Lane decided to return to the live music scene. After moving to Boston from LA in the 1970s, Lane and her band the Chartbusters scored big-time when MTV put the song “When Things Go Wrong” in rotation. There were a few albums for Warner Brothers, then some time away from it all, and sporadic returns to the stage and the studio over the years. No doubt, her blend of pop, New Wave, and a bit of punk has been missed by her fans. As has the sound of her powerful voice (especially its outstanding lower register). Now it can all be enjoyed again, with her most recent album “Dirt Road to Heaven” made up of mostly guitar-driven mid-tempo tunes, ranging in content from ballads to rockers to slices of country, and a tour. Friday, Jan. 6, 8 p.m., Club Passim, 47 Palmer St., Cambridge, $20

Anthrax and Black Label Society at House of Blues

Get set for a night of heavy metal heaven from double headliners. These two bands were on tour together over the summer, and in picking it up again in the colder months they haven’t missed a beat. Black Label Society, featuring former Pantera guitarist Zakk Wylde (who often dons a kilt), is opening, blasting out crowd favorites such as “Trampled Down Below” and “Fire It Up” (which has been featuring Wylde and co-guitarist Dario Lorina in a shredding duel). Anthrax then ups the energy ante with tunes reaching deep into their catalogue. Think “I Am the Law,” “Bring the Noise,” and “Madhouse.” Warning, especially when that last one starts: The sounds are loud and the mosh pit is alive and well. Sunday, Feb. 5, 5:30 p.m., House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St., Boston, $49.50

Best pop concerts:

Andrea Bocelli at TD Garden

The Tuscan tenor lost his sight when he was 12, but he’s never had any trouble following his musical path. Now 64, he entered singing contests as a kid, studied law at the University of Pisa – while also studying classical singing – and realized, in his 30s, that music was the way to go. His problem, though, was where to focus his attention, as he loved opera, folk, and pop. His solution was to cover lots of ground, and the tour that brings him to Boston features popular arias, some crossover hits, and a Christmas song or two. Saturday, Dec. 10, 8 p.m., TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston, $80.50-$375.50

Ben Stas for The Boston Globe
Vocalist Rachael Price and keyboardist Akie Bermiss of Lake Street Dive performing at Roadrunner in June. – Ben Stas for The Boston Globe

Lake Street Dive at Roadrunner

They’re jazzy, they’ve got soul, they can rock, and their harmonies are among the best in pop music. Lake Street Dive started out in Boston almost a decade ago, catching the public’s ear with their joyous cover of “I Want You Back.” (Check it out on YouTube.) Though the lineup and the scope of the band’s sound have changed – Akie Bermiss joined on keyboards and vocals, James Cornelison is the touring guitarist – original members Rachael Price (vocals), Bridget Kearney (bass), and Michael Calabrese (drums) are still there. Highlights of their live shows include originals from their 2021 album “Obviously,” but expect them to do tunes from their recent covers EP “Fun Machine: The Sequel,” which boasts updates of The Pointer Sisters’ “Automatic” and Carole King’s “So Far Away.” Saturday, Dec. 31, 8:30 p.m., Roadrunner, 89 Guest St., Boston, $86-$121

Best funk concert:

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at House of Blues

Yes, George Clinton, a.k.a. The Godfather of Funk, who turned 81 last summer, retired from fronting his wild band Parliament Funkadelic in 2019. No, he did not remain in retirement, and he’s been back out on the road since June of this year, when the “One Nation Under a Groove” tour was launched. The shows these days, though still leaning on some science fiction themes, are smaller in scale. Clinton’s one strict rule remains intact: There is never a set list. Clinton has always practiced his art spontaneously, and told band members what to play next depending on what he’s feeling at the moment. If you’re going to see him, be sure to wear your dance shoes. Friday, Dec. 30, 7 p.m., House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St., Boston, $32-$38

Best folk concert:

Boston Celtic Music Festival at various venues

It seems that there are as many different factions of Celtic music as there are locations where it’s going to be celebrated at this year’s 20th annual event. Presented over three days and nights (Jan. 12-14), it ranges artist-wise from Jenna Moynihan and Leland Martin and Friends to James Kelly & Ryan Douglas and the Medford All-Star Ceili Band (Ellery Klein, George Keith, Matt and Shannon Heaton, John, Josie and Rory Coyne, Helena Delaney, Tina Lech, Ted Davis, and Jeremy Ball). As far as venues, concerts will happen at Club Passim, the Somerville Theater, The Sinclair, and First Parish Church in Cambridge. Some events are free, others are capped at $28. For a complete lineup, with artists, showtimes, locations, and ticket prices, visit https://www.passim.org/live-music/bcmfest-2023/

Best country concerts:

The Judds at DCU Center

Though it’s being billed as The Final Tour, the mom-and-daughter duo of Naomi and Wynonna Judd broke up in 1991, after an eight-year run as country queens, and got back together for a few reunion shows. But this one has an irrevocability to it. Naomi Judd died in April. Wynonna Judd is headlining this tour in celebration of her mom. As a duo, their initial single “Had a Dream (For the Heart)” charted, and the follow-up, “Mama He’s Crazy” earned them a Grammy. Though Wynonna is the star here, performing many of her own songs, she’s also keeping her mom’s contributions very much in the picture (with the aid of some guest artists). Recent encores have included the Judds hits “Grandpa (Tell Me ’Bout the Good Old Days)” and “Why Not Me?” Sunday, Jan. 29, 7:30 p.m., DCU Center, 50 Foster St., Worcester, $29.50-$119.50

Carrie Underwood at TD Garden

Before returning to Las Vegas for another residency, former “American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood will show off her country credentials with the “Denim & Rhinestones” tour, in celebration of her album of the same name. The Grand Ole Opry member and health and fitness guru is running out of room at home to display her collection of gold and platinum records, Grammys, and all sorts of other honors. But the idea of slowing down has never been part of her agenda. One highlight of the shows on the upcoming tour will be a duet on the album’s title track with her opening act Jimmie Allen. But a highlight of another sort will be the sight of Underwood singing and performing acrobatics while flying above the crowd. Friday, Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m., TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston, $79-$150

Best indie singer-songwriter concert:

Maggie Rogers. – OK McCausland/The New York Times

Maggie Rogers at Roadrunner

Between her two Capitol albums – “Heard It in a Past Life” (2019) and “Surrender” (2022) –  singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers decided to do a little classroom soul searching. She earned a master’s degree in “religion and public life” at Harvard Divinity School, and her creation of “Surrender” was part of her thesis. She’s also spent plenty of time on concert stages, all over the world, selling out shows to crowds who adore her pop anthems and graceful movements. Before stardom came her way, Rogers was studying music production and engineering at NYU, and had made two self-released albums. The result: She knows the ropes of writing, singing, and producing, and she’s discovered exactly how to make audiences get into her groove. Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11, 8 p.m., Roadrunner, 89 Guest St., Boston, $104.50-$145.50

Best rap concert:

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie at MGM Music Hall

It’s been almost three years between album releases by the New York rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. The drop date for the new one, “Me vs. Myself,” keeps changing, but it should be in place well before he starts his February tour. Known for the energy he doles out in performances as much as for what some critics have labeled his “rambling verses” (not necessarily a bad thing), his shows also take some time to veer away from the hardcore rap upon which he built his reputation. Fans were probably caught a bit off-guard when he started performing “Still Think About You.” Although it featured the expected sort of explicit lyrics, the song showed that when he was singing, rather than shouting the words, this guy has a pretty darn good voice. Thursday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m., MGM Music Hall at Fenway, 2 Lansdowne St., Boston, $52-$62

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Blake Maddux also contributed to this report.

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