Globe and Mail music writer Brad Wheeler curates the best of the fall pop and rock offerings.
In the eyes of critics and musical tastemakers, the veteran prog-rock trio has gone from vilification to canonization – look no further than last week's suspiciously overdue nomination into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Its Clockwork Angels album from this year finds Rush in heavy form, marching fiercely and distinctively to its own gazillion-piece drum kit. The time to catch up with them, then, is now. Air Canada Centre, Oct. 14, 16.
With a new album of rarities ( Release Me ) and a fresh book dedicated to the singer's early days ( Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand ), all eyes are on the funny lady's past. A brief North American tour continues the way-we-were flashback, showcasing an artist oblivious to trends and calendars. Montreal's Bell Centre,Oct. 17; Ottawa's Scotiabank Place, Oct. 20; Air Canada Centre, Oct. 23.
Sleepwalk Guitar Festival
Named after the drowsy Santo & Johnny steel-slide hit from 1959, the second-annual guitar-geek expo offers workshops and showcase sets from inventors and peculiar whizzes. Albert Lee is a country-boy genius. Junior Brown does unpredictable things with his double-neck "guit-steel." James Burton was Elvis's rockabilly right-hand man. And there's no one like Wilco's Nels Cline (not even his twin brother). Great Hall, Nov. 2, 4.
The unpredictable pianist and outrageous live performer is a highly prized collaborator, with working relationships that include team-ups with no less than Drake and Feist. Here, though, the trickster arrives on the lone, with video projections, for a show that celebrates the articulate instrumental pop of his latest album, Solo Piano II. Winter Garden Theatre, Nov. 8.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Once you're gone, you can't come back. Who said that? The garage-rockers kept their powder dry for years until a reunion this summer resulted in a blazing album of covers (Americana ) and another release (the double-CD Psychedelic Pill ) due out later this month. An extensive tour puts eardrums and hydroelectric reserves in peril. Air Canada Centre, Nov. 19; Ottawa's Scotiabank Place, Nov. 24.