The music business never stops.
It’s changed considerably in the past decade or so, but there will always be artists who want you to lend them your ears and then pay your hard-earned money to come out and see them when they hit your town.
Traditionally, if an artist hadn’t released an album by mid-November, fans would have to wait until at least the first quarter of the following year. But, given these post-everything times in the ever-turning worm that is the music business, there’s a solid chance that some A- or B-level pop star will drop a surprise album, mixtape or playlist on the world with little or no advance warning, delighting fans and bloggers everywhere.
Likewise, when it comes to concerts, many artists tour through the summer and fall, but take winter in America off for their own holiday celebrations (because you know, they’re actual people offstage) or hit the Southern Hemisphere to avoid traveling through the real winter of the Midwest and East Coast.
To help you plan your late 2018 listening and early 2019 concert-going, here are a few options.
• Jeff Goldblum & the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, “The Capitol Sessions” (Nov. 9)
Look, we all know that veteran actor Jeff Goldblum is quite simply a national treasure. There was a 25-foot statue of him near the Tower Bridge in London this past summer to commemorate the 25th anniversary of “Jurassic Park,” despite the film having nothing to do with London and Goldblum not being the top-billed star. There are scores of men and women around the world with tattoos of Goldblum and no movie-goer is ever angry to see “The Fly” star ... umm ... Goldblum-ing through films both big and small. He is also a budding jazz pianist, and this will be his debut album.
• Michael Buble, "Love" (Nov. 16)
Canadian crooner Buble has been away for a while since his 2016 album “Nobody But Me” and tour. The 43-year-old stepped away from the spotlight to deal with his 5-year-old son Noah’s battle with liver cancer. Now that Noah is feeling better, Buble is back and ready to make your grandma and aunt swoon like teenagers again. Buble is calling “Love,” his 10th album, a thank-you to his supportive fans and it will feature a gaggle of romantic tunes with hoary old favorites such as “Unforgettable,” “I Only Have Eyes For You,” and “My Funny Valentine,” along with a few new songs.
• Kanye West, “Yahndi” (Nov. 23)
That’s right, because there is apparently no saturation point for Mr. Kardashian, the people will get what they want: More Yeezy. West’s recent garbled comments have once again placed him in the center of controversy, and the album was initially slated for a late September release but has been pushed back to Thanksgiving. The rapper, producer, "SNL" guest and co-creative director of the 2018 Pornhub Awards has dropped a few singles from the album and because his fan base is fascinated by his every move, including changing his name to "Ye" and deleting his social media accounts again, “Yahndi” — which we can only assume is a mangled portmanteau of Ye and Gandhi — will be met with much fanfare.
• Greta Van Fleet, “Anthem of the Peaceful Army” (Dec. 19)
This young, energetic band of Michiganders, featuring twins Josh and Jake Kiszka respectively on vocals and guitar, backed by their younger brother and bassist Sam and buddy and drummer Danny Wagner, have garnered both praise (including a co-sign from Sir Elton John) and scorn (for their heavily Led Zeppelin-influenced classic rock sound). Josh undeniably sings very much like a young Robert Plant, while the riffs and big backbeat often recall Zeppelin’s early albums. The band sold out all 44 of its recent gigs, and the buzz around the album should ensure that they sell out the next round, too.
• Holiday tunes
The season may not bring quite the deluge of Christmas and seasonal records as it did in the late '90s and early 2000s, when it seemed nearly every artist had to offer their countrified, hip hop, R&B, rock or pop-punk take on “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer.” But holiday records are still solid sellers, good contract fillers and fodder for party music streaming, so there will be several released before All Hallows Eve.
Next Friday, veteran country star Martina McBride will unleash “It's The Holiday Season." McBride will be followed by Ohioan and recent achiever of EGOT status (a Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner) John Legend, who will release his first holiday album, “A Legendary Christmas.” That will compete for attention alongside Kevin Love’s uncle and Beach Boy Mike Love’s “Reason for the Season” and a couple of surprise entries, semi-retired guitar legend Eric Clapton’s “Happy Xmas” and veteran actor and beloved scenery-chewer William Shatner’s “Shatner Claus: The Christmas Album,” all on Oct. 26.
Fall and winter shows
The rest of 2018 has a few heavy hitters both past and present, including hot rap star Travis Scott headlining Quicken Loans Arena on Dec. 4, followed quickly by rock legend Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band’s “Travelin’ Man: The Final Tour” featuring fellow classic rockers Grand Funk Railroad on Dec. 6.
There’s also Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke’s live audio/visual electronic tour stop at the State Theatre on Dec. 1. Fans of Crosby, Stills and Nash and probably Young, too, can witness two of the four Rock Hall of Famers a few months apart, as David Crosby & Friends hit the Kent Stage on Nov. 28 and Graham Nash comes to the Akron Civic on March 16.
Here are few of the big shows coming to Quicken Loans Arena in the first quarter of 2019 for which you can start saving your pennies.
• Metallica: Worldwired Tour, Feb. 1
Metallica is deep in the legacy phase of their career, but their most recent album "Hardwired ... To Self Destruct" was a solid entry into their storied catalog, and they've been touring the world for much of 2018. They’ll bring new songs plus chart-topping classics like “Enter Sandman” and long-beloved thrash tunes from the recent 20th anniversary deluxe edition of “And Justice For All" to The Q. Be prepared for bassist Robert Trujillo and guitarist Kirk Hammett to duet on some famous songs by Cleveland and Ohio artists as they’ve done at nearly every tour stop. Tickets are $74-$300 at theqarena.com.
• Cher: Here We Go Again Tour, Feb. 6
Hey, remember that time about 15 years ago when actress/singer Cher embarked on her first Farewell tour, which was followed a few years later by her cheekily named Farewell Farewell Tour? Well, the entertainment icon is all done retiring, hitting the road for the first time in five years behind a new album, “Dancing Queen,” an ABBA tribute which coincidentally coincides with her star turn in the sequel “Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again.” Cosmopolitan R&B legend Nile Rodgers and Chic will open. Tickets are $37.95-$500 at theqarena.com.
• Eric Church: Double Down Tour, April 19-20
Country-rocker Church, who has had nine No. 1 hits including “Drink In My Hand" and “Springsteen,” just released his sixth album, “Desperate Man,” and is embarking on a tour that will see him play two-night stands in arenas around the country. Church is a big star and with no opening act, he has promised to play marathon shows, drawing from all his albums and perhaps giving fans more than they want. Tickets are $36-$126 at theqarena.com.
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3758. Like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml, and follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.