Five gigs you don’t want to miss in November

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The Weeknd is the most streamed artist on the planet.

The Weeknd
Accor Stadium, November 24, 25, 27
Is Abel Tesfaye, aka the Weeknd, the “world’s most popular artist”, as Guinness World Records recently dubbed him? The stats certainly back it up: the 33-year-old Canadian singer has sold more than 75 million records worldwide and has more than 100 million monthly listeners on Spotify, making him the most-streamed artist on the planet.

This year’s widely panned TV series The Idol, which Tesfaye co-created and starred in, doesn’t seem to have turned off the legion of followers who are living for the Weeknd, with his current tour a global smash (it recently broke the London Stadium’s attendance record with 160,000 concertgoers across two nights). Mega hits, mega fans and, for some reason, Tesfaye wearing a chrome mask: these will be the blockbuster pop music events to beat. Your move, Taylor Swift.

Are they not men? Gerald Casale, Josh Hagar, Mark Mothersbaugh and Bob Mothersbaugh performing in Sweden earlier this year.Credit: Photo by Rune Hellestad

Darling Harbour ICC Theatre, November 26
With a name derived from the prescient concept that humanity is de-evolving rather than the other way around, American new wave legends Devo have been successfully skewering mankind’s foibles for 50 years.

Founding members Gerald Casale, Bob Motherbaugh and Mark Motherbaugh will be celebrating Devo’s half-century by bringing their Goodbye to 50 years of De-Evolution farewell tour Down Under for their final Australian shows.

Devo will also whip out Whip It and the rest of their satirical art-pop classics at the Good Things festival on December 3, where they’ll be performing alongside the likes of Fall Out Boy and Limp Bizkit. Will they open for themselves at their headline gigs as fake Christian soft rock group Dove (the Band of Love), as they did earlier in their career? There’s only one way to find out.

Raucous rockers Bad//Dreems deliver music with a message.Credit:

Crowbar Sydney, November 26
Spiritual successors to politically charged, working-class pub bands like Midnight Oil and Goanna, Adelaide’s Bad//Dreems excel at delivering raucous rock music with something important to say.

Known for blistering live shows, the four-piece will be showcasing their excellent new album, Hoo Ha!, which tackles racism, toxic masculinity and the failure of Australia’s education institutions to adequately teach Aboriginal history. It’s the band’s most acclaimed album to date, debuting in the ARIA top 10 and scoring a nomination for Best Rock Album at the 2023 ARIA Awards, slated for November 15.

Bad//Dreems will be playing as part of Crowbar Sydney’s birthday celebrations week, with other artists appearing including US alt-rockers Highly Suspect, English punks GBH, Perth punks Miles Away and acclaimed Sydney singer-songwriter Ruby Fields.

Lee Fields’ career was revived by the soul revival of the early aughts.Credit:

Lee Fields
Sydney Opera House Studio, November 27
After releasing his first single in 1969, Lee Fields was nicknamed “Little J.B.” thanks to his style and voice being similar to James Brown, with the soul music survivor even providing additional vocals for the 2014 James Brown biopic Get On Up.

After working with the likes of Kool and the Gang, B.B. King and Bobby Womack, disco effectively killed Fields’ career by the ’80s, forcing him into a stint as a real estate agent before the soul revival of the early aughts introduced him to a new generation of listeners.

Now with several old-school soul albums under his belt including last year’s Sentimental Fool, Fields and his band The Expressions will be bringing some classic soul vibes to Sydney this month, ably supported by Melbourne funk group Surprise Chef.

Multi-talented Tkay Maidza is back in Australia for a series of headline shows.Credit:

Tkay Maidza
UNSW Roundhouse, November 28
After high-profile tour support slots for pop titans Lizzo, Dua Lipa and Billie Eilish, Zimbabwean-born, Australian-raised and Los Angeles-based rapper, singer and producer Tkay Maidza is back in Australia for a series of headline shows.

Following on from 2016 debut album Tkay and a trio of EPs released between 2018 and 2021 titled Last Year Was Weird, the third volume of which won an ARIA award for Best Soul/R&B Release in 2021, Maidza is back on the scene with anticipated new LP Sweet Justice.

With recent single Silent Assassin featuring Aussie electronic producer Flume being nominated for Best Hip-Hop/Rap Release at the 2023 ARIA Awards and her international profile deservedly on the rise, don’t expect the multi-talented Maidza’s winning streak to end any time soon.

Which gigs are you looking forward to seeing this month? Pop titans of the moment (Sam Smith, Post Malone, Bebe Rexha, Joji), or perhaps those of yesteryear (Belinda Carlisle, Robbie Williams, The Corrs)? If genre hopping is your thing, you may be drawn to some indie and alternative rock (a Bloc Party/Interpol double bill, Paramore, Suicidal Tendencies, Kristen Hersh, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Supergrass’s Gaz Coombes), a touch of dance (US DJ and producer Theo Parrish, the “Summer Dance” series featuring Todd Terje and Adam Pits) or some old school R&B and hip-hop (the Fridayz Live festival with Kelly Rowland, Boyz II Men and Flo Rida). Let us know in the comments.

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