We ring, rang, rung in 2017, and now it’s the start of a whole new year for music! 2016 was a huge year for the industry, but 2017 is shaping up to have some great surprises up its sleeve. Many tours are getting off the ground in the first month of the new year including the Red Hot Chili Peppers. With rumors of surprise albums, starts of huge world tours, and the aftermath of last year’s music, there be a lot to talk about in the coming months. 2016 was the year of Beyoncé; who will own the industry in 2017?
Drop the Mic is ready to break it down ─ week-by-week previews of the biggest upcoming concerts, new albums, and media moments for the stars. With the Grammys in February and stars like Ed Sheeran hinting at new music, it is an exciting time to see how artists mold 2017.
Top 5 Concerts
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Toyota Center│Houston, TX│January 7th
Red Hot Chili Peppers started their tour Thursday night in San Antonio. Tonight, they’re bringing the show to Houston, the second of three stops in Texas. Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “The Getaway” North American Tour is following the release of their 2016 album The Getaway. This band is touring through September with dates in the U.S. and Canada. Though there are breaks between now and September, this North American tour is huge for the band. With three nights at Madison Square Garden, the enormity of this displays a continuous, undying love for Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Fans have grown with them since their origins in the 80’s. Through deaths, drug addictions, break ups, and reunions, Red Hot Chili Peppers have tirelessly forged ahead as a band. Thirty years later, they are selling out the biggest stadiums in the country. It is an ode to their legacy as well as their fans’ commitment no matter the band’s internal struggles. Below is a video the band released on their website two days ago preceding the tour showing insight into Anthony’s pre-show rituals:
Billy Joel: Madison Square Garden│New York, NY│January 11th
Billy Joel continues his “New York State of Mind” with his residency at Madison Square Garden in 2017. This is his last date at MSG in January until he returns on February 22nd and March 3rd. In the meantime, he has shows scheduled for Orlando, FL and New Orleans, LA. Joel rang in the New Year at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL. A show that’s slowly becoming a tradition for the Piano Man.
His MSG residency is unprecedented, as it is the first musical residency that the “World’s Most Famous Stadium” has ever had. The other residencies include New York professional sports teams: the Knicks, the Liberty, and the Rangers. Therefore, Joel has already made history with his residency that is continuing until there is no demand for tickets. Three years later, the residency is still going strong. He recently broke the record of the “Longest Run of Any Artist” with his 36th residency show and 82nd MSG show in December 2016.
Kings of Leon: The Theater at MGM National Harbor│Oxon Hill, MD│January 12th
Kings of Leon released an album in 2016 titled WALLS. Though the reviews were lukewarm, the band has a strong fan following and is touring in January and part of February in North America and Europe. This tour includes the biggest arenas like Madison Square Garden, United Center, Air Canada Centre, and more. Their MGM National Harbor show is the first of the “WALLS” Tour, starting it off in Maryland. In interviews, Frontman Caleb Followill said, “We’re pushing ourselves. We’re going to do some really creative things, some things that not only we haven’t done, but that not many rock bands do.” He further clarifies, “We’re not going to be floating on a stage like Kanye or anything like that.” But still, the stakes are high, and their expectations are higher.
Pepe Aguilar: Paramount Theatre – Oakland│Oakland, CA│January 8th
Pepe Aguilar has select dates in January, February, April, and July. Aguilar was born in the U.S. but raised in Mexico, and he is the son of Antonio Aguilar and Flor Silvestre, legends in the Latin music industry. This short tour is coming the year after the release of his most recent album, 2016’s No Lo Había Dicho, which hit No. 3 on the Top Latin Albums in 2016.
Part of Aguilar’s “look” is his traditional Mexican outfit, a black suit with gold embellishments and an elaborate sombrero. It combines performance with the Mexican culture. By doing so, Aguilar creates a look for himself. Though he performs in most casual dress, as well, his outfit is something that he is recognized for. Below is an Aguilar performance when the singer is wearing more casual attire:
Chance the Rapper: Neal S. Blaisdell Center – Arena│Honolulu, HI│January 7th
Chance the Rapper has a two-night stint in Hawaii on January 7th and 8th. This show is the first of the two at Honolulu’s Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena. It is the last few days of his “Magnificent Coloring” World Tour that began after he dropped his 2016 mixtape Coloring Book. After these dates, his only scheduled performances are for festivals such as Hangout Music Festival and Governors Ball.
Chance the Rapper has forged an entirely new path in his career, as his music is all free. The success of Coloring Book even forced the Grammys to change the rules to allow mixtapes to be considered for nomination. It is an exciting time for the rapper who blends jazz, gospel, and other stylistic beats for a unique sound, and it will be even more thrilling to see how he fairs in the Grammy categories “Best New Artist,” “Best Rap Performance,” “Best Rap Song” (one individual and two with Kanye West), “Best Rap Album,” and “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.”
What’s In Tune
Ed Sheeran: “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill”│ ÷
Hello 2017… pic.twitter.com/1UyjpgoFbo
— Ed Sheeran (@edsheeran) January 1, 2017
On January 1st, Ed Sheeran finally resurfaced to social media and to the music industry. After his 2014 album X, he did a huge stadium world tour, and afterwards, he decided to lay low for awhile. Sheeran took time off of social media and didn’t release new music for years besides a feature track here and there. However, for fans of Sheeran, he’s back in 2017! He resurfaced to start making hints about new music that dropped today.
6th January 5am GMT | midnight ET x pic.twitter.com/azkW2x2OBE
— Ed Sheeran (@edsheeran) January 2, 2017
His two previous albums were + and X, so it comes as no surprise that when he started hinting at ÷, fans began to freak. Nobody knew where it would be the first single or the entire album. However, there is a certainty that the album is on its way due to the title related to + and X. He then began to release other clips showing previews to lyrics including, “When I was six, I broke my leg,” and “The club isn’t the best place to find a lover.” However, the signs that Sheeran was gearing up for a release didn’t just start January 1st; they were only confirmed then. December 12th, he tweeted a plain photo of a bright blue background. We now know that it is the background of ÷‘s album cover. Fans can only hope for a tour following more new music in 2017.
This morning, fans found out that it wasn’t the whole album but two singles that both each contain one of the lyrics he tweeted. “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill” give fans a sneak peek into ÷ and the rest of the songs that will follow on this album (release date TBD). “Shape of You” follows a more pop-synthesized sound like “Sing” and “Don’t.” It’s a casual love plot about starting a relationship with someone new and loving “the shape of you.” While he focuses his steamy artistic side on this single, “Castle on the Hill” is completely different.
It leans more towards the simple humility of + with no sassy backbeats or scandalous lyrics. Instead, “Castle on the Hill” is an ode to the people from his childhood who helped him grow into the man he is today. It’s also extremely candid regarding the personalities of these people. He doesn’t pretend his old friends are perfect. Instead, he blatantly sings about their faults. However, he reminds the listeners that this doesn’t take away from how meaningful their relationships are. He sings, “One’s already on his second wife / One’s just barely getting by / But these people raised me / And I can’t wait to go home.” The song embraces the nostalgia when someone is going home, escaping current reality for a walk through childhood comfort.
Ed, welcome back. We missed your phenomenal voice and your meaningful lyrics. And that bright flash of British, ginger hair.
Dropkick Murphys│11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory
Dropkick Murphys are a unique band because they represent a city. Sounds kind of odd, or maybe you disagree with labeling the band as “unique.” However, Boston itself is different. Northeastern cities’ inhabitants demonstrate an immense pride for their home turf. Boston in particular shouts it from the brick rooftops. Whether it’s sports teams, Revolutionary War history, or its musicians, the city’s people carry the legacy with an undying passion. Tom Brady, Fenway Park, “Big Papi,” TD Garden, Fanueil Hall, The Freedom Trail… it’s all stamped on their hearts. When the Boston Marathon bombings occurred in 2013, the tragedy sparked a phrase that cannot sum up the city any better: Boston Strong. The hardworking, humble, simple stereotype of Massachusetts’s capital is true.
Dropkick Murphys embody this. With every album, the band further reinforces why their Boston nativity is important to them and to the city. If you walk down Commonwealth Ave and ask people about the band, more often than not, the response will be of undying love. Stereogum‘s review of their new album put it perfectly: “They’re a big enough draw to headline TD Garden, even if they’re strictly House of Blues status in the rest of the world.”
Though Dropkick Murphys aren’t the most famous punk rock or Celtic rock band, they are arguably the most loved. I had the chance to witness Dropkick Murphys opening for Foo Fighters at Fenway Park during the summer of 2015. There is nothing… NOTHING… like the sound of a Boston venue when “Shippin’ Up to Boston” starts playing. They are on tour from February to March in support of their new album, ending their tour with a four-night St. Patty’s Day stint at House of Blues Boston and Boston University’s Agganis Arena. For the Celtic punk rock band, it’s the perfect shamrock-ed celebration. ♣
And the band doesn’t stop at song-writing. 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory actually holds a slower tempo. You do still get that “angry” sound that relates Dropkick Murphys to the moments before a bar fight breaks out. However, there is a heaviness and contemplation to this album that makes it valuable yet different from past works.
For example, they took a risk with the song”4-15-2013″ about the Boston Bombings. Instead of coming off like a way to profit from tragedy, Dropkick Murphys add genuine feeling to their city’s darkest day. This is because the band doesn’t merely give Boston shout-outs in songs. They play for patients at Boston hospitals (they visited the victims of the Boston Bombings), and they have close ties to professional sports’ networks regarding music for Boston sports’ events (they’ve debuted songs through Boston Bruins’ games).
These are not half-ass band members who mention their city name but do nothing to actively support it. There is an unspoken symbiotic relationship between Boston and Dropkick Murphys. They need Boston as much as Boston needs them. That special dynamic unveils the insurmountable loyalty that Massachusetts’ and Bostonian people have for those who are good to them.