Saturday, Oct. 14, Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 p.m.
Good morrow to ye, m'lords and ladies of Madisonshire. Pray sit as I give tell of a minstrel of goodly repute a-visiting our fine village.
'Tis Ian Anderson, noble flautist of the wandering band known as Jethro Tull, named after a medieval inventor of plowing tools.
Some goatish fat-kidneyed apple-john might claim Anderson's cultural relevance is as dead as his band's namesake. Forsooth, Anderson be but performing orchestral versions of his classic rock hits, ye know, 'Aqualung,' 'Thick as a Brick' and 'Songs From the Wood.' And one need not be a hedge-born coxcomb to note that orchestral versions of rock songs are oft one step away from the Muzak heard when ye be on hold with the town crier.
But be not vexed. The novelty of Tull was always as much the symphonic structure of their faerie-folk tunes as t'was the overuse of Anderson's roguish flute. Prithee, give well o' the doubt's benefit that Jethro Tull's beauteous verses may well please thine ear on Overture's modern stage, the craftsmanship of which must surely be the work of witches and organized labor.
Alexa Ray Joel
Sunday, Oct. 15, Club Majestic, 7:30 p.m.
Okay, okay. I know I should evaluate her on her musical ability and not on, say, the fact that she's the kid of supermodel Christie Brinkley and piano supervillain Billy Joel. There's got to be a lot of pressure under that shadow.
From her six-song E.P., released not even two months ago, you can tell she's got talent. Classical piano skills and a well-trained singing voice are all well and good, but songs like 'The Heart of Me' show some first-rate songwriting skills. I'd go see her play at Mother Fool's or the Harmony Bar and likely put a latte's-worth of money in the tip jar.
But here's the thing: She's got a national tour. With an E.P. If her name was 'Mary Jane Anybodyelse' she'd be lucky to get three dozen Myspace.com friends. But here she is, playing the Club Majestic and then, two days later, the Hard Rock CafÃ in Chicago.
I wish I had a shadow.