Who: Avett Brothers with Chittlin'.
When & where: Thursday, Sept. 20, at Toad's Place.
What to expect in the crowd: An eclectic mix of rural and city slickers, hipsters, grandmas, indie beards.
Boulevardi says: Did you see them on Conan? They rocked the Big Red One. Yes, these North Carolina boys bring a potent mix of old-time country, bluegrass, pop and folk with punk energy and passion, stomping their way across the stage. They also make Boulevardi misty with their lovely ballad, "Pretend Love." Damn them.
Who: Capitol City Carnival.
Where: Friday, Sept. 21-Sunday, Sept. 23, at Bull Run Park in Centreville, Va.
What to expect in the crowd: A lot of happy drunk people.
Boulevardi says: C'mon ... you're going to have a bunch of good microbreweries and on top of that add Fishbone, George Clinton and P-Funk, Junior Brown, The Avett Brothers, Southern Culture on The Skids, Charlottesville's own legendary Indecision, Richmond's DJ Williams and Cashmere Jungle Lords? Sounds like a good time. Not to mention the World Famous Pontani Sisters are on the bill (that's burlesque dancing if you don't know)! Hubba Hubba. Weekend tickets are a relatively cheap 60 bones.
Who: George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.
When & where: Sunday, Sept. 23, at Toad's Place.
What to expect in the crowd: Jambanders, funk fans and scabby-kneed freaks.
Boulevardi says: I can hear the muthership comin'. Lest you missed him in Centreville, good ol' George Clinton will be onstage here to grumble and groan a few lines within this hallowed funk circus -- one of the foundations of the Western funk canon. But I'll be curious just to see how Richmond police handle the tall black guy onstage wearing a baby bonnet and diapers.
Who: Lucinda Williams with Charlie Louvin.
When & where: Tuesday, Sept. 25, at the Charlottesville Pavilion.
What to expect in the crowd: Country and singer-songwriter fans salt of the earth folks.
Boulevardi says: A drunkard's dream if I ever did see one Lucinda is a great songwriter and performer, and her opening act is an 80-year-old country music legend that likes to chug Worcester sauce and still has his passion intact. If that isn't enough, the show is a benefit for the UVa. Cancer Center. Good reasons, all.
Who: Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello (with Amos Lee).
When & where: Thursday, Sept. 27, at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville.
What to expect in the crowd: Should run the gamut from baby boomers to the elderly, but you can expect a lot of college-age kids showing up to see Costello, and maybe listen to a song or two by the homeless guy from the Victoria's Secret commercial.
Boulevardi says: Two brilliant music icons for the price of one. If you fancy yourself a fan of songwriting, you owe it to yourself to show up. Dylan can be hit or miss, but he always brings a crack band and the most poetic catalog in popular music. Raggedly soulful crooner Costello never disappoints. I don't know who to praise Allah, God, Coran Capshaw?
Who: Henry Rollins.
When & where: Saturday, Sept. 29, at The Canal Club.
What to expect in the crowd: Diehard fans of Black Flag, younger fans of his TV show, lots of vaguely familiar tattoos.
Boulevardi says: For a muscle-bound, in-your-face punk icon, Rollins has a good sense of humor. His stand-up routine contains interesting stories from his life that are often hilarious. He may be preaching to the choir, but Rollins provides a uniquely cagey, bombastic voice from the far left bleachers worth checking out if you've never seen him.
Who: High On Fire.
When & Where: Friday, Oct. 5, at Toad's Place.
What to expect in the crowd: Longhaired dudes and man-flavored ladies who generally look like: A) their mommies didn't love them enough; B) their daddies were hunter-gatherers; or C) they abused aerosol cans in high school.
Boulevardi says: Come hither, hesher. Who growls like Lemmy, shreds like Iommi and pukes himself to sleep at night? None other than Oakland's most famous stoner guitarist, Matt Pike (ex-Sleep). If you like sludgy, classic metal that deals with topics such as yetis, wolves, and Baghdad come on down to celebrate the new Relapse release, "Death Is Our Communion."
Who: National Folk Festival (nationalfolkfestival.com).
When & where: Friday, Oct. 12, to Sunday, Oct. 14, in downtown Richmond.
What to expect in the crowd: A cross section of people of all ages milling around soaking in the weather and free music just the way God planned it.
Boulevardi says: Quit yer bitchin' about why there aren't more relevant acts. It's free, and there are a multitude of diverse, lesser-known groups to check out. If the weather is nice, there's no reason not to come experience the final installment of this pleasurable festival that's graced Richmond for the last three years. Good eats too. Now maybe we can start our own annual freak-folk festival.
Who: James Taylor.
When & where: Saturday, Oct. 20, at the VCU Siegel Center.
What to expect in the crowd: Aging yuppies in pressed clothes from J. Crew or L.L. Bean.
Boulevardi says: If you can stomach thousands of people singing in unison to "Fire and Rain" and "You've Got a Friend," go for it you may even get Taylor's funky whiteboy version of live favorite, "Steamroller." One can only hope the Massachusetts King of Yacht Rock does some Bush-bashing between songs, causing his Republican fan contingent to shift uncomfortably in their khakis.
Who: Galactic with Lifesavas, Boots Riley and Mr. Lif.
When & where: Friday, Nov. 9, at Toad's Place.
What to expect in the crowd: Young jam-band fans interspersed with others drawn by the hip-hop.
Boulevardi says: Should be a high-energy, funky show with a surprising level of hip-hop talent in the room, considering that great MCs Boots Riley of The Coup and Mr. Lif will be in the house. Also, I've seen hip-hop openers Lifesavas before out West, and they're off the chain. Great way to kick off a fall weekend.
Who: The Hold Steady with Art Brut.
When & where: Monday, Nov. 19, at Toad's Place.
What to expect in the crowd: Indie rockers and art school hipsters, swaying without losing too much control.
Boulevardi says: Art Brut is a terrific live rock band from across the pond this show is worth seeing for it alone. But The Hold Steady has also received lavish praise from U.S. critics for its honest rock instincts and clever lyrics. Come discover rock and roll, and bring your little brother if you've got one.
Who: Regina Spektor.
When & where: Tuesday, Nov. 20, at Toad's Place.
What to expect in the crowd: Curiosity seekers, singer/songwriter fans (especially fans of Fiona Apple or Tori Amos), emo bookworms, anti-folkies.
Boulevardi says: This Russian-born singer-songwriter and pianist from New York has a unique pedigree, style and voice she's doing her thing. Come get a taste of the East Village. All you single young dudes, this should be a great place to meet interesting women. Don't be afraid to show your soft side, even if that involves slow dancing or weeping in public. S