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The 30 Best Concerts in October

Page 8 of 8

Charli XCX - Monday, October 20 - Crescent Ballroom

Before summer began, there was a good chance you'd never heard of Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, or Rita Ora. Now, at the start of fall, you can't get enough of these guys. And let's not forget about Charli XCX. She, like her chart-topping colleagues, has been around for years but is just recently getting much-deserved praise. Charlotte Aitchison, as Charli is also known, co-penned 2013's summer smash hit by Icona Pop, "I Love It." The half-Scott, half-Ugandan released her major-studio debut, True Romance, last year and is featured on Azalea's ubiquitous "Fancy" and crafted "Boom Clap," which appears in the film The Fault in Our Stars. With a U.S. tour underway, the 21-year-old Brit will be heading to Crescent Ballroom on October 20. -- Stacey Russell

Erasure - Tuesday, October 21 - Comerica Theatre

Listeners of a certain vintage will already know there was indeed such a thing as dance-based electronica between the eras of disco and EDM. In fact, not only was there exciting music to be heard between those fabled eras, but much of the most thrilling sounds were made by duos. Throughout the '80s and '90s, dominating both airwaves and dance floors, there were the likes of Blancmange, Soft Cell, Eurythmics, and, of course, Erasure.

A product of musician-producer Vince Clarke (co-founder of Depeche Mode) and singer Andy Bell (who'd answered an ad in Melody Maker), Erasure was akin to a candy-coated stroll through the deep, dark nights of one's soulful abandon. Much of Erasure's transcendent and transgressive spirit manifested itself in the outre form of Bell himself, whose onstage ensembles made Liberace look butch. Yes, Bell was unabashedly gay at a time when coming out was still mostly associated with a song by Diana Ross. His talent and outspokenness made him something of a gay icon. And he remains so to this day. - John Hood

Ray LaMontagne - Wednesday, October 22 - Comerica Theatre

Although he's often compared to such heavyweights as Otis Redding and Van Morrison, singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne is much more akin to folks like Stephen Stills and Tim Buckley. Such a distinction is crucial. Where Redding and Morrison made transcendent music that crossed genre lines with amazing ease, Stills and Buckley were talented but flawed artists who stumbled as much as they succeeded. LaMontagne does have an impressive voice and his songs have a sincerity missing from many like-minded tunesmiths. He's really good -- but he's not great. That being said, LaMontagne's show at Comerica Theatre should provide a romantic date night for those couples who don't mind their folk-rock on the raspy side. -- Darryl Smyers

Colbie Caillat - Friday, October 24 - Arizona State Fair

The music of Malibu diva Colbie Caillat is quite frothy, with a pretty voice but not much to say lyrically on poppy early songs such as "Bubbly" and the recent piano ballad "Try." There seems to be a genuine heart at the heart of Demi Lovato's music, especially because the former Disney Channel star has been unafraid to publicly confront her issues of self-abuse and depression. Such vulnerability has started to seep into her lyrics, although the production and arrangement of recent songs like "Skyscraper" add an unfortunate veneer of distancing artifice. -- Falling James

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