MUSIC PREVIEW: For those about to rock

AC/DC GigCity EdmontonThree historic bands play Edmonton this weekend – but unlike most weekends, none can be found in a casino.

The biggest name is of course AC/DC, performing at Commonwealth Stadium on Sunday night. Still fronted by Brian Johnson ever since Bon Scott’s passing in 1980, the only original member still remaining is lead guitarist Angus Young. But what an original member. One of the greatest guitarists of all time in many people’s eyes. Well, Rolling Stone only placed him at 24th in their 2011 list, but I’m sure many others would place him much higher. Angus created some of the most memorable guitar riffs of all time, to be sure.

The Australian group is touring to celebrate their 40th anniversary and to support their 2014 release Rock Or Bust, their 17th full-length. Yes, seventeen. Of course, it’s been a while since they’ve had a chart-topping single, but nobody will ever forget such classics as Highway To Hell, Whole Lotta Rosie, and Hells Bells. The band’s had enough hits that everyone’s going to have their own personal favourite.

The drummer for this tour is Chris Slade, who performed in that role for the band from 1984-1994. Cliff Williams is of course on bass, ever since 1977. And playing rhythm guitar is Stevie Young, who replaced his uncle Malcolm last fall after he sadly retired due to dementia.

Tickets to the 7 pm show – not sold out yet – are $75 and up (BUY).

The other two visiting historical legends are hip hop groups, one from the East Coast, one from further West (technically Cleveland). Music fans may remember a time during the 1990’s punctuating by significant discord between the East and West Coast camps, which occasionally escalated into violence, including the 1996-97 deaths of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. by unknown assailants. And now in Edmonton they come together. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Wu-Tang Clan play on two consecutive evenings. Coincidence, you say?

Thursday 17

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – This Cleveland hip hop group, founded back in 1991, first became known for their single Thuggish Ruggish Bone, off their debut EP released by west coast rapper Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records. Since that time they’ve recorded 10 albums, including this year’s E. 1999 Legends, a 20th anniversary record, and also their final release. Their plan remains to auction the record for $1 million or more, which will include distribution rights. We’ll see how that plays out. Other top hits from the group includes 1996’s Tha Crossroads, Look Into My Eyes from the following year, and 2007’s I Tried featuring Akon. Union Hall, 9:30 pm, $45 and up. BUY

Friday 18

Wu-Tang Clan – The third blast from the past this weekend is this New York hip hop project, a supergroup in many ways. Some of its better-known members include RZA, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, and Method Man. Without a doubt one of the greatest hip hop groups of all time, their most recent release was last year’s A Better Tomorrow, the first since 2007’s 8 Diagrams. Truthfully, they haven’t had that many hit singles over the years, at least according to the official charts, but some of their better known singles have been C.R.E.A.M., Triumph, and Uzi (Pinky Ring). Shaw Conference Centre, 7 pm, $69.50 and up. BUY

Colleen Brown – This acclaimed local singer-songwriter released an incredible mixed matrix of songs earlier this year called Direction, co-produced by none other than famed Joel Plaskett. He also plays on the three songs. Other tracks were recorded in Toronto with Taylor Kernohan at the Drive Shed. The multi-talented Brown has never shied away from any challenging project in the past; this could well be the best project she’s ever been a part of. With David Celia. Mercury Room, 8 pm, $13. BUY

Saturday 19

Martin Sexton – This Syracuse singer-songwriter, the truest of troubadours in many senses, who acquired his first guitar at the age of 14, is touring to support his most recent release, Mixtape Of the Open Road. McDougall United Church, 7 pm, $32. BUY

Sunday 20

Epica – This Dutch symphonic metal band was founded by Mark Jansen after being fired from After Forever, even though he was one of its main composers, and by many accounts, its founder. Epica is a rather intriguing entrant in the metal world, with both female vocals supplied by Simone Simons (who was Janssen’s girlfriend around the time the band was formed), and the more popular use of male grunting, growling, and screaming by Jansen. The band was released six albums, including last year’s The Quantum Enigma. With Eluveitie and Agonist. Union Hall, 6 pm, $36. BUY