Multi-platinum country singer Eric Church is among the performers returning to the road after the holiday break. Church's live show is the best arena concert in America this week, but excellent shows can also be found in smaller venues, courtesy of hard-to-categorize female singer Zola Jesus and standup comedy superstar Louis C.K. Take a look at our countdown of the best live shows during the week of January 4.
5. Rusted Root
The Pittsburgh band Rusted Root has carved out a two-decade-plus career on the jam band circuit with its percussive melodic rock sound, as demonstrated on the 1994 debut single “Send Me On My Way,” the group's one foray into the mainstream. The band shines in the live setting, and this week they will be taking the stage at venues in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
4. Future Islands
Baltimore-based synthpoppers Future Islands have started breaking through over the past year, with performances on Letterman and Kimmel helping their album Singles reach the Top 40. The group has two shows each in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia over the next seven days. After their brief run of U.S. Shows this week, the Coachella veterans will take their music to Australia to continue expanding their audience.
3. Zola Jesus
The music of 25-year-old Zola Jesus covers a lot of ground, ranging from ethereal Florence & the Machine-style vocal tracks to more experimental electronic songs. Her October release Taiga hit No. 9 on the Heatseekers album chart for emerging artists. The 25-year-old Russian-American performs a whopping 21 shows over the final 23 days of January, starting with gigs this week in Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver.
2. Louis C.K.
Louis C.K. is the biggest draw in comedy these days, and now he's back on the road working out new material. The current Grammy nominee for Best Comedy Album performs four shows at the Chicago Theatre this week, all of which are sold out, plus a gig at Madison Square Garden Arena on Wednesday. Chances are these jokes will end up in his next standup special, so fans attending this week's concerts will get an early glimpse at his next cable show.
1. Eric Church
Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, and Jason Aldean are considered the biggest male stars in country music, but Eric Church is by far the coolest. The ballcap-wearing singer is adept at incorporating universal life truths into rock-tinged country tunes like “Give Me Back My Hometown,” a gripping tale about being unable to enjoy a trip to one's hometown due to all the memories associated with an ex. Church performs at arenas this week in New Orleans, Tupelo, and Nashville.