Country singer George Strait has yet to cross over into mainstream pop, like Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. But in his own realm, and in his own understated, nice-guy way, he rules his universe. In December he surpassed Conway Twitty's record of 49 No. 1 country hits, and to date he's sold 57 million albums. The only artist with more platinum records -- in any genre -- is Elvis Presley. You can come see what the fuss is about at MCI Center on Thursday night.
If that seems too . . . ordinary, check out Sigur Ros, an Icelandic quartet so avant-garde it didn't bother to name its last albums or any of the songs on the album and sings in a made-up language called Hopelandic. The music -- eerie, crawlingly slow and grandly chilly -- has way more atmosphere than soul, and the group treats its shows more like theater than concerts. (No encore, just bows as the curtain falls.) But there's something so bold and original about the sound, and the group's unwillingness to embrace any of rock's core ideas, that you might never wonder if this emperor is actually wearing any clothes. March 19, 9:30 club.
Hair bands have come and hair bands have gone since Bon Jovi rode a steel horse into the hearts of power-ballad lovers up and down America's turnpikes. And how many of those bands are still standing? How many could book a night at MCI Center? The answer: Zilch. Goose egg. Nada. Never ground-breakers musically and still dishing out somewhat corny working-class metal, Jon Bon Jovi and his band mates -- or their continued popularity, anyway -- are a mystery to everyone but their fans. But even if the sound is familiar, the sense of camaraderie at a Bon Jovi show is something special. And these guys do have a sense of humor about themselves. Last year, the band allowed Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, the zinger-wielding puppet that's is a Conan O'Brien regular, backstage where he interviewed Jon Bon Jovi and congratulated the singer for landing an acting role as a vampire. "At last," Triumph sniped, "a role that requires you to suck." March 9, MCI Center.