A Sept. 11 Arts section article incorrectly identified the recording artist M.I.A. as a Sri Lankan-born Londoner. She was born in London but moved to Sri Lanka when she was 6 months old. M.I.A. has since returned to London. (Published 9/17/2005)
October is Ticket Scalpers' Month.
We know this not because Hallmark has declared it so, but because of the MCI Center concert schedule.
Oct. 3, Rolling Stones, SOLD OUT.
Oct. 8, Paul McCartney, SOLD OUT.
Oct. 19 and 20, U2, SOLD OUT.
So, three of the biggest rock tours of 2005 are swinging through town -- and you misfortunate, ticketless souls whose lives will be horribly incomplete without catching the rock gods in concert had better consult your financial advisers before you talk to the scalpers and brokers. Because you're going to pay dearly for secondary-market ducats.
While there are some decent deals to be found, particularly on Craigslist.org, the brokers are having something of a field day. For instance, Great Seats, a College Park-based ticket brokerage, is charging $1,950 for a third-row floor seat at the McCartney show. Want to sit just to the side of the Stones' stage, in the lower level? It'll cost you $845 to $880 per ticket. And the lowest Great Seats price to see U2: Just $525, is all.
Not that the tickets were bargains to begin with.
Top seats at the U2 shows were list-priced at $163. McCartney's went for an MSRP of $253. And the Stones charged $63 for the MCI Center cheap seats, with the best tickets going for a face value of $403.
"Mi$$ You," indeed.
Meanwhile, here are 10 other shows you ought not to miss over the coming months.
M.I.A. at the 9:30 club, Sept. 21: M.I.A. is Maya Arulpragasam, a Sri Lankan-born Londoner whose father was a Tamil Tiger revolutionary and whose debut album, "Arular," is kooky, chaotic, excessively eclectic, often nonsensical -- and brilliant. It's an addictive sociopolitical firebomb of a party soundtrack that's not unlike your car radio on auto-search, jumping from one sound (electro-funk) to another (bhangra beat) and then another (old-school hip-hop). Similarly, Arulpragasam's singsongy vocals race from pure gibberish to childish wordplay to calls for revolution justlikethat. As engaging as she is in recorded form, M.I.A. is even more thrilling live.
Madeleine Peyroux at Lisner Auditorium on Sept. 24: Peyroux is a musical throwback with a smoky, heartsore voice that's strikingly reminiscent of Billie Holiday's. An American-born part-time Parisian who's barely into her thirties, Peyroux also has a penchant for performing vintage blues and torch songs plucked from the catalogues of Bessie Smith, Edith Piaf, Patsy Cline, Josephine Baker and Lady Day herself. Talk about a torch-bearer.
Sufjan Stevens at the 9:30 club on Sept. 27: The midwestern neofolkie plans to record one album inspired by each and every one of the United States -- which sounds hubristic until you hear "Illinois," a gorgeous new orchestral folk album filled with songs about Abe Lincoln, serial killer John Wayne Gacy Jr., the Sears Tower and such. Go figure. One would presume that Stevens, whose first name is pronounced SOOF-yawn, will perform some of the state songs in concert, although that's hardly the entirety of his songbook.
Los Lobos at the Birchmere on Sept. 27 and at Strathmore on Oct. 4: Any "greatest American rock band" debate needs to include Los Lobos. The boys from East Los Angeles may not have the profile of, say, R.E.M., Nirvana, the Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival or, um, Limp Bizkit, but they do have the chops and consistency. Twenty-one years after the release of the great "How Will the Wolf Survive?," Los Lobos is still blending rock, country, blues and Mexican folk, in both English and Espanol.
Daddy Yankee at the Patriot Center on Sept. 30: Reggaeton star Daddy Yankee may be the Puerto Rican 50 Cent or Eminem in status. But onstage, he's something -- or, rather, somebody -- else. "Yankee is the KRS-One of reggaeton," says the rapper Fat Joe. "KRS-One is one of the greatest live performers in hip-hop history, and Daddy Yankee is like that on stage. He brings it."
Dead Can Dance at Strathmore on Oct. 10: Much to the delight of their fanatical cult following, Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry have resuscitated their band for its first tour in nine years. Even after all this time, though, we still can't think of a pithy way to describe this group's music. So, interactive reader, just mix and match from the following to create your own description of Dead Can Dance: Gothic, ethereal, new age, baroque, classical, Asian, experimental, orchestral, wordless vocals, samples, Middle Eastern, dark, spiritual, Mediterranean, neo-whatever, etc.
Ambulance LTD at Black Cat on Oct. 22: Ambulance LTD makes textured, fuzzed-out guitar rock with smart lyrics and sweet melodies -- music that's clearly inspired by Velvet Underground, Luna, the Kinks, the Smiths and such. While New York-based Ambulance LTD isn't quite ready to hang in that heady company, last year's self-titled debut album suggests a promising prognosis.
Nanci Griffith and the Blue Moon Orchestra at the Birchmere on Oct. 26, 27 and 28: Griffith's new album, "Hearts in Mind," a song cycle about love and war, is the country-folk chanteuse's finest recording in perhaps 17 years. We've always liked her, even if she does sometimes sound as though she's singing into a box fan, what with that little-girl vibrato.
Youssou N'Dour at Strathmore on Oct. 30: The African superstar specializes in mblax, which blends traditional Senegalese melodies and rhythms with modern instrumentation and song structure from around the world. For N'Dour's 2004 album, "Egypt," the secret ingredient was the orchestral music of Arabia, and the result was one of the most acclaimed recordings of his career. A sensational singer and drummer, N'Dour is spellbinding on stage.
Bright Eyes at Constitution Hall on Nov. 18: If Bob Dylan and Gordon Gano had a child together . . . well, that'd be kinda weird. But it would also be good, as the kid would almost certainly be Conor Oberst. Recording and performing under the name Bright Eyes, Oberst writes raw, intimate, heartfelt lyrics and then sings them in one of rock's nerviest voices since the Violent Femmes' Gano. He's merely one of the most important young voices in contemporary rock.