Chill Moody as featured in XPN’s The Key.
Our ace culture team put together a solid set of suggestions in our Calendar this week (online and in print). Here are a few of the highlights:
CHILL MOODY AT THE TLA
West Philly’s Chill Moody is a potent purveyor of R&B, rap and hip-hop. He is just as comfortable mixing rhymes with slick beats (“A Good Thing”) as he is praising the woman of his dreams (“What Took You So Long”). Variety is the name of the game with regard to his musical repertoire. Tracks like “Angel,” in addition to being an uplifting song about how a woman should never settle for being with an abusive man, have a soothing ‘70s-style groove to it, while “The Price is Nice” cleverly uses the theme song to The Price is Right as the basis for its entire beat and structure. And for you Journey fans out there, Moody’s “Inspired” does indeed feature a sped-up version of their classic “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” further demonstrating Moody’s penchant for making unique records. Moody’s latest single, the tongue-twisting “Bombs,” dropped earlier this month. -Brian Palmer
10pm. $12. With Jade Alston, Mic Stew, Mont Brown + Pate. Theatre of the Living Arts, 334 South St. tlaphilly.com
GOV’T MULE AT THE TOWER
Warren Haynes plays the guitar like a Zen master zonked on moonshine, not flaunting technique as much as clawing the essential soul from every note. The Allman Brothers earned a No. 23 slot on Rolling Stone’s “100 Best Guitarists” list in 2003 and has a specially-designed Gibson guitar named after him. But it’s not skill—it’s Haynes’ heart and penetrating knowledge of blues, rock and gospel that make Gov’t Mule shows special. He and his band rip the viscera from classic Hendrix, the Grateful Dead and Steppenwolf songs and hand them to fans still steaming, still dripping, still pulsing with life. Gov’t Mule’s own songs—like “Beautifully Broken,” “Soulshine and “Blind Man in the Dark”—hold up remarkably against canonical covers: just as meaty, just as full of blood and soul. -Jennifer Kelly
Fri., Dec. 28 and Sat., Dec. 29, 8pm. $29.50-$35. With Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. Tower Theater, 69th and Ludlow sts., Upper Darby. 610.352.2887. thetowerphilly.com
CHAKA KHAN AT HARRAH’S IN CHESTER
Without the fiery former Rufus lead singer Chaka Khan, there’s no Mary J. Blige, Angie Stone, Jennifer Hudson or any female vocalist of this era singing R&B. For the past four decades, the Chicago-born singer’s powerful pipes sparked every song she sang, whether her quiet storm standards “Sweet Thing,” “Through the Fire,” and “Everlasting Love,” her Whitney Houstonized anthem “I’m Every Woman” or her stunning Guru Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2: The New Reality collab, “Watch What You Say.” And, if that weren’t enough, her jazz cred is so deep that Al Jarreau, Earl Klugh, George Benson and Miles Davis appeared on her criminally underrated 1988 LP, CK. Philly has shown her love from Day 1, so look for the newly slimmed-down Khan to bring her ageless A-game to the Harrah’s stage. -Eugene Holley, Jr.
9pm. $45-$75. Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack, 777 Harrah’s Blvd., Chester. 484.490.1800. harrahsphilly.com
BLACK THOUGHT AT THE BLOCKLEY
Tariq Trotter, better known as Black Thought, has made a name for himself as the MC of the Roots, but his work has proven to be formidable whether performing with them or flying solo. He calmly lays down hypnotic rhymes to match the thrumming bass line, periodic shouts and ‘70s-style funk of “Black Over Easy,” and the groovy love ode “Please Don’t Go” features more of his epic raps about people trying to convince their significant others not to leave them. “Web” proves that he could probably rap in his sleep, as he lets his spellbinding, perfect freestyle form take control while he shows you what he’s made of, and on the melodic hip-hop number “Thought is Like,” when he raps about not wanting to settle for a consolation prize, it’s more than just a clever metaphor; it’s emblematic of his ambitions. Nobody does it better than Black Thought. -Brian Palmer
9pm. $20-23. With J. Period, Reef the Lost Cauze, Mic Stew + Rowboat Casino. The Blockley, 3801 Chestnut St. 215.222.1234. theblockley.com