Ledisi, seen here at BET’s Celebration of Gospel in Los Angeles in March, comes to Chastain Park Amphitheatre on Sunday, Aug. 5. Photo: Getty Images
This laid-back yet funky California group still conjures magic from a mix of musical genres, from New Orleans boogie-woogie to bluegrass-tinged country, and a back catalog rich in the songs of the late, great Lowell George. “Dixie Chicken” and “Oh, Atlanta” are timeless classics that still thrill 40 years after they first appeared, and they’re still being played by several of the musicians that first committed them to tape. Founding member and keyboardist Bill Payne remains, along with guitarist Paul Barrere, bassist Kenny Gradney and percussionist Sam Clayton, who all joined in 1972.
8:30 p.m. Aug. 3. $33; $30 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
Music of ABBA
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is joined by the Abba tribute act Arrival — named for what many consider the quartet’s best album — for a take on a catalog brimming with sublime slices of Swedish pop perfection such as “Waterloo,” “Dancing Queen” and “Take a Chance on Me.”
7 p.m. Aug. 4. $25-$49. Chastain Park Amphitheatre, 4469 Stella Drive, Atlanta. 404-733-4900.
Summer Nights Jazz Festival
Born in South Africa, singer, songwriter and guitarist Jonathan Butler blends R&B and smooth jazz with gospel and contemporary worship music. Michael Franks spent his early years playing folk-rock, but turned his talents to jazz with his 1975 album “The Art of Tea.” Rachelle Ferrell made her major-label debut in 1992, but the jazzy vocalist has never achieved stardom in the world of mainstream pop. She doesn’t really have to, though, because this talented composer, arranger and pianist with a powerful six-octave vocal range regularly packs theaters with appreciative fans. Soulful Baltimore native Maysa has been a member of Stevie Wonder’s backing band, Wonderlove, and has enjoyed a long solo career, but many know her best from her work with British jazz/funk outfit Incognito, an association that began in 1992.
7p.m. Aug. 4. $40-$65. Wolf Creek Amphitheater, 3025 Merk Road, Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000.
Ledisi, Eric Benet
The jazzy vibe and sultry vocals of Ledisi mean you’re in for a night of sweet, soulful and soothing R&B for adults. Her latest album is “Turn Me Loose,” which was nominated for two Grammy Awards. The neo-soul neophyte might recognize the name Eric Benet from his tumultuous union with Oscar winner Halle Berry, but he’s been a reliable maker of romantic R&B both before and after his marital brush with Hollywood.
8 p.m. Aug. 5. $45-$55; $35 lawn. Chastain Park Amphitheater, 4469 Stella Drive N.W., Atlanta. 404-733-5012.
The inventive underground rap of Aesop Rock will fill the Loft in Midtown on Tuesday, Aug. 7. He’s touring behind his latest album, “Skelethon.” Photo: Chrissy Piper
Packed with sound and overlaid with twisty rhyme schemes, underground New York rap maestro Aesop Rock crams more invention into his productions than most. Unexpected detours into strange soundscapes fill his catalog, including his sixth and latest album, “Skelethon,” which finds him creating music that’s as thorny and dense as ever.
8:30 p.m. Aug. 7. $20; $18 in advance. The Loft, 1374 W. Peachtree St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-885-1365.
Kelly Clarkson, The Fray
If it seems like only yesterday that Clarkson was here, you’re not far off. She played the Fox Theatre back in February. She’s always seemed a cut above the rest of the pop stars churned out by the “American Idol” machine. She’s better than ever, 10 years after winning the show’s first season, scoring her third No. 1 single with the title track from her latest album, “Stronger.”
7 p.m. Aug. 8. $25-$99. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, 2200 Encore Parkway, Alpharetta. 404-733-5010.
Dave Longstreth has taken a long, strange trip to his latest album, the critically acclaimed and surprisingly accessible “Swing Lo Magellan.” 2005’s “The GettyAddress” cryptically comments on the homogenization and commercialization of American culture through a character named Don Henley. (He claims, though not very believably, that it has nothing to do with the Eagles drummer.) Longstreth’s vocal performance is a trebly, untethered warble, and the music is an odd concoction of guitars, percussion, haunting choirs, brass and woodwinds. Then came “Rise Above,” Longstreth’s take on Black Flag’s punk classic “Damaged” as he remembered it after not hearing the album for 15 years or so. It should come as no surprise that it sounds nothing like “Damaged.” “Bitte Orca” moved things toward the mainstream, though it was still miles from normal. With “Swing Lo Magellan,” the band, as Pitchfork.com put it in a very positive review, “come[s] toward Earth just enough here to feel like a proper rock band working in service of songs about love and confusion, anxiety and celebration.”
8:30 p.m. Aug. 9. $20; $18 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
Shane Harrison, firstname.lastname@example.org