- Jonathan Takiff
got his big break back in 2000 after moving from his native Illinois to the then burgeoning hip-hop city of Atlanta. From there, he launched a salvo of successful records that few rappers can beat. His major label debut, "Back for the First Time," reached No. 4 on the Billboard charts with sales of over 3 million copies in the U.S. alone. His most recent album, 2010's "Battle of the Sexes," is the fourth album Luda has released that hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Aside from the commercial success, he's found critical praise for the majority of his seven studio albums. He nabbed a Grammy for his 2004 collaboration with Usher and Lil' Jon, "Yeah."
House of Blues, 801 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 8 tonight, $35 and $40, 18-plus, 609-236-2583, www.hob.com.
- James Johnson
Most '80s nostalgia paints the decade in neon as an "Oh, Mickey You're So Fine," kind of time, but no one captured its underbelly quite like the Michael Gira
. Formed in the early '80s in New York City, they were kindred spirits with Sonic Youth. Gira's menacing baritone sang of sex, death and violence in dirgelike rhythms drowned in a punishing wall of sound, setting the scene for future goth and industrial movements and yet sounding nothing like them. Through various lineups, the band expanded its sonic palette before splitting in 1997. Now a regrouped Swans returns along with transgender singer/songwriter/pianist/harpist Baby Dee
Trocadero, 10th and Arch streets, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, $21-$23, all ages, 215-922-LIVE, www.thetroc.com.
- Sara Sherr
It's always impossible to anticipate where Marc Ribot
's guitar will show up next. The last time he was in Philly was at the helm of the aggressive abstract-punk-jazz power trio Ceramic Dog. That band fit the mold of aggressive noise and rock-fueled improvisation that had marked Ribot's career since his early days as one of the stalwarts of the Downtown scene in New York, alongside fellow innovators like John Zorn and Arto Lindsay. With his latest project, he takes the stage alone to accompany the 1921 silent film "The Kid." He responds more to the pathos of Charlie Chaplin than to his baggy-pants comedy, scoring the film with lovely, atmospheric meditations.
International House, 3701 Chestnut St., 8 p.m. Sunday, $15, 215-387-5125, www.arsnovaworkshop.com.
- Shaun Brady
Brilliant American violinist Joshua Bell
makes a welcome visit as the new Philadelphia Orchestra
season's first guest artist. Bell lavishes his remarkable technique and golden sound on everything he plays, as witness some monster-selling CDs. He's chosen the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto - besides the Tchaikovsky the most familiar and loved work for the instrument and a gorgeous doorway to the Romantic period. Charles Dutoit
is back to begin his third season as chief conductor. He has also scheduled Berlioz's sizzling Overture to "Le Corsaire" and Mahler's intense Symphony No. 1, fittingly called the "Titan."
Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce streets, 2 p.m. today, 8 p.m. tomorrow, $43-$130, 215-893-1999, www.philorch.org.
- Tom Di Nardo