The start of U.K. boy-band One Direction's rise to the top, its first hit "What Makes You Beautiful," seemed standard for the genre: a big, hooky pop song that was pleasant enough. Its subsequent hits "Live While You're Young" and "Best Song Ever" didn't do much to change that viewpoint.
The game-changer came with the group's hit "The Story of My Life," released in October. With its alternative-folk influences and mood of loss and lament, it was something quite different from the standard boy-band fare.
Does it mean One Direction will have a long life? Who knows? But it means the group will be big for a while yet.
Opening act 5 Seconds of Summer already is selling tickets to shows in 2015. Looks like it will be around awhile, too.
•7 p.m. Aug. 13 and 14, with 5 Seconds of Summer, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia. Tickets: $39.50-$99.50. http://www.ticketmaster.com, 800-745-3000.
Keith Urban is among those special country music artists who talents seem to improve with longevity. And it's not because of his role as an "American Idol" judge, it's in spite of it.
Yes, Urban should get attention as the first artist to really marry rock and country (Alabama did it earlier, but Urban was more thorough). But Urban's biggest achievement is that he's continued to improve not only his own talents, but also the genre's.
"We Were Us," "Cop Car" and "Somewhere in My Car" from his year-old album "Fuse" are some of his best songs. The big surprise is that they've come more than 20 years into his career.
6:30 p.m. Aug. 10, Sands Steel Stage, Musikfest, Bethlehem. Sold out, but tickets available from secondary markets. http://www.artsquest.org, 610-332-3378.
THE AVETT BROTHERS
Whether it was the times or the music industry, it took The Avett Brothers a decade and five albums, to finally get notice. Thank goodness it did. The Avetts are among the best of the new Americana-folk movement.
The spotlight finally came with its 2009 major-label debut, "I and Love and You," and getting chosen one of Rolling Stone's "Artists to Watch." After The Avetts performed with Bob Dylan and Mumford and Sons at the 2011 Grammy Awards, "I and Love and You" shot to No. 4 on iTunes, and its next album, "The Carpenter," went to No. 4.
In 2012, the group released "The Carpenter," which debuted at No. 4 on Billboard's albums chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Americana Album. Its latest disc, October's "Magpie and the Dandelion," hit the Top 5.
7 p.m. Aug. 7, with Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Sands Steel Stage, Musikfest, Bethlehem. Tickets: $51-$81. http://www.artsquest.org, 610-332-3378.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun