Last year, Tacoma music fans witnessed the closures of some of popular nightclubs, Hell's Kitchen, Mandolin Cafe and Tempest Lounge, the return of hometown rock heroes, the Sonics, and they got punk'd by that Justin Bieber jerk. So what big musical happenings will everyone be talking about in 2013? The year is only four days old, and many of the biggest concerts won't be announced for another couple months. But already it promises to be another eventful year in music, and here are 10 happenings you should mark on your calendar. Which is probably actually a smart phone app.
1. The opening of Keys on Main (early 2013)
The owners of Tacoma's premiere piano bar, Chopstix, may have shuttered their Sixth Avenue operation last year. But locals will soon have a new place to sing along to Journey, Van Morrison and ivory-powered renditions of “Baby Got Back.” Chopstix’s former owner George Hasenohrl is putting the finishing touches on Keys on Main at 1003 Pacific Ave. It will be the third location for the Utah-based piano bar chain, after the one located at 11 Roy St., in Seattle and the original in Salt Lake City, which is actually located on Main Street. That explains why the new joint isn't called Keys on Pacific. Which, really, it should be. Learn more at http://www.keysonmain.com.
2. Lady GaGa (Jan. 14)
GaGa – born Stefani Germanotta – will continue her reign as the planet's biggest pop star as the latest leg of her Born This Way Ball tour launches in Vancouver, BC and makes its way to the Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. 'D' St., on Jan. 14. How will she top the eye-popping spectacle of previous tour stops, which have included pianos topped with fiery cyclones, Cousin It-style hair suits and a 30-foot-tall, tentacled piranha monster that took up most of the T-Dome stage in 2010. And that's not to mention all the provocative getups GaGa's fans, her Little Monsters, will show up in. Added bonus: The chance to hear new material from Ms. G's forthcoming album, “ARTPOP,” which is due from Interscope in the spring. Madeon and Lady Starlight will open with a start time of 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $51.50 to $177, plus service charges; (253) 272-3663 or http://www.tacomadome.org.
3. Did we mention the Sonics? (Feb. 2)
These guys packed South Tacoma Way's Red Carpet Inn with rowdy teens dancing to “Cinderella,” “The Witch” and other regional hits in the mid-1960s. Then Tacoma's garage-rock gods largely disappeared for four decades, adding a sheen of mystery to the sound that inspired generations of rockers that emulated them.
The Sonics roared back into action at New York's Cavestomp Festival in 2007, with singer and keyboard player Jerry Roslie, guitarist Larry Parypa and sax player Rob Lind remaining from the classic lineup. They've played just three Northwest dates since then, including their first Tacoma performance since the Johnson Administration at the Pantages Theater in July. But thankfully, they're not making us wait another two years for their next regional gig, which will take place on Feb. 2 at Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., in Seattle. Seminal grunge band Mudhoney will add support. Doors will open at 7 p.m. that night, and tickets are $25 in advance, $30 the day of the show; 1 (888) 929-7849 or
4. Soundgarden (Feb. 7 and 8)
Speaking of bands that tend to go AWOL for long stretches, grunge titans Soundgarden hope to sustain the momentum from last summer's comeback tour, which found singer-guitarist Chris Cornell, drummer Matt Cameron, guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist Ben Shepherd picking up right where they left off in 1997. Following the November release of new album “Kingdom Animal,” they have they have 13 compelling, new tracks to sprinkle into their set lists on Feb. 7 and 8 at the Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., in Seattle. But fans are sure to scream loudest for “Outshined,” “Pretty Noose” and other grunge classics that made them fall in love in the first place.
The Paramount shows start at 8 p.m., and tickets are $66.75; 1 (877) 784-4849 or http://www.stgpresents.org.
5. Bill Cosby (Feb. 10)
Hey, hey, hey! It's America's Dad, Biiiiiillll Coooosby! From his starring role on “I Spy” in the '60s – which made him the first black actor to co-star in a dramatic TV series – to his popular standup albums and his groundbreaking '80s sitcom, “The Cosby Show,” few have made their mark on popular culture like the Coz. Most recently, the 75-year-old actor, author and comedian penned a new collection of humorous observations, “I Didn't Ask to Be Born (But I'm Glad I Was).” And on Feb. 10, he'll get back to his standup roots with a performance that's part of the University of Puget Sound's 125th anniversary celebration. The fun starts at 7:30 p.m. at UPS Memorial Fieldhouse, North 11th and Union Streets, in Tacoma. Tickets are $25 to $32.88 and are available through Ticketmaster, http://www.ticketmaster.com. Call (253) 879-3236.
6. Roberta Flack (Feb. 15)
Lori Lieberman sang it first. Al B. Sure and the Fugees translated it for later generations. But Roberta Flack's 1973 version of “Killing Me Softly with His Song” remains one of the most potent and enduring soul ballads of all time. That's not to mention “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “Feel Like Making Love” and other R&B classics the Grammy Award-winning diva is sure to pack into her set at Tacoma's Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $49 to $109; (253) 591-5890 or http://www.broadwaycenter.org.
7. Big Beer Festival (Feb. 16)
Locals have gotten their malty swerve on at Tacoma Craft Beer Festival these last four years, and now organizers have added a winter counterpart to their popular event. The Big Beer Festival will take place in two installments, beginning at noon and 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 16 at Petrich Marine Dock, 1118 E. 'D' St., Tacoma. And if your euphemism detector just went off, that's because “big beer” refers to brews that are a minimum of 6 percent alcohol by volume. Organizers expect to have 60 such beers provided by 20 regional vendors, the likes of Tacoma's Harmon Brewing Co. and Engine House No. 9; Bremerton's Silver City Brewery; Graham's M.T. Head Brewing Company; Seattle's Full Sail Brewing Company and Deschutes Brewery from Portland. Advance tickets are $20 and include a 5.5 oz., commemorative taster glass and six tasting tokens. Additional pours will cost $1.50 each. Admission will go up to $25 the day of the event. Proceeds will benefit YWCA. Find the latest updates on the Tacoma Craft Beer Fest website, http://www.tacomacraftbeerfest.com.
8. Weird Al Yankovic: The Apocalypse Tour (April 28)
Wait, wait! Hear us out. If your tastes in music skews more toward stuff that won't get you beaten up for your lunch money, you may not realize how much of a draw our man Al still is, even after 3 ½ decades in the pop parody/food pun biz. He packed the Puyallup Fair & Event Center's 11,000-capacity grandstand the last time he was in the area, and fans still get geeked (literally) for hits like “Eat It,” “My Bologna” and “White & Nerdy.”
He'll headline the Pantages Theater at 7:30 p.m. on April 28. Tickets range from $36 to $68; http://www.broadwaycenter.org.
9. Fleetwood Mac (May 20, Tacoma Dome)
The bad news first: Christine McVie won't be with the recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees when they return to the Tacoma Dome for the first time since 2009. But original members Mick Fleetwood and John McVie will, along with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks from the “Rumours” era lineup. That classic album – which included hits “Dreams,” “Don't Stop” and “Go Your Own Way” - will get special treatment in honor of its 35th anniversary. The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets range from $49.50 to $149.50.
10. Taylor Swift (Aug. 31)
It would sound silly to say this when she debuted with “Tim McGraw” back in 2006. But Taylor Swift is a juggernaut. The country hit maker's latest album, “Red,” sold 1 million copies its first week and has topped the Billboard 200 chart since its release in October. We'll go out on a limb and say her new tour – which will drop in on the Tacoma Dome this summer- will do bigger numbers than her previous 2011 trek, which raked in $97 million. Nice work if you can get it, so long as you keep your head on a swivel looking out for Kanye West. Ed Sheeran will open in Tacoma at 7 p.m. Tickets are $40.17 to $101.15 and are available through Ticketmaster.