roots of hiphop
One of this winter's most anticipated shows is the return of the Roots, who stop into the Kool Haus February 1. Philly's finest have a well-earned rep for putting on the most exciting shows in hiphop, and considering that the funky new joints from the year-end-poll-topping Phrenology disc are some of their freshest yet, the upcoming gig should be a mind-blower. The lone sore spot is that, although rising neo-soul star Cody Chesnutt, who provides one of the new album's highlights with his track The Seed (2.o), is currently touring with the Roots, he's regrettably not scheduled to appear at the Toronto show. 1 Jarvis. $34.50. 416-870-8000.
smokin' cuban son
When Buena Vista Social Club star Ibrahim Ferrer won the Latin Grammy for best new artist, he'd already been singing professionally for about 60 years. Now 75, the charismatic sonero isn't about to quit while he's ahead, saying, "I want another hit record!" He may just have it with his fab forthcoming Buenos Hermanos (World Circuit) disc, which he'll be launching in lavish fashion, backed by a 15-piece orchestra at Massey Hall February 21. Catch this Cuban legend while you can. 178 Victoria. $65-$135. 416-872-4255.
new zealand invasion
If you thought the Kiwi garage rock invasion began and ended with the Datsuns (who join the Sights at Lee's Palace March 27), Auckland's North Shore numbskulls D4 (who hit the Horseshoe January 31) should set you straight -- there's much more in store. Although the D4 crew borrow less obviously from AC/DC than the Datsuns, their 6Twenty debut disc shows that they're still tightly locked in 70s riff rock mode, albeit with more of an early Saints/Radio Birdman edge. Atlanta's dirty-fighting Forty-Fives open the 'Shoe show, so it's certain to be a rock-'em, sock-'em blast. 370 Queen West. $10. 416-870-8000.
largo to go
Sure, tourmates Neil Finn (of Crowded House) and Rhett Miller (of the Old 97s), splitting a bill at the Phoenix February 3, share the experiences of having been heartthrob frontmen of well-loved pop bands and now trying to make it as solo stars, but their connection actually runs deeper than that. No, there's nothing scandalous involved. They're just both members of producer Jon Brion's Largo clique -- namely Michael Stipe, Fiona Apple, Ron Sexsmith, Aimee Mann, Grant Lee Phillips, Eleni Mandell and Robyn Hitchcock -- who regularly test their latest songs at L.A.'s hip Largo Pub. If Finn's and Miller's current tour proves successful, Brion should consider packing up Largo and taking his pals on the road this summer. 410 Sherbourne. $29.50. 416-870-8000.
marsalis family values
The concept of getting the Marsalis family together for a series of shows -- including a Toronto date at Massey Hall February 24 -- seems like such a no-brainer, you wonder why the jazz clan's patriarch, Ellis Marsalis, hasn't taken his sons Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo and Jason (along with bassist Reginald Veal) on the road with him sooner. Of course, when the Marsalis brothers were still young enough to be sowing their wild oats, having Dad with them on the road -- conducting nightly bed checks -- might've taken the fun out of a family excursion. 178 Victoria. $69.50-$89.50. 416-872-4255.