Sly and the Family Stone have an annoying habit of not showing up for concert dates, but since Sly's recent flamboyant marriage they're supposed to have cleaned up their act in that regard. So if you want to believe the advance billing, Sly is playing at the Cape Cod Coliseum in Yarmouth Friday night. He's always great in concert, wearing outlandishly gaudy costumes with a flair and toying with the audience as he pleases. The rest of the band, while generally deferring to Sly, is tight and polished, and could hardly be accused of drabness either.
Pharoah Sanders at the Jazz Workshop this week, is a former John Coltrane protege who has succeeded in stretching music even farther than his mentor did. His sax is accomplished in the traditional sense, of course, but a lot of what he plays is likely to leave you bewildered. Expect loads of energy but not much melody.
Lawrence Welk isn't very well known, but the good word is that his music is in the same vein as Sanders's. He's playing at the usually staid Boston Garden Thursday night, and make sure you have your head screwed on tight before you go or Welk will blow it away.
Trevor Veitch and Andy Kulberg are two thirtyish folk-rock types who are at Passim's from Wednesday to Sunday. Kulberg used to play flute among other instruments for the Blues Project long ago, and he's terrific. This could be a little more exciting than usual Passim's fare.
The Bar-Kays who used to back up Otis Redding have been on their own for the last few years, producing one big single, "Soul Finger." They're mostly instrumental and play in the mid-'60s Memphis-cooking vein. At Paul's Mall Monday through Sunday.
The Cantabrigia Orchestra is playing a big end-of-summer concert in Sanders Theater Thursday night at 8 p.m. for free. Ch'en Liang-Sheng of the University of Geneva will conduct a program of Debussy, Mahler and Schumann.