Starting this semester, you probably expect to spend plenty of quality time buried in work and studies. While we wouldn’t discourage that, we also need to remind you that you’re in a culturally rich city, one where there’s no lack of art, music, and theater to fill off-campus hours. Here are a few highlights for the fall, so you can schedule some fun.
This season’s music slate ranges from the momentous to the downright bizarre. In the latter category, Roy Orbison becomes the first dead artist to play Boston as a hologram (Nov. 3 at the Orpheum — for the record, a larger place than the Channel, the now-defunct club where Orbison played his last Boston show alive). Not dead, but certainly dark and edgy, is Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, who plays the Wang Theatre on Oct. 19 and 20. Getting tickets for that show has been an adventure in itself — organizers used alternative ticketing to foil scalpers, which meant fans had to line up for an entire day — but that will make the experience sweeter for those getting through the doors.
Tickets are still available to see Courtney Barnett, the Australian songwriter who has rightly become one of the most buzzed-about rockers of recent years. Combining rough-edged garage rock with a Dylan-esque sense of wordplay, Barnett is not only brilliant, she’s also a huge fan of Boston music: When we saw her last year she snuck a couple of Breeders’ and Lemonheads’ covers into the set. Barnett plays the House of Blues on Oct. 21.
In fact, it’s a banner season for songwriters, since three of the finest will hit town this fall: Richard Thompson (Paradise, Nov. 14), Lucinda Williams (Paradise, Nov. 5‒6), and Elvis Costello (Wang Theatre, Nov. 10). The Costello show should be a little special, both because he won a cancer battle earlier this year and because his forthcoming album “Look Now” has the soul and the killer hooks of vintage E.C. As for Williams, she’s the queen of alternative country, and if she’s ever played a less-than-impassioned show, we haven’t seen it.