18 Live Music Events To Catch This Spring

The Barbazons. (Courtesy)
The Barbazons. (Courtesy)

Yes, my fellow former snow hostages, technically it is spring. Though you may have lost hope of ever spotting a crocus or sporting toeless footwear, take comfort in the fact that most of these events happen indoors.

Martin and Eliza Carthy: April 8, Johnny D’s, Somerville

Martin Carthy emerged in the ‘60s as one of the most compelling and unusual voices in the English folk revival. Over the course of his 50-year career he has resurrected strange and macabre old songs with a sense of both gravitas and imagination. He will perform with his daughter Eliza, a fiddler and singer.

Rodrigo Amarante: April 11, Cafe 939, Boston

Rodrigo Amarante is a Los Angeles singer-songwriter by way of Brazil known for his work with Rio de Janeiro rock group Los Hermanos and drummer Fabrizio Moretti of The Strokes. His solo music is by turns brooding and intimate.

Earl Sweatshirt: April 16, Paradise Rock Club, Boston

Earl Sweatshirt was still in high school when the scrappy, gruesome hip-hop collective Odd Future, of which he was a member, began to attract national notice. With the release of his debut, “Doris,” Earl demonstrated shrewd lyrical virtuosity and a languid, hypnotic flow. He tours in support of his sophomore effort, “I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside,” a title with which all Bostonians can relate.

Speedy Ortiz: April 22, Sinclair, Cambridge

This Massachusetts-born band is driven by the discordant melodies and ferocious poetry of frontwoman Sadie Dupuis. They are celebrating the release of their sophomore album, “Foil Deer.”

Hurray for the Riff Raff: April 23, Paradise Rock Club, Boston

Alynda Lee Segarra offers an appreciative ear and a subversive voice to the ever-evolving American folk tradition.

The Barbazons LP Release: April 24, Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge

Boston-based, queer surf-pop group The Barbazons (formerly The Fagettes) celebrate the release of their album “Avec Plaisir.” They are supported by fellow Bostonians in psych and surf Doug Tuttle, Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion! and Atlantic Thrills.

Lupe Fiasco: April 27, Wilbur, Boston

Lupe Fiasco, a Chicago-born rapper known for his impressionistic lyrical style and political bent, tours his fifth studio album, “Tetsuo & Youth.”

Pile/Guerilla Toss: April 29, Boylston Church, Jamaica Plain, Boston

Pile and Guerilla Toss are two of Boston’s most vibrantly experimental bands, and best of all, they sound nothing alike: Pile play abrasive-yet-emotional hardcore-inflected rock, while Guerilla Toss have perfected a zany, chaotic electro-punk. They share a bill with experimental rockers Lair, also of Boston.

Delicate Steve: May 2, Great Scott, Boston

Delicate Steve is the project of New Jersey guitarist Steve Marion, who writes hallucinogenic, mostly instrumental music that is once extremely emotional and a little bit nutty.

Curtis Harding: May 7, Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge

Curtis Harding does not play “neo-soul,” or “contemporary R&B,” but “soul” in the tradition of Otis Redding, Soul with a capital “S.” Opening acts include New England bands CreaturoS and Ravi Shavi, plus a DJ set from Zuzu’s Souleluja! dance night.

Pokey LaFarge: May 7, Sinclair, Cambridge

Although he is only 31, Pokey LaFarge sounds and looks like he was transported directly from a 1920s speakeasy, slicked-back hair and all. The St. Louis musician’s tunes are original, though, and he draws from a myriad of American traditions like early jazz, country, and blues to tackle contemporary concerns.

Together Festival: May 10 to 17, various venues, Boston and Cambridge

The week-long electronic music festival, now in its sixth year, brings in internationally-known acts like Ardalan from San Francisco as well as a multitude of local DJs and producers.

Lightning Bolt: May 17, Sinclair, Cambridge

A bloodcurdling noise rock group of the highest order, Providence’s Lightning Bolt are sure to get your heart rate up.

Boston Calling Music Festival: May 22 to 24, City Hall Plaza, Boston

The upcoming iteration of Boston Calling is headlined by Beck, My Morning Jacket, and Pixies, and includes supporting acts such as St. Vincent, Run the Jewels, and Boston’s own Krill.

Maeve Gilchrist and Nic Gareiss: May 29, Club Passim, Cambridge

There aren’t too many harpists who can improvise, nor are there many dancers who also serve as a percussion section. Maeve Gilchrist and Nic Gareiss explore Celtic and American traditions with stunning musical sensitivity and a taste for the avant-garde.

Stephin Merritt: June 9, Sinclair, Cambridge

No one can turn a phrase quite like Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields, who is embarking on a rare solo tour. The beloved indie rock poet—writer of such lines as “The book of love has music in it/ In fact that’s where music comes from/ Some of it is just transcendental/ Some of it is just really dumb”—plans to perform his set in alphabetical order (obviously).

Ex Hex: June 13, Sinclair, Cambridge

Helmed by former Bostonian Mary Timony, Ex Hex play pleasantly disheveled garage rock.

Lower Dens: June 20, Sinclair, Cambridge

On the Baltimore band’s upcoming album “Escape From Evil,” frontwoman Jana Hunter shifts away from downtempo spaceiness and into a higher gear, though her trademark eerieness remains.

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Amelia Mason Senior Arts & Culture Reporter
Amelia Mason is an arts and culture reporter and critic for WBUR.



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