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7 must-go March shows

Posted by Alex Pearlman  March 1, 2012 06:23 PM

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singer with mic.jpgBy Mike Flanagan

Spring will arrive in Boston to the sound of phenomenal music bleeding through the walls of its many great venues this month. March is packed with something for every music-lover in the city. Let’s just hope we don’t pay for this winter's lack of snow.

Saturday, March 3: Carolina Chocolate Drops (Berklee Performance Center, $27 and up). The Chocolate Drops' brand of bluegrass is much more traditional than the Punch Brothers', but their intentions are just as genuine. Their performances aren't as technical, but their music is as purely human as anything that's come out in the digital age. Genuine Negro Jig is an enthralling lesson in American music history, so it’s more than fitting that the group will be performing at Boston’s own premiere school of music.

Saturday, March 3: Girlfriends (O'Brien's Pub, Allston, $8). I hate to be redundant; this JP-based band plays out in Boston all the time, and I've offered my humble endorsement at least a few times already. But Girlfriends' shows are consistently some of the best in town, and they're the quintessential under-the-radar Boston rock band. The trio offers a markedly suburban punk energy dressed in the deliberate, but never overwrought, lo-fi tones that are unique to Boston basements. They’re neither the first nor the only band in the city to adopt that sound, but Ben Potrykus has been, pound for pound and year for year, one of the best songwriters in the state since he was a teenager. That gives Girlfriends a depth that few, if any, bands in Boston can match.

Wednesday, March 7: The Black Keys (TD Garden, $40 and up). The Black Keys may have become the most overrated rock band on the planet over the past year or two, but they’re also one of the best overrated rock bands on the planet. Good enough to book the most massive gig a band can book in Boston? That remains to be seen. But something tells me their colossal, neo-blues sound will fill the Garden thoroughly enough to make up for the extreme lack of intimacy that the home of many banners offers.

Thursday, March 8: Atlas Sound (Paradise Rock Club, Allston, $15). Bradford Cox picked a great city to roll through; the majority of Boston’s concert-going population is college students, and any college student who’s any college student has heard of at least one of his blog-darling bands. The Paradise is just big enough to fit a good crowd but confined enough to feel more like a bar than House of Blues; Cox’s musical whims-turned-songs should translate well in that setting and prove well worth a chunk of any college kid’s PBR fund.

Sunday, March 18: Megafun (Great Scott, Allston, $12). The less successful members of the pre-Bon Iver quartet DeYarmond Edison are no less active than their GRAMMY-winning ex-mate. The trio originally broke away from the contemporary folk (oxymoron alert) act in favor of a more adventurous sound. Now, Justin Vernon is more experimental than ever, Megafaun has finally settled into a digestible, self-aware sound, and both parties are better for it. Bottom line: I've never seen a bad show at Great Scott.

Tuesday, March 20: GWAR! (Wilbur Theatre, Theater District, $22.50). If you've got the spare cash and plan to be close to the Common on this Tuesday night, I’d recommend catching the notoriously over-the-top, legendary band at the inappropriately classy Wilbur Theater for the same reason I recommended seeing the Darkness: I've never really sat down and listened to them (I've got a weak stomach), but I can’t think of one good reason not to see what is sure to be an incredibly, uh, "unique" experience.

Monday, March 26: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (TD Garden, $65 and up). My dad and I logged on the minute tickets went on sale, and we still weren’t quick enough to nab a pair. Sadly, this tour will be the first without The Big Man, who is the second E Street member to fall to health problems in the past few years, but the group is still very much intact and every bit as energetic as it was in the '70s. If you were lucky enough to swipe a ticket, enjoy. And if you've got a connection, can you help a young Boss fan out?

Tell us about the bands you saw during February, and let us know who you're seeing this month in the comments!

Photo by flexgraph (Flickr)

About Mike -- I graduated with a degree in journalism from Emerson College in December. I've done investigative work for the New England Center for Investigative Reporting and covered beats in Bridgewater and Dorchester, but my passion is music. When I'm not blurring the line between obsession and enjoyment while listening to Pavement or Bruce Springsteen, I'm punching walls over the Celtics. Twitter: @mikeflanagan2.

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