15 can’t-miss concerts in Boston this May

From Jackson Browne to The Breeders, Dead & Company to Brandi Carlile.

8/16/14 Boston, MA Jackson Browne filled the Boston Opera House for a solo performance He had no less than 23 guitars on stage and no set list, instead offering to play audience requests
Jackson Browne filled the Boston Opera House for a solo performance in Boston on Aug. 16, 2014.

A Boston-bred collective of indie rock legends and two Wu-Tang side projects are just a few of the music events hitting Boston in May.

Hip-hop heavy hitters

Flatbush Zombies
Brooklyn hip-hop trio Flatbush Zombies is embarking on the See You in Hell tour, behind April’s sophomore album, “Vacation In Hell.” The East Coast revivalists will be joined by Pro Era youngsters Kirk Knight and Nyck Caution. (Saturday, May 19 at 7 p.m.; House of Blues, Boston; $25-$45; all ages; with Kirk Knight, Nyck Caution; tickets available here)

Meechy Darko of Flatbush Zombies performs onstage during the 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 21, 2018 in Indio, California. —Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella

Ghostface Killah
Wu-Tang storyteller Ghostface Killah has had an illustrious career, putting out 13 solo albums over two decades, collaborating with the likes of Missy Elliott, MF Doom, and Jadakiss, and adding attack-style verses to the Wu-Tang canon. In anticipation of the release of “Supreme Clientele 2,” Ghostface will headline a show at Middle East Downstairs. (Sunday, May 20 at 8 p.m.; Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge; $25; 18+; tickets available here)


The Soul Rebels featuring GZA
Eight-piece New Orleans brass band Soul Rebels puts on a funk-filled show on its own, but add Wu-Tang genius GZA to the mix and you’ve got a rare crossover evening of brass and hip-hop. The special collaboration will take place at The Sinclair. (Thursday, May 24 at 9 p.m.; The Sinclair, Cambridge; $25-$30; 18+; tickets available here)

Classic rockers

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia
Rock ‘n’ roll everything man Todd Rundgren is back on the road with his ’70s power pop outfit Utopia. The group, which reformed in 2011, released eight albums in its original 11-year run, all while Rundgren helped to produce and contribute to some of the definitive rock albums of the ’70s from artists such as New York Dolls and Meat Loaf. (Sunday, May 6 at 7 p.m.; Orpheum Theatre, Boston; $48-$98; all ages; tickets available here)

Jackson Browne
Honey-voiced Californian Jackson Browne is responsible for some of the most memorable hits of the late ’60s and ’70s. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer will find his way to the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion. (Tuesday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m.; Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, Boston; $25-$100; all ages; tickets available here)

Dead & Company
The music of the Grateful Dead lives on in Dead & Company, a collective of surviving members of the original lineup, and an all-star supporting cast that includes John Mayer filling the shoes of Jerry Garcia. The band will come to town for the third consecutive summer, this time opting for Xfinity Center instead of Fenway Park. (Wednesday, May 30 at 7 p.m.; Xfinity Center, Mansfield; $49-$149; all ages; tickets available here)

’90s revival


The Breeders
Boston-bred indie rock heroes The Breeders recently released “All Nerve,” the band’s first album in a decade. The Deal sister-led quartet will stop in their hometown to play House of Blues as a midway point on their international tour. (Friday, May 4 at 7 p.m.; House of Blues, Boston; $30-$49.50; all ages; with Melkbelly; tickets available here)

Liam Gallagher and Richard Ashcroft
Two famed frontmen are joining forces for a spring tour that will make a stop at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion. Oasis co-founder Liam Gallagher and The Verve singer Richard Ashcroft will bring some of Britpop’s defining tunes to Boston. (Monday, May 14 at 8 p.m.; Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, Boston; $29-$59; all ages; tickets available here)

Acoustic pickers

Brandi Carlile
West Coast folk rocker Brandi Carlile released her seventh album, “By The Way, I Forgive You,” back in February, and will make her first Boston appearance since its release. The Grammy-nominated songwriter will play back-to-back nights at The Orpheum, along with Americana duo The Secret Sisters. (Friday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m.; Orpheum Theatre, Boston; $75; with The Secret Sisters; tickets available here)  

The Low Anthem
Following a successful tour with Lucinda Williams, Providence acoustic collective The Low Anthem is back on the road supporting its new album, “The Salt Doll Went to Measure the Depth of the Sea.” The group will play Brighton Music Hall, along with former local Mutual Benefit. (Saturday, May 12 at 8 p.m.; Brighton Music Hall, Boston; $18; 18+; with Mutual Benefit; tickets available here)


Julien Baker
In just two albums, Memphis songwriter Julien Baker has established herself as one of the most compelling acts in folk music. In a special collaboration with Berklee College of Music, Baker will be the subject of “Beyond the Band” — a performance and discussion-based event to experience multiple sides of an artist. (Tuesday, May 29 at 7 p.m.; The Sinclair, Cambridge; $25; all ages; tickets available here)

Punk shredders

Power Trip/Sheer Mag
Dallas shredders Power Trip are hitting the road in support of their sophomore album, “Nightmare Logic.” The thrash metal collective will head an all-ages bill that also features beloved Philly punks Sheer Mag and Australian Metal vets Fury. (Friday, May 11 at 6 p.m.; Paradise Rock Club, Boston; $16; all ages; with Sheer Mag, Fury; tickets available here)

Parquet Courts
Brooklyn indie punks Parquet Courts have put out six albums in seven years, cementing themselves as one of the more prolific bands of their genre. Always a frenetic live act, the band will play Royale as part of its tour supporting new record “Wide Awake.” (Wednesday, May 23 at 8 p.m.; Royale, Boston; $18-$20; 18+; with Goat Girl; tickets available here)

Indie rockers

Dr. Dog
Philly indie rock mainstays Dr. Dog recently released their 10th studio album, “Critical Equation,” a notable return to the band’s more psychedelic roots. Having grown steadily over its many Boston appearances, the band will headline a show at House of Blues, along with R&B songwriter Son Little. (Wednesday, May 2 at 7 p.m.; House of Blues, Boston; $27.50-$45; all ages; with Son Little; tickets available here)

Panda Bear
Animal Collective co-founder Noah Lennox, commonly known as Panda Bear, takes an experimental approach to electronic music. The one-man act has released seven albums over two decades, and will play The Paradise, touring behind his latest EP, “A Day with the Homies.” (Friday, May 4 at 8 p.m.; Paradise Rock Club, Boston; $20; 18+; tickets available here)