The 25 best concerts this winter/spring
Rodriguez at the Ogden on April 30 is one of the 25 best concerts of winter/spring.
As the winter chill finally thaws (work with us here -- we know it's still below freezing right now) and gives way to the hopefulness and fertility of spring, the upcoming concert season is likewise bursting with promise. Coming off one of the best years for live music in recent memory, the lineup is likewise suitably appreciable -- and we're barely into the first month -- so much so, that we had very little difficulty rounding up more than two dozen shows to look forward to. While all of the shows for the next few months are listed in our concert calendar, these are the dates worth being circled on your calendar. Keep reading for the 25 best concerts of winter/spring 2013 (including a tie for the top spot).
25. PARTICLE @ QUIXOTE'S TRUE BLUE | FRI, 1/18/13
No one's particularly fond of playing the desultory "sounds like" game when it comes to music, but whatever. In Particle's case, an A-meets-B-meets-C type of comparison is warranted. This middle-aged California-based quartet really does resemble a sonic collage comprising the Grateful Dead, Roy Davis Jr. and the Chemical Brothers as it whips crowds into a frenzy with blends of mellow grooves, psychedelic freakouts and long improvisations.
24. CRYSTAL CASTLES @ GOTHIC THEATRE | THURS, 5/2/13
Way back in 2006, patchy duo Crystal Castles began a rise to high-art infamy based mostly on the negative hype of its supposed 8-bit plagiarism. Along with getting slammed for stealing artist Trevor Brown's "Bruised Madonna" imagery for unauthorized merchandise (not to mention unsanctioned use of the Chanel logo), the Toronto natives were easy to dismiss as Internet copies of copies. But vocalist Alice Glass's terrifying yelp processed through Ethan Kath's instrumentation and production sounded too delightful to ignore. The act's low beats are a continuing blend of Glass Candy arrogance and the cultish darkness of the Knife/Fever Ray. The 8-bit community may not want to have anything to do with Glass and Kath, but proper credit is due for making the electronic subgenre accessible to the Girl Talk-loving masses.
23. MIKE COOLEY @ LARIMER LOUNGE | SAT, 2/23/13
The thing the Drive-By Truckers is probably best known for -- aside from its spirited live sets -- is the sheer quality of its material and the overall excellence of its songcraft, from the compelling narratives to the colorful characters that populate the stories. While most bands are fortunate to have one tunesmith among its ranks, the Truckers have had three solid songwriters, Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley and Jason Isbell. Isbell of course left the band, while Hood tried his hand solo and now it's Cooley's turn with A Fool on Every Corner, his solo debut, a live recording that features bare versions of some Truckers tunes along with a new cut and a cover.
22. THE DARKNESS @ SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | FRI, 2/1/13
In the music video for the Darkness's greatest hit, 2003's "I Believe in a Thing Called Love," the band's alternately naked and jumpsuited lead singer, Justin Hawkins, is repeatedly groped by a motley crew of space aliens. He appears, for all intents and purposes, to be into it. His band's mock-rock aesthetic is heavy on falsetto, generous with mayhem and short on seriousness, and the Suffolk group has followed that same wacky formula, albeit with extensive breaks, in the near-decade since. But aside from a handful of strangely named side projects (see: Hot Leg) and one consistently ridiculous mega-jam, the Darkness has little to show for its time off. Cue the age of reunions: In 2012, the guys returned to fun and funky territory for a third album and a tour that restores their original lineup. The real question is: Do you believe in a thing called second chances?
21. WHITECHAPEL @ SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | SUN, 1/27/13
Tennessee's Whitechapel crafts its malevolent deathcore with three guitarists. The down-tuned doom of this act is marked by finger-widdling flurries and false harmonic squeals, Phil Bozeman's disturbingly possessed post-Pantera vocals and a rhythm section that attacks with a cornered, Gaddafi-esque cruelty. Albums like A New Era of Corruption is both a triumph of actual songs over pure riffs and, in the wake of the tragic death of Bozeman's mother, a monument to pessimism ("The Darkest Day of Man" and "Single File to Dehumanization"). Technically excellent yet utterly heartfelt, Whitechapel is a soundtrack for cynical teens moving out of their parents' shadow and into the world -- and that's no small achievement.