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7 must-go May shows

Posted by Alex Pearlman  May 3, 2012 09:47 AM

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concert crowd.jpgBy Mike Flanagan

Finals are over (or at least they're about to be), and after all that "fun," I’m sure everyone's going to be in the mood this month to spend his extra T/gas/lunch/textbook money on as much alcohol as a human body can feasibly hold. Why not spend a little more and put a soundtrack to these last weeks of school and first weeks of summer?

Here are my recommendations for can't-miss shows during the month of May.

TONIGHT: Casey Crescenzo (The Red Room @ Café 939, $15). The Dear Hunter -- a spinoff of another of this month's must-see bands, The Receiving End of Sirens, that took an extravagant life of its own -- has put out nothing but overwrought babble since its fantastic first EP came out in 2006. But Crescenzo, who will rejoin his old TREOS bandmates at The Middle East in a couple weeks, is bound to play some old favorites -- hopefully, cult favorites like “Red Hands” and “Black Sandy Beaches” -- and surprise the intimate audience at Café 939 with some quirky covers. If you’re looking for a calm, open mic-ish experience, this show should be worth a walk down Boylston Street.

Saturday, May 5: Horse Feathers (Brighton Music Hall, $15). I mean no disrespect when I say that Horse Feathers put me to sleep every night for the entire balmy summer before I started college four years ago. So it would be only fitting for them to contribute to the soundtrack of the even balmier spring of my final semester. Justin Ringle’s warm voice stands out from the similarly "hushed" vocals of his "folksy" counterparts, and Horse Feathers’ small-but-prominent strings section does even more to set their backwoods sound apart from the manufactured masses.

Wednesday, May 16: The Receiving End of Sirens (The Middle East, SOLD OUT). Since TREOS broke up and played its farewell shows during our final weeks of high school, my friends and I have filtered in and out of different schools, developed different interests, moved to different places, and begun carving out vastly different lives. When tickets to their reunion show went on sale last month, however, my phone’s inadequate memory quickly filled to the brim with mass texts from the dozen or so friends that I formed caravans with to 30+ TREOS shows. This band means more to me than any band in the world, but I’ll spare you the gushiness and put my endorsement in simple terms: If the prospect of this show can get my friends and me to successfully coordinate plans, it must be one of the most fantastic live experiences ever to roll through Boston. If you didn't get to see this band while it was active, do yourself a favor and catch them at the intimate Middle East Downstairs. There may or may not be another chance.

Saturday, May 26: Thrice (Royale, SOLD OUT). Thrice put out some adventurous and energetic music during my formative years (see: Vheissu). Now, they’re taking one of those “indefinite hiatuses” and touring the country one “last” time. If the ambiguous air of finality tugs at your nostalgic pant leg, you’d be wise to make your way to Royale on the 26th.

Tuesday, May 29: Lindsey Buckingham (The Wilbur Theatre, $35 and up). Fair warning: Buckingham’s set might be heavy on the pseudo-world crap that the legendary guitarist has been trying to pass off lately. However, for die-hard Fleetwood Mac fans, this show will be worth the ticket price just for the old gems like “Never Going Back Again” and “Go Your Own Way” that will inevitably be peppered into the evening.

Tuesday, May 29: Radiohead (Comcast Center, $40 and up). If you’re looking for a close-range concert experience or a set full of hits from OK Computer or Kid A, don’t waste your time, money, or gas on this show. Radiohead has indicated that the setlists on their massive world tour will be The King of Limbs- and In Rainbows-heavy. But if you appreciate last year’s wildly under-appreciated effort and recall the catharsis of melting into “Nude” or “Videotape” from the damp lawn seats at The Center Formerly Known As Great Woods in 2008 (as I do), this show is well worth the chunky admission price.

Tuesday, May 29, and Wednesday, May 30: Steve Martin with The Steep Canyon Rangers (Symphony Hall, $22 and up). I was just watching (and giggling fondly at) The Jerk last weekend. The question is, will Symphony Hall get Navin Johnson or Tom Baker? If there are any Hilary Duff sightings in Boston near the end of the month, run for the hills. But if Martin has his banjo and arrow, this show will be worth saving up for.

Review the great concerts you saw in April or share which shows you're excited for this month in the comments!

Photo by familymwr (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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