Gig Watch – May 2023

Chisel at Numero Twenty in Los Angeles, February 2023

Shows not to miss in and around Boston for the month of May.


May’s concert calendar truly has a little bit of everything going for it this year, from seldom-seen drone artists to new venues and gothic callings. Check out my picks for the month below.

5/4 – Khemmis / Conjurer / Wake @ Brighton Music Hall

Denver’s Khemmis remain one of the best and tightest doom bands on the road. They’ll make a Boston stop early this month, with killer support from Calgary black metal rippers Wake and U.K. sludge crew Conjurer.

5/5 – Fever Ray @ Roadrunner

Ex-Knife co-leader Karin Dreijer brings a tour in support of their third LP under the art-pop Fever Ray moniker to Roadrunner for what’s sure to be an unpredictably theatrical time. Unless my research has failed me, this it’ll be the first-ever FR date in Boston.

5/7 – Damon & Naomi / Meg Baird @ Crystal Ballroom

A dreamy night is in store for Davis Square, as slowcore pioneers and 2/3s of the legendary Galaxy 500 Damon & Naomi team up with psych-folk lifer Meg Baird. Come early for a DJ set from pal and Noise Floor contributor Dillon Riley.

5/9 – Conan / Thra / Glacier @ Middle East Downstairs

Liverpool’s Conan headline another internationally-minded doom/sludge bill at the Middle East, also featuring Phoenix’s Thra and heavier-than-heavy local favs Glacier.

5/10 – Tim Hecker @ Crystal Ballroom

Esteemed ambient/drone/noise architect Tim Hecker makes a super-rare local appearance in support of No Highs, his first proper full-length in four years.

5/11 – Chisel @ The Sinclair

Ted Leo brings the reunited mod-punk trio Chisel to town, coinciding with Numero Group’s reissue campaign for the group’s essential ’90s records. It’s their first U.S. tour in 25-plus years.

5/13 – The Hold Steady / Dinosaur Jr. / Come @ Roadrunner

A true indie rockers’ delight of a lineup takes over Roadrunner on this Saturday night, headlined by Craig Finn and The Hold Steady and supported by a pair of Massachusetts’ all-time great guitar bands in Dino Jr. and Come.

Noise Floor Photography: 2022/11/26 - Dinosaur Jr. / Guided By Voices &emdash;
Dinosaur Jr. at House of Blues, November 2022

5/16 – Mo Troper @ The Rockwell

Portland power-pop luminary Mo Troper supports his great new record MTV at The Rockwell mid-month. Great spot to catch someone who likely won’t be played such small rooms forever.

5/18 – Off! @ Brighton Music Hall

Making up for a postponement of a gig last November, punk legend Keith Morris finally brings the new lineup of his current hardcore project to town.

5/20 – Zip-Tie Handcuffs / Black Beach / Today Junior @ Deep Cuts

Greater Boston’s newest live music space hosts its grand opening with a top-notch local lineup in Medford.

5/22 – Pet Symmetry / Retirement Party / Camp Trash @ Arts at the Armory

Emo-pop-punks Pet Symmetry celebrate ten years as a band with a tour stopping at Somerville’s Armory, featuring excellent and likeminded support from un-retired Retirement Party and Camp Trash.

5/24 – Pup / Beach Bunny @ Roadrunner

A fun double bill teams up Toronto’s perpetually disaffected punks Pup with Chicago indie-pop project Beach Bunny for a Roadrunner co-headliner, supported by the great, shred-y emo crew Pool Kids.

Noise Floor Photography: 2019/11/20 - Beach Bunny &emdash;
Beach Bunny at Great Scott, November 2019

5/31 – Billy Woods and Kenny Segal @ Crystal Ballroom

The enigmatic Billy Woods (one-half of abstract hip-hop duo Armand Hammer) and producer Kenny Segal have a collaborative record out this Friday (May 5), and they’ll hit the road behind it for a Crystal Ballroom show a few weeks later.

5/31 – The Sisters of Mercy @ Big Night Live

U.K. goth-rock icon Andrew Eldritch will bring The Sisters of Mercy back to U.S. soil for the first time in a decade and a half for a soirée that ought to bring some serious Batcave vibes to Causeway Street.