Gig Watch: May 2024

Soul Glo at The Sinclair, October 2023

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


Spring’s here and so is a very full roster of shows for the month of May. Without further ado:

5/2 – The Decemberists at Roadrunner

Theatrical folk-rockers The Decemberists return with a new double album next month – their first in six years – and they’ll surely break out a few of those tunes at a Roadrunner gig supported by dear Ratboys.

5/5 – Sheer Mag / Pile at Crystal Ballroom

Philly riffers Sheer Mag team up with local heroes Pile for a stage-shaking Sunday night at Crystal.

5/10 – Freddie Gibbs & Madlib at MGM Music Hall

MC Freddie Gibbs and producer Madlib engineered a hip-hop landmark with their 2014 collaboration Piñata, and they’ll celebrate its decade anniversary with a huge show at MGM.

5/11 – Savak at O’Brien’s Pub

Fellow local music blog Bradley’s Almanac presents a strong night of indie rock/post-punk action at O’Brien’s topped by Brooklyn’s Savak.

5/12 – Sunny Day Real Estate at Big Night Live

Emo/post-hardcore icons SDRE have been reactivated and on the road for a minute now, but this Spring’s tour has the distinction of marking the 30th anniversary of their classic debut Diary with full-album performances.

5/13-5/14 – Mannequin Pussy / Soul Glo at The Sinclair

Two titans of modern, forward-thinking punk (and two absolutely scorching live bands) join forces for consecutive nights in Harvard Square.

5/17 – Neil Young & Crazy Horse at Xfinity Center

Look, I don’t regularly endorse driving to Mansfield on a Friday night, but for the reunion of Neil and Crazy Horse on the road (it’s been 12 years since Young and his beloved backing band played Massachusetts), sacrifices must be made.

5/18 – The Messthetics and James Brandon Lewis @ Crystal Ballroom

If you’d asked the average Fugazi fan in 2003 what half of the band would be up to 20 years on from their indefinite hiatus, teaming up with a saxophonist to release jazz fusion for Impulse! probably wouldn’t have been anyone’s first guess, but that’s precisely the project that The Messthetics and collaborator Lewis will be supporting at the Ballroom this month.

Noise Floor Photography: 2019/07/14 - The Messthetics &emdash;
The Messthetics at Great Scott, July 2019

5/23 – Spectral Voice at Middle East Upstairs

Blood Incantation offshoot Spectral Voice bring their cavernous death-doom to the Mid East, on the heels of February’s bone-chilling Sparagmos.

5/24 – Drain at Royale

The cheeriest band in crossover-thrash launch their biggest headlining tour to date this Spring, taking over Royale for a lawless Friday night with Terror, Scowl and more.

5/29 – The Damned at Big Night Live

The 1980s lineup of U.K. punk vets The Damned is back together for the first time in some 35 years, descending on Causeway Street this month with a set of classic tunes.

5/29 – The Antlers / Okkervil River at Crystal Ballroom

Peter Silberman and Will Sheff of ’00s indie luminaries The Antlers and Okkervil River, respectively, are hitting the road for that they’re calling a “solo-ish” tour of their equally indispensable songbooks.

5/30 – A Place to Bury Strangers at Crystal Ballroom

There’s a lot going on the penultimate night of the month, but assuming you’re not trekking to Foxborough for a pricey evening with the Stones, some cathartic noise rock action awaits in Somerville with a rare local appearance from NYC’s volume-worshipping A Place to Bury Strangers.

5/30 – Camera Obscura at Paradise Rock Club

Alternately, across town, the return of Scottish indie pop mainstays Camera Obscura offers a gentler side of Thursday night.