Hey, it's March! There’s always a host of new things to do in Spring, including a fresh supply of concerts in NYC to keep the best live music venues buzzing. While you might still catch the odd icy temp, keep your spirits high and your sights on the many summer music festivals just around the corner.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to concerts in NYC
Best NYC concerts in March 2017
As we enter a Trump presidency, head here to scream your dissent. This North-South hip-hop throwdown is sure to pack in outrage aplenty as Definitive Jux hero El-P and quick-witted Atlanta MC Killer Mike spit incisive political venom on their appropriately titled third album, Run the Jewels 3, a collection of braggadocio and cutthroat takedowns. The swirling psychedelia of L.A. beatmaker the Gaslamp Killer sets the stage.
We've waited a while for this Chicago rapper's debut since its initial announcement—four years in fact. Noname set the stakes high in the years following with standout features on songs like Chance the Rapper's "Lost" and Mick Jenkins' "Comfortable." Fortunately, last year's Telefone delivers on all its promise. An LP that inhabits joy as easily as desolation, its instrumentals ply youthful sound sources (e.g. xylophones and baby giggles), while the lyrics tread heavier-hearted waters, narrating black resiliency in the face of dispossession and exclusion. Catch the Chicago MC as she hits up the LES on her inevitable rise.
A veteran of Suicidal Tendencies and a protégé of Flying Lotus, electric-bassist Stephen Bruner now plies funky, jazzy grooves as Thundercat, in which guise his work can call to mind vintage Stanley Clarke and Bootsy Collins, as well as more recent low-end theorists Squarepusher and Victor Wooten.
Punk’s not dead, and with Brooklyn trio Slothrust, it just got a lot more fun. On their latest album, Everyone Else, the three jazz musicians celebrate loudness with furiously danceable tracks (and the odd love song) that inhabit a realm of ennui and the weird. Drums, guitar and bass evoke both Sonic Youth and death metal, but frontwoman Leah Wellbaum’s androgynously droll Nico-esque deadpan is the main attraction.
Reining in the physicality and screamo aggression, post-hardcore outfit Pianos Become the Teeth—known for its unique intersectional explorations of cinematic post-rock and brutalist punk—exhibited a suprising capacity for restraint on 2014's Keep You. It's an unexpected but much-welcome shift in the continued development of a band that deftly dodges pigeonholing.
This Swedish indie-pop band unfortunately spent the majority of its years following 2010's celebrated Clinging to a Scheme embroiled in unsuccessful legal battles with its record label rather than making music. The turmoil, however, inspired a host of darker, matured songs on the crew's long-awaited followup, Running Out Of Love, a self-described "dystopian album" that addresses the many conservative, reactionary threads circulating in the world's current political climate. This rare New York outing is the The Radio Dept.'s first since 2011—snag tickets now or risk waiting another half-decade for the lo-fi pop obscurists return.
Deafheaven dips into black metal’s battle-tested playbook—rage-against-the-void screams and vein-popping blast beats—while boasting a distinctly blissed-out guitar palette. Building on the tremolo washes, triumphant leads and genre transgressions from 2012's wildly acclaimed Sunbather, the Bay Area group’s latest album, New Bermuda, reconciles black-metal pillars such as Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger with U2’s pedal-happy supertexturalist the Edge, and instrumental rock dramatists Explosions in the Sky. Also on tap: cinematic, celestial post-rockers This Will Destroy You.
From its scrappy start on the Bay Area punk-revival scene, Green Day, the long-running trio of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool, has shown that it's possible to hit the highest heights—including the practically unthinkable, a Broadway musical—without sacrificing integrity. The band plays in support of a new disc, Revolution Radio, with power-frontwoman Laura Jane Grace's always insurrectionary punk troupe Against Me!.
Despite being one of post-rock's most foundational acts, Chicago experimentalists Tortoise have always demonstrated a penchant for stepping outside the genre's strictures, winding between electronica and improvisational jazz in its eclectic 10-minute epics. With its first album in nearly seven years, The Catastrophist, the group veers toward those latter influences, having developed the tunes from a project commissioned by the City of Chicago exemplifying its ties to the city's jazz scene.
A decade and a half since his first album, Banhart is no less wonderful and no less weird. The irresistible lead single from the singer-songwriter's latest album, Ape in Pink Marble, is a dreamily somber ode, setting hushed lines like "see you alone at the Walgreens at night" against soft guitar plucks and wind blowing in the background.