Coming Attractions in Popular Music: March 2011

It could be easy to say the outlook is grim, what with all that’s going on in the world. However, even though the Ides of March are quickly approaching, that would be overlooking all the good things happening this month. For example, it was in March, almost 100 years ago, that the first American successfully parachuted from an airplane. And March is national Music In Our Schools Month. Things are looking up already, so here’s the pop music picks for shows to see in Boston in March.

By Thomas Samph.

Eksi Ekso. At Great Scott, March 6.

Eksi Ekso will wrap you in sound.

First, Eksi Ekso invites you in with a soft drum riff and some keys. Then, after covering you in a blanket of sound with guitar, viola, keys, and an oboe over the building beat, they serenade you with melancholy and ethereal baritone vocals. Instruments and vocals take turns telling stories, wrapping you in sound. The band, composed of members from two defunct Boston bands, takes their name from the phonetic spelling of two Greek words: ‘six’ and ‘outside.’ Eksi Ekso follows up  their 2008 debut album, I Am Your Bastard Wings, with the release of Brown Shark, Red Lion in mid-March.


Pepper Rabbit. At the Middle East, March 9.

Pepper Rabbit: a lo-fi Smörgåsbord.

At once scratchy, lo-fi, and plunky; then layered, full, and grand. Whether former or latter, the duo of Pepper Rabbit ends up as more than the sum of its parts. When soft, they are charming; when loud, they are inspiring. Varying their sound in combining Ra-Ra-Riot-like strings, Beirut-esque ukulele, and Blind Pilot-style vocals, we’ve heard pieces of Pepper Rabbit’s sound before but never in this combination. The success of band’s last album, Beauregard, released in October of last year, won them a spot on tour with Miniature Tigers and Ra Ra Riot.


Travie McCoy. At Paradise Rock Club, March 22.

Travie McCoy's rebirth with LAZARUS.

Although Lazarus, released in June 2010, is Travie McCoy’s debut album, it’s still a rebirth for the 29-year-old rapper. Putting the Gym Class Heroes (the hip hop group he and a friend formed in high school), Katy Perry (former girlfriend and source of much tabloid attention), and his addiction to opioids (for which he went to rehab numerous times) behind him, McCoy set off solo to construct an album that’s at once feel goodplayful, and heartfelt. Running on the success of his collaboration with Bruno Mars in Billionaire and the release of Lazarus, McCoy will head to the studio with the Gym Class Heroes again this year for a fourth album.


Baby Shakes. At PA’s Lounge, March 25.

Baby Shakes: A crossroads of genres.

If you put Baby Shakes on a venn diagram, they would land right in the middle of where blues, punk and rockabilly intersect. The band takes the 12-bar blues, adds some punk edge with overdriven guitars, and lays it over a rockabilly beat to make a feel-good fusion of genres. Baby Shakes’ music is feel-good pop rock that will put a smile on your face and a swing in your step.


Additional Listings

Dum Dum Girls – March 2 – Brighton Music Hall

Rival Schools – March 5 – Brighton Music Hall

Eksi Ekso – March 5 – Great Scott

The Parlotones – March 6 – Great Scott

Lady Gaga – March 8 – TD Garden

Pepper Rabbit – March 9 – Middle East

Action Verbs – March 10 – Church of Boston

Freezepop – March 12 – Brighton Music Hall

Justin Levinson – March 19 – Lizard Lounge

Tiny Animals – March 19 – Great Scott

Taxpayer – March 19 – Great Scott

CKY – March 22 – Brighton Music Hall

Travie McCoy – March 22 – Paradise Rock Club

Ellie Goulding – March 23 – Brighton Music Hall

The Jack Grace Band – March 24 – Lizard Lounge

Baby Shakes – March 25 – PA’s Lounge

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears – March 27 – Middle East

Papercuts – March 27 – Brighton Music Hall

Klaxons – March 28 – Paradise Rock Club

Rod StewartStevie Nicks – March 30 – TD Garden

Mount Peru – March 30 – PA’s Lounge

Sinnet – March 30 – PA’s Lounge

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