You are halfway through the school year, you are running out of steam fast, and the weather is not exactly encouraging. The music blasting on your iPhone earbuds can barely shut out the howling winds rushing through Kimball Avenue. Going to a concert actually starts seeming like a reasonable monetary investment. It is a well-deserved mental break from the campus hustle. Live music has the power to revitalize you – the right venue and performer might just provide the shot of electric excitement you need to get you through the semester. If you want to wait on it and celebrate the end of conferences with a dope live show, that is cool too. Either way, here are some suggestions:
Bonobo (DJ Set) @ Output
Feb. 5th 10:00pm ($15)
Bonobo's smoky hip hop-influenced style has established him as one of the most forward-thinking producers around today. Though he has been releasing great music since 2000, his two most recent releases, Black Sands (2010) and The North Borders (2013), really caught the public's attention. Though he is only DJ'ing this particular show, he will surely be playing plenty of his own stuff. Output is also a fairly new, burgeoning club, sure to provide the ideal atmosphere to properly appreciate Bonobo's genius.
Lauryn Hill @ Rough Trade NYC
Sunday, Feb 17– 8:00 pm ($125)
After years of self-imposed exile, sporadic concerts/releases, and even a short trip to prison, Lauryn Hill is slowly getting back to doing what she does best. Known for her incredible 1998 solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the artist has achieved legendary status. Her elusive public persona coupled with undeniable talent only add to her mystique. Now, the former Fugees member is playing a series of small-venue shows, treating fans to acoustic renditions of some of her greatest hits. It is a bit expensive, but a dedicated fan would probably think the price worth it for an intimate experience with the amazing Ms. Lauryn Hill.
Action Bronson @ Terminal 5
Tuesday, March 24– 7:00pm ($30)
He is the talk of the town. Hailing from Queens, New York, this extra-large rapper has been making a name for himself on various fronts. Before kicking off his rap career in 2011, Action Bronson was a well-respected gourmet chef in NYC. Now he is preparing to take the game by storm with his forthcoming debut LP, Mr. Wonderful. His live shows are notoriously rowdy, often ending with him throwing everything from steak dinners, drugs, and even fans, into the crowd. And you can bet he will be extra turnt up for his hometown show on March 24. In the meantime, you can catch him on VICE Munchies, where he has his own web-series, F#!*k That's Delicious.
Chet Faker & XXYYXX @ Terminal 5
Tuesday, April 07– 7:00pm ($25)
Of the multitude of amazing musicians that Australia has produced in recent years, Chet Faker has proven to be one of the most innovative and talented. His musical style is often compared to songwriters like James Blake, due to his low-key, intimate vocals. He has recently collaborated with producers like Ta-ku and Flume, and he released a great debut album last year, Built on Glass. However, I wouldn't be surprised if his opening act stole the show. Nineteen-year-old producer XXYYXX, considered a prodigy by his peers, is known for his lo-fi sound, produced on self-made synthesizers. A deadly combination for what surely will be an unbelievably chill night.
Stevie Wonder @ Barclays Center
Sunday, April 12– 8:00pm ($108)
Literally forget everything you have read up to this point and go buy some Stevie Wonder tickets. In a world of young one-hit wonders, Stevie Wonder remains timelessly cool. The fact that this man, at the age of 64, is still touring is testament to his eternal greatness. This is your chance to see one of the last true living musical legends perform live. Sure, he has not released any new music in a while. He is not “what's popping” right now. You may not even know a whole lot of his music – he does have a pretty huge discography. But 32 number one hit singles and 25 Grammy nominations don't lie, my friend. Also, if you can listen to the twangy guitar intro to “Superstition” without grooving on out, you are dead inside.
Purity Ring @ Terminal 5
Friday, June 2– 7:00pm ($25)
An eclectic electronic-pop duo from Alberta, Canada, composed of vocalist Megan James and producer Corin Roddick, Purity Ring stepped into the spotlight with their majestic 2012 album Shrines and they are currently gearing up to release their sophomore LP in March. James’ distinct child-like vocals and Roddick’s space cadet, trap-infused instrumentals make for an interesting combination. Not to mention, their music videos are consistently awesome and their live shows are an experience to behold. James has a magnetic stage presence and Roddick bangs on an LED-lit, octopus-like instrument in the background. You won't want to miss this colorful spectacle for anything (unless you are broke because you already bought your Stevie Wonder tickets).