Blooming Beats

Spring ushers in an eclectic mix of must-see concerts

The Avett Brothers

Spring is back in full effect, and there’s no shortage of top-notch talent brightening up New York City, from legacy acts to rising newcomers. Our April issue features rockers Duran Duran, who make their way to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on April 12 (interview can be found on the following pages). Diana Ross plays Staten Island’s George Theatre on April 12, AC/DC dominate Madison Square Garden on April 4, Steve Miller Band rocks April 6 at Lincoln Center and Smashing Pumpkins are joined by Liz Phair April 4, 5 and 6 at the Beacon Theater. Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals jam up the Beacon Theater on April 7, jazz fusion artist Esperanza Spalding delights April 14 at the Apollo Theater, Canadian dubstep artist Datsik spins April 2 at the Playstation Theater and electro-pop singer Santigold plays Hammerstein Ballroom on April 30. Norwegian siren Aurora lights up Bowery Ballroom April 19, California reggae rockers Iration groove into Webster Hall on April 8 and indie-pop band Lucius get harmonious April 1 at Webster Hall. Check out our other top picks for April…

One of the most beloved voices and guitar players in rock ‘n’ roll, 10-time Grammy winner Bonnie Raitt plays the Beacon Theater, April 1 & 2. The blues-rock singer-songwriter shared a stellar Grammys performance earlier this year in tribute to late blues legend BB King alongside Chris Stapleton and Gary Clark Jr. and just released her twentieth studio album Dig In Deep with new single “Gypsy In Me.” Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, Raitt will surely play songs from her early 90s albums that generated hits like the timeless “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” “Something To Talk About,” “Not The Only One,” “Nick Of Time,” the funky “Love Sneakin’ Up On You” and reggae-flavored “Have A Heart.” Bonnie Raitt can do no wrong – her new record has a wicked cover of INXS’ “Need You Tonight” and includes the poignant “All Alone With Something To Say.” With two nights at the Beacon and many famous musical friends, Bonnie Raitt may pull some special cover surprises out of her bag from pop, rock and blues greats and even share the stage with some guests.

Six-piece indie-folk/bluegrass band The Avett Brothers combine world-class musicianship with heart-warming melodies into timeless songs and they share their magic April 8 at Madison Square Garden for the first time. The North Carolina act consists of brothers Avett – Scott on banjo and Seth on guitar, joined by double bass player Bob Crawford, Joe Kwon on cello, Mike Marsh on drums, Tania Elizabeth on violin and Paul Defiglia on keyboard. Having released eight studio albums, their most recent live collection Live, Vol. Four was delivered in December which includes original compositions as well as covers that span Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” and Roy Rogers’ “Happy Trails” as well as a couple new tracks. The Avett Brothers gained a lot of career momentum from songs included in episodes of ParenthoodFriday Night Lights, an American Express commercial and “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” was the featured background music on the 10th Season of American Idol, which was performed at the 2011 Grammy Awards. The live experience has the feel of a rowdy honky-tonk hoedown, and a hot indie rock show, with a dash of gospel, not to mention beautiful harmonies. Fans can expect to hear years of hits including the timeless ballad “I And Love And You,” feel-good “Live And Die” and the lighthearted “Pretty Girl From San Diego.”

Two of the Windy City’s greatest acts – Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire descend upon The Big Apple for their second joint outing, “Heart and Soul Tour 2.0” coming to Madison Square Garden on April 18. With two of the most recognizable songbooks of the 70s and 80s, both Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire are two of the tightest-sounding bands from the rock era. The soulful Chicago bring anything but “Another Rainy Day In New York City” when their inviting harmonies and horn-blasting melodies make their way to town. Chicago will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this month in Brooklyn, so it’s a particularly historic year for the “You’re The Inspiration” hitmakers. With the most singles charted for any act in the 1970s and 100 million records sold including 21 top 10 hits in the 70s and 80s, they are one of the most successful bands of all time. Fans can expect a feel-good sing-a-long to big songs like falsetto-driven “If You Leave Me Now,” ballad “Hard To Say I’m Sorry,” the foot-tapping “Saturday In The Park” and the heartbreaking “Look Away.” With Earth, Wind & Fire bandleader and co-founder Maurice White’s recent passing, this special evening may very well turn into a high-energy tribute to honor the late singer’s vision. The Chicago-based soul, funk and disco kings have sold over 100 million records worldwide, they are Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees and they have been honored numerous times (20 nominations) with Grammys for hits like “Shining Star” and “Boogie Wonderland.” The band’s infectious horn section will surely turn up the heat for the band’s set on anthems “September,” and the funky “Let’s Groove” as well as the falsetto-heavy “Fantasy” and the band’s memorable version of The Beatles’ “Got To Get You Into My Life.”

Everybody’s talking ’bout the next thing – and that would be Tori Kelly, an R&B/pop singer with the relatable essence of a singer-songwriter in a coffee house. The future career artist plays two nights at the Beacon Theater, April 28 & 29. A California native, Kelly earned a Best New Artist nomination at the recent Grammys, which found the rising star alongside fellow nominee James Bay for one of the breakout performances at February’s broadcast. Kelly’s debut record Unbreakable Smile boasts hit songs “Nobody Love,” “Should’ve Been Us” and “Hollow” as well as impressive collaborations with Ed Sheeran and LL Cool J. Tori Kelly is able to stop a room in motion with her live performances with simply her sweet, cooing voice and guitar – though other grooves will certainly get bodies shaking. Having been discovered years ago on YouTube, Tori Kelly has other memorable tracks that she is likely to play including the introspective “Dear No One,” Professor Green’s “Lullaby” and child hunger anthem “Fill A Heart.” Kelly performed earlier this year alongside Andrea Bocelli at the MTV European Music Awards singing Pink/Nate Ruess song “Just Give Me A Reason” and she also landed the bubbly “Joy of Pepsi” commercial, so expect big moments to continue for this rising star.

(Photo Credit: Republic Records)