Just as Spring starts creeping in (we can almost feel it, you guys!), live music really starts to pick up in Lawrence. For March, just as bits of bright green start dotting the landscape, our live music cup really runneth over. We hope you’ll have enough stamina left over after the St. Patrick’s Day Parade… you may find yourself darting from venue to venue on the same night, because every weekend is full of fantastic shows. From Irish fiddling to electronic dance parties, here are the must-see events for the month.
White Schoolhouse, March 3
One of the greatest guitar bands of this generation will be making a triumphant return to the Schoolhouse this Spring. It’s a fitting partnership, as the DIY venue will play host to indie trio Screaming Females. The show’s sure to be heavy on the distortion and booming vocals, thanks to Marissa Paternoster’s furious and menacing approach to the craft. They’ll be joined by punk-rock heavy-hitters Prüde and Helkat.
White Schoolhouse, March 6
Ebony Tusks’ latest single is one of the more highly-anticipated releases this year. The hip-hop trio recently signed to powerhouse label High Dive Records, so they’re celebrating with a release show at White Schoolhouse with two equally fierce acts. This can’t-miss event features the dramatic and emotional stage presence of Marty Hillard, who often divides his time between spitting his high-intensity lyrics and menacingly pacing about the venue (fans will also enjoy the vivid light show that often accompanies their sets).
Additionally, the show features live art by Matthew Asbury, with a raffle for the artwork at the end of the show. Proceeds from that raffle will benefit girls Rock Lawrence.
Liberty Hall, March 6
This is perhaps the only show close to St. Patrick’s Day featuring an actual Irishman. The Irish-turned-Kansan musician Nick Carswell, of Carswell & Hope fame, is on a mission to bring modern and contemporary songs by Irish musicians to the public. You can expect to hear the likes of Van Morrison and U2, covered by an ensemble of local musicians. This is the fourth year for the event, and will feature performances by Carswell & Hope, Katlyn Conroy (of La Guerre), Shannon O’Shea (of Unfit Wives), Kirsten Paluden, Sky Smeed, and Joe Sears (of Page 7). But some of the more exciting moments come from area dance troupe Céilí at the Crossroads. Our advice: Get there early, the show starts at 7:00 p.m.
Christena Graves Band
Lucia, March 13
If you’re looking for a gentler sound, we highly recommend reserving March 13th for the Christena Graves Band. The local folk musician has only recently reemerged into the scene, and came armed with a fantastic ensemble that includes a string section. Her indie-fused Americana laced with those string arrangements produce some of the most hauntingly beautiful (and heartbreaking) music in Lawrence. Bonus: There isn’t a cover for this two-hour set.
St. Patio Day Show
The Replay, March 17
After the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, many Lawrencians will be scouting bars to find a place to drink the afternoon (and evening) away. But one of the most jovial locations will be the Replay Patio. Often accompanied by just the most pleasant weather, the downtown venue becomes a sea of green as bluegrass musicians gather for the wild, festive, and unruly affair. You can expect furiously fast fiddles, boot stomping, and a whole lot of bluegrass as a massive lineup takes shape from the early afternoon until well after dark.
The Granada, March 30
There is NO DOUBT in our minds that the Dan Deacon show will be one of the most memorable (and wacky) shows of the year. Touring on his recently released electronic album Mystic Familiar, Deacon makes a triumphant return to the Granada with a set that will have everyone on their feet. No, really. If you don’t like audience participation, make sure you back up against the wall. The last time he rolled through, Deacon parted the audience like a sea for an epic dance off, and lead a conga line that took the ENTIRE AUDIENCE outside the venue. You never know what to expect at Dan Deacon sets. >
Bonus: The very danceable Ed Schrader’s Music Beat is opening the show.
Other noteworthy concerts this month:
Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 15 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more. Currently, she resides in Lawrence, Kansas, where she works as a music journalist and is the Editor of I Heart Local Music.