Spring Arts Guide: Music

For your blue Mondays and drunk af Fridays.

At 8 p.m., Friday, April 7, at Regency Ballroom. $23-$25; theregencyballroom.com

When Brooklyn rapper Desiigner emerged on the scene in 2015 with his Billboard-charting trap hit “Panda,” people tended to feel one of two ways about him. There were those who believed Desiigner, with his rapidly delivered lines and odd word pairings, was a lyrical genius. (Kanye West fell into this camp, offering the then-18-year-old a recording contract less than two months after the song’s release.) And there were others who thought the artist a mere facsimile of Future, another low-pitched, mumble rapper who also relies on Auto-Tune to tweak his voice. In the end, though, the fans beat out the haters, as evidenced by the roughly 11 million monthly listeners Desiigner has racked up on Spotify more than a year later. JS

At 8 p.m., Thursday, April 20, at The Warfield. $29.50-$34.50; thewarfieldtheatre.com

Like a deflating balloon or an almost-empty bottle of mustard, Banks’ voice is strained and breathy, almost as if it were being squeezed out from the depths of her body. A 28-year-old Orange County native, the angular-faced beauty was studying psychology at USC when she started dabbling in music. Four years, two EPs, and two albums later, Banks is one of indie-electronic music’s leading ladies, alongside other brooding, outré acts like FKA Twigs and Kelela. A notoriously social media-adverse artist, Banks made it clear in her shadowy 2016 dance single “Fuck With Myself” that, though she appreciates her fans and contemporaries, she’s really making her music for herself and herself only. JS

New Order
At 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 21, at the Greek Theatre. $59.50; thegreektheatreberkeley.com

By now, the story of New Order is the stuff of rock legend. For those who aren’t aware, here’s the short version: Ian Curtis, the frontman of seminal post-punk band Joy Division, commits suicide. The remaining members rechristen themselves New Order, release the heart-wrenchingly beautiful “Ceremony” — originally a Joy Division song written prior to Curtis’ death — and become one of the greatest dance-rock groups of all time. Forget diamonds. “Blue Monday” is forever. EC

The Courtneys
At 9 p.m., Saturday, April 22, at Rickshaw Stop. $13-$15; rickshawstop.com

Besides being criminally underrated, The Courtneys are just really freaking good. The first non-Kiwi band to release new music on New Zealand’s alt-rock label Flying Nun Records, the trio are masters of turning deceptively simple riffs into veritable bangers. Equal parts ferocious, fuzzy, grungy, and sugary-sweet, The Courtneys’ hyper-catchy garage pop is a high point of the current garage revival. In short, the time has come to quit sleeping on this band. You can thank us later. EC

Willie Nelson
At 7 p.m., May 2-6, at The Fillmore. $75; thefillmore.com

Country legend Willie Nelson has been cancelling quite a few shows lately. Two recent concerts at South by Southwest were called off due to illness, and in August 2016, he postponed a run of four shows at The Fillmore. Then again, the beloved outlaw singer gets a pass not only because he’s eighty-fucking-three, but because he reschedules his missed performances. And while people love Nelson for his nasally voice and prowess with the guitar, his personal life has also helped him win admirers. An advocate (and prominent user) of marijuana, Nelson has long used his celebrity to champion causes that he believes in, like LGBTQ rights, clean energy, and the treatment of animals. And don’t forget about his hair. Often braided and divided into two pigtails, Nelson proved that it’s cool for men to copy female hairstyles long before “the man bun” was even a thing. JS

PJ Harvey
At 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 9, at The Masonic. $49.50-$75; sfmasonic.com

With her powerful blues-guitar chops and one hell of a contralto voice, it’s no wonder PJ Harvey has been stopping us in our tracks for well over 25 years. She’s also beyond fearless, having recorded last year’s tough-as-nails album The Hope Six Demolition Project in front of the public at Somerset House in London. There’s being confident in your creative process, and then there’s being so confident in your creative process that you let people watch. If indie-rock has an alpha female, it’s Harvey. EC

At 7 p.m., Saturday, June 17, at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. $39.50; ticketmaster.com

Oakland’s Kehlani is the perfect age to be making the kind of music that she is. Though only a few weeks shy of turning 22, Kehlani has managed to win legions of teenage and young adult fans thanks to her effervescent, pop-flecked ditties, many of which include life advice culled from her own experiences. Were Kehlani younger, it’s not likely she’d be as sagacious and candid in her songwriting, or as willing to discuss her bisexuality, sordid break-ups, and past suicide temptations to commit suicide as she is. Now big enough to sell-out country-wide tours and headline venues as large as Bill Graham, Kehlani is one of the highest-profile artists to come out of the Bay Area in recent years, rivaled only by the slick-maned rapper G-Eazy, with whom she’s joined forces for two songs. JS

Check out more from our Spring Arts Guide here:

Street Fairs And Associated Weirdness

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