Feeling slightly jealous of those heading to the SXSW Music festival, there is some comfort to be had in several good upcoming Boston-area shows. Quick, let’s buy all the tickets while the others are in Austin.

  • The National play at the MidEast on June 21st. The ever-great Bradley reports they are on tour to support their new album, "Boxer". After getting burned recently by being too slow to buy Thermals tickets before it sold out (plus TTs only holds like 23 people), I'm not making the same mistake again. This time tickets == purchased.
  • Ted Leo and the Pharmacists is playing with Love of Diagrams at Avalon on May 4th. I've never seen Mr Leo live, so I'm looking forward to this.
  • Spoon is playing at the Museum of Fine Arts on April 28th. I've enjoyed "Gimme Fiction" but loved "Kill the Moonlight" enough that it would near impossible for them to top it. Still, whatever they play this should be a great show.
  • El-P is playing the MidEast on May 1st. For those in withdrawl now that The White Rapper Show has wrapped up, this might be the needed fix to see how it is really done. "Fantastic Damage" is a beast of an album, and his new album, "I'll Sleep When You're Dead" is coming out March 20th. </ul> On the subject of upcoming shows, The Shins are playing at the Orpheum on Thursday. I'm a Shins fan, but passing on this one. Back in the strange Fall of 2001, I had fallen Zach Braff-style for "Oh, Inverted World" and so I went to see them at the MidEast. (Of course there has to be a Zach Braff reference, even the pros still spend half an interview talking about "Garden State".) Admittedly I had very high expectations, but they sounded flat and the vocals were just off. Other bands might try to cover with energy on stage, but they don't seem an excitable bunch (Segues might have helped). Disappointed, I hope it was just an off night, but their sleepwalking through "New Slang" on SNL recently didn't sway me.