Our weekly concert picks: May 14–May 20

Singer/bassist Este Haim of Haim performs during the Life is Beautiful festival on October 27, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Wednesday, May 14: Haim 

2013 was the year of Haim. The California trio featuring sisters Danielle, Este, and Alana Haim—plus drummer Dash Hutton—was all of a sudden everywhere, their euphoric, ‘80s pop and ‘90s R&B-influenced jams providing the soundtrack for every late summer BBQ or road trip. To the casual listener, it seemed like they came out of nowhere. In actuality, the sisters have been jamming since they were kids, having played in a band called Rockinhaim (yes) with their parents decades back, and continued to gig ever since. As Haim, they’ve opened for Mumford & Sons and Florence and the Machine—all leading to the success of their debut LP, Days Are Gone. And while yes, they are super cool and have great hair and look awesome wearing leather jackets—Haim are also much more than that. They’re smart, and sometimes dorky, and they make kick-ass songs that you can nod along to contently while hanging out with friends, but also belt out the choruses to when you’re alone, driving down the highway, and feel strangely cleansed. Live, the sisters are all rock’n roll antics and banter—which means their show this Wednesday should be the (early) summer kick-off you’ve been waiting for.

8:00 at the Tower Theater, 69th and Ludlow Sts., $25. Tickets available here.


Wednesday, May 14: Chromeo

Montreal duo Chromeo craft the type of hooky, instantly recognizable dance-pop nugs that slowly worm their way into your brain and reverberate. But don’t for one second peg them as vapid club bois, obsessed only with looking and acting cool—these guys are more likely to wear grills ironically than seriously (exhibit A) and are more often described as “scholarly” than “too cool for school” (it’s worth noting that their most recent LP, White Women, takes its title from a Helmut Newton book). An unlikely pair that joined forces in the early aughts while still in college (told ya they were scholarly), Chromeo burst onto the scene with 2004’s “Needy Girl” then never looked back—racking up festival appearances and initiating new fans to their unique, swaggering pop . Combining ‘80s dance and electro-funk tropes with snarky lyrics and an overarching sense of fun, Chromeo are this generation’s answer to Michael Jackson or Prince, minus all the scandal. They’re now touring behind White Women (which features, among other treats, collabs from Ezra Koenig, Solange, and Toro Y Moi) and will bring their traveling pop party to UT this Wednesday. Expect pulsing beats, energy, and lots of ‘80s cheese. We wouldn’t have it any other way. 

8:30 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $30. Tickets available here. 


Thursday, May 15: The Districts

Technically, The Districts hail from Lititz, PA, a small town in Lancaster County—but I’d be lying if I said we don’t love claiming them as our own. A folk- and soul-tinged rock band that’s quickly rising among the indie ranks, The Districts stand out thanks to warm, rollicking melodies with none of the trademark disillusion of other buzz bands and all of the passion. A foursome formed 5 years ago when its members were just starting high school (they just graduated last spring), The Districts rose to fame last summer, when their video of twangy stomper “Funeral Beds” went viral—landing on the front page of The Huffington Post, and leading to a record contract with indie label Fat Possum. Since then, they’ve been touring relentlessly, and will stop by the First Unitarian Church this Thursday for an emphatic live show. We love these guys for their youthful dedication and energy, for their passionate, searing vocals (courtesy of front man Rob Grote), and for their ability to turn any performance into the blistering rock explosion you never knew you needed. Get on board. 

8:00 at the First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., $12. Tickets available here. 


Friday, May 16: The Bad Doctors

West Philly new wave trio The Bad Doctors write spastic, spazzy, synth-y jammers with catchy melodies and a surprising amount of bite. Formed more than half a decade back by friends with a shared love of Devo, Joy Division, and complex wave forms, the band slowly won fans with intense, high-energy shows—featuring body-slamming, capricious keys, and front man Matt McDermott’s deep, brooding vocals. Since then, they’ve become one of the city’s best kept secrets (at least for now!), playing house shows and small DIY spots as they tightened their game.  They’re now readying their debut record, Burning City, a super-charged yet cerebral journey through rock’n roll bad-assery that’s not afraid to “[stand] knee-deep in our flooded basements and [walk] our collapsing back-alleys.” They’ll celebrate its release this Friday at Boot & Saddle, alongside SoCal melodic hardcore band Future Primitive. Before you go: stream the record for free via Styrofoam Drone, and get ready to rage.

8:30 at Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., $10. Tickets available here.