15 must-see concerts at Boston’s smaller venues for summer 2024




Concerts

Enjoy big artists in small places like Big Night Live, Brighton Music Hall, Royale, Paradise Rock Club, and The Sinclair this June through August.

Jessica Pratt, Allie X, Skilla Baby, Peach PRC, and the Gin Blossoms will all be at small venues in Boston this summer. Sinna Nasseri/The New York Times; Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images; Garrett Bruce; Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images; AP Photo/Matt York

Let’s get small! Here are 15 concerts worth seeing at Greater Boston’s smaller venues this June-August, organized by genre. (Sites include Brighton Music Hall, Paradise Rock Club, Royale, Big Night Live, The Sinclair in Cambridge, and Chevalier Theatre in Medford; check out our guide to larger venues here.) Please note, prices noted are face value; some of these shows may only have verified resale tickets available.

Best dance/electronic concerts

Deorro at Big Night Live

Mexican-American DJ Deorro scored numerous worldwide gold and platinum singles in the early to late 2010s. Among these were “Five Hours,” “Perdóname,” “Five More Hours,” and “Bailar.” Despite being such massive sellers, only the last of these reached the U.S. top 40, peaking at No. 37. (“Perdóname,” interestingly, reached the top of the chart in Poland.) During this time, he was almost consistently included among DJ Magazine’s top 100 practitioners of the art, an honor he reclaimed in 2023. Saturday, June 1, doors at 9:30 p.m., Big Night Live, 110 Causeway St., Boston, $15

Santigold at Big Night Live

Santigold’s full-length releases have been few and far between, amounting to only four between 2008 and 2022. Similarly, her live appearances have not been frequent, with her last extensive tour of North America happening in 2016. (She canceled the tour in support of 2022’s “Spirituals,” stating, “I will not continue to sacrifice myself for an industry that has become unsustainable for, and uninterested in the welfare of the artists it is built upon.”) This year, she will play 11 shows in North America — including two festivals — in the six-month span of May through October. If past is prologue, this might be her last trek for a while. Thursday, Aug. 22, doors at 7 p.m./show at 8 p.m., Big Night Live, 110 Causeway St., Boston, $57.75

Best rap and hip-hop shows

Skilla Baby and Rob49 at Big Night Live

Detroit native Trevor Gardner records and performs as Skilla Baby and identifies himself as “GOD’S FAVORITE” on Instagram. After a major-label bidding war that included Atlantic, Def Jam, and Columbia, Gardner signed to Geffen in 2022 and released the EP “We Eat the Most” that December. In recent months, he was shouted-out in the No. 1 Jack Harlow song “Lovin’ On Me” (“I get love from Detroit like Skilla Baby”) and put out his first full-length recording, “The Coldest.” Skilla Baby and Rob49 — who grew up in New Orleans’s 4th and 9th wards — are co-headlining the Vultures Eat the Most Tour in (mostly) June. With Loe Shimmy. Thursday, June 13, doors at 7 p.m./show at 8 p.m., Big Night Live, 110 Causeway St., Boston, $49

Fredo Bang at Brighton Music Hall

2024’s “Yes, I’m Sad” is Fredo Bang’s follow-up to his 2020 debut, “Most Hated.” However, the Def Jam recording artist’s productivity is better indicated by the more than 40 singles (and handful of mixtapes) that he put his name on — frequently with a collaborator — between 2016 and 2023. The title track of his latest effort is testimony to the revealing and emotionally personal nature of the project, as demonstrated by the lyrics, “Keep a poker face so they can’t see I’m really mad. I know it’s hard to tell, but baby yes I’m sad.” Bang will bring numerous guests with him on his month-long spring tour, which stops in Allston on June 5. With Kuttem Reese with FL Dusa, Yolo Ru, Brimboy TB, How DBlack DoDat. Wednesday, June 5, doors at 7 p.m./show at 8 p.m., Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Ave., Allston, $42.50-$48.25 (VIP tickets, $125)

24KGoldn at The Sinclair

24KGoldn, right, with BJ Novak, at Experience 249 in West Hollywood this past February. (Don’t expect Novak at 24KGoldn’s Sinclair show, but you never know.) – Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for VinFast)

Golden Landis Von Jones was an aspiring hedge fund manager when he entered USC’s business school in 2018. The following year, he released his second single and first (two-)million-seller, “Valentino.” This was followed up by the nearly as successful “City of Angels,” but it is unlikely that anything could have prepared him for “Mood,” which reached No. 1 in seven countries and was certified seven-times platinum in the U.S. and Australia. (A subsequent remix featured vocals by Justin Bieber.) This past March saw the release of the 23-year-old’s latest EP, “Growing Pains.” With Cliff Notez. Tuesday, June 18, doors at 7:30 p.m./show at 8:30 p.m., The Sinclair, 52 Church St., Cambridge, $21

Best rock/alternative/indie shows

The Church and Afghan Whigs at Royale

Greg Dulli leads the Afghan Whigs. – Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

Afghan Whigs lead singer Greg Dulli described The Church beautifully when he said that his first impression was that they “sound[ed] like David Bowie fronting The Byrds.” More than 40 years later, the Ohio indie band of the ’90s (and 2010s and ’20s) and the Australian alternative band of the ’80s (and each subsequent decade) are set to embark on a 17-date co-headlining tour of North America, the third stop of which is in Boston.

Led by lone lifelong member Steve Kilbey, The Church will perform selections from 2023’s “The Hypnogogue” and their 27th album, “Eros Zeta and the Perfumed Guitars,” which hit stores in March 2024. (And yes, probably, “Under the Milky Way.”) Afghan Whigs, featuring original members Dulli and John Curley, will have songs from 2022’s “How Do You Burn?” in tow. With Ed Harcourt. Friday, June 21, doors at 6 p.m./show at 7 p.m., Royale, 279 Tremont St., Boston, $45

Guided by Voices at Royale

Guided by Voices embarked on their supposed farewell tour in 2004. Since reuniting in 2012, however, the Dayton-based quintet has been more prolific than ever. Granted, they were pretty prolific to begin with, but now it is not uncommon for them to release three albums in a single calendar year. Although their lineup is famously inconstant, it has been surprisingly stable since 2016, with the indefatigable 66-year-old former school teacher Robert Pollard at the helm. Their Royale show will happen six days in advance of their first 2024 offering, “Strut of Kings.” My bet is that the remaining months of the year are ample for it to not be their last. With The Moles. Saturday, June 22, doors at 6 p.m./show at 7 p.m., Royale, 279 Tremont St., Boston, $40

Dry Cleaning at Paradise Rock Club

Dry Cleaning is a contemporary post-punk quartet from South London whose two LPs — 2021s “New Long Leg” and 2022’s “Stumpwork” — have both been ranked among the best of their respective years by various publications. (The latter, interestingly, was awarded the 2024 Grammy for Best Recording Package.) Their sound is distinguished by Florence Shaw’s spoken-word delivery, rubbery, ominous bass lines, genre-bending guitar, and mostly subtle but still ear-grabbing drums. Once again benefiting from the production of John Parrish (who has produced records by numerous female artists and female-led bands), “Stumpwork” was a solid step up in the same way that “New Long Leg” was vis-à-vis the band’s 2019 EPs, both of which were reissued together in March. Friday, June 28, doors at 7 p.m./show at 8 p.m., Paradise Rock Club, 967 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, $25

Redd Kross at Brighton Music Hall

Hailing from the same LA County city as Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson, Jeff and Steven McDonald released their debut EP — which included soon-to-be members of Black Flags and Circle Jerks — while the elder one was still in high school. Like Australia’s Hoodoo Gurus, Redd Kross initially drew unapologetically from lowbrow pop culture, but in even more kitschy, campy, and trashy fashions. Fecundity has never been Redd Kross’s calling card, and the forthcoming eponymous double album is only their third since 2012. The relative infrequency with which they tour is all the more reason to be at their upcoming Brighton Music Hall show. July 27, doors at 7 p.m./show at 8 p.m., Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Ave., Allston, $25

The Chameleons at The Sinclair

The Chameleons were responsible for three of the better (maybe best) British post-punk albums of the early to mid-’80s. Unfortunately, those proved to be their only ones, and they failed to secure the prominence of some of their Manchester contemporaries. (Their one other studio LP was released in 2001.) Still, with such a consistent catalog, The Chameleons proved to be major influences on subsequent, more successful British and American bands. Thankfully, the lack of new material did not prevent them from — after a 20-year absence — returning to the U.S. in 2022, 2023, and now this year for a show at The Sinclair. With Lovina Falls. Saturday, Aug. 10, doors at 7/show at 8, The Sinclair, 52 Church St., Cambridge, &35

Gin Blossoms and Toad the Wet Sprocket at Chevalier Theatre

For those who may have been less keen on grunge, this lineup is about as ’90s at it gets! Featuring three bands who recorded their most memorable material between 1991 and 1999, this mid-August show in Medford will include myriad songs that were included on mix tapes and CDs that circulated among the people I went to high school with. Gin Blossoms rightfully deserve the headlining spot, but there will surely be almost as many fans there specifically for Toad the Wet Sprocket. And Vertical Horizon will be a nice starter for this evening of jangly alternative pop. With Vertical Horizon. Tuesday, Aug. 13, 6:30, Chevalier Theatre, 30 Forest St., Medford, $65 (VIP tickets available)

Best pop concerts

Allie X at The Sinclair

Oakville, Ontario, native Alexandra Ashley Hughes began her career in Toronto, where she was more successful in acting than in music. Shortly after relocating to Los Angeles in 2013, her debut single, “Catch,” really caught on, public admirers of which included Time and Katy Perry. In the intervening years between then and now, she has added three LPs to her discography (including this past February’s highly praised, ’80-flavored “Girl with No Face”), released an unusually large number of singles, and collected numerous songwriting credits for recordings by other artists. With Maylee Todd. Monday, June 10, doors at 7/show at 8, The Sinclair, 52 Church Street, Cambridge, resale tickets available

Peach PRC at Royale

Sharlee Jade “Shaylee” Curnow was born in the Down Under state of South Australia in 1997. Her name was inspired by a Super Mario Bros. character and the abbreviation for porcelain. Curnow initially became highly visible on TikTok thanks to her content that addressed issues such as mental illness, sexuality, intoxicant abuse, and music. Her leap to music stardom in Australia and New Zealand was the result of the 2021 single “Josh” and cemented by the following year’s “God Is A Freak.” Having played only three shows in the U.S. last June, Peach PRC has five stateside dates (plus two in Toronto) scheduled a year later. These include her first Boston visit, which was upgraded from The Sinclair to the higher-capacity Royale. Tuesday, June 25, doors at 7:30 p.m./show at 8:30 p.m., Royale, 279 Tremont St., Boston, $25

Best singer-songwriter/folk shows

Searows at The Sinclair

Alec Duckart was born in Lexington, Kentucky, but raised and makes his home in Portland, Oregon. As a result, he says, “I feel like I’m very much stereotypically Pacific Northwest in my whole sound, vibe and interests.” This is reflected in his having heard his parents play regional acts such as Sleater-Kinney and The Decemberists as well as Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens, who, Duckart adds, “are both from the Midwest, but they sing about the Pacific Northwest.” After spending previous tours opening for Gracie Abrams, Matt Maltese, and Ethel Cain, the George Harrison-resembling (I think) 24-year-old will headline his first tour — which includes several sold-out dates — in June. With runo plum. Wednesday, June 26, doors at 7:30 p.m./show at 8:30 p.m., The Sinclair, 52 Church St., Cambridge, resale tickets available

Jessica Pratt at The Sinclair

San Francisco-born and LA-based singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt’s first three albums each built on the critical acclaim of the previous one. This year’s “Here In the Pitch” has not only continued this trend, but may very well be her greatest leap forward of all. Pratt’s sound is frequently compared to Joan Baez, Laurel Canyon folk musicians such as Joni Mitchell and David Crosby, and “Pet Sounds”-era Beach Boys. Like Joanna Newsome, Pratt’s voice is something of an acquired taste. Once one does, though, it is something to savor. Like its predecessor (2019’s “Quiet Sounds”), the nine tracks on “Here In the Pitch” run a couple of minutes short of half an hour, with nary a false note in the bunch. Saturday, July 27, doors at 7:30/show at 8:30, The Sinclair, 52 Church St., $25

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