Mike D’s Top Five Can’t Miss Shows of March

1. Fri, March 13: Sage Francis, Ceschi (CD release), Metermaids, Storm Davis; 8pm doors / 9pm show; $13 advance / $15 day of; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket. The hardest working man in hip-hop returns to The Met. The last year has seen Sage relentlessly touring (over 100 shows last year alone) and the release of his sixth solo record Copper Gone after a four year hiatus of sorts.  Hiatus is not a great word for Sage, though; the man owns and runs his own indie record label Strange Famous Records, home to like-minded musicians locally and globally. When I asked Sage what to expect for his hometown return he said, “After taking the new album around the world, I’m excited to bring it all back home with a mix of the old and the new. Resetting the clock with some great artists who I’m lucky enough to call friends. Expect hug explosions.” These Northeast March dates tie in with the release of Connecticut artist Ceschi Ramos’ new record, Broken Bones Ballads, that will be released on Fake Four Inc. Go to YouTube to check out their collaboration “Barely Alive;” it’s also a great video to show and freak out a 3-year-old. This show is also a celebration of the release of Storm Davis’  fantastic Only Built 4 Cuban Sandwiches, and his first show in God only knows how long. NYC’s Metermaids round out this Strange Famous showcase. There will be hugs.
2. Fri, March 20: Dipset Reunion, DJ Funk Flex; 8pm doors; $35 advance; All ages; Lupo’s, 79 Washington St, Providence. The first of March’s supergroup invasion into Providence features Harlem’s hip-hop group The Diplomats. Founded in the late ’90s by Cam’ron and Jim Jones, the reunion consists of all four main members — Cam, Jones, Juelz Santana and Freekey Zekey. Earlier this year, DJ Funkmaster Flex confimed the reunion and an upcoming mixtape. This is sort of appropriate as the last time we saw Dipset in RI was four or five years ago at Funks Car Show at the Convention Center, which was chaos. Cam’ron has stayed busy in the downtime. While being the most entertaining person on Instagram and staying in Cape Season, last year he also released an ebola mask during the hysteria. “Ebola is no joking matter, so if u have to be safe, be fashionable.” Well said, Cam.
3. Thurs, March 26: Twin Foxes, Bloodpheasant, Late Bloomer, Alright, Laika’s Orbit; 8pm doors; $6; Aurora, 276 Westminister St, Providence. Here Tor Johnson Records presents a showcase of some of Rhode Island’s and North Carolina’s finest talent. Twin Foxes have been on fire lately, playing a bunch of shows, getting attention from indie music site and trend setter Brooklyn Vegan, and from what I hear or internet see, preparing for a full-length. I saw them last week, and they reminded me a lot of the indie punk of the mid-90s that I love. The match with doom and gloom folk stars Bloodpheasant makes for a killer bill. North Carolina’s Late Bloomer and Alright are both new to me, but from spying their bandcamps, both seem to fit in with the ’90s indie punk settings of Twin Foxes.  Boston / Providence power pop act Laika’s Orbit round out the bill.
4. Fri, March 27: A Loss For Words (Farewell Tour), Trophy Wives, Pentimento, Speak Low If You Speak Love, Like Pacific, Morals; 7pm doors / 730pm show; $12 advance / $15 day of; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket. This show marks the end for A Loss For Words in Rhode Island. The pop punk band might call the south shore of Boston home, but the Providence area must have felt like a second home for them. Having cut their teeth early on playing shows at The Living Room (RIP), the band built themselves from being the local opening act to a national touring headliner. While many of their peers dreamed of leaving New England, A Loss For Words had the chops and put in the hard work to not only make a name for themselves, but travel all over the world. Sad to see them go, but I have a feeling that the members won’t stay quiet for long. Singer Matty Arsenault can already be seen frequently in the area with his pop hip-hop project Class of ’92 and I would bet the house on him continuing to crank out more music. Opening act Trophy Wives seem like the next local act that could make the jump to the national circuit. This April the RI act is supporting Lions Lions as far as California. And make sure to get to the show early as newly formed opening act Morals will not disappoint, more in the vein of Deftones than pop punk.
5. Sat, March 28: Diamond Rugs, New Madrid, Justin Collins; 8pm doors / 9pm show; $15 advance / $18 day of; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket. The Rhode Island debut of Diamond Rugs is finally upon us. The love project of guys from Deer Tick, Black Lips, Los Lobos, Dead Confederate and Six Finger Satellite have played a smattering of shows since their first record dropped three years ago, mostly festivals and towns on the way to SXSW. Their self-titled debut record is a criminally underrated blast of garage and early rock ‘n’ roll roots. In February the band dropped their second record, Cosmetics, a record that keeps the bigger than life riffs but is more of a mellow r&b stonsey rock leaning record than its predecessor. The first record goes right for the jugular, while Cosmetics takes a few plays to grow on you. Can’t wait to see it live, and make sure to see it yourself as who knows when these guys can arrange another tour with their heavy schedules. Athens, Georgia’s New Madrid and Diamond Rugs member / producer Justin Collins round out the bill.