Truth be told, I wanted to present a Valentine’s themed column this month. But, sometimes, things don’t go as expected. So, while I might not recommend these shows as the perfect date night, per se, I can confidently say that you won’t be disappointed. Instead, get ready to rock hard all month long, as all of these bands combine big hooks, instrumental athleticism and powerful melodies.
THE APRIL SKIES, 2/6, 9PM, H*MAC STAGE ON HERR, $5: This powerful rock band hails from Hershey. Huge guitars and soaring melodies could easily fool you into thinking they were an arena-ready opening act on tour with U2 or MUSE. April Skies’ most recent EP, 2013’s “Yet it Floats,” sees the band further reifying their sound. Sadly, tragedy struck the band as they recently experienced the unexpected death of their guitarist, Andy Book. The February show will therefore serve as a benefit to raise money for Book’s three daughters. So, while this is a band worth seeing any time they’re performing, it will be an extra special night in support of some artists playing with heavy hearts.
ETHEREAL GROOVE INC., w/MISTER F, 2/14, 9PM, ABBEY BAR, $5: This is a band that works hard to defy categorization. Fans of jam bands will find a lot to like here, but so will those who prefer funk or prog-rock. Super slinky slapped bass lines are laid over complex polyrhythms, and they’ve gathered a devoted following in the Midwest. They will be joined by another funky, high-energy band, Mister F. Hailing from Albany, N.Y., the band’s complex arrangements and start-and-stop rhythms reveal a high level of virtuosity behind the artistry. But don’t come expecting short, power-pop songs from either of these bands. Both are prone to letting their arrangements develop into lengthy jams.
THOSE MANIC SEAS, 2/25, 8PM, THE MAKESPACE, $5 SUGGESTED DONATION: Up from Richmond, Va., this post-punk band finds a wonderful groove somewhere between the danceable New Wave of the ‘80s and the more recent and noisier post-hardcore and post-rock. But their most defining feature is their unique take on touring. Formed by three musicians who couldn’t find a full-time vocalist, they recruited “Kilroy,” a pre-recorded video that is then projected through a television fixed atop a mannequin. The result is a bizarre and somewhat disjointed live show, full of energy yet very manufactured. While more cerebral music fans are sure to pull out themes of 21st-century digital alienation from the band’s live performance, in the end, it is just great, raucous music to shake your hips to.
Mentionables: Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, 2/4, Abbey Bar; Shawan and the Wonton, 2/5, Little Amps Downtown; Millennium Music Conference, 2/19-2/20, various locations