Live Music

What to See at National Sawdust’s Spring Revolution Music Festival This March

An explicit celebration of female voices and multicultural musical influences, Spring Revolution is a breath of fresh air. Music expert John Seroff picks the must-see shows.

Pauchi Sasaki / Photo by Musuk Nolte

Avant-classical and alt-pop not-for-profit Brooklyn performance space National Sawdust thrives on staging the unexpected, the new, and the adventurous. Its upcoming music festival, Spring Revolution, which starts a week before spring is officially sprung, draws its name and spirit from the deathlessly scandalous Stravinsky composition “The Rite of Spring,” featuring shows that challenge and artists who push boundaries. This year’s festival is focused expressly on female creators, with an eye toward highlighting underheard voices and presenting an ethnically and racially diverse lineup of performers.

L’Rain

Experimental pop performer L’Rain’s 2017 debut album is an arresting blend of electronic dance, New Age vibes, alt-R&B, ASMR noise, and avant-classical. Once the Radiohead crowd gets wind of her, she’s primed to be the next big thing; you can catch L’Rain and her quartet while she’s still on the upswing at this value-priced show. Nancy Feast, the frontwoman of TEEN, opens. Friday, March 2; 7 p.m.; $15 at door

Spring Revolution
L’Rain / Photo by June Canedo

CuCu Diamantes: “The Sins of Picasso

Multitalented Cuban singer-songwriter-actress Diamantes is best known for her work as the lead vocalist for the Grammy-nominated Latin dance band Yerba Buena. Her next solo album is Pecados de Picasso; she’ll be performing music from that LP tonight as a multimedia presentation that will include theatrical elements and cabaret. This show is coproduced by Diamantes’s longtime charitable collaborator, the HIV/AIDS not-for-profit Red HotTuesday, March 6, and Thursday, March 8; 7 p.m.; $35 in advance, $55 VIP seating at door

Saint Sister

Saint Sister is the pop-folk duo of Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre. The pair’s lilting voices, gentle harmonies, and use of Celtic harp and electronic beats have drawn a vocal fan base from Ireland that made the titular single from their 2015 EP, Madrid, a million-stream hit. Tonight’s show marks Saint Sister’s New York premiere. Wednesday, March 7; 7 p.m.; $29

Spring Revolution
Saint Sister / Photo by Veronika Faustmann

OK Miss

Chinese composer and performer Du Yun won the Pulitzer Prize for music last year for her opera Angel’s Bone. She also acts as a regular curator for National Sawdust and has organized the lineup for the venue’s concurrently running Pan-Asia Festival. Yun’s roving eye and omnivorous interests have led her to surprisingly punk ventures for someone who traffics in such highbrow fare. Her experimental rock quartet, OK Miss, mixes Chinese traditional music, jazz, and chaotic noise with Yun as frontwoman, pianist, and lead vocalist. Friday, March 9; 10 p.m.; $29

Pauchi Sasaki and Claire Chase: “Trade Routes”

Violinist and electronic artist Sasaki and flautist and MacArthur “genius grant” recipient Chase are longtime collaborators whose innovative work includes the use of dresses studded with miniature speakers playing varying sound loops dependent on their proximity to each other. The result is weirdly alien and dreamlike burbles and squeaks interspersed with lengthy instrumental solos. If there’s such a genre as “future music,” this is itSunday, March 11; 3 p.m.; $29

Why You Should Go: Spring Revolution’s bargain pricing, wildly eclectic curation, and predominantly female-led productions are a tonic for the New York concert scene.

Spring Revolution
Claire Chase / Photo by Karen Chester

Details:
Spring Revolution at National Sawdust
80 North 6th Street, Williamsburg
Friday, March 2–Sunday, March 11

Continue riding the sound waves through Williamsburg. Reach out for tickets! Find more of our live-music recommendations in The Guide.