March Music Madness: 16 shows, 1 winner

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It's a crowded week on the Columbus concert calendar. To help you pick which bands to check out and which to skip, we decided to pit 16 marquee gigs against each other to determine the best show of the week.


Vampire Weekend vs. Fanfarlo

Fanfarlo are promising new UK pop-rockers, but lingering questions about Outland's sound system make Ezra Koenig's band the superior option.

Nebula vs. Joanna Newsom

Nebula brings their blazing stoner rock through town on the regular; Newsom is a much rarer treat.

David Gray/Phosphorescent vs. The Smith Westerns

Openers Phosphorescent make transcendent indie folk, but that's not enough to make David Gray more appealing than Chicago's boisterous youngsters the Smith Westerns.

David Bazan/Headlights vs. Puscifer

Ex-Pedro the Lion frontman Bazan just dropped a compelling crisis-of-faith record, and Headlights' shimmering songcraft is solid, but give the edge to Tool singer Maynard James Keenan's bizarro side project.

Temper Trap vs. Bone Thugs

The desire to hear the Aussie band perform their "(500) Days of Summer" hit "Sweet Disposition" is outweighed by the desire to see a full reunion of Cleveland's biggest hip-hop breakout until Kid Cudi came along.

Dillinger Escape Plan vs. Tegan & Sara

It's doubtful that anyone but us is trying to choose between the twee pop of Tegan & Sara and the face-melting mathcore of Dillinger. DEP will have a better pit, though.

Passion Pit vs. Javelin

Both bands do forward-thinking dance pop, but Javelin is fresh and Passion Pit is played out after endless exposure and two appearances here last year.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club/Band of Skulls vs. Deerhunter

Fans of good old-fashioned rock 'n' roll might prefer rising Band of Skulls and coasting BRMC, but provocative innovators Deerhunter have never played Columbus before.


Vampire Weekend vs. Joanna Newsom

With both shows on Monday, concertgoers will actually have to make this choice. Newsom can be mesmerizing, but her new three-disc "Have One On Me" defines "too much of a good thing."

Smith Westerns vs. Puscifer

We don't know what to expect from Puscifer's lounge-act live show, which blends live sketches and multimedia with musical performance. We're curious enough to find out.

Bone vs. Dillinger

The lightning-fast tongue of Bizzy Bone and the lightning-fast riffs of Dillinger guitarist Ben Weinman would make for an awesome crossover. Still, Bone Thugs advance in a close one.

Javelin vs. Deerhunter

Deerhunter's Bradford Cox is among music's most compelling figures, trumping whatever blog cred Javelin may have tallied.


Vampire Weekend vs. Puscifer

Actual vampires would probably prefer Puscifer, but the Ivy Leaguers advance to the finals.

Bone vs. Deerhunter

Bone meets Deerhunter at the crossroads of a Final Four matchup. Dreamy post-punk shoegaze edges nostalgia rap.


Vampire Weekend vs. Deerhunter

Each band is popular, talented and critically acclaimed, but V-Dub's sold-out status, radio play and "SNL" cache gives them the mainstream appeal for the win.