It isn't for a lack of good music that I leave the District this coming weekend for shows elsewhere. April 6 begins a series of extraordinary circumstances. It's time for the Boss at the world's most famous arena. It is with no regret that I head north, but I would be remiss if I also didn't mention the plethora of musical entertainment that I leave behind.
On Friday, you're forced to choose between Cursive at the Black Cat, Plants & Animals at Red Palace, and Title Tracks at Comet Ping Pong. There's Alabama Shakes at Rams Head Live on Saturday. On Sunday, you could make the trip slightly north again for Hunx and His Punx at The Windup Space in Baltimore, or stay closer to home for Screaming Females at the Black Cat.
Most importantly, however, is the premier musical event of the weekend, the 20th anniversary celebration of chickfactor. Stevie Jackson and Frankie Rose are the highlights of the first day of the two-day event, but it's the return of Black Tambourine on Saturday that makes this event so special. This weekend will mark the band's first live performance since 1991. I'm disappointed to miss it. I did however, contribute to the band's Kickstarter campaign, so I'm hoping I'll be allowed back in D.C. when I attempt to return next Wednesday.
Monday, April 2 -- Wild Flag: 9:30 Club
After two sold-out shows at the Black Cat, Wild Flag takes the next step in selling out the 9:30 Club. There's always a danger in touring on the strength of one album for too long, but these four women, 25 percent D.C. native and 100 percent charmingly energetic, keep their full steam ahead brand of rock 'n' roll sounding fresh. Come fall in love with their debut album all over again.
Not Attending -- Of Monsters and Men: Black Cat
If you're going to see Iceland's Of Monsters and Men, I have but one favor to ask of you. Please give opener, and fellow Icelander, Lay Low the attention she deserves. If you agree to keep quiet, you're in for a unique treat: a passionate voice that isn't worried about going unnoticed.
Tuesday, April 3 -- Nat Baldwin: Metro Gallery
The kinetic energy Nat Baldwin puts into his playing is truly remarkable. In most instances, the harder a musician plays his or her instrument, the more aggressive the sound. When it comes to Nat Baldwin and his cello, however, the more he works, the more gentle the notes become. Combine that with a beautifully heartbreaking voice, and you get a jaw-dropping performance.
Not Attending -- Of Montreal: 9:30 Club
If you haven't seen Of Montreal, you should see Of Montreal. If you're like me, however, you might choose to sit this one out. Even with new material for this tour, I'd recommend this show more for its pomp and circumstance than for any other reason. This isn't meant to take anything away from this second wave Elephant 6 indie pop, but perform is what frontman Kevin Barnes does best. And if you go, a performance you shall receive.
Wednesday, April 4 -- The Beanstalk Library: Black Cat
I won't get into all of them right now, but there are far worse ways to spend $10 than see a few good bands on a Wednesday night. The Black Cat offers quantity and quality on the cheap. There will be some local rock, a dose of carefree synthpop, and bit of local folk (in that order.) If one of the three sound appealing to you, you'll get your money's worth.
Thursday, April 5 -- School of Seven Bells: Black Cat
You might not know it from their ethereal studio releases, but these dream-pop stalwarts play at a splendidly loud volume. They have the capability to be overpowering without straying towards the overbearing. What sets School of Seven Bells apart from their contemporaries of the same genre is that, when listening to them live, you're more likely to get knocked off your feet than be awash in pleasant noise.
Follow Ben E. Kessler on Twitter: www.twitter.com/wmftc