To sum up the below, Marilyn Manson will likely not be the strangest show of the week. These acts run the gamut from the incredibly beautiful to the slightly bizarre. There will be voices and sounds on display that might even have a touch of both.
Monday, April 30 -- Nick Lowe: The Birchmere
Nick Lowe's greatest records may be behind him, but considering the run of classics that started off his career, it would be difficult to blame him. But with others whose careers spans several decades, you don't have to dread hearing the new stuff. It's been steady and reliable sailing over the last 30+ years. He's not trying to be the Jesus of Cool, because aging gracefully takes at least a modicum of self-awareness.
Tuesday, May 1 -- Marilyn Manson: Fillmore Silver Spring
Given my propensity to wish we could relive the mid-90s, this show just makes sense for me. I admit, if there was any mystique, or even spookiness, surrounding this Antichrist Superstar, it is likely long gone. But the only time I've seen a Marilyn Manson show was in a larger venue, and like all sensible people in attendance, I was there to see Slayer. The new album is pretty good and I think there's a good chance we'll see something at least slightly cool up in Silver Spring on Tuesday night.
Not Attending -- Bear in Heaven: Rock and Roll Hotel
Bear in Heaven has the less sunny and introspective side of indie-pop covered. And luckily for those who like seeing them live, when they're in D.C. they tend to play with equally strong bands. This time it's Blouse and Doldrums opening things up. If you bought a ticket for this sold out show, you should plan on seeing three very good acts for $3.33 a piece.
Wednesday, May 2 -- We Were Promised Jetpacks: Black Cat
These Glaswegians are willing to live and die by the anthem. With singalongs and fist pumps the goal, there's little risk of metonymy. The crowd favorites blur together just a little bit, but unless you truly enter the Black Cat refusing to have a good time on a Wednesday night, you'll be too caught up to notice.
Not Attending -- Xiu Xiu: Rock and Roll Hotel
Jamie Stewart may create the most inclusive experimental music. Xiu Xiu's often heart-wrenching songs don't come out of left field as much as they come from within the average outsider. Even at their most shocking, Xiu Xiu never feels like shtick. But while they have your attention, they're going to deliver a very clear message -- it's seldom the happiest, but it will almost always ring true.
Thursday, May 3 -- Fun.: 9:30 Club
It would be difficult to disprove that much of Fun.'s success can be attributed to a well placed song in a commercial during the most watched sporting event in the U.S. It wouldn't be any easier to argue against the fact that nearly every single word we've heard from these guys makes us want to join in on vocals. There's no denying that there's little new ground that will be covered during these two nights at the 9:30 club, but no one is trying to say that having fun is a new phenomenon.
Friday, May 4 -- Acid Mothers Temple: Red Palace
If you're unfamiliar with Acid Mothers Temple, try and imagine what a Japanese prog/psychedelic collective might sound like. Once you've contorted your brain to get those sounds in your head, turn the volume way up, make it a whole lot darker, and add just an extra pinch of weird.
Not Attending -- Lower Dens: Rock and Roll Hotel
With Baltimore serving as Lower Dens HQ, this quartet has shined on D.C. stages before. At last, they are doing so steadily as headliners. They do so on the strength of Jana Hunter's haunting vocal ability which moves effortlessly atop layers upon layers of beautiful reverb.
Not Attending -- Fun.: 9:30 Club
No matter how irresistibly catchy, one night is enough for me.
Saturday, May 5 -- Ane Brun: The Hamilton
The director for the song "Worship" compared Ane's music to "a great ocean housed under the roof of a great old theater, where pictures are hung from the threads of the music shooting out." There's no possible way I could paint a more elegant or more accurate picture, so I won't try.
Sunday, May 6 --Möbius Strip: Black Cat
The music of Möbius Strip is not comprised all of shouts and pounding bass lines. But when the situation calls for them, they are always right on time. Upon hearing this hard-driving, no frills three-piece, there's little surprise that their most recent effort is distributed by Dischord. And where I come from, that's typically a good thing.
Follow Ben E. Kessler on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ben__k