It's a week in the D.C.-area of familiar faces, old friends, and those who waited too long to visit. There aren't any headline-grabbing shows or tough tickets. In fact, if you ask enough people you might actually be able to convince yourself that there are no concerts at all this week. My whereabouts may not be for everyone this go-around, but I have a suspicion that they never are. Luckily for me, I have booked myself Monday through Sunday. If you have similarly somewhat unhealthy desires, good luck. If not, there's always next week.
Monday, July 30 -- The Dø: U Street Music Hall
Olivia Merilahti and Dan Levy manage to continuously create both grounded and emotionally expressive pop music. Merilahti never gets carried away, and in turn, she's always in control. This Finnish-French duo are capable of expressing everything from anxiousness to exasperation in pure minimalist elegance.
The Big Pink: Rock and Roll Hotel
This isn't an album review, so we can avoid debate as to whether The Big Pink have dropped off in the wake of their second record. Lucky for live music goers, the answer barely matters. At Rock and Roll Hotel, you'll be treated to sweeping electronic melodies and choruses meant for venues exponentially bigger. Fair warning, someone of the songs will be better than others. But, as that's always the case, I'm sure you knew that already.
Not Attending -- The Allman Brothers Band: Merriweather Post Pavillion
Greg is still alive and the band features two of the greatest living rock guitar players. Those reasons alone make it hard to skip an evening with The Allman Brothers Band. But put them on a bill with whoever Carlos is calling Santana these days and stick it out in Columbia on a Monday and it becomes easier to resist.
Tuesday, July 31 -- Brandt Brauer Frick: U Street Music Hall
Take three classically trained Germans give them intimate knowledge of modern dance music, and you will be on the receiving end of a uniquely sparse interpretation of house. Brandt Brauer Frick's ability to generate these sounds from instruments typically found in the orchestra pit will have those present on Tuesday night thinking as much as they will be moving.
Not Attending -- Helmet: Fillmore Silver Spring
The current touring lineup of Helmet may not be what you remember, but with lead-singer Page Hamilton still at the helm, there's plenty for a trip down memory lane. There's new music to be consumed, which, depending on your perspective might not be for the best. But if nostalgia is what you're after, look no further -- they're playing with The Toadies for goodness' sake.
Wednesday, August 1 -- Bombay Bicycle Club: 9:30 Club
A few months later, they're back. If you closed your eyes and rid yourself of the memories of the oppressive heat outside, you might think it was March.
Thursday, August 2 -- Casket: Golden West
The ticket merchant offers apt, although general, descriptions for Thursday night's bill up in Baltimore. You've got your straightforward "Philly Death Metal" from Casket. Tombstalker is apparently "Hammer crushing death crust from Lexington, KY!" And regarding Necropsy, we're told "These teenage Death/Thrashers will blow your f***ing mind!!" No matter your opinion on the gross overuse of exclamation points, the words either having you heading up 95 or running south as fast as humanly possible.
Friday, August 3 -- Idina Menzel: Wolf Trap
Idina Menzel is a veteran of two of the most well-known modern musicals of the last 20 years. With Wicked and Rent under her belt Menzel has plenty of material to command a stage. Given her vocal ability, however, she could sing just about anything and have me captivated.
Saturday, August 4 -- She Keeps Bees: Paper Haus
It's been just over a month since we last saw She Keeps Bees at the Black Cat, but who could possibly deny them reentry to our fair city? Jessica Larrabee and Andy LaPlant defy the guitar and drums status quo. There's plenty of rawness in Larrabee's voice that prohibits us from casting a simply folk label. Meanwhile, soft-spoken earnestness abounds. If you spend the night trying to think of a category for these two, you likely won't come to a conclusion until some time around Sunday afternoon.
Sunday, August 5 -- Au/Tu Fawning: Black Cat
The means used by these two bands bond them more than their musical ends. Both acts possess a rare ability to utilize both the bombastically experimental and ethereal qualities to defy that which we have heard before. Each project is as much an escape for the listener as it is an outlet for musical exploration for the artist.