A couple Phish shows in Atlantic City keep me away from that which is happening in D.C. this weekend of which there is plenty: (Destroyer at the 9:30 Club, Eternal Summers at Comet, Michael Kiwanauka at Rock and Roll Hotel, Ramona Falls at Red Palace, and Patterson Hood at the Birchmere.) There is however, a first Phish show on Friday night, which I am passing up in order to see one of my musical heroes play with the band which he made famous. Since we don't get to bring people back from the dead, the band's roster isn't perfect, but like with so many things, we take what we can get. And seeing the remaining members of the Beach Boys play together again is just about the best we can get.
Monday, June 11 -- Mogwai: 9:30 Club
Masters of their craft are typically worth the wait. So what if this show was originally scheduled for over a year ago? Our tickets may have begun to show their age, but this group of Glaswegians are as spry as ever -- nearly 15 years after their first record. Post-rock they may be, but never fear, Mogwai will never bore with musical sections of inaccessible space.They're too hardcore for such nonsense.
Not Attending -- Battles: Black Cat
Where the aforementioned Scots use power to ground post-rock in rock and roll traditions, this group has a bit more fun. One may use a slew of uninformative and unhelpful genres to classify this band: math rock, prog, experimental etc. Battles, however, is at their best when they're blazing through that which could only be described as upbeat pop music.
Tuesday, June 12 -- Laura Marling: 9:30 Club
Laura Marling won't be the first, nor the last, British folk songstress to steal our hearts. For our benefit, she entered the spotlight when she was 16. Instead of producing an immature sound that serves only as representing a new wave a familiar sound, Marling is best compared not simply to those of her same national heritage, gender, or share her beautifully gentle approach to singing, but to the people who hold her exceptional songwriting ability.
Not Attending -- Grass Widow: Comet Ping Pong
Grass Widow leave a personal mark on the ever popular hybrid of punk and '60s girl groups. While they are more London and New York, than they are Detroit, this San Francisco-based trio put just as must stock in perfecting harmonies than they do working on a tough exterior.
Wednesday, June 13 -- Grouplove: 9:30 Club
Just as so many of their indie-pop colleagues, most of which who they've shared bills with in venues in and around D.C., Grouplove has relied on the same canon of songs to take them to the top. There's nothing all that new since they were playing the smaller rooms in the city, just a whole lot more people with "Colours" stuck in their heads. The similarly positioned Reptar begins the night.
Thursday, June 14 -- Marissa Nadler: DC9
Marissa Nadler's music is everything people say that it is. Most frequently, you'll hear disarming and haunting. Most importantly, Marissa Nadler's music is honest. The only persona she takes on when reaching the stage is that of storyteller. If her words have profound impact on you, and they will, know that Nadler was effected first, and there's no hiding that she's still wonderfully affected. Get there in time to see Faces on Film open.
Friday, June 15 -- The Beach Boys: Merriweather Post Pavilion
The new record might not reach the heights of utter perfection this group has seen in the past, but there's no mistaking this incarnation of The Beach Boys for something seen on a wonderfully horrid sitcom set in 1990s San Francisco. The genius is back at the helm, and while Carl and Dennis won't be present, this tour is continuous history in the making.
Not Attending -- JEFF The Brotherhood: Red Palace
There is nothing particularly rare these days about a raucous garage rock duo. Their influences are the same as many who are making similarly eccentric music with a stripped down formula. Jake and Jamin Orrall have the musical chops to hang with their contemporaries, but few have as a good a time on stage as these guys. On Friday night, it will be difficult to not dance, it will be damn near impossible to not smile.