When thanked in advance publicly for not attending a concert on a particular evening, one should likely not buy a ticket on that date in question. When the request comes from family, I would advise taking that request seriously. And if the event to which you are invited is your sister's wedding, you should oblige. So, with apologies to Class Actress, I will be otherwise engaged on Saturday night. And, even though Katy Goodman has yet to respond to my invitation to be my +1, I will still try and make it to La Sera on Friday night.
Monday, May 14 -- The Cranberries: 9:30 Club
Nearly 17 years ago, at the worst concert venue these parts have to offer, I saw my first show. My sister was there. My mom drove. I would struggle mightily to name a Cranberries record that has been released since then, but that shouldn't matter on Monday night. I'll be there, with my mom and my sister, at the best venue in town. And no matter with whom you might attend, given the quality of those first two albums, it shouldn't matter for you either.
Not Attending -- Here We Go Magic: Black Cat
Here We Go Magic straddles the popular music line of psychedelic and chamber. The sounds and vocals are warm, but Luke Temple is able to bring an audience up, just as much as he can take them down. In fact, the audience at the Black Cat should expect more than two directions. Be on time to see Hospitality start the night.
Tuesday, May 15 -- Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes: 9:30 Club
Even with Polyphonic Spree a mere week away, I'm willing to admit that there is room for more than one super-sized band in my heart. They might not be the first or the best to do what they do, but it would be damn near impossible to shun that much positive emotion from that many people.
Wednesday, May 16 -- MV & EE: DC9
There is an understated beauty in just about everything Matt Valentine and Erika Elder create together. It's folk music in one of its most non-traditional forms. Purposefully sprawling and disjointed at times, Elder and Valentine separate themselves from their peers. They will not be weird for weird's sake at DC9 -- just themselves.
Thursday, May 17 -- Mewithoutyou: Black Cat
One of D.C.'s native sons may have introduced us to the more aggressive side of spoken-word, but Mewithoutyou moves it forward. Just as others changed a genre enough to form post-hardcore, Mewithoutyou takes everything we learned from Family Man and goes far beyond anyone's musical expectations.
Not Attending -- Fishbone: State Theatre
We're 20+ years past the band's peak, but a high energy, frenetic hybrid of genres -- and who isn't? -- these veterans of funk and punk may still be one of your better options. I'm unsure of the proximity of Falls Church to ground zero, but there should be a party on Thursday night nonetheless.
Friday, May 18 -- La Sera: Red Palace
The best love songs as told by the girl groups of the 60s had heartbreak aplenty. Few, however, ever weaved tales as wonderfully dark as Katy Goodman does with La Sera. Never far from her influences, Goodman's voice may be pretty, but if you listen carefully enough, you realize quickly that her songs are more garage and punk than they ever are pop. Beach Week fittingly, and more than capably, open the show.
Not Attending -- Beth Orton: U Street Music Hall
In the mid-to-late '90s, Beth Orton combined all the best subtleties of electronic music with the bare essentials of folk music. Since making two close-to-perfect albums, she has stripped away the lion's share of the non-essential layers. Friday night will not be any less interesting than it would have been in 1996. Orton's music is just as honest and a bit more straightforward.
Sunday, May 20 -- Father John Misty: Rock and Roll Hotel
Joshua Tillman takes everything he learned from being in Fleet Foxes and makes it a whole lot less boring. As Father John Misty, Tillman doesn't stray far from what made his band so popular, but picks up the pace just enough. His willingness to do so, should result in a far more compelling live performance as well.