This week is another celebration of personal live music choice. Even with evil forces at work, options remain. So a very very large corporation's ticket distribution practices may or may have not prevented you from seeing everyone's favorite Maya Angelou devotee. I am here to tell you that all is not lost. You will not be able to close your eyes at another show and pretend you are being transported back to 1996, 1999, and/or 2005, but let's enjoy ourselves until the next tour. And if you did manage to get tickets, I genuflect in your general direction. Consider yourself a ticket... master...
Tuesday, March 20 - Kasabian: 9:30 Club
If you wanted to form a band representing the best of England of the last twenty years, you're already too late. Kasabian has beaten you to the punch. They're still more rock than pop or electronica, but if you think of worthy recent musical exports from the UK, you just might hear hints of those sounds in the songs played on Tuesday night.
Not Attending - The Wedding Present: Rock and Roll Hotel
The Wedding Present's musical output might be too inconsistent too be able to call them legends, but they've certainly reached the mountaintop at certain points in the last 25 years. Most well known for their debut album, George Best, there was a brief time when they were likely the biggest indie band on the planet. If you are a casual fan and haven't seen them live, I highly recommend not passing up the opportunity This is a check the box moment.
Wednesday, March 21 - Justice: 9:30 Club
Parisians have seldom failed in creating expansive dance music in the last couple decades. And if you're at all familiar with Justice, you may have guessed that there isn't much to their live performances. With no offense intended, Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay, are more producers than they are musicians. The duo will turn the 9:30 Club into a party on a Wednesday night -- an accomplishment worth celebrating. They'll just do it differently from your run-of-the-mill rock band.
Dry The River/Bowerbirds: Black Cat
I will be staying at the Black Cat for as long as possible, before walking from 14th to 8th. You too will do yourself a great service by seeing as much of this double bill as possible. I wouldn't be surprised if you think you've heard all the folk music you can handle from London and North Carolina respectively, but make a little more room in your heart for these two. Both are worth your time. Sharing a genre or a home, doesn't mean you have to share an exact sound.
Not Attending - The Mean Season: Velvet Lounge
D.C.'s own The Mean Season play uncomplicated indie rock with lyrics that exist on the other side of the depth spectrum. The sounds are complementary to the strength of their words and the power of Cherie Laubert's voice. Even the laziest fan or journalist would have a hard time comparing Cherie to another musician of her gender. (Believe me. I tried.) She stands alone for now, and will likely to do so even more as The Mean Season's profile becomes bigger and bigger.
Not Attending - Fiona Apple: 6th and I Synagogue
I may have said enough already. If you are headed to this show, it's probably not the new songs debuted recently that have you excited. You want to hear your favorites. You haven't heard them live in a long time, and you're about to see them in an intimate space. Nothing I say is going to enhance your anticipatory anxiousness. If you don't have a ticket, nothing I say will make you more annoyed.
Thursday, March 22 - Purity Ring: Red Palace
Purity Ring dissects and reassembles the most accessible music that was once intended for the dance floor and the top 40. It won't reach those heights anymore, as they now exist on a different ethereal plane than the sounds destined for the club. Purity Ring will keep the crowd moving, but just at an entirely unique level.
Friday, March 23 - Polica: Red Palace
There's no mistaking the fact that members of Gayngs have their hands in Polica. The self-description of "electro-r&b goth-pop" could likely describe the aforementioned group just as much as it does Polica, but in this instance it's Channy Casselle's time to shine.
Not Attending - Fatboy Slim: 9:30 Club
This is a show for electronic music fans and nostalgia seekers alike. Whether you have tracked Norman Cook's entire career, or you just want to hear your favorite songs from an album that was released 14 years ago, it doesn't matter. When trying to make a choice for Friday night, hearing the opening notes of "Praise You" is almost enough to change my mind entirely.
Not Attending - Franz Nicolay: Wasted Dream
The sorrowful storytelling of Franz Nicolay may be unmatched. Each song seems to be the gripping tale of a tragic hero. If only my confidence to attend house shows was as bold as Franz's singing style. I'll be sitting this one out until his return to the Black Cat next week. If you're thinking about going to both, I assure you, you will not tire of Franz.
Saturday, March 24 - Band of Skulls: 9:30 Club
The effectively slowed-down pace of Band of Skulls' rock music, may just be where they derive their power. Other successful bands have gone about it the same way, but Band of Skulls aren't simply stripped down a much as they are precise and incredibly deliberate.
Not Attending: Reptar - 6th and I Synagogue
Reptar is making a name for themselves by playing anywhere and often. This is no surprise. Their music is largely upbeat and just about as infectiously catchy as they come. They're right to play for as many people as possible, because I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of those who leave a Reptar show for the first time, do so with a new band to add to his or her list of current favorites.
Not Attending: Youth Lagoon - Rock and Roll Hotel
At first blush, you might be tempted to lump Trevor Powers in with his other lo-fi pop contemporaries, but there's a range of emotion that exists here that isn't as ubiquitous as the genre has become. Sure, there are those haunting melodies that you might expect, but there are enough subtle hints of joy and happiness that will have an audience asking more questions than making assumptions.