Back to nearly a full week of music in D.C. for me. It's not entirely complete, as I'll be celebrating Record Store Day by throwing a bachelor party for my future brother-in-law. These festivities, however, are likely more predictable than what will be happening at the Howard Theatre that night. Two straight nights from the Bad Brains might be a lot to ask for, given H.R.'s recent track record, but let's hope for more professionalism than you'll find where I'll be on Saturday night. I wouldn't bet it on it though. I'll also miss more of a sure thing, as Chairlift takes their matured indie pop sound to U Street Music Hall as well as The Drums at the Black Cat.
Disclaimer: I reserve the right to make last minute changes, due to the NHL playoff schedule. It's a problem I hope to be dealing with well into Spring and Summer. (Go Caps!)
Monday, April 16 - Cheyenne Marie Mize: Black Cat
The starkest of folk music will be on display at the Black Cat. And yes, there will be more than enough sadness to go around. Cheyenne Marie Mize's voice fits such a traditional definition of beautiful so that this professionally trained music therapist will not leave her audience in a depressing lurch.
Not Attending -- The Roots: Howard Theatre
The studio output remains strong, but I haven't exactly kept up on just who's the in the group anymore. This isn't said to take away from their live prowess. There is no reason to doubt that if you're at the Howard on Monday night, you'll be treated to a fun hip-hop show. I'm just not entirely sure there will be anything new if you've seen the legendary Roots crew before.
Not Attending -- Mickey Hart: 9:30 Club
As a member of one of my favorite bands of all time, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Mickey. As one-half of the rhythm devils, Mickey's eccentric passion for percussion never seems to wane. I'd just rather see him with some of the other original members of the Grateful Dead as opposed to this particular incarnation.
Tuesday, April 17 -- !!!: Talking Head Club
!!! consistently offers the best dance party not reliant on dance music. The energy will be at full tilt from lead singer Nic Offer whose irresistible affect, will make you forget that you find his band's name to be slightly irritating. There's a punk sensibility, but there will be few snarls at the Talking Head. Plenty of smiles and gyrating bodies though.
Wednesday, April 18 -- Möbius Strip/The Andalusians: Crooked Beat Records
A couple of Dischord bands inside a small basement-level record store on 18th Street, sounds like a pretty perfect way to celebrate Record Store Day week in D.C. Visit Crooked Beat ahead of the show and put your name in their golden ticket box for a chance to be first in line at the store on Saturday. The drawing will take place at this free show.
Shpongle: 9:30 Club
I have never bared witness to that which is Shpongle. My knowledge of their ambient trance music is limited. I know there are those who disparage these DJ sets, as opposed to the much more rare live performances. So while I may not be indoctrinated into this particular cult on Wednesday night, the opportunity to see the spectacle should not be taken lightly. Anyone who starts making music after seeing a solar eclipse in India deserves our curiosity and attention. Going to see for myself if there should respect given as well.
Not Attending -- Washed Out: Black Cat
Ernest Greene has taken his contemporary synthpop to the big stage. That might be an overstatement, but the slicker production levels of Greene's lo-fi and dreamlike soundscapes have allowed for him to graduate from smaller local venues to selling out the Black Cat with relative quickness.
Thursday, April 19 -- Eleanor Friedberger: Black Cat
Eleanor Friedberger leaves behind the Fiery Furnaces in favor of understated, but abundantly clear, emotion. Friedberger finds the perfect intersection between indie rock star and singer songwriter. She'll have us singing along just as much as she'll leave the audience entirely spellbound.
Not Attending -- Alex Winston: U Street Music Hall
Alex Winston treats her audiences to the sugariest form of pop music that still manages to never want for true substance. No matter what first impression may tell you, I promise that the effervescence emanating from the U Street Music Hall speakers will win you over more than it will ever get on your nerves. Winston doesn't create light music for the sake of accessibility. It's just the way she expresses herself. And she does it well.
Friday, April 20 -- Bad Brains: Howard Theatre
I was sitting on my couch staring at a not-so-diverse range of 24-hour news networks when Bad Brains performed notoriously poorly last time out at the 9:30 club. With any luck, they are better off than they were nearly four years ago on election night. Even if we are subject to another regrettable performance, don't forget these guys were once the best of the hardcore best. Sounds worth the risk.
Sunday, April 22 -- The Mean Season: Black Cat
I've previewed these D.C. upstarts once before. If you, like me, missed out on your opportunity to see these guys and girl live, you won't find a better opportunity than their EP release party at the Black Cat.
Follow Ben E. Kessler on Twitter: www.twitter.com/wmftc