This week demonstrates the difficult life of a person who feels the need to go to as many shows as possible. Strangely, concert promoters will not check to see if you have a (concert) conflict, leading to choices just a bit less tragic than Sophie's. The decisions are based largely through personal experience rather than taste alone. I tend to favor seeing a band for the first time, instead of seeing a repeat. This system borders on illogical, and is prone to failure. There are even instances in which real life gets in the way, and instead of secluding myself in the back of a music venue, I am forced to socialize with people en masse where no live music is occurring. (These happenings will keep me from considering The Queers at St. Stephen's Church or George Clinton at the 9:30 Club.) I could list the wrong concert choices I've made in quick order. For these are the decisions that keep me up at night, haunting me in my dreams.
Monday, February 6 - Thurston Moore/Kurt Vile: Black Cat
With all due respect, this is no one's ideal Thurston Moore performance. But with the feared demise of Sonic Youth and the strength of Moore's 2011 effort Demolished Thoughts, this will be more than adequate. Combine the opportunity to see a living legend in a relatively small space with Kurt Vile opening, who could possibly fill the venue on his own at this point, and we should have a (very) early contender for show of the year.
Not Attending - Theophilus London: 9:30 Club
Having never seen Theophilus London, I cannot comment on his live prowess, but judging by the energy on his studio efforts, I have to assume his shows are, at the very least, fun. Given the multitude of genres he moves in and out of, it's safe to add entertaining to the list of descriptors.
Wednesday, February 8 - Veronica Falls: Black Cat
Sweet-sounding dark songs are a favorite of mine, and few bands currently fill that niche better than Veronica Falls. There's something about the downstairs space at the Black Cat that should mesh perfectly with the bleak pop sounds that will emanate from its speakers.
Thursday, February 9 - Summer Camp: U Street Music Hall
Quick story: the last time I thought I was going to see Summer Camp, it turned out to be a drag queen of the same name. While not discounting the performance I saw, I am assured this time that I won't make the same mistake. This show will trend more towards light than the night previous, but there's nothing entirely straight forward about Summer Camp's pop sensibilities.
Not Attending - Royal Baths: DC9
Royal Baths rock more, or at least more directly, than others who have released albums on the Woodsist label. They maintain, however, that perfectly thin ethereal haze that their colleagues have perfected. If you prefer falsetto over slightly sugary pop, this is the better choice for you.
Saturday, February 11 - Sharon Van Etten: Black Cat
Van Etten's Tramp is an (again very) early favorite to make my top list for 2012. The pain in her voice and stories in her lyrics, keep any of the songs from being just a pretty folk ballad. There's always the chance her voice doesn't soar above the often difficult to manage crowd noise at the Black Cat, but I wouldn't bet against Sharon Van Etten.
Also Attending - Star Slinger: DC9
This show is set to start after everything has wrapped up at the Black Cat, giving interested parties a chance to walk down the street for a change of pace. Star Slinger is helping DC9 celebrate its eight-year anniversary with his spaced-out electronic music, which should allow the audience to quickly devolve into a dance party.
Sunday, February 12 - Die Antwoord: 9:30 Club
I've never seen Die Antwoord, and simply enough: I'm curious. I will not argue that they bring more to the table in a traditional music sense than the choices below. A spectacle, however, can be highly entertaining. I'm hoping that their self-described "futuristic rap-rave" sound translates to a live setting. There's only one way to find out.
Not Attending - Dum Dum Girls: Black Cat
If you haven't seen the Dum Dum Girls before, you should most likely pick this show. Few lead singers today are as effortlessly captivating as Dee Dee. She and the rest of the Dum Dums exude detached emotion that is more honest hurt than indifference. If you do choose this one, definitely make it in on time to see Widowspeak.
Not Attending - Cate Le Bon: DC9
I've only seen Cate Le Bon in an opening slot, but I had to make the decision somehow. Le Bon is charming and her form of psychedelic folk is beautifully disjointed with equal parts sweet and haunting qualities. If you're in the mood for a smaller show, this could be the right choice.