Thursday, May 3
What a difference a hit can make. After some moderate success with the Format, Nate Ruess ditched that band and made Fun’s Aim and Ignite, a fantastic album that was largely ignored. With “We Are Young” the band hit the top of the Hot 100, sold out two nights at the 9:30 Club, and scored a spot at Sweetlife.
7 PM at 9:30 Club, sold out.
Hume split their home between DC and Baltimore, and it shows—they’ve got a bit of Animal Collective’s experimental sound, but they’re a little less out there than many Charm City bands. Check them out at Black Cat.
8 PM at Black Cat, $10.
Friday, May 4
Despite being one of the most famous hard rock bands of all time, at this point, Blue Oyster Cult might be best known for Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell’s “More Cowbell” sketch on Saturday Night Live. The Long Island band will play “Don’t Fear The Reaper,” hopefully with plenty of cowbell, and other hits at the Howard Theatre.
6 and 10 PM at the Howard Theatre, $40.
In the late ’90s, Korn ruled the music world along with their nu-metal brethren Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit. The band have been pretty consistently releasing music since, and in a last-ditch effort to stay relevant, employed Skrillex to produce tracks on their latest, The Path of Totality. See how it’s working for them at the Fillmore tonight.
8 PM at the Fillmore, $45.
Saturday, May 5
Not many singer songwriters hit it too big these days--Jason Mraz and Gavin DeGraw don't really bring Dylan to mind. Takoma Park native Eric Hutchinson's doing pretty well for himself despite being pretty cookie-cutter. He's toured with some pretty familiar names, and his show at 9:30 Club is sold out. Check him out if you need something straightforward and upbeat.
8 PM at 9:30 Club, sold out.
In the '70s and '80s, Chaka Khan was the female funk star. Then the '90s came, people stopped being funky and started getting grungy, and you might have expected her to disappear. But Khan kept playing that funky music, earning two Grammys as recently as 2008 for Funk This. She plays dos Cinco de Mayo shows tonight at the Howard Theatre.
6:30 and 10 PM at the Howard Theatre, $75.
Sunday, May 6
The Torches' sound has a bit of Tom Waits in it. The folksters essentially tell stories instead of sing, with the help of banjos, harmonicas and tambourines, so you almost feel like you're sitting around a campfire. Check them out at pop-up venue Paperhaus tonight.
8 PM at Paperhaus, free.
With Send Me On My Way, Rusted Root had a pretty big hit in the mid-'90s. They use percussion from around the world, so you'll get African, Latin, and Native American rhythms during their show. And presumably some really long drum solos--they are a jam band, ya know.
7 PM at 9:30 Club, $25.
Monday, May 7
For years, Washington had no hip-hop scene to speak of. With the breakout of Wale and emergence of emcees like Black Cobain and Tabi Bonney, the DMV has finally earned some respect. Check out the next wave at the Future of DMV Hip-Hop show at Jammin' Java, where five local rappers will show off their chops.
7:30 PM at Jammin' Java, $10.
After a series of postponements, hippie/pot enthusiast/country legend/and all-around-weirdo Willie Nelson will finally play 9:30 Club. With more than 60 studio albums under his belt, he's got a deep pool to pick from, but expect classics like "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" and tracks taken from his collaborations with Waylon Jennings.
7 PM at 9:30 Club, sold out.
Tuesday, May 8
With jangly Franz Ferdinand-esque guitars and droning vocals, Black Taxi come off as poppy but edgy. The New York City-based band play DC9 tonight.
8:30 PM at DC9, $8.
Wednesday, May 9
Fans of pretty, laid-back female singer-songwriters have a tough decision tonight. Both Ingrid Michaelson and Feist can and have been featured in rainy-day rom-com montages. Both shows are sold out--Michaelson wins punk points for playing 9:30 Club, but the fact that Feist easily sold out Strathmore is more impressive.
Feist: 8 PM at Strathmore, sold out.
Michaelson: 7 PM at 9:30 Club, sold out.
On the complete opposite end of the musical spectrum, Mastodon play hard-hitting metal that music critics like to say they enjoy when they want to show they have varied tastes. They play the Fillmore tonight.
7:30 PM at the Fillmore, $29.50.