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Music Picks: Old Crow Medicine Show, Aesop Rock, Summer Spirit Festival

The live shows you shouldn’t miss over the next seven days.

Old Crow Medicine Show bring their string-enhanced sounds to 9:30 Club tonight. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user Josh Self.

Thursday, August 2

Old Crow Medicine Show are one of the main reasons bluegrass is cool again—the Nashville-based trio’s most famous song, “Wagon Wheel, “is a reworking of an unreleased Bob Dylan track, and you’ve got to hear it if you haven’t yet.

7 PM at 9:30 Club, sold out.

Two of Motown’s larger-than-life legends come to Wolf Trap tonight—the Temptations and Four Tops have been touring off and on for the past ten years. The fact that they’re through here all the time doesn’t mean you’ll ever get tired of hearing “My Girl” or “Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch.”

8 PM at Wolf Trap, $22 to $38.

Friday, August 3

Ted Nugent’s outrageous comments about President Obama got him so much publicity you’d be forgiven for forgetting he actually makes music. It’s probably worth showing up to the Fillmore just for the dog-and-pony show.

8 PM at the Fillmore, $30.

Kool A.D., one half of hipsterish it-rappers Das Racist, recently released a mixtape that samples Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. His laid-back flow oozes cool, and if you’re really lucky, maybe you’ll get a rendition of “Combination Pizza Hut/Taco Bell.”

9 PM at Red Palace, $12.

Saturday, August 4

Merriweather is hosting a who’s who of soul-y music with its Summer Spirit Festival. Erykah Badu (remember her?) headlines, and you’ll also get Estelle, Eric Roberson, a tribute to Chuck Brown, and more.

3 PM at Merriweather, $44 to $125.

Along with Rush, Yes are probably the best-known prog-rock band of all time. They’re still making music that makes you feel like you’re inside a ’70s pinball arcade or roller rink, all these years later.

7:30 PM at Warner Theatre, $49.50 to $89.50.

Sunday, August 5

San Fran’s Aesop Rock became king of the underground rappers during the early 2000s for his lyrical somersaults and refusal to get too commercial. Last month’s Skelethon was his first CD in five years, and he proved he’s still got it, racking up glowing reviews. Kimya Dawson even lends her eccentric talents, laying down something resembling a verse on “Crows 1.”

7 PM at 9:30 Club, $20.

Monday, August 6

DC-based the Sea Life make laid-back rock you can tap your toes to—lots of soaring instrumentals, noodling guitar riffs, and whoa-oh-ohs. Perfect for a Monday night.

8 PM at Black Cat, $10.

Tuesday, August 7

Serj Tankian and System of a Down haven’t put out a new album in seven years, but they’re still playing shows. Tankian’s voice is one of the most iconic in metal, and the band’s music is accessible enough even for non-metal fans.

8 PM at Verizon Center, $68.

Speaking of bands that disappeared forever—the Mighty Mighty Bosstones led ska’s late-’90s popularity and then broke up. Their reunion in 2007 sold out four straight shows, and they’ve played shows semi-regularly since then. Knock on wood that they don’t go incognito again.

7 PM at 9:30 Club, $30.

Wednesday, August 8

American Idol is in turmoil, with fading ratings and major judging shakeups, but it’s still a juggernaut. The stars of last season are coming through Verizon Center—just hope winner Phillip Phillips (really?) is more Kelly Clarkson than Ruben Studdard.

7 PM at Verizon Center, $30 to $66.

The Gipsy Kings play a very danceable mix of flamenco, salsa, and funk. Check them out if you think dancing consists of more than just swaying back and forth.

8 PM at Wolf Trap, $25 to $42.

Know of a great show happening in town? E-mail Jason Koebler at, or find him on Twitter @jason_koebler.

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