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Music Picks: The Black Keys, Reggie Watts, Lady Antebellum

Our recommendations for the best in live music over the next seven days.

Catch the Black Keys at Merriweather this Friday. Photograph by John Wilwol.

Thursday, May 17

Like Sublime way before there was Sublime, Fishbone play a blend of funk, ska, and occasionally harder stuff. They’ve been around since the late ’70s without letting up, and were recently kinda-sorta in the news after the Roots played part of a cover of their “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” when Michele Bachmann was on Jimmy Fallon’s show. Check them out at the State Theatre tonight.

7 PM at State Theatre, $18.

Some people have called MewithoutYou a Christian band, but that isn’t right—they do sing plenty about religion, but they don’t stick to Christianity, delving into Jewish and Muslim themes from time to time. They play what’s probably called experimental rock—a lot of spoken-word verses and out-there song structures, but there’re plenty of punk elements and straightforward rock-out parts. Figure it out for yourself at Black Cat.

8 PM at Black Cat, $15.

Friday, May 18

The Black Keys were here barely two months ago, but they put on a great show, and the weather’s nice now, so you can see them outdoors at Merriweather tonight. If you missed their first sold-out show or just can’t get enough of Lonely Boy, now’s your chance. Once again, Arctic Monkeys open.

6:30 PM at Merriweather Post Pavilion, $40 to $55.

Did you know Less Than Jake did the music for “We’re All Dudes” from the acclaimed major motion picture Good Burger? The late ’90s were good for the band, and for ska—not so much since. But the band have trudged along, playing to people who are either in high school or can’t leave it behind. That’s apparently a lot of people, because their show at Rock & Roll Hotel is sold out. Nothin’ wrong with that.

7 PM at Rock and Roll Hotel, sold out.

The Styx, REO Speedwagon, and Ted Nugent tour is probably worth going to just to see if Nugent will say anything terrifying and/or arrest-worthy. Which is a shame, because Mr. Roboto would have never wanted it to be like this. Let us know what happens if you make it to Jiffy Lube.

7 PM at Jiffy Lube Live, $20 to $90.

Saturday, May 19

Formed in the late ’90s, SOJA are probably the hippiest people ever to have met in Arlington. Since then, they’ve gotten popular around town and big on the reggae scene around the world. One time I saw the band members taking their instruments on an international flight at 4 AM when I was going to study abroad. They seemed nice. Biz Markee, of “Just a Friend” fame, opens the show at 9:30 Club.

8 PM at 9:30 Club, sold out.

People who are trying to predict things like who might be the next Mumford and Sons are saying Dry the River might be the next Mumford and Sons. And by that, they mean the next British band that American college students will like, because they don’t really sound folky at all. Their music delves more into the “important rock” category, à la Coldplay, but they sound good.

9 PM at Iota Club & Cafe, $12.

Sunday, May 20

You know you’ve made a good R&B song when it’s repurposed into a smash country hit two months after you release it. Brian McKnight, you’re a dream come true. Just wanna be with you at the Howard Theatre. The Duke Ellington Orchestra will play his soaring instrumentals.

7 and 9:30 PM at the Howard Theatre, $55.

Right around the time Panic! At the Disco were a thing people cared about, the Academy Is … experienced a couple of minutes in the pop-punk spotlight. After putting out a great first album, they put out two blah-ish ones and broke up last year. Now, lead singer William Beckett is touring solo, playing a few originals and a few of his band’s songs at Jammin’ Java tonight.

7:30 PM at Jammin’ Java, $15.

If there was a bigger country song over the past couple years than Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” I’m not aware of it. The Nashville trio are just starting to delve into crossover territory, so if you’re not familiar, get acquainted at Merriweather. Former Hootie frontman and current country star Darius Rucker opens.

5:30 PM at Merriweather, $40 to $75.

Monday, May 21

Comedian/musician/weirdo/crazy afro-haver Reggie Watts will perform both comedy and music at a rare 9:30 Club seated show. He’s a beatboxer extraordinaire and delves into spoken word and rap, improvising a lot of his stuff, so expect some surprises.

7 PM at 9:30 Club, $25.

Made popular by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and some commercials, Polyphonic Spree’s “Light & Day” couldn’t possibly be any more uplifting. The symphonic band have a choir, tons of instruments, and, like, 20 members in the band—they even manage to make Nirvana’s “Lithium” sound happy. They’re at Sixth & I tonight.

8 PM at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, $31.

Tuesday, May 22

Here’s an interesting band for you: Spain’s Crystal Fighters play Basque folk instruments—at times sounding pretty and folky, at others throwing in intense synth and drum loops to ignite the dance floor. Check them out at Rock & Roll Hotel tonight.

8 PM at Rock & Roll Hotel, $15.

Wednesday, May 22

Chicago’s Maps & Atlases are nice and eccentric, the kind of band with crazy beards and weird time signatures. They play likable, inoffensive indie rock that won’t get you too high or low. They’re at Rock & Roll Hotel tonight.

7 PM at Rock & Roll Hotel, $12.

If grunge were an Olympic event, Nirvana and Pearl Jam would definitely grab the gold and silver, but save a place on the flannel-and-plaid podium for Collective Soul, who landed seven number-one rock hits and have sold millions of albums. See them at the Fillmore tonight.

8 PM at the Fillmore, $25.

Garbage have gone on a couple hiatuses over the past decade, but Shirley Manson knows you’re only happy when they’re touring, and they are. The grungy band will play their angsty hits to a sold-out crowd at 9:30 Club tonight.

7 PM at 9:30 Club, sold out.

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