Things to Do

Music Picks: U.S. Royalty, Wale, Scott Weiland

The best in live music over the next seven days.

Indie rockers U.S. Royalty. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user cesareperdomo.

Mid- to late December is usually a pretty dead time for live music—a lot of touring bands head home for the holidays before starting big spring tours, and music venues turn into private event halls for office Christmas parties. But if you’ve got the itch, there’s still plenty going on over the next seven days.

Thursday, December 15
If you’re not watching Devo whip it at State Theatre tonight, you can see another band that breaks some genre rules. Catch local roots rockers the Riverbreaks, whose take on the genre sometimes delves into funk and has some interesting keyboard work. They play at DC9 at 8 PM ($8). 

Devo, 8 PM at State Theatre, $57 to $120; the Riverbreaks, 8 PM at DC9, $8.

Friday, December 16

Singer-songwriter and Leesburg native Justin Trawick celebrates the release of his new record, You & I, a surprisingly diverse selection of ballads, bluegrass, roots rock, and pseudo-rap, at Artisphere. Read our Q&A with Trawick about the album here.

If you’d rather dance, head out to U Street Music Hall to catch Chris Glover’s infectious Penguin Prison—an electro-pop side project featuring choruses designed to enter your head and never leave.

If you missed their mainstage performance at Sweetlife Festival this spring, you can catch upbeat indie rockers U.S. Royalty (for free!) at Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage tomorrow. They’ve been named one of DC’s best bands by Express, but we’ll go ahead and bestow that crown upon their regal, bearded heads, as well.

U.S. Royalty, 6 PM at Millennium Stage, free; Justin Trawick 7:30 PM at Artisphere, $12; Penguin Prison, 7 PM at U Street Music Hall, $12.

Saturday, December 17
If you’re into soul, Saturday should be a good night—ideally, you already picked up tickets (or can find some on Craigslist) to see Gary Clark Jr. at Red Palace. The ’60s rock-and-blues throwback act hit up Bonnaroo earlier this year and has had buzz from Rolling Stone and the Wall Street Journal. If you were too slow to the punch, you can see JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, who boldly declare Baltimore the new Brooklyn, at Black Cat.

Gary Clark Jr., 8 PM at Red Palace, sold out; JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, 9 PM at Black Cat, $12.

Sunday, December 18
Philly rapper and Wale labelmate Meek Mill will be at the 9:30 Club Sunday afternoon supporting Kicks for Kids, so bring an old pair of shoes. He’s billed as appearing “with friends,” so you’ll either get an entourage of nobodies or a guest verse or two from Wale.

Then head to U Street Music Hall to catch Fat Trel’s Nightmare Before Christmas. We doubt you’ll find much seasonal joy at his show, but he’s got enough street cred and blog buzz that DC might not have to worry if the whole Wale thing doesn’t work out.

Meek Mill, doors at 5 PM at 9:30 Club, $10 donation; Fat Trel, 8:30 PM at U Street Music Hall, $15 advance, $20 at the door.

Monday, December 19
Well, this was unexpected. Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland recently released The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, a collection of retro Christmas hits that shoot more for Sinatra than guitar slayin’. Catch him at this (partially seated!) show at 9:30 Club—just don’t expect Plush, or any other STP hits.

Scott Weiland, 7 PM at 9:30 Club, $40 to $50.

Tuesday, December 20
Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox brings his solo side project, Atlas Sound, to Black Cat. Fans of Deerhunter’s art-rock sound will feel right at home with his solo tunes—they’re just a little less rock-y and a little more art-y.

Atlas Sound, 8 PM at Black Cat, $15.

Wednesday, December 21
Speaking of Wale (were we?), he’ll be at the 9:30 Club Wednesday with Chuck Brown and some special guests as part of Radio One’s “Know Your Status” HIV awareness drive. The concert is free, but you have to get tested for HIV at a Department of Health testing site by December 20.

Wale, Chuck Brown, and guests, 6 PM doors at 9:30 Club, free with proof of HIV test.