Things to Do

Music Picks: Thievery Corporation, Dance for the Dying, Akron/Family

Our live music recommendations for the next seven days.

Thievery Corporation’s three-night show at 9:30 Club is sold out, but you can still snag tickets via Craigslist and StubHub. Photograph courtesy of IMP.

Thursday, January 5

Elvis Presley would have turned 77 today—and while you can still catch plenty of impersonators stumbling down Beale Street in Memphis, they’re often all style and no substance. Celebrate the King’s birthday with a rockabilly set from J.P. McDermott and Western Bop as they take on Elvis’s hits and throw in a couple of original songs at Red Palace tonight.

J.P. McDermott and Western Bop, 8:30 PM at Red Palace, $10.

Friday, January 6
Just when Portland-based Akron/Family start to lull you with a subdued guitar and sparse vocals, they’ll turn things up with a funky glockenspiel or synth. When playing live, members of the three-piece band often switch up their roles between songs, so you certainly won’t be bored at their show.

Akron/Family with Bad Weather California, 7 PM at Rock and Roll Hotel, $14.

They put up with you on New Year’s Eve and spend most of the year watching you go nuts for other bands. But Friday night, the staff of Black Cat will have the chance to shine at the Workers’ Party. Four staffers members’ bands will take the stage, and four staffers will deejay between sets.

Mean Season, Booze Riot, the Red Moon Preachers, and Raindeer, 9 PM at Black Cat, $5.

Saturday, January 7
Local act Dance for the Dying play the kind of rock and roll you can’t help but tap your toes to. While the ’80s and ’90s rock influence is obvious, their overall sound is fresh enough to feel completely new. Catch them Saturday at Rock and Roll Hotel before they head to the studio to record a follow up to their untitled 2011 EP.

Dance for the Dying with the Velvet Ants, Chappo, and Hiding Places, 8 PM at Rock and Roll Hotel, $10.

Sunday, January 8
Cleveland’s Signals Midwest grew out of the terribly named (but kind of talented) ska band the Skatastrophes. The new band dropped the horns and the upstrokes and now focuses on catchy pop-punk that’s worth checking out, even if you have to go to a house in Columbia Heights that calls itself Wasted Dream to do so. Z.T.S., a Silver Spring band that plays loud garage punk, will also play the show.

Signals Midwest with Z.T.S., 6:30 PM at Wasted Dream, $3 to $5.

Eric Johnson has been called “one of the most respected guitarists on the planet”—he won a Grammy in the early ’90s for “Cliffs of Dover”—but he’s also not a bad pianist. He and his band play the Birchmere Sunday night.

Eric Johnson, 7:30 PM at the Birchmere, $35.

Monday, January 9
Monday’s looking pretty sparse, but if you need a fix, Jammin Java’s sixth annual Mid-Atlantic Band Battle kicks off tonight and runs most of the week. Tonight you’ll get seven bands playing 15-minute sets. Bands will vie for $2,500 cash, a headlining show at Jammin Java, and recording studio time.

Mid-Atlantic Band Battle, 7:30 PM at Jammin Java, $10.

Tuesday, January 10
The weekend might be long gone, but you won’t find better music to dance to than Portugal’s Buraka Som Sistema, who combine techno beats with Africa’s kuduro music. In 2008, they won an MTV Europe award for being the best Portuguese act, but all you need to know is that their music is entrancing, trippy, and plenty of fun.

Buraka Som Sistema with Willy Joy, 7 PM at U Street Music Hall, $15.

Wednesday, January 11
You might frequent their bars and restaurants (18th Street Lounge, Patty Boom Boom, Marvin, etc.) all the time, but Eric Hilton and Rob Garza only bring their electronic music act, Thievery Corporation, to DC for a concert or two a year. The rest of DC knows that, too: The duo’s biennial three-night stay at 9:30 Club kicks off tonight and is all sold out. Luckily, there are still plenty of tickets floating around StubHub and Craigslist at reasonable prices if you missed out. The pair will be showcasing Culture of Fear, their sixth album, which is more of the chilled-out, loungey world music you’re used to.

Thievery Corporation, 7 PM at 9:30 Club, tickets $50 on StubHub.