The Max Levine Ensemble appear at Black Cat tonight. Photograph courtesy of the band’s Flickr page.
Thursday, February 9
When he’s not busy throwing underground punk shows at houses around the city, David “Spoonboy” Combs plays with his own band, the Max Levine Ensemble. One of the rare DC bands to stick around, they play hard-hitting pop punk driven by Combs’s nasally voice. Tonight they move out of the basements to Black Cat’s backstage, where they’re regulars.
Doors at 8 PM at Black Cat, $8.
All Things Go’s concert series, All Things Gold, can always be relied on to promote catchy bands and acts you’ve never heard of. Tonight, they’ll bring Minneapolis-based DJ Gigamesh to U Street Music Hall—his dancey remixes regularly top sites like Hype Machine. Opening is Summer Camp, a duo that fans of Cults or Best Coast will appreciate.
Doors at 9 PM at U Street Music Hall, $13.
Friday, February 10
Punk-rock throwback act the Queers play St. Stephen’s Church Friday—not the first place you’d expect to find a band that have at least five songs with the f-word in the title. Don’t expect much more than three chords, simple, screamable lyrics, and a token effort at singing. Joining them are the Ataris; their early work was required pop-punk listening back in the late ’90s, (you might remember their cover of “Boys of Summer”), but they’ve lost their way with some weaker releases in recent years.
Doors at 6 PM at St. Stephen & the Incarnation Episcopal Church, $12.
The story of Jack’s Mannequin is legend to their fans by now: Frontman Andrew McMahon, formerly of the super-whiney pop-punk quintet Something Corporate, makes a less-whiney, piano-driven album with the new band. Shortly after, he’s diagnosed with leukemia and gets a bone marrow transplant from his sister, allowing him to return to the road just a year later. The band’s biggest hit is “Dark Blue,” which made its way around the radio a couple years ago. Friday and Saturday’s shows at 9:30 Club are sold out, but between the two there are lots of tickets floating around on Craigslist. Opener Jukebox the Ghost have some DC ties and are worth checking out—they’re kind of like Jack’s Mannequin, but with a little more edge.
Doors at 6:30 pm at 9:30 Club, sold out.
Saturday, February 11
The Association formed in the mid-’60s and haven’t put out a single since 1981, but they’ve been touring off and on ever since, mainly behind a song about a girl named “Windy” with stormy eyes. They’ve got a couple of minor hits from the era, which they’ll presumably be playing at the Birchmere.
Doors at 7:30 PM at the Birchmere, $44.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are two shows to check out if you love to dance. DC9 is celebrating its eighth anniversary and is importing British hip-hop producer Star Slinger to man the turntables for the occasion. Meanwhile, the Fillmore is bringing in Steve Aoki, who plays (and sings over) an insane brand of electronic house music.
Sunday, February 12
The Jealous Sound toured with Sunny Day Real Estate when that band reunited, and that’s the kind of band they are: early emo that leans introspective over understated indie rock instrumentals. They play Rock and Roll Hotel tonight.
Doors at 7 PM at Rock and Roll Hotel, $15.
Die Antwoord come all the way from South Africa Sunday night to play you hard-hitting hip-hop. With his super-skinny body, ridiculous outfits, and use of the word “Interweb,” rapper Ninja doesn’t exactly evoke street cred, but the group is worth checking out. They play 9:30 Club tonight; check Craigslist for tickets.
Doors at 7 PM at 9:30 Club, sold out.
Monday, February 13
Monday is pretty thin, but Doomtree at Rock and Roll Hotel are worth seeing if you’re into hip-hop. The group features some emcees from Minneapolis who have gotten minor buzz over the last few years, P.O.S. and Dessa, and a couple who haven’t; check them out if you like smart hip-hop from guys like Atmosphere.
Doors at 8 PM at Rock and Roll Hotel, $15.
Tuesday, February 14
Instead of just grabbing dinner on Valentine’s Day, how about doing the Twist with the guy who made that a thing? Chubby Checker is miraculously still playing shows: Tuesday, he’ll be at the Hamilton. He’s got other songs, but does it matter?
Doors at 7:30 PM at the Hamilton, $50 to $60.
Your other option Tuesday is at Red Palace—the Be My Valentine or Not variety show will surely have plenty of burlesque and sideshow, but the venue promises live music, as well.
Doors at 8 PM at Red Palace, $10.
Wednesday, February 15
Flo Anito has a big voice and a poppy acoustic guitar to back her up. She’s been nominated for two Wammies this year, and you can catch her at the Velvet Lounge to see what all the fuss is about.
Doors at 7:30 PM at Velvet Lounge, $8.
It’s been a big week for underground hip-hop, so let’s finish it with K.Flay, a punky emcee (with some vocal chops) who’s opened for Passion Pit and Wallpaper, and plays DC9 tonight. Check out “Doctor Don’t Know,” in which she shows off her flow over a minimalist beat of clapping and snaps.
Doors 8 PM at DC9, $10.