Things to Do

Music Picks: Ben Harper, Jimmy Buffett, Saul Williams

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

See Grammy winner Ben Harper perform acoustic tunes at Wolf Trap Tuesday. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user QUICO GEMENO.

Thursday, August 30

Kenny Lattimore—who went to my high school, for the record—had a couple R&B hits, “For You” and “Never Too Busy,” during the mid-’90s that still make their way around adult contemporary radio. He hasn’t put out a CD since 2008, but he’s still got enough fans in the area to headline at the Birchmere.

7:30 PM at the Birchmere, $38.

Local rockers Borracho play heavy Metallica-ish rock. You’ll get the epic guitar solos, guy-with-beard-and-long-hair vocals you’d expect, and lots of riffs.

8:30 PM at DC9, $8.

Friday, August 31

Saul Williams made his name as an open-mike poet around New York City. He broke into music, but his songs still have a huge slam-poetry element, with lyrics delivered over sparse instrumentation.

8 PM at the Howard, $28.50.

Saturday, September 1

For the over-35ish set, there’s no bigger party date on the calendar than when Jimmy Buffett comes into town. Parrotheads, get ready for Margaritaville, tropical drinks, and hanging out in pools made in the back of Ford F-150s.

8 PM at Jiffy Lube Live, $46 to $157.

Formed last year, Cricket Cemetery is a DC record label with some simple rules: records only (no CDs), local bands only, and lots of noise. At their third Black Cat showcase show, expect some hardcore, some punk rock, and some slower indie rock stuff.

9 PM at Black Cat, $10.

Sunday, September 2

Rascal Flatts are THE country band for beginners, taking a generally poppy and fast-moving approach to the genre. It’s clearly working—their concerts are consistently packed, they have songs in Pixar movies, and people go crazy for “Summer Nights.”

5:30 PM at Merriweather, $45 to $75.

What a world of difference a name change makes. Last year, Georgia’s Tity Boi decided to change his name to 2 Chainz, and the rest is history. He’s got chart-topping singles with Kanye, Drake, and Nicki Minaj, is somehow not quite a joke in that Rick Ross sort of way, and I don’t know why I can’t stop listening to him. His just-released Based on a T.R.U. Story has been getting terrible reviews and is objectively pretty awful, but it’s selling like crazy. Go figure.

7 PM at 9:30 Club, $31.

Monday, September 3

There’s not too much going on music-wise this Labor Day, but New York City’s Pop. 1280 is coming to DC9 in case you want to turn a generally pretty happy day into a horrorfest. They play hardcore-ish noise rock with super-bleak lyrics and droning vocals. They’ve been described as “gutter-gazing” and “flawlessly disgusting” by Spin magazine, so know what you’re getting into.

9 PM at DC9, $8.

Tuesday, September 4

Two-time Grammy winner Ben Harper unplugs his soulful blues guitar for a special acoustic night at Wolf Trap. He’ll play songs from all phases of his career, so expect some blues, gospel, folksy stuff, and some rock-ier stuff from his latest CD, Give Till It’s Gone.

7:30 PM at Wolf Trap, $35 to $50.

Arlington’s Soundtrack for Silent Films gets to headline their home base’s best live music venue Tuesday at Iota. They play alt rock that’d work in an arena . . . if you weren’t you know, seeing them in a coffee shop.

8 PM at Iota Club and Cafe, $10.

Wednesday, September 5

Deerhoof’s music is full of bleeps and bloops and seemingly random noise, but they keep things melodic enough that it’s poppy and fun to hop around to.

8 PM at Black Cat, $15.

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