Things to Do

Music Picks: The Walkmen, Freefest, RZA

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

The Walkmen take the stage at 9:30 Club tonight. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user Omer Wazir.

Thursday, October 4

The Walkmen are one of those bands that you think (meaning I think) were really popular decades
ago and only play shows or release music every once in a while. But I was really wrong—they’ve
released an album every two years like it’s their job (it is) since 2002. Anyway,
their Strokes-y brand of indie rock has clearly won them lots of fans—both of their
shows at 9:30 Club are sold out.

7 PM at 9:30 Club, sold out.

Octopus Project makes insane sounding dance
music with lots of bleeps and bloops and hooks and drum
loops and guitars, with nary a word or lyric to mess with your

8 PM at Red Palace, $12.

Friday, October 5

Contrary to popular belief,
Sean Paul’s music career did not spontaneously
combust after making “Baby Boy” with Beyoncé.
The Jamaican guy who pretends he sings words you can understand
continues to exist
and now has a sweet mohawk instead of his trademark

8 PM at Fillmore, $33.

Saturday, October 6

You probably know the deal with
Freefest by now, but if you’re still on the fence, this year’s lineup is pretty good. You’ve
got the old: (ZZ Top, Nas, Dismemberment Plan), the hip (M83, Alabama Shakes), the
showstopper (Jack White), and the weird (Skrillex, Das Racist). Free tickets are all
gone, but you can get in for a fiddy. Check
back next week for our review of the festival.

Noon at Merriweather, $49.50.

If you’re too cool for big festivals, Chicago singer-songwriter
Willis Earl Beal, who makes songs so soft and sweet-sounding that I bet lots of people use them as
lullabies, is playing at Red Palace. He got popular by leaving flyers about his music
around Chi-town. He also left flyers around town looking for a girlfriend. Can someone
tell this guy about the Internet?

8 PM at Red Palace, $10.

Sunday, October 7

Lord Huron couldn’t have released an album at a better time—when Of Monsters and Men are all
over the radio and Mumford & Sons outsell Green Day and No Doubt. Check them out if
you’re into folk rock but not
mainstream folk rock.

8 PM at Black Cat, $10.

Monday, October 8

RZA is the producer behind essentially all of
Wu-Tang’s albums, and is widely considered
to be among the best hip-hop producers of all time. But as
producers are wont to do,
he steps up to the mike from time to time to lay down some
verses of his own.

7 PM at State Theatre, $18.

Without a time machine, you will never get to see the Sex Pistols in their prime live.
But Johnny Rotten (now going by his given name, John Lydon, how lame) is still making
music with his other band, Public Image Ltd. They had a sort-of heyday back in the late ’70s with “Metal Box,” and recently released
their first album in 20 years.

7 PM at 9:30 Club, $35.

Tuesday, October 9

Matt & Kim, Brooklyn’s answer to husband-and-wife music-making duos such as Mates of State and
the Weepies, write the catchiest hooks you’ll probably ever hear. Try listening to
“Daylight” without dancing (although their latest, the just-released
Lightning, has been a bit of a disappointment). They’re playing two sold-out shows at 9:30
Club, but tickets on Stubhub have dropped well below face value.

7 PM at 9:30 Club, sold out.

Menomena write songs with hand claps, snaps,
guitar feedback, and lots of jarring instrumentation
changes. They’re worth checking out for the variety of their
sound alone.

8 PM at Black Cat, $15.

Wednesday, October 10

Besides having an awesome name,
Dinosaur Feathers also make catchy music—it’s not prehistoric, but their throwback garage rock sound
will have you thinking you’re in another era.

8 PM at Black Cat, $10.

Ben Taylor certainly has the genes to be a
star—he’s the son of James Taylor and Carly Simon.
Though he makes folk rock like his father, he hasn’t quite
risen to the top of the
genre: His most popular song is a cover of Macy Gray’s “I

8 PM at Wolf Trap, $20.

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