Picks for the week of Friday, March 24 â€” Thursday, March 30.
It’s another sold-out week of music in DC. Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s Motion City Soundtrack contest. Especially the angry guy; those were some great suggestions.
Friday Mar 24 >>
Most of us know Ted Leo from his last two albums with the Pharmacists. In fact, he’s been making great music since the early 90’s, when he fronted Chisel. Though Leo’s sound has evolved considerably over the last 15 years, he still plays with an energy unmatched by most. Les Aus and the Duke Spirit open this sold-out show at the Black Cat. FREE MP3: “Ghosts” by Ted Leo + the Pharmacists
Saturday Mar 25 >>
I’ve tried to see DC’s Soft Complex for months, and missed out every time. I’m getting my chance this Saturday night at DC9. They sound like the Faint would if Todd Baechle knew how to write a song. The fantastic dream-pop Dirty on Purpose open the show, along with Heros Severum. FREE MP3: “Mind Blindness” by Dirty on Purpose
Since their inception in 1993, the Minus 5 have worked with an impressive roster, including Jeff Tweedy and Peter Buck. I caught their SNL performance with Wilco a few years back and bought their album the next day. The IOTA Club & Cafe is a great venue to see them. Opening this show is the Silos, one of the early pioneers of the alt-country scene.
Mates of State are one of the most interesting and prolific indie bands around. In the last six years, they’ve put out four great albums and three EPs, gotten married, and had a baby. The last time they were in DC, Kori Gardner was pregnant and the Black Cat was non-smoking for the night. This keyboard/drums duo plays the songs that have been stuck in my head for years. Maria Taylor (Saddle Creek) and Hail Social (Polyvinyl) open what’s sure to be an incredible show at the State Theatre.
Sunday Mar 26 >>
Annie is back at the Black Cat, where she graced a recent dance-night as guest DJ. This time she’s going to be performing her fabulous electronic pop, with a sound and style that hark back to early Madonna. Shy Child starts off the night.
Englishman Billy Bragg was a leading figure in the anti-folk movement, playing socially-consious rock with a punk bent. His 1998 collaboration with Wilco, Mermaid Avenue, became a landmark of alternative country. Singer/songwriter Jill Sobule, a modern legend in her own right, opens two nights of sold-out shows at the Birchmere.
Monday Mar 27 >>
Within a day of its release, the Arctic Monkeys‘ first album sold 118,501 copies in the UK alone. Myspace hype-machine aside, they’ve made themselves quite a name in two short years. DC is the penultimate stop on their first US tour. The Spinto Band open this sold-out show at the 9:30 Club.
Wednesday Mar 29 >>
Jason Molina threw me for a loop when he named his new band after his last band’s last album. That sentence was confusing enough. Regardless, Magnolia Electric Co. retains the best parts of Songs: Ohia, with a new line-up. They are touring now in support of last Fall’s EP, Hard to Love a Man. Destroyer (Merge) and Birds of Avalon open this show at the Black Cat.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Peter & John-Mike, I wish you were here. stellastarr* is headlining the 9:30 Club. stellastarr*’s eponymous 2003 debut, released in the wake of Interpol’s Turn on the Bright Lights, managed to capture what may have been an otherwise elusive market, with its sprawling, atmospheric sound. U.K. darlings Editors are the perfect band to open the show, which will be followed by an after party for both bands at DC9.
Thursday Mar 30 >>
Singer/songwriter Melissa Ferrick earned her reputation when she replaced Morrisey’s opening act less than an hour before showtime. The Smiths’ frontman was impressed, and brought her along for the rest of his tour, eventually landing her a contract with Atlantic. Fredericksburg, VA’s Erin McKeown opens this show at the Birchmere.