Arcade Fire

Music Picks: September 2017


Japanese Breakfast
Described as “experimental pop,” this sound started as Michelle Zauner’s side project, but has since grown into a nationally touring act all on its own. According to Zauner, the name is a juxtaposition of Asian exoticism and American culture, but the subject matter of the music crosses the cultural lines with universal topics such as love and personal discovery. The music is dark and moody, but can be upbeat and moving, and it’s that versatility which enabled Japanese Breakfast to be one of the best items on the music menu. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $13-$15. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC;


Charlie Worsham and Lauren Calve
Country singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Charlie Worsham was born in Jackson, Mississippi, where music became his main interest at a young age. He has a keen eye for detail and storytelling that gives his songs of love, nostalgia and the South a sense of place and time; even when he follows convention, he puts his own spin on familiar material. Worsham favors soul and breezy pop over rock and twang, and that means he burns slow and steady, providing a soundtrack for romantic evenings. Opener and Virginia native Lauren Calve is a singer-songwriter based in DC. Steeped in American roots music, Calve’s songs are by turns anthemic and poetic as they move between rousing blues-rock, sweeping folk-driven numbers and delicate balladry. Her strong, powerful vocal style and skillful acoustic and lap steel guitar playing takes inspiration from renowned artists such as Patty Griffin, Bonnie Raitt and Elmore James. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $15-$18. Write-up provided by venue. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC;

Tei Shi
If you like your pop music with hints of 80s and notes of R&B, don’t miss the chance to catch this Colombian-Canadian powerhouse. Indie pop icon Tei Shi is bringing her one-of-a-kind pop hits to U Street Music Hall. This is the kind of music that’ll have you dancing all night, even to the slower jams. Show is at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $20. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC;


This one’s for all the metalheads who first learned to play music on classical instruments. The Nordic rockers of Apocalyptica will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut album, Plays Metallica by Four Cellos. The album reinterpreted Metallica’s classics such as “Enter Sandman” and “Master of Puppets” on, you guessed it, cellos. In honor of the album’s anniversary, Apocalyptica has added three extra tracks to the lineup. So, whether you’re a former orchestra-geek, a Metallica fan or just someone who appreciates cross-genre pollination, “nothing else matters” more than this show. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $35. Lincoln Theatre: 1215 U St. NW, DC;

As the product of songwriter Gabrielle Smith, Ó is a perfect showcase of the soothing powers of indie music. The idea is to be immediate, soft and natural, and you’d be hard-pressed to discover more bands that blend the three more harmoniously than Ó. Sonically, the group is often acoustic, which adds to their very laidback sound. Songbyrd will serve as a perfect backdrop to this subtly beautiful group. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12-$14. Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House: 2475-2477 18th St. NW, DC;


If you like dancing to some mellow tunes, then check out this band. Their indie pop songs are a little more alt than pop, but still catchy and totally danceable. It’s a little hard to describe their sound, but having been at SXSW 2016, you know this show won’t disappoint. Expect a dreamy, placid sound but finger-snapping tunes. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10-$12. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC;

Nick Murphy (Chet Faker)
With performances at Lollapalooza, Coachella and even The Ellen DeGeneres Show, one might wonder why Murphy, formerly Chet Faker, has made the switch from a name that brought him so much success. Well, according to Murphy, a name change feels like musical rediscovery. There’s nothing more exciting than an artist expanding their boundaries and reinventing themselves, especially with a performer as unique as this one. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $35. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC;


Big Boi
OutKast is one of the most famous rap duos of all time; made up of Big Boi and Andre 3000, the two are both iconic stars in the genre, whether together or separate. With recent reports that Andre 3000 isn’t much interested in more OutKast albums, Big Boi has generally done the opposite, pressing forward in the hip-hop game. With his unbreakable flow and deft ability to touch on subjects ranging from politics to marriage, you won’t need the other half of OutKast to truly enjoy this show. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30. Fillmore Silver Spring: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD;


Nicole Atkins
With a throwback style, listening to Nicole Atkins is like going back in time to the years when diners were the best hangouts in town. Pulling from the 50s and the 60s, Atkins has a unique voice raved about by Leonard Cohen – and it’s powerful enough to carry songs, putting any instrumentation firmly in the background. Throughout the ups and downs of her life, Atkins has always found strength in her voice, and in music. Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15-$30. The Hamilton: 600 14th St. NW, DC;


Del the Funky Homosapien
After getting his start in the group Da Lench Mob (founded by his cousin Ice Cube), Del the Funky Homosapien ran counter to the early/mid-90s gangsta rap fixation, providing a different, more politically charged message. Some say it’s “alternative rap,” but it’s still very much hip-hop, as Del’s lyrics are famous in their own right, even appearing on the Gorillaz’s massive hit “Clint Eastwood.” Aside from his animated feature, Del has been producing music for nearly two decades, and is a masterful emcee on the microphone. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC;

I think every teen had a phase – unless you were in full-on rebellion mode listening to good 70s rock music – where Paramore was on rotation in the ol’ iPod shuffle. Paramore was like the safe version of an overtly outward angst – a way to stay in tune with pop music while being a little against the world, because the whole image of Paramore was Hayley Williams with her crazy colored hair and black attire. The group has matured since the early 2000s when they connected with teens, and luckily for them, so have their fans. However, this concert is really for the folks who want to be transported back to the time when they still had lockers and class schedules. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $150. Theater at MGM National Harbor: 101 MGM National Ave. Oxon Hill, MD;


The Heavy Pets
Florida natives The Heavy Pets sound like what you wish the neighbor’s loud garage band sounded like. The jam band is bringing their jazzy rock ‘n’ roll to DC this fall, and if you want to hear some finger-snapping, feel-good music, then this show is the one for you. Their combination of catchy lyrics and chill instrumentals will make for a nicely balanced performance. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $10-$14. Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House: 2475-2477 18th St. NW, DC;

Wild Belle
It’s hard to do justice to the unique sound of the Chicago-born siblings who make up Wild Belle. Bumping bass and impossibly danceable tunes combined with lyrics that linger make for a haunting sound not frequently heard in pop. Some of their songs contain elements of funk, ska and reggae too. Wild Belle was featured on Major Lazer’s third album with their collective hit “Be Together,” a poignant song about an impossible relationship. If you’ve doubted the existence of music that could make you dance and cry at the same time, Wild Belle is here to make you a believer. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $16-$18. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC;


Arcade Fire
Ah yes, the eternally moody Arcade Fire. Most people who like the Canadian band, plus Texan frontman Win Butler, find some sort of nostalgic sense of camaraderie with the lyrics. Win Butler has a true calling for identifying moments in his life that will resonate with his listeners, and this ability has created a loyal following spurning them to perpetual success. It’s unlikely I have to sell you on this rock staple, as you’ve probably formed an opinion either way, but for what it’s worth, I’ve heard they’re great live. Show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $26. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC;

Astrid S
Recently named “Norway’s next great pop export” by Nylon Magazine, Astrid S is pretty accomplished for a 19-year-old. Her electro-pop hits feature big names like Avicii and Matoma. If you like dancing but want something with a little more depth than just hitting the club, this show is a great chance to witness an up-and-coming popstar. 7 p.m. Tickets cost $15. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC;

Shenandoah Run
Described as “folk music with a kick,” this nine-piece collective is native to the DC area. Shenandoah Run is known locally for blending traditional and modern folk music and their lively performances – often in front of huge crowds. Their energetic performances appeal to diverse crowds and are family-friendly. If you want a cheery show with plenty of opportunity to clap along to folk favorites, then this performance is the one for you. Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets cost $20. Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna, VA;

Young The Giant
There is probably no better venue to discover the alt-rock group’s danceable tunes than Merriweather. The California natives are known in the indie rock world for their compelling vocals, catchy beats and electric performances. Remember the emo music you used to listen to on you iPod while riding the bus to school? Young The Giant is like an infinitely more mature, complex version of that. Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets start at $35. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD;


The Juju Exchange
Started by Nico Segal (frequently known as Donnie Trumpet, who is a Chance the Rapper collaborator), this jazz collective draws inspiration from hip-hop, classical and pop music. Behind the genre-bending sound is a group of childhood friends from Chicago, using past experience to explore jazzy new territory. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $16-$18. Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House: 2475-2477 18th St. NW, DC;

Daddy Yankee
If your middle school days aren’t marked by pop, locking it and dropping it to “Gasolina” in the cafeteria-turned-dance floor during school dances, we definitely wouldn’t have hung out. The Puerto Rican superstar and reggaeton icon refuses to fall out of relevance, with his most recent hit “Despacito” becoming the most streamed song online just this year. So if you’re not about all of these people singing gibberish lyrics during the verses, here’s your chance to hear them from the mastermind himself. 8 p.m. Tickets start at $45. Filene Center at Wolf Trap: 1551 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA;


Alexz Johnson
This Canadian singer, songwriter and actor is a prolific artist. Whether she’s penning songs for a new LP or reciting lines in the mirror for her role in a new film, Johnson keeps herself busy. In September, the talented musician will make a stop in Vienna, delivering her fringe country sound coupled with her masterfully written lyrics. So when you stumble into Jammin Java on this Monday and think to yourself “Have I seen this person?”, the answer is probably yes, but shut up and listen. Doors at 6 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $15-$25. Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna, VA;


Radney Foster
The position that Radney Foster enjoys in the country music landscape is remarkable. Mainstream country music and independent Americana tend to occupy separate orbits. Yet for 30 years Foster has thrived in both as a songwriter, recording artist, live performer and producer. His songs—solo, with Foster and Lloyd and recorded by other artists—have topped the country, Americana, and AAA charts alike. At the same time, he’s earned the respect of his peers and a devoted audience as intent on listening as they are eager to dance.  Write-up provided by venue. The Hamilton: 600 14th St. NW, DC;


Grieves’ hip-hop sounds pretty mellow, but a close listen reveals profound, poetic lyrics. Whether a song is lighthearted or dealing with issues of addiction or poverty, Grieves spits lyrics that are understandable to audiences, even if they’re not relatable. His new album, Running Wild, came out on August 25, making this the perfect time to get acquainted with the rapper’s newest sounds. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $15. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC;

Rich with bold brass and hypnotic percussion, Polyrhythmics latest album, Caldera, showcases the instrumental eight-piece group’s impossibly tight grooves and virtuosic musicianship as they tear through a singular blend of funk, soul, psychedelic rock, R&B, progressive jazz and Afrobeat. Calling to mind everything from Antibalas and the Dap-Kings to The Meters and Fela Kuti, Caldera is without a doubt their strongest work to date, merging the infectious power of their live show with a sleek and nuanced studio sophistication. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10-$12. Write-up provided by venue. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC;


Space Jesus
Space Jesus, born Jasha Tull, compellingly self describes his music as “the feeling you get when you travel through a wormhole in a fresh pair of Jordans,” and if that doesn’t pique your interest, we probably have nothing in common. All jokes aside, having performed at global festivals like TomorrowWorld, Space Jesus has become an important name in experimental music. Although his unique sound will definitely appeal to EDM fanatics, his hip-hop roots are impossible to ignore. So whether you like your EDM with a hint of lyricism, your hip-hop with a lot of bass, or your shows without a single person standing still, this is the performance for you. 10 p.m. show. Tickets are $18. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC;


A$AP Mob
One of the most notable and popular rap collectives in the genre, A$AP Mob consists of members A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, A$AP Ty Beats, A$AP Ant, A$AP Twelvy and A$AP Nast. Though the first two catch most of the headlines, the entire group gets shine and love from one another up on stage and in the studio. Hip-hop collectives often go to the wayside as more and more members find solo success, so as a precautionary measure, it may be worth seeing the Mob in September. Show at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $52. Echostage: 2135 Queens Chapel Rd. NE, DC;                

Marilyn Manson
Manson has had an undeniable impact on pop culture as a scapegoat for everything parents in the 90s didn’t like, largely due to his shock-factor lyrics and performances. Anyone who has actually taken the time to listen to his music knows that Manson is a dynamic, multifaceted artist and perhaps one of the biggest risk takers in modern music. Bring your “Heart-Shaped Glasses,” and come ready to hear one of the most important metal icons. 8 p.m. Tickets start at $87. Fillmore Silver Spring: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD;


Electric Six
Electric Six is a good name, but according to the band’s bio, the original name was “The Sex Stars of 1977.” Can we pause for a second and maybe take a step back? I think that original is undoubtedly superior to Electric Six, but we understand the allure of the bright lights and the strange phobia people have about the word “sex” in Western culture. Plus, the raucous music sounds more like it’s coming from the Sex Stars, as it’s often silly and explosive. That probably read wrong; enjoy the show. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC;

Songhoy Blues
According to band’s website, the Songhoy people of West Africa are very traditional when it comes to music, but the members of this group grew up idolizing hip-hop, R&B and classic rock. Naturally, the “blues” part in their name gives away their sound, which is unbelievably groovy and firmly cemented in music reminiscent of legends like B.B. King and Buddy Guy. All those guitar licks with the band’s native tongue make for a different experience soaked in familiarities. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC;


Crystal Castles
Any band undergoing a lineup change is expected to experience some ups and downs along the way, but when it’s your frontwoman and lead vocalist, those bumps in the road can be heightened. Despite the departure of Alice Glass from the group, Crystal Castles (cofounder Ethan Kath and vocalist Edith Frances) have continued to produce pulsating, chaotic songs with their typically sonic distortion. Though, there are differences, Frances’ voice is a soothing backdrop for the endless wave of digital music. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC;


All Things Go Fall Classic
Foster the People, Young Thug and Galantis will headline the 2017 All Things Go Fall Classic music and food festival, during an all-new, three-day festival experience. The Grammy-nominated band, who broke out with the hit “Pumped Up Kicks,” the boundary-pushing Atlanta rapper and the Swedish electronic super duo lead a lineup of more than 20 electronic, hip-hop and alternative acts performing at the festival that delivers a one-of-a-kind double dose of top-notch musical entertainment and a culinary experience.  Festival starts Friday at 4 p.m. Tickets start at $69. Write-up provided by venue. Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE, DC;