Black Sabbath
Photo: Ross Halfin

Black Sabbath’s Final Sermon

“What is that stands before me? Feathered and black / That points at me?” As those words rung out across the grounds of Jiffy Lube Live – and seemingly across all of Northern Virginia – on Sunday night, a chill ran through the air. The damp grass stood straight, the gusts in the trees fell silent and goosebumps sprouted across thousands of people as Ozzy Osbourne invoked Black Sabbath’s opening hymn for the final time for the DMV.

Sabbath, the prototypical metal group founded by Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward almost 50 years ago in Birmingham, England, is closing the cover on its grimoire of heavy, haunting music. “The End” tour, which stopped by Bristow’s Jiffy Lube Live on August 21, promises to be the formal end of the band’s activities – confirmed vocally by Osbourne during one of his regular “I love you all” song breaks. For most of rock’s original vanguards, the farewell tour exists either as one last ego trip or the chance to prove that you’ve still got the chops to keep up with the whippersnappers selling out at the clubs these days.

Most farewell tours then fall on their face because it becomes clear that the rock stars are trying very hard to be rock gods, and that their chops have indeed faded with age. And while the basic symptoms of “farewell tour syndrome” were present among the three original members of Sabbath, joined on drums by Tommy Clufetos of the Ozzy Osbourne Band, the godfathers of heavy metal showed a vitality and potency that few of their contemporaries can.

Part of this lies in the members’ apparent immortality. Osbourne, Iommi and Butler’s physicality as performers has not changed much since they sent teenagers screaming out of theaters in the early 70s. They stand, clad all in black cloth, leather and golden crosses, rarely moving, as if they are anchored in spot by the weight of the dark powers they conjure in songs like “Black Sabbath,” “N.I.B.” and “Hand of Doom.”

Speaking of such conjuring, what dark ritual did these sorcerers of sound perform to maintain their gifts? Iommi’s guitar riffs conjure darkness that is impenetrable, Butler’s bass thunders like hellish knights across the plains and Osbourne’s bone-chilling wails echo into the deepest recesses of the mind. Cannibal Corpse and Death may always be more brutal, and Norwegian black metal bands may be actual Satanists, but Black Sabbath still perform music with unmatchable menace.

In fact, watching Sabbath today is like a crash course in cultural trends toward horror. Sabbath was truly scary when they emerged with their witchcraft woes in 1970, but like the images of skeleton fields that accompanied “Children of the Grave,” we’ve grown to accept such art as part of the fabric of 21st-century life. Should we be mad then? Has Black Sabbath helped make us numb to what we could find awful in the world?

It’s easy to blame an outfit like Sabbath, as many in the U.S. have certainly tried during the band’s career. But that is failing to see the point of the genre of horror music they helped create. In the encroaching darkness of numbers like “Hand of Doom” and “Children,” Sabbath reflects the dark reality that we are often confronted with, and tend to ignore in our everyday lives. It’s a reminder that there are truly horrible things in the world.

But there’s also a real beauty in Black Sabbath’s sermon of darkness. The chill that runs up your spine when Iommi launches into the menacing riff of “Into the Void,” or when Ozzy unleashes that punishing vocal wail – they’re nice reminders that you’re alive.

Strange as it may sound, a world without Black Sabbath will be a darker one. Just be thankful for the time and chills the band gave us. Amen.

Mat Kearney
Photo: Courtesy of Mat Kearney's Facebook page

Mat Kearney Takes the Stage at Wolf Trap

Folk rocker Mat Kearney and rock band NEEDTOBREATHE played small shows together 10 years ago, and now they’re taking the stage at Wolf Trap tomorrow night as part of their Tour de Compadres. On Tap chatted with Kearney about his return to the DMV, country music in Nashville, his TV show bucket list and becoming a dad.

On Tap: Do you have any special DC shows that stick out in your memory since you started touring 10 years ago?
Mat Kearney:
Absolutely. We love coming to DC. 9:30 Club is one of my favorite venues to perform at in the country. They just know how to do it right. They have an amazing staff and gear, and you can always count on the best fans there. People go there knowing it is going to be a special night since the atmosphere is so special. We’ve also opened for John Mayer at Wolf Trap, which was pretty fun. I am excited to play [at Wolf Trap] tomorrow.

OT: Have you spent any off time in DC between shows? What fun things have you done?
MK:
I love museums. We spend a lot of off days in DC visiting museums. I love the National Portrait Gallery. We spend so much time on the bus eating pizza and drinking beer – it is refreshing to hop off and do “sophisticated” things every once in awhile.

OT: You live in Nashville, which is known as quite the music hub. Do you enjoy country music?
MK:
As a songwriter, you have to appreciate country music. Some of the best songwriters in the world live in Nashville. I like visiting Honky Tonk and grabbing some beers. I get out there about [every] six months.

OT: Can you tell us the story behind writing “Ships In The Night”?
MK:
Oh, this is a good one. We had a really great beat on the piano and we had the chorus written, but I was having a hard time with the rest of the song.  I was getting on a plane after having a huge argument with my wife, and I couldn’t leave without resolving things with her. As I hung up the phone after apologizing, I knew exactly what the song was going to be about. It turned out to be a song about two people connecting. I literally opened my laptop and started writing the rest of the song as we were getting off the phone.

OT: A lot of your songs have been featured in popular television shows such asScrubs, One Tree Hill and Friday Night Lights. Do you have a favorite show that you would love to write a song for?
MK:
So, I actually already had my emotional bucket list song on a show that I loved. I really love the Braverman family on Parenthood, and the show used my song “Hey Mama.” I thought that was really awesome. Recently, I’ve gotten into the show Stranger Things on Netflix. I would love to write a Phil Collins, 80s-type ballad for them.

OT: You are way more than a musician – you have a wine label! How did that happen?
MK:
It started out as a little side project with some friends in Napa. We just wanted to make a nice red blend that fans could drink while jamming out to our music. Fast forward a few years and we’ve sold 7,000 cases of wine, and our product is sold in Whole Foods as well as some other stores across the country.

OT: Are you excited for the new addition to your family?
MK:
YES! I am scared in the best way and I cannot wait for our little girl. My wife and I have gotten into a rhythm of making sure we see each other when I’m out on tour. She’ll join me for awhile, and then I’ll go home for a bit. We’re excited to add a little one to our family. I have become much more in tune with women’s issues since finding out we are having a girl, which is probably a good thing.

Catch Kearney with NEEDTOBREATHE, John Mark McMillan and Welshly Arms at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center on August 22 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $27-$55.

Wolf Trap: 1551 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA; 703-255-1800; www.wolftrap.org

DJ Bo
Photos courtesy DJ Bo

In the Mix with DJ Bo

Cameroon is probably the last location you’d think to go searching for one of the Nation’s Capital’s fastest-rising, open-format DJ/producers. However, when it comes to the story of DJ Bo, it’s all about taking a journey to the central African nation in the mid-90s to find a young man who loved to dance and was soon to come to America to discover an exciting new passion and future career. Some 15 years later, the man born Aloysius Tamasang in Bamenda, Cameroon is now a Gaithersburg, Maryland-based party rocker with five years under his belt and growing in renown.

The oldest of three brothers, DJ Bo relocated to America in 1999 because his parents wanted “a better life and better schools” for the then 11-year-old future DJ. Describing himself as “the life of the party” as a youngster, it was in high school and college where he was introduced to music production and DJing, respectively. “When I grew up, I didn’t know about hip-hop, scratching, or sampling,” Bo tells On Tap. Thus, when Bo discovered Houston-born, New York based classic rap legend DJ Premier, he became fond of all three aforementioned arts, and decided to learn the art of DJing. “Most African DJs don’t scratch records or anything, they mainly blend songs,” Bo continues. “So, I just taught myself scratching, and also how to DJ too.”

Getting active in the Metropolitan area was difficult. A slew of less-than-excellent early gigs led Bo to redouble his efforts, which led him to travel to Atlanta to develop his skills. And finally, he met with success. “I started DJing at clubs in Atlanta with a friend of mine who was a [more seasoned] DJ, and I definitely started to get comfortable.” Back in DC, from spinning for online radio shows to playing gigs at underground spots like the Velvet Lounge and large venues like the main room at downtown DC’s Penn Social (two spots he still claims as his favorites in the city), Bo not only grew confident as a DJ, but his tastes evolved far past rap, too.

“I’m not a fan of just spinning hip-hop. People don’t dance as much to hip-hop these days. I can’t read those crowds, because I always read a crowd [by judging] how much people are dancing. You know, dancing, [and] people making that ‘ooh’ face and yelling when you drop their favorite record. Hip-hop clubs don’t offer that a lot these days. I want to play music and have as much fun playing music as the people are dancing to it.” Underground-favored American house, percussion-heavy EDM, UK-popular dance, and a growing love of tracks from a plethora of African nations are routinely mixed alongside rap in Bo’s sets, creating a feeling where the DJ states, “I’m in there with the people, feeling what they feel, and really getting a crowd to move.”

Spinning three and four nights a week is fairly commonplace now for DJ Bo, and as a producer. Bearing such a busy schedule now allows for making remixes of tracks that can fit into his unique sets to be where his skills and talents lie at present. “I’m obsessed with fresh and progressive drumbeats, things that make you want to ‘turn up,’ but also really dance, too.”

When asked about what 2016 holds for DJ Bo, he answers with what could almost seem to be an expected answer. “I want to play outside the country and break out of my comfort zone,” he tells On Tap. From moving to America, embracing rap, and then embracing a world of unique and dancefloor-ready sounds, Bo’s always excelled at finding himself while also staying ahead of the curve. As a DJ, he’s a talented creative who’s able to push not just himself, but partiers too, along the quest for something great. However, what signifies him as someone important is that he’s also able to consistently deliver something more.

To learn more about DJ Bo, follow him on Twitter @BoKnowzBest.

Photos courtesy DJ Bo 

Moonrise Festival
Photo: Courtesy of Moonrise Festival

EDM Takeover: Moonrise Festival in Baltimore

The electronic dance music (EDM) scene is a culture in and of itself. On August 6 and 7, EDM’s Moonrise Festival hit Baltimore in all of its neon and kandi-coated glory.

Since 2013, Moonrise Festival has brought some of EDM’s biggest acts – like Avicii in its freshman year – to the Baltimore area, and this year’s festival had the best lineup yet. From New Jersey to South Carolina, people all over the country traveled to Maryland to attend. If the festival continues to grow at this steady rate, festival runners may need to seek a bigger host venue than Pimlico Race Course.

This year alone, mainstream dance artists Zedd and The Chainsmokers made their marks as event headliners. Plus rising stars like Marshmello came to play, and many fans sported giant Marshmello-themed heads on top of their own heads. EDM fans are diehard, and the artists appreciate their enthusiasm.

Atlanta-based DJ Bro Safari says seeing the crowd’s reaction is his favorite part of performing at EDM festivals, and he loves “being able to get a really great reaction out of the crowd by playing something that I’ve spent a lot of time putting together.”

Concertgoers had to dig into their pockets to scrounge up $125 to partake in the two-day rave experience. Although this may not necessarily sound cost-effective, it’s a fair bargain compared to those who invest in the more popular EDM festivals like Electric Zoo or “A-list” festivals like Coachella.

The festival’s theme ventured into outer space. Giant blowups of alien tentacles and the like towered above all. Similarly, each stage was designated an intergalactic name to match – Stellar, Lunar, Solar and Celestial among them.

Although dance music festivals of this variety have proved to be popular among European audiences for years, there’s now a rapidly growing market for them in the U.S. Many young people are flocking to festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival and Ultra Music Festival in the States, which raises the question, “What is the draw?”

There is an unusual sense of community at EDM festivals. Moonrise attendees willingly conversed with the “strangers” that surrounded them at this year’s festival, almost as if they were long lost friends reuniting. Even as I sat with a friend observing a set at the Stellar stage, two friendly faces walked over to sit with us and joined our conversation.

For those who sported colorful kandi bracelets, individuals traded with fellow attendees – a long-held tradition at EDM festivals. Although my friend had lost our group for several hours, she returned to us in time, proudly showing off a new kandi she received from a trade with a fellow festival attendee.

During Excision‘s set, the first few rows of ravers collectively banged their heads and moved to the beat as a unified force. Likewise, mosh pits opened up at many a set, where several individuals ran through and bumped shoulders. From my general observations, the idea of PLUR – peace, love, unity and respect – is still alive and well within the EDM community.

There is much more to this scene than meets the eye. The festival itself is like a drug – the music takes over your body and the rave culture engulfs you, providing a natural high. During each set, my friends and I lost ourselves in the music. It’s an understatement to say that I am ready to create more memories at next year’s event.

Moonrise Festival intends to return next summer to Baltimore. If you missed out on this year’s event, stay tuned for details about Moonrise 2017. Based on this year’s lineup and experience, next year won’t disappoint. Learn more atwww.moonrisefestival.com.

Photo: Courtesy of Moonrise Festival

Go Go's

The Go Go’s farewell tour at Warner Theatre

Check out photos from the the Go Go’s farewell tour at Warner Theatre on August 5, 2016. Photos: Kgabriellephoto.com

Yards Park

Friday Night Concert at Yards Park

Guests enjoyed the last concert of the summer at Yards Park with live music by Party Like Its. Photos: Cristina O’Connell

Yards Park August 2016 (3)

Friday Night Concert with Justin Trawick at Yards Park

Guests enjoyed a warm summer night at the Capitol Riverfront while sipping ice-cold brews and wine and jamming to the high energy urban-Americana sounds of Justin Trawick and The Common Good at Yards Park. Photos by Shelly Coates

MusicPicks

This Month in Music: August 2016

THURSDAY, AUGUST 4
RiFF RAFF
The “Neon Icon” himself makes his way to the DMV area, as he is sure to hit the stage with an incessant amount of bling and superfluous confidence. Originating as a YouTube sensation, RiFF RAFF has slowly carved out a niche for himself in the greater fabric of hip-hop by collaborating with names such as Wiz Khalifa and Childish Gambino. Though his rhymes seem silly, his performance is noteworthy, so don’t miss a chance to see Jody Highroller in the flesh. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. $20. The Fillmore Silver Spring: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD;www.fillmoresilverspring.com

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5
Broke Royals
Formed in 2014, local band Broke Royals saw their debut single, “About Time,” go viral in Thailand during a military coup in May of 2014. A collaboration between Philip Basnight and Colin Cross, the band probably didn’t foresee that being the first step on their musical journey. A more expected, but no less exciting, development is their show this month at Rock & Roll Hotel. With Bencoolen and The Bees Trees. Doors open at 7 p.m. $12. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC;www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

The Go-Go’s
After a 38-year run, The Go-Go’s are calling it quits, but not before one final tour. Formed in 1978, The Go-Go’s had a string of hits in the 80s and has had many reunion tours since. They remain the only all-female band that wrote their own songs, played their own instruments and topped the Billboard charts. This is the last chance to see them live. 8 p.m. show. $38-$73. Warner Theatre: 513 13th St. NW, DC;www.warnertheatredc.com

Jumpin’ Jupiter
On their Facebook page, Jumpin’ Jupiter lists their genre as “americanarockandrollsurftwangcountrywesternbluegrassabillybluepunkjazz.” If any of those interest you, you’d do yourself a favor to check out these local mainstays. Consisting of Patrick Cavanaugh, Douglas Hoekstra, Louie Newmyer and Jay Jenc, these guys have been dishing out solid tunes and shows since 1992. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. $8. Velvet Lounge: 915 U St. NW, DC; www.velvetloungedc.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 6
Jerry Garcia Birthday Bash
Grateful Dead tribute bands are a dime a dozen, but to celebrate the late bandleader Jerry Garcia’s 74th birthday in the first week of August, Heady Entertainment has put together a novel and talented bill. The lineup features local and regional acts playing original songs influenced by the Dead, while also mixing in some of their own renditions of the Grateful Dead’s tunes. Sol Roots, The Otter, Toad Head and Box Era are among those paying tribute to the master tunesmith and musician this month. Show at 8 p.m. $10-$20. Jammin’ Java: 27 Maple Ave. E. Vienna, VA;www.jamminjava.com

MONDAY, AUGUST 8
Heather Mae
Virginia-born Heather Mae hits IOTA in support of her five song EP, I Am Enough. Mae previously spent time playing shows as a ukulele-strumming folk singer, but for this album, she enlisted Mark Williams of Suckerpunch Recording to collaborate on her new direction toward indie pop. She also doesn’t shy away from topical and controversial subjects in her songs, so get ready for an interesting performance. 8 p.m. show. $12. IOTA Club & Cafe: 2832 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA;www.iotaclubandcafe.com

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 10
FISHBONE
FISHBONE has been around since 1979, and they show no signs of slowing down. Touring ceaselessly under the radar, the band plays a fusion of ska, punk rock, funk, hard rock and soul, and is noted for their energetic live shows. Though the band’s lineup has changed over the years, founding members John Norwood Fisher, Angelo Moore and Walter Kibby are still playing with the band today. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. $20-$25. The Hamilton: 600 14th St. NW, DC; www.thehamiltondc.com

Juliette Lewis
You know her as Woody Harrelson’s lethal sidekick in Natural Born Killers or the teen ingénue who flirts dangerously with a much older Robert DeNiro in Cape Fear. But Juliette Lewis is also a rock star – of sorts. The sexy L.A.-born actress, who has been sober since her early 20s, says she has always had a musical itch she can’t deny. Luckily, this is more than some celebrity vanity project. Her new single, “Hello Hero,” is a catchy, electro-dance ditty. Her 2009 album Terra Cognita was a harder rocking, grittier affair. File her musical side gig under legit. Doors at 7 p.m. $20. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC; www.ustreetmusichall.com

THURSDAY, AUGUST 11
Elizabeth Cook
The belle of Sirius FM’s outlaw country music channel, Elizabeth Cook brings her sly wit, formidable voice and rockin’ band to The Birchmere this month. Cook’s new record, Exodus of Venus, is a powerhouse of outlaw country, gritty blues and classic rock sounds. Cook comes across as a little cornpone on her radio show with her syrupy accent and frazzled demeanor, but the new album reveals a woman firmly in command of her considerable talent. Show at 7:30. $25. The Birchmere: 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.birchmere.com

Will Hoge
A criminally underrated songwriter, Will Hoge has been cranking out some of the best heartland rock ‘n roll since John Mellencamp over the past decade. Boasting a clear, ringing voice and an accomplished, versatile band, Hoge works hard on stage while avoiding rock star cliches. “Just up the Road” is a plaintive and poignant song about striving for a better life, while “Bad Old Days” is one of the best tunes ever about giving up bachelorhood for family life. Doors at 7:30 p.m. $2-$25. Hamilton: 600 14th Street, N.W., DC; www.thehamilton.com

FRIDAY, AUGUST 12
Charlie Musselwhite
There aren’t many living blues legends left among us, but Charlie Musselwhite – a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – is among them. Musselwhite is living proof that great music only gets better with age. The legendary bluesman cut his musical teeth alongside Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf on the south side of Chicago in the early 60s, and he may be the only musician to get a huge ovation just for opening his briefcase. Fans know that’s where he keeps his harmonicas, and they’re about to hear one of the true masters work his magic. Show at 8 p.m. $25-$35. The Hamilton: 600 14th St. NW, DC; www.thehamiltondc.com

Hollertown
The Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, and Carolina Chocolate Drops are bigger names in the old-time country/bluegrass/Americana genre, but DC’s own Hollertown is making a name for itself as well. The six-piece acoustic powerhouse adeptly plays everything from haunting originals and old-timey standards to covers by Mötley Crüe, Bob Marley and the Texas Tornados. Hollertown performs monthly for bluegrass nights at both the Argonaut on H Street and Mr. Henry’s on Capitol Hill. They’ve also been a featured performer at the Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival, as well as top music venues across the DC area. Show at 9:30 p.m. Free. Hill Country: 410 7th St. NW, DC; www.hillcountrywdc.com

L7
One of the hardest rocking all-female rock bands in history, L7 made their biggest splash in the 1990s during the grunge era. But while the Los Angeles band was somewhat associated with their flannel-clad male peers up north in Seattle, their sound was different – more hooks, faster songs and definitely more attitude. The women of L7 take their punk-rock ethos seriously and since reuniting in 2014, they’re reportedly brought it heavier than ever onstage. Doors at 8 p.m. $25. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 13
The Cowards Choir
Andy Zipf, who has been writing and playing intense, moving music in the area for over 10 years, has taken a new name – The Cowards Choir. Zipf recently released his full-length album, Name the Fear, which is his first release under the new name. At this show, Old Sea Brigade and Christopher the Conquered will open. 8:30 p.m. show. $12.IOTA Club & Cafe: 2832 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.iotaclubandcafe.com

FRIDAY, AUGUST 19
Animal Liberation Orchestra
Signed to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records, Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) has a mellow spirit similar to the label’s surfer songwriter head honcho. With a combination of classic songwriting, freewheeling jams and grooves that lead people to the dancefloor, ALO is sure to have something for everyone in the audience. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. $18-$26. The Hamilton: 600 14th St. NW, DC; www.thehamiltondc.com

Dash Berlin
As an icon in the electronic world, Dash Berlin regularly lands in DJ Mag’s Top 100 poll. Having secured a place in the treasured Top 10 for the past three years, Dash remains at the very top of his game. Berlin was the first DJ to play at the legendary Boulevard Pool party at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, an d he’s headlined major festivals around the globe with the likes of Skrillex and Diplo. Catch him in a much more intimate venue at Echostage this month. Doors at 9 p.m. $30. Echostage: 2135 Queens Chapel Rd NE, DC; www.echostage.com

The Julie Ruin
The documentary The Punk Singer, released in 2013, shone a light on ex-Bikini Kill singer Kathleen Hanna’s previously unpublicized battle with Lyme disease. On the upside, the film also boosted the profile of Hanna’s newest project, The Julie Ruin. The band also features Bikini Kill’s bassist Kathi Wilcox. With Olivia Neutron-John and Sneaks. Doors open at 8 p.m. Mainstage. $20. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC;www.blackcatdc.com

Nappy Riddem Birthday Bash
One of DC’s best local musical acts is turning five, and what better way to celebrate than with this gig at Gypsy Sally’s? Since forming in 2011, Nappy Riddem has been busy touring nationwide and releasing a string of remixes, transforming into an uplifting and conscious reggae band that is funky enough to pack the dance floor. Started by Mustafa Akbar and Rex Riddem, Nappy Riddem is now joined in the studio and on stage by drummer Jon Modell as part of their six-piece live band. Show at 9 p.m. Tickets $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC;www.gypsysallys.com

Prophets of Rage
Prophets of Rage are a supergroup consisting of Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy’s Chuck D and DJ Lord, and Cypress Hill’s B-Real. Their eponymously-titled debut single was just released last month, and their “Make America Rage Again” tour hits our area for what’s sure to be a fiery performance. With Awolnation. Show at 7 p.m. $45-$69.50. EagleBank Arena:4400 University Dr. Fairfax, VA; www.eaglebankarena.com

Toad the Wet Sprocket and Rusted Root
Two very different bands from the 90s will hit the 9:30 Club for a show together. Toad the Wet Sprocket started in Santa Barbara and took their name from a Monty Python sketch. They hit it big with breezy, catchy pop tunes like “Walk on the Ocean” and “All I Want.” Rusted Root started in Pittsburgh and made their mark with African and Latin-inflected tunes like their biggest hit, “Send Me On My Way.” With Daisie Ghost Flower. Doors open at 8 p.m. $35. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 20
Andy Grammer
The son of a singer-songwriter famous for kids’ music, a former busker on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, and now a multi-platinum musician in his own right, Andy Grammer didn’t take the typical path to success. But if you’ve listened to new music in the last few years, you’ve almost certainly heard his hit song “Keep Your Head Up” and had it stuck in your head for days. Opening for Train. Doors open at 6 p.m. $45-$75. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkky. Columbia, MD: www.merriweathermusic.com

SUNDAY, AUGUST 21
Black Sabbath
The rockers from Birmingham, England bring their live show to Bristow, Va. one last time. After many years of intense rock ‘n’ roll, squabbles, lineup changes and a little reality show called The Osbournes, Black Sabbath is officially calling it quits (at least for now). Don’t hesitate to buy a ticket if you have doubts about the band’s current abilities; all of them (including Ozzy) can still rock. With Rival Sons. Show at 7:30 p.m. $35-$150. Jiffy Lube Live: 7800 Cellar Door Dr., Bristow, VA;www.livenation.com/venues/14407/jiffy-lube-live

Ex Hex
DC native Mary Timony grew up in the heyday of the District’s 80s punk scene, and you can hear echoes of that era every time her latest band – Ex Hex – hits the stage at the Black Cat or Comet Ping Pong, two of band’s favorite local venues. The all-female trio’s aptly-titled new album, Rips, was released two years ago and received widespread critical acclaim, garnering the band profiles in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Timesand the hipster’s musical guide, Pitchfork. Rips is a searing, straight-ahead rock album containing 12 tracks about – according to the band’ s record label – “underdogs, guys stealing your wallet, schoolyard brawls and getting bent.” Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $25. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhotel.com

TUESDAY, AUGUST 23
David Crosby
Graham Nash came through in July, and Neil Young will be coming through town in September with Farm Aid, but this month, it’s David Crosby’s turn. Part of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (CSNY), part of The Byrds, and part of some of the most timeless and poetic songs in American music history, Crosby will not disappoint when he comes to The Birchmere this month. Show at 7:30 p.m. $90.50. The Birchmere: 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.birchmere.com

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24
Downtown Boys
Downtown Boys’ carefree name belies the serious political issues that this punk band from Providence tackles on stage and in the studio. Formed in 2011, Downtown Boys describes itself as a “bi bilingual political dance sax punk party from Providence.” Last year, Rolling Stone described them as “the most exciting punk band in America today.” Led by Victoria Ruiz and Joey DeFrancesco, the lead singer and guitarist, Downtown Boys are making the underground soundtrack to some of the most tumultuous times in American political history. Show at 8 p.m. $15. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC;www.rockandrollhotel.com

THURSDAY, AUGUST 25
Miranda Lambert and The Brothers Osborne
Miranda Lambert is one of the very few contemporary country music artists who can effectively straddle the line between mainstream blockbuster and renegade outlaw status. An excellent singer-songwriter and live performer, Lambert’s talent in recent years was sometimes overshadowed by her tabloid marriage to Blake Shelton. But with a divorce in her rear-view mirror, Lambert’s focusing on what she does best: music. The Brothers Osborne, who hail from nearby Deale, Md., will open for Lambert. Show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $45-$125. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.merriweathermusic.com

FRIDAY, AUGUST 26
The Funk Ark
The Funk Ark is a funk/afrobeat ensemble founded by Will Rast (Antibalas, Thievery Corporation, Ocote Soul Sounds) and comprised of some of the best jazz musicians from the DC area. Drawing from a love of the Latin funk and dance music scenes of the 60s and 70s, The Funk Ark creates music that is gritty, soulful and invigorating. The band’ s music – as its namesake would suggest – is a vessel for the best of the funk and jazz genres, and makes us proud of DC’s ever-evolving and vibrant local music scene. Show at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance, $14 at the door. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC; www.gypsysallys.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 27
Ben Tufts and Friends
Dozens of the DC metro area’s best and brightest musicians combine forces to raise money for the Craig Tufts Educational Scholarship Fund. Ben Tufts has played in hundreds of area bands – Craig was his dad as well as the chief naturalist for the National Wildlife Federation, until brain cancer took his life in 2009. Three shows will take place at 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. $20 for all three shows. Jammin’ Java:227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna, VA; www.jamminjava.com

Bob Log III
Bob Log III – one of music’s oddest, most endearing acts – bills himself as a “ One-Man Band Slide Guitar Party.” During performances, he plays old Silvertone Archtop guitars, and wears a full-body cannonball suit and a helmet wired to a telephone, which allows him to devote his hands and feet to guitar and drums. The spectacle has been described as a guitar dance party, with the musician playing over 150 shows a year in more than 30 countries. Bob Log III is guaranteed to make you laugh, holler and dance. Show at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $12. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; www.dcnine.com

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31
Banks & Steelz
Banks and Steelz is Paul Banks from indie rock band Interpol, and RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan. They became friends some years ago and started playing chess together; RZA apparently won most of the time. They also started collaborating on music, with no pressure about where it was going. But this is where it ended up, with a tour and their debut album, Anything But Words, coming out this month. Doors open at 7 p.m. $25. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

DSO-Balt Photos Mark Raker (25)

Dark Star Orchestra at Pier 6 Pavilion

Fans enjoyed a groovin’ performance by Dark Star Orchestra at Pier 6 Pavilion. Photos by Mark Raker

Little Tybee w The Wild Reeds Photos Tracy Conoboy (15)

Little Tybee w/ The Wild Reeds at Gypsy Sally’s

Little Tybee w/ The Wild Reeds performed live at Gypsy Sally’s. Photos by Tracy Conoboy