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Spring has sprung! The concert season gets better as the weather gets warmer. From up and coming rappers playing small clubs to legendary country artists filling out large outdoor venues, the next 3 months will sound great.

March 21

Meek Mill @ The Anthem

When Meek Mill was released on bail on April 24, 2018, after being in jail since November 2017, it felt like the redemption story of an artist weighed down by legal strife and rap beef was finally beginning to take shape. 2018 saw the release of Championships, a sprawling 19-track album that tried to present Meek Mill as a monumental figure in hip-hop despite cementing an uncomfortable truth about Meek’s career since 2011’s Dreamchasers: Meek Mill can make hits (“Going Bad,” “Jump Out of the Face,” “R.I.C.O.,” and “Dreams and Nightmares” to name a few) but making cohesive albums continues to be glaring inability. Meek Mill is a feel-good story of a man who traveled through the unbalanced legal system and came out with a career unhindered by starts-and-stops and inconsistencies. And while I don’t imagine anyone would seriously consider Meek Mill in a top-10 of current rappers, his ability to hit a couple of home runs every album is a talent in its own right; a talent that translates perfectly to a live show. -Ruben Gzirian

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March 22

Lucy Dacus @ Black Cat

Dacus’ “I Don’t Want To Be Funny Anymore” has been in my head since hearing it when Matador re-issued her debut in June of 2016. Since then she’s been part of a supergroup (see below for another recommendation featuring a member of that group) and has released her solo follow up, Historian. Her first D.C. stop was DC9. She returns to a sold-out Black Cat. Try to get a ticket before the next stop is a full 9:30 Club. -Brandon Wetherbee


March 23

Elder Island @ Songbyrd

Coming in from across the pond, Elder Island is an electronic power pop trio you don’t want to miss. Nerdy and dancey, the bands newest hit “You and I” is part Look Around You, part Empire of the Sun. Elder Island takes the stage at Songbyrd cafe this month with Brooklyn’s ethereal queen of weirdness Tesha. -Johnny Fantastic

March 24

Homeshake @ Black Cat

On Helium, Montreal-based artist Pete Sagar doubles down on the bedroom synths of earlier records, turning inwards when many other of his peers and contemporaries have begun to stretch out. While that thought generally gives me pause, it works for the artist known as Homeshake: his vision of solitude and isolation is by choice, and it lies at the core of music that is deeply introspective. Sagar has become something of a reluctant indie darling since leaving the spotlight of the Mac DeMarco band, and his soft-spoken nature translates to live shows that are self-effacing, delicate, and gentle. I’m curious to see how this translates to the Black Cat’s main stage; I’ve seen Homeshake twice in rooms a fraction of the size, but I’m hopeful. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez

Read our 2016 interview with Homeshake

March 25 and June 21

Ariana Grande @ Capitol One Arena

Love her or hate her, Ariana Grande is a big deal. Personally, I love her. Even through my dedicated love of girly, unpretentious, fun-loving pop, Ariana Grande’s latest album has set her apart as a star with a lasting cultural impact. And it’s well deserved. Released a mere 5 months after Sweetner, thank u, next made its mark quickly and powerfully. Its an incredibly smart and emotional album but that doesn’t hold it back from being a dance-y pop masterpiece. thank u, next is absolutely infectious, mixing R&B sounds with bubblegum pop in a remarkable manner. Besides the ever-popular title track, the wonderfully witty “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored,” and the controversial “7 rings,” “fake smile” is a shining stand out among an album of strong tracks. With lyrics that refer to the “year [she’s been through],” “fake smile” is raw and honest in a deeply personal way, yet insatiably catchy and well sung. It sums up the album perfectly, a true testament to how far Grande has traveled as a musician and a person. She’s a dazzling diva of our generation, and I’ll pay good money to see her live. -Afriti Bankwalla

March 26

Choker @ Union Stage

Choker’s “El Dorado” was last year’s the song of the summer in my brain. I couldn’t get enough of his poppy, R&B-y, deconstructed jam and I am going to lose my mind if he plays it at Union Stage. Of course, all of Honeybloom, the follow up album to 2017’s Peak (which included “El Dorado”), is packed with loveliness. “Juno” is already a forever favorite, but the whole album is worth your time. RIYL: Frank Ocean and music that makes you feel like you’re walking through a funhouse in the best way. -Kaylee Dugan

March 27

Mom Jeans @ Rock & Roll Hotel

Mom Jeans’ first album was half Bob’s Burgers jokes and half actual songs. Mom Jeans’ second album is half Internet memes and half actual songs. I know all of this sounds bad on paper, but despite their half-hearted attempts to seem like they aren’t taking any of this seriously, Mom Jeans perfectly captures that knife blade edge between wild euphoria and utter melancholy. They managed to bottle that feeling you would get two weeks before the end of summer vacation and transform it into music. Also they have a song called “Jon bong Jovi.” It makes me smile. -Kaylee Dugan

March 28

Swervedriver @ 9:30 Club

English shoegazers Swervedriver came back from a nearly 20 year hiatus in 2015 with the impressive I Wasn’t Born to Lose You and haven’t looked back since. Their new album, Future Ruins, is a similarly confident and consistent collection of songs, adding a slew of brain-melting cuts to incorporate into their always memorable live shows. -Matt Byrne

March 29

Emo Night Brooklyn @ U Street Music Hall

Let me be clear upfront, Emo Night is the worst. There’s no real DJing involved (at least I hope not). Everyone in the audience is drunker than you thought they would be. Everyone is hornier (for the DJ to play “Ocean Avenue” and the normal type of horny) than you thought they would be. It’s like you went back to middle school, but now you’re an adult and you have the propensity to make even worse decisions! Can you imagine how terrible you would have been if you were a drunk emo 13-year-old? I know this is basically a John Mulaney bit, but still. The image is chilling.

That being said, if you want to scream all of your favorite songs for 3-4 hours with people who also know all of the words, you’re going to have a blast. -Kaylee Dugan

March 30

Methyl Ethel @ DC9

Australian rock weirdos Methyl Ethel are traveling all the way over here to the states to spread the word about their new album, Triage, the completion of a trio of thematically-linked albums released over the last four or five years. These guys are gonna be super popular extremely soon so you’d be smart to catch them now before they’re playing venues five times the size of the ones they’re in now. -Matt Byrne

March 31

Mariah Carey @ MGM National Harbor

Who in their right mind is going to miss a chance to hear “We Belong Together” or “Always Be My Baby” or “Touch My Body” live? Say what you will about “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” but Mariah’s hits are undeniable. Also “All I Want For Christmas Is You” was a banger, is a banger and will forever be a banger. We’re lucky to live in a world where that song exists. -Kaylee Dugan

April 1

Remember Sports @ DC9

I don’t know when Sports became Remember Sports, but if you’re looking for something fun and sad and catchy, you’ve found it. Fans of Diet Cig and Charly Bliss and P.S. Eliot will feel right at home in their earnest lyrics and sweet riffs. Fill yourself with cheap beer and get ready to dance and also Instagram DM your high school crush. It’s inevitable. -Kaylee Dugan

April 2

Muse @ Capital One Arena

The first and only time I saw Muse, they opened for My Chemical Romance during their Welcome to the Black Parade tour. Matt Bellamy had a piano with light up keys. This was (if I’m remembering correctly) before “Knights of Cydonia” became one of the most popular songs on Guitar Hero (remember when Guitar Hero made bands popular?). It was awesome. Not as awesome as Gerard Way being wheeled onstage in full hospital garb, but their bombastic power pop / rock songs still made an impact. I mean you want to hear “Supermassive Black Hole” live, right? Right. -Kaylee Dugan

April 3

Better Oblivion Community Center @ Black Cat

Neither co-founder of the feelings rock dream-team duo Better Oblivion Community Center is a stranger to the supergroup scene. Conor Oberst previously joined forces with folks like My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and M. Ward in the cheekily named Monsters of Folk and Phoebe Bridgers’ work last year with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus resulted in one of the year’s most acclaimed releases, the boygenius EP. Conor and Phoebe trade impassioned vocals and gleefully hop across subgenres on the Better Oblivion record, a surprise release dropped on our heads back in January. -Matt Byrne


April 4

Robert Ellis @ Songbyrd

With his white suit and cowboy hat, Robert Ellis dresses to impress. But it’s when he sits at the piano that things really get going. Don’t miss the multitalented piano impresario along with Ian O’Neil of Deertick as he tours his newest release, Texas Piano Man. -Johnny Fantastic

April 5

Anna Connolly, Manners Manners, Luna Honey @ The Pie Shop

D.C. punk scene veteran Anna Connolly makes her solo debut with After Thoughts, available on a Dischord. Joined by indie rockers Manners, Manners and D.C.’s own Nick Cave dwellers Luna Honey, Anna’s show promises to revive the sweaty 1980s basement vibe that made D.C. punk so legendary. Plus plenty of pie! -Johnny Fantastic

April 6

Viagra Boys @ DC9

It’s easy in music writing to fall back on reductive reasoning – specifically, to say that X band + Y band = Z band. But for real, Nick Cave (in swaggering, creepy Grinderman mode) + Butthole Surfers (in its slicker but still biting ‘90s major label phase) = Viagra Boys. It’s that simple. And as long as you’re not expecting a band to blow your mind with originality, Viagra Boys kinda rule. Perhaps you’ve heard “Sports” – the overtly satirical song that put the Swedish band on most listeners’ radars last summer – but the entirety of its debut LP Street Worms is an engrossing listen. (Or if you prefer to order off-menu, “Sports” b-side “Up All Night” is my favorite tune of theirs to date.) Go see these weirdos live, in a small room, with a stomach full of beer. You’ll sweat most of it out. -Phil Runco

April 7

DMX @ Fillmore Silver Spring

In addition to having one of the best titles of all time, DMX’s debut album It’s Dark and Hell is Hot is an unfuckwithable collection of aggro rap bangers. Recently released from prison following a year-long sentence for tax evasion, X is hitting the road celebrating this clasic LP’s belated 20th birthday. Before pop radio crossovers like “Party Up” or “What’s My Name?,” DMX’s chaotic energy was more visceral, the edges sharper, more outwardly aggressive. Should be a good time! -Matt Byrne

April 8

Charlotte Gainsbourg @ 9:30 Club

I was fortunate enough to catch the legendary Charlotte Gainsbourg in Norway over the summer at Øyafestivalen, and wowee, talk about a surreal experience; I’d spent pretty much all of Fall 2017 listening to Rest (seriously, what a stunner of an LP) on my nightly post-work walks around Brooklyn, and I cannot tell you how many different music videos I dreamed up in my brain during that period of time. Of course, those music videos will never be made for a whole bunch of reasons (principally that I am not a director, and Charlotte seems to be doing just fine without my help), but who needs music videos when you can just witness the songs unfold on stage? 10/10 would recommend. – Megan Burns

April 9

Aldous Harding @ DC9

I’ve been in love with Aldous Harding’s music for ages, but then again, I am quite the sucker for folk vibes. (And her tunes are chockablock full of ’em.) Party is a personal favorite for soundtracking my mind-wandering walks around the city (“What If Birds Aren’t Singing They’re Screaming” is a real heart buster), and Designer (which was just released) is likely to make a nice companion once it comes out on 4.27. While I’ve never seen the New Zealander live, I would imagine the energy in the room is pretty magical and pensive, and you’re likely to head home feeling like you just witnessed something pretty special. -Megan Burns

April 10

Baroness and Deafheaven @ Fillmore Silver Spring

Nothing better than a good old Weird Metal Doubleheader, you know? Sludgy space cadets Baroness have been holding it down for over 15 years at this point, crafting idiosyncratic, face-melting fuzz epics across acclaimed LPs like Yellow & Green and Purple (sense a theme?). Their co-headliners/tourmates in Deafheaven have found a similar level of acclaim in their career, but at a much more accelerated pace. Their novel combination of black metal vocals with shoegaze aesthetics has produced some of the most punishingly beautiful jams of the decade. -Matt Byrne

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April 11

Ella Vos @ 9:30 Club

I tend to like listening to music on my own more than I do in rooms full of people. (WOW, COOL HERMIT!) But there is something about Ella Vos’ music that I just feel like begs to be a shared experience? Like, I will stand near tall people and loud people and all people so that we can all just have this one moment together in angelic voiced harmony. -Megan Burns

April 12

Shy Boys @ DC9

Lo-fi jangle pop will never die, and you know what? That’s totally alright with me. Press materials describe them as “The Beach Boys on Robitussin,” which is honestly pretty dead on. There’s a lot of buzz around this gang of Kansas City oddball poppers, and it’s easy to understand why: the lo-fi production belies tight songwriting and a knack for candy-coated harmonies. -Matt Byrne

April 12 and 13

Damaged City

Sweetlife has come and gone and Virgin FreeFest was always a bad idea, but Damaged City keeps coming back. The festival is dedicated to showing off hardcore punk the city where it grew and festered, but don’t just expect to see your favorite D.C. bands. Damage City’s roster is far reaching, including bands from Japan, Sweden, the UK, Canada and more. -Kaylee Dugan

April 13 and 14

Todd Rundgren @ State Theatre

Idiosyncratic classic rock icon Todd Rundgren is touring behind the release of his new autobiography, The Individualist, which gives an inside look at the life and career of the serial pioneer. Rundgren spent decades on the cutting edge and continues to chase his vision, which you gotta respect. -Matt Byrne

April 16

The Wild Reeds @ U Street Music Hall

Sure, The Wild Reeds spine-tingling harmonies sound good (great!) on record, but you hear these LA-based troubadours really get into it in real life, up on stage? Oh my lord, transcendent! -Matt Byrne

April 17

Telekinesis @ U Street Music Hall

Listening to a Telekinesis album is like witnessing a feat of strength. Songwriter Michael Lerner plays everything himself across these deceptively dense power pop nuggets, full of idiosyncratic hooks and secret earworms that will follow you around for days. Since he’s not actually superhuman, Lerner is joined in a live setting by a killer backing band, bringing these studio gems into the real world. -Matt Byrne

April 18

Hatebreed @ Fillmore Silver Spring

One of the biggest metalcore bands out there, Hatebreed’s unholy combination of the technical acrobatics of metal and the base brutality of hardocre has influenced countless purveyors of aggressive music over the years. They’ve been touring and releasing music consistently since forming in the early 90’s, and show no sign of slowing down. It’s also worth noting is that their longtime drummer and I have the same name. -Matt Byrne

April 18, 19

Kenny Chesney @ The Anthem

Closing my eyes and listening to “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” is meditative. I feel at peace when that lounge music-esque intro cues up and Chesney’s smooth country voice starts crooning about going on vacation. Even if his Jimmy Buffett-lite stuff doesn’t do it for you, you can’t deny his space in the pop-country pantheon. “You Had Me from Hello,” “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,” “I Go Back” and “Summertime” are classics. This is not a joke. I could talk about country music for hours. -Kaylee Dugan

April 20

Broods @ Fillmore Silver Spring

Moody New Zealand pop siblings Broods have expanded their once-limited palette on their latest album, the eclectic Don’t Feed the Pop Monster, released earlier this year. A record full of the sort of electronically-inclined indie pop that has dominated some of the biggest Spotify playlists out there, Broods are poised to continue their ascent into the pop mainstream here. -Matt Byrne


April 21

Anna of the North @ U Street Music Hall

I saw Anna of the North play a small spot in NYC’s West Village this past November, and WOW WOW WOW! If you’re not already hype on the Norwegian’s ultra-infectious dreampop tracks (I’ve listened to Lovers an embarrassing amount of times since its release in 2017) then NOW IS THE TIME, slash do not for any reason sleep on catching her live. -Megan Burns

April 23

Laura Jane Grace and The Devouring Mothers @ Rock & Roll Hotel

Grace made a name for herself as the provocative front person of Against Me!, then made headlines as a transrights activist who burned her driver’s license on stage in North Carolina during the anti-trans bathroom bill. Take the chance to get close to a hero of the transcommunity and amazing songwriter. -Johnny Fantastic

Against Me Laura Jane Grace Ram\'s Head Live Farrah Skeiky Brightest Young Things 4

April 24

Kodak Black, Roddy Ricch @ The Anthem

At the age of 21, Kodak Black has already had a career peppered with claims of “wasted talent” and “lost cause.” Kodak’s run-in with the law are well-documented, but none of that has precluded him from amassing a catalog of work that laid the foundation for many new rappers coming out of Florida. His 2018 Dying to Live was a great showcase of Kodak’s ability to communicate struggles of self-worth and doubt in an easily digestible stylistic package. Roddy Ricch, a 20-year-old artist from Compton, CA, is quickly becoming a personal favorite. Roddy’s blend of uptempo delivery, slick lyrics, and nascent attempts at something nearing R&B are intoxicating. His 2018 Feed the Streets II deserves to be in your heavy rotation. -Ruben Gzirian

April 25

Zepparella @ City Winery

Zepparalla is an all-female Led Zepplin tribute band that wears all white, a la Barbarella, that’s been featured in Guitar World in 2019. If these facts haven’t sold you, this isn’t for you. -Brandon Wetherbee

April 26, 27, 28

Something in the Water

I have never been more disappointed to be living (in Chicago) almost 1000 miles away from Virginia Beach as when I saw the line up for Pharrell’s new music festival, Something in the Water. Janelle Monae, Missy Elliot, Pusha T, Travis Scott, Diplo, Mac DeMarco, Usher, Migos. Lil Uzi Vert, and SZA are just some of the names slated to perform at the three day festival. With some of the most influential and dynamic artists out there on the list, I think the line up very much speaks for itself. Not only are these good musicians, but they’re also phenomenal, lively performers. These aren’t shows to miss when they come to your city normally, and to have such incredible hip hop artists together at one event is always special. But don’t get me wrong, Something in the Water is more than just music (although let’s be honest the musicians are more than enough of a selling point). The festival will also feature a film screening, networking events, karaoke, and even a pop-up church. Pharrell’s festival sounds like a genuinely fun time. It promises to be an exciting experience with enthralling shows and an amazing mix of musical sounds, and, apparently, a plethora of programmed activities. Virginia Beach might be three and a half hours away from D.C. on a good day, but Something in the Water sounds like a damn good reason to make that trip. -Afriti Bankwalla

April 26

The Mountain Goats @ 9:30 Club

It’s hard to be just a casual fan of The Mountain Goats, they have a way of attracting enthusiastic fandom, if not obsession. If you’re in, you’re all the way in, spending hours pouring through their massive back catalog, getting small but meaningful tattoos featuring all sorts of references and obtuse lyrical snippets. Few indie rock concerts feel more like a group experience than a Mountain Goats gig, a temporary reunion of a massive family united around the work of their shared infatuation. -Matt Byrne

Read our 2015 interview with John Darnielle


April 28

Kali Uchis and Jorja [email protected] The Anthem

From R&B promises to bonafide stars, Kali Uchis and Jorja Smith each had a 2018 to remember. From sold out shows at historic venues to releasing their debut albums to critical acclaim, these singers’ careers moved forward in oddly symmetrical fashion last year. I’m not sure if there was previously a friendship at the core, but I love that the Kali and Jorja tour is a thing that we are being blessed with. And while we can stretch the similarities – they’re both women of color in their early 20s, they’ve each dabbled in the hip-hop world – these are two incredibly versatile musicians who span genres and styles without compromising their unique identities.-Jose Lopez-Sanchez

April 29

Beth Hart @ Sixth & I

Drawing substantial acclaim for her innovative and thoughtful approach to “the blues” as it stood near the end of the 20th century, New Zealand songwriter Beth Hart has, alongside her frequent collaborator, Joe Bonamassa, become something of a global sensation over the last two decades. Hart’s 2019 tour follows a big 2018 for live albums, she put out two different live CD/DVD combos just a handful of months apart, acting as a two-pronged showcase of her refined performance chops. -Matt Byrne

April 30

Julia Jacklin @ Rock & Roll Hotel

If you’re looking for Angel Olsen vibes by way of Australia, then Julia Jacklin IS YOUR GIRL 100%! I interviewed homegirl a few years ago (she’s just the loveliest, by the way) after she put out Don’t Let The Kids Win, and she’s back now with a whole new batch o’ tracks on Crushing. I am personally v. stoked to hear ’em live, as should you be, so be sure to grab those tickets or REGRET YOUR MISTAKE FOREVER. -Megan Burns

May 1

Daddy Issues, Foxing @ U Street Music Hall

This is reminder to always show up early for the opener. In this case, Daddy Issues is opening for Foxing (and Now, Now) at U Street Music Hall and I can promise you their set is worth skipping happy hour. Their grunge pop riffs are laced with lyrics that were made to be screamed out loud. “Dog Years” is one of the best songs to come out in the last few years, but their entire second album is filled with jams. As someone who has seen them live twice, I can promise you’re going to have a good time. And if you don’t, feel free to send all of your complaints to me. It’s my fault and I deserve it. -Kaylee Dugan


May 2

Hellogoodbye @ U Street Music Hall

Do you remember when Hellogoodbye was on MTV’s Super Sweet 16? 2007 was a wild time to be alive / be a teenager. This show is your perfect excuse to relive the early aughts and/or hear “Baby, It’s Fact” live. A song I replayed almost constantly at one point in my life. -Kaylee Dugan


May 3

J.I.D., Saba, Mereba @ Fillmore Silver Spring

It’s rare a single show has as much talent nearing its peak like this one. J.I.D. is the new darling of J. Cole’s Dreamville imprint, and his late-2018 debut DiCaprio 2 showcased a young rapper confident in a vocal delivery teetering between silky smooth and cardiac arrest. Saba, a young rapper out of Chicago, took the hip hop world by storm with his 2018 album CARE FOR ME. That album stripped Saba bare, presenting a young man struggling with pain, loss, and depression rooted in every aspect of his life; it was as powerful as it was rare in hip hop. Rounding out the ticket is Mereba, a unique talent soulful talent hailing from Los Angeles. Her hybrid of folk-soul really needs to be heard live, especially when songs like “Kinfolk” ripple chills through your headphones. -Ruben Gzirian

May 4

Steve Gunn @ Songbyrd

Guitarman Steve Gunn’s effortless ripping and elliptical, hard-to-pin-down songwriting has placed him at the forefront of a half made up scene of New Cosmic Americana acts, plumbing the depths of classic American psychedelic folk music. However you want to describe it, dude shreds but doesn’t make a whole big thing about it, making it all the more engaging to watch. -Matt Byrne

May 5

Son Volt @ 9:30 Club

Masters of Americana Son Volt spent the 1990s, following the dissolution of frontman Jay Farrar’s previous group, Uncle Tupelo, blowing the collective minds of critics and a small fanbase of alt country fans. Farrar has released albums semi-regularly since the band’s mid-90s boom, continuing to refine his craft as a songwriter, utilizing a rotating cast of backing musicians to further his vision. -Matt Byrne

May 6

The Dandy Warhols @ 9:30 Club

It’s not always great when your band is best known for a documentary about how you’re a bunch of dang weirdos, but it’s been working for The Dandy Warhols since Dig! came out way back in 2004. Joined by pals/rivals in The Brian Jonestown Massacre, audiences were offered a glimpse behind the scenes at what it was like working towards a breakthrough to the mainstream (or not), and all the self-flagellation and bitter feelings that come along with it. Either way The Dandies are turning 25 this year and I’m happy for them! -Matt Byrne

Read our 2014 interview with The Dandy Warhols

May 7

Field Medic @ Songbyrd

Field Medic makes songs that make me laugh and songs that make me feel an insatiable longing. It’s a good combination. “OTL” will forever make me laugh and “POWERFUL LOVE” will forever be on repeat. -Kaylee Dugan

May 8

FKJ @ 9:30 Club

My friends have been going on and on about FKJ for months, and fairly so – the French producer and multi-instrumentalist creates sonic landscapes that feel out of this world. I didn’t fully get it until I came across this live set at the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia – the world’s largest salt flats. Watch/listen to this and tell me you don’t want to see FKJ work his magic live. It’s next level. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez

May 10

Ex Hex @ 9:30 Club

How many high fives were doled out during the making of It’s Real, the second album from almighty D.C. trio Ex Hex? We’re talking hundreds, right? After every take? During takes? Because I’ll tell you what, this album makes me want to load my t-shirt cannon with high fives and unload at anyone in sight. It high fives my soul. Like most humans with ears, I greatly enjoyed Rips, the band’s 2014 debut. It was a breath of fresh air – energetic and massively hooky. It’s Real is a far groovier record. The herky-jerky stop-and-goes have been smoothed out. These are cosmic jams for cosmic caves and getting (responsibly) stoned on long drives. These songs are going to slay live. You can tell that Mary Timony, Betsy Wright, and Laura Harris toured the hell out of Rips. These three have become an impenetrable unit. And if you don’t see them at least once in support of It’s Real, it’s time to renounce your rock n roll fandom. -Phil Runco

Read our 2014 interview with Mary Timony


May 11

The Drums @ Black Cat

We have previously described The Drums as “the perfect band”, and this is still an incredibly accurate statement. Find all the justification you seek re: purchasing tickets right here! -Megan Burns

May 12

Show Me The Body @ Union Stage

The noisy shit-kickers in Show Me The Body brought a banjo to the hardcore show and dared somebody to say something about it. Incorporating elements of noise, hip hop, and industrial music into pulsating, provocative hardcore (centered around the distorted twang of the aforementioned banjo), this Queens trio sound like nothing else out there. -Matt Byrne

May 14

Slayer @ Merriweather Post Pavilion

Slayer was supposed to break up last year. Slayer fans are not upset they’re still together but we need to acknowledge Slayer is following in the footsteps of metal forefathers Black Sabbath. Farewell tours are a lie. Metal never dies. Satan needs that green. -Brandon Wetherbee


May 15

L’Imperatrice @ U Street Music Hall

Do you ever feel like you just want to pretend to be hot for a while? If so, L’Imperatrice make the perfect tunes for that! I mean, to be fair, all French music is p. sex dot com, but like…this is next level. Pop on “PARFUM THÉRÉMINE” and some sunglasses, and proceed to stare at yourself seductively in the mirror for a long, long time. (And then obviously catch L’Imperatrice live, because I can only imagine the vibes are amplified in a dimly lit room!) -Megan Burns

May 16

My Brightest Diamond @ Rock & Roll Hotel

Shara Nova, frequent collaborator with acts like Sufjan Stevens and The Decemberists during the reign of that specific strain of folky, hyperliterate indie rock, has continued to push the boundaries of her sound over the last 15 years. Via a deluge of albums, EPs, and collaborative remix albums and 12”s released over the last fifteen years as My Brightest Diamond, Nova’s powerhouse voice has been backed by various permutations of indie rock, baroque pop, and electronic music, each genre experiment engaging in its own way. Her newfound embrace of dancefloor-friendly beats and omnivorous songwriting approach makes her an especially engaging live performer these days. -Matt Byrne

Read our 2014 interview with My Brightest Diamond

May 17

Running Touch @ U Street Music Hall

I first came across Running Touch on Hayden James’ infectious pseudo-electronic house single “Better Together.” The mysterious producer from Melbourne is a joy to listen to, creating layered intimate and personal electronica shrouded in an effervescent aura of smoke. Songs like “This is Just to Say” and “When I’m Around You” hit all the right notes of stirring emotion in a way only electronica interlaced with skin-deep lyrics of desire and lust can. This is a refinement of a genre above all else, but it’s one of the better refinements I’ve heard in a while. -Ruben Gzirian

May 19, 20

Lizzo @ 9:30 Club

Lizzo is another force who I do not feel needs any introduction. If you are scratching your head at this moment, it means you have somehow been living under a rock. Lizzo is God. Do whatever you have to do (including but certainly not limited to selling your dog and/or stealing from your grandma) to see Lizzo live. -Megan Burns


May 21

The 1975 @ The Anthem

The 1975 are maybe the closest thing we have to a modern-day U2; they’re painfully sincere but can be goofy and self-aware, embracing modern rock and pop tropes while working to invert them at every turn. Also like Bono and the gang before them, the arena-packing live shows are the stuff of legendary transcendence to their legions of fans. One other way they are like U2 is that I don’t especially like what they’re doing but I’m pretty sure I respect it. -Matt Byrne


May 22

Chromatics @ 9:30 Club

Chromatics have been promising Dear Tommy, the follow-up to their masterpiece Kill for Love, for so long that it feels like indie’s version of Chinese Democracy. They also haven’t had a tour since 2012 (the photos below are from that tour), and while the band can notoriously shy, they create a sense of atmosphere that’s about as immersive and cinematic as anything you’ll see all year. -Alan Zilberman

Chromatics @ RNR July 19, 2012 Chromatics @ RNR July 19, 2012

May 23

American Football @ Black Cat

Accidental emo godfathers American Football returned in 2014 for a series of hotly-anticipated reunion shows, and have just sort of hung around since then, much to the delight of the cult following they’d amassed in the years following the release of their iconic 1999 debut and subsequent breakup. They released a solid followup album in 2016, and are back in 2019 with another new one, which features a series of huge guest vocalists, including Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell and Paramore’s Hayley Williams. -Matt Byrne

May 23, 24, 25, 26

Maryland Deathfest

Every band at Deathfest has the best band name. Vomitory. Borknagar. Fleshcrawl. Guttural Secrete. Tomb Mold. Frightmare. Neckbeard Deathcamp. Are you sold yet? -Kaylee Dugan


May 24

Yann Tiersen @ Lincoln Theatre

Though perhaps best known for his work soundtracking iconic early 2000s indie films like Amelie and Good Bye Lenin!, Yann Tiersen’s collaborative, meditative album deserves just as much attention. Fusing delicate chamber music with more mainstream friendly indie and electronic flourishes, Tiersen’s amassed a huge network of collaborators, populating his albums with a variety of gifted musicians from backgrounds both classical and nontraditional. -Matt Byrne

May 25

The Japanese House @ Black Cat

English vocalist and frequent collaborator with massively popular rock group The 1975, The Japanese House is one of the more successful post-Bon Iver indie pop artists going. Songwriter Amber Bain’s downtempo, synth-washed take on the well-worn Sad Pop tropes of the streaming age is enriched by a semi-serious veil of mystery and depth of songwriting. -Matt Byrne

May 28, 29, 30

Betty Who @ 9:30 Club

Australian pop musician Betty Who’s newfound independence from the major label that determined the path of her career has her taking more risks, experimenting with bolder sounds, imagery, and collaborators. Her throwback approach to shiny, 1980’s-style synth pop made her a perfect candidate to record the theme song for the Queer Eye reboot that exploded Netflix last year, bringing even more fans into the fold. -Matt Byrne

Read our 2018 interview with Betty Who

All Things Go 2018

May 29

Rolling Coastal Blackouts Fever @ U Street Music Hall

Australia seems to be an endless resource of propulsive, engaging rock music. The latest and greatest export from the jolly old island of the southern hemisphere is Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, whose grungy yet accessible take on the very specifically Australian guitar-driven power pop has roots in their more abrasive garage rock scene, which really comes through in a live setting. Rolling Blackouts C.F.’s hooky jams pick up a more manic energy in concert, pushing them past “cool band that I like to listen to” into “one of my fav rock bands” territory. -Matt Byrne

May 31

Weyes Blood @ U Street Music Hall

I listen to Newtown Radio on a daily basis, and every single time I hear an unfamiliar track and am like, “Holy shit, who is this?! I NEED TO LISTEN TO HER FOREVER!” (ex: “Andromeda”), it’s almost always Weyes Blood. Her voice is too good for this world! Her songs make me feel like I ate the whole sun! Go feel like you ate the whole sun! Buy tickets to see her live before they all sell out! -Megan Burns

Read our 2016 interview with Weyes Blood

June 2

Teen Daze @ Songbyrd

Teen Daze is the pseudonymous alter ego of Jamison Isaak, who’s been at it for nearly 10 years now, releasing intimate collections of bedroom pop nuggets, blasting off from the Chillwave boom of the late 2000s and soldiering on, releasing a string of well-liked albums along the way. Their slow-but-steady embrace of a more polished, studio-oriented sound hasn’t cut down on the intimacy of their live show, which often finds Isaak alone with just a keyboard, some electronic accessories, and a microphone. -Matt Byrne

June 3

Florence + The Machine, Blood Orange @ Merriweather Post Pavilion

I feel like if you saw that Florence + The Machine were performing on the same ticket as Blood Orange and didn’t already have your mind made up about attending, no preview would convince you otherwise. Blood Orange delivered one of the best works of music in recent times with 2018’s Negro Swan and has rightfully elevated himself onto a pantheon of modern day music reserved only for artists so true to themselves that you fear it could all be revealed to be a farce in the future. Florence + The Machine continue to chug along, making music driven to the heavens through Florence Welch’s thunderous voice. 2018’s High as Hope delivered acerbic melodies and lyrics to match, and recent singles “Moderation” and “Haunted House” suggest the group’s ability to go from lightning to mist is as effortless as ever. -Ruben Gzirian


June 4

Local Natives @ 9:30 Club

Indie rock mainstays Local Natives are hardly reinventing the wheel or whatever, but what’s wrong with a wheel? People love wheels. Their massive 2019 tour announce came with a promise of new music, by way of their fourth album, Violet Street, coming out care of indie rock crossover house Loma Vista Recordings. -Matt Byrne

Read our 2016 interview with Local Natives

Local Natives

June 6

FRENSHIP @ 9:30 Club

The two main guys from FRENSHIP met while working at Lululemon, so good on them for getting out of retail hell and into the indie folk/crossover pop radio scene, you know? They’ve got a whole nice group vocals/harmony vibe going for them and I totally get why everyone is super into em. -Matt Byrne

June 7

Charly Bliss @ U Street Music Hall

Brooklyn four piece Charly Bliss charmed indie-rock fans with their 2017 album Guppy, and now two years later the band are back with their sophomore album Young Enough. No longer working day jobs, Charly Bliss had more time to compose their record the way they wanted. The final product is awash in glossy synths, more focused and pop forward with the same amount of bite and wit that are a hallmark of Eva Hendrick’s lyrics. Lead singles “Capacity” and “Chatroom” represent the record’s poppier material, but the Charly Bliss of Guppy is still present in tracks like “Under You” and “Hard to Believe”. -Rohan Mahadevan

June 8

Jerry Lee Lewis @ The Birchmere

The original problematic rock & roller is still touring. It’s 2019 and Jerry Lee Lewis is still touring. This is remarkable for two reasons. -Brandon Wetherbee

June 9

Rob Zombie & Marilyn Manson @ Royal Farms Arena

Take the Dragula up the 95 to see Mr. Short Spooky Man and Mr. Tall Spooky Man sing their songs about the devil and cocaine and how the devil likes cocaine. Fun for the whole family! If you do go, make sure to have $10-$20 cash after the show to purchase your official bootleg tour shirt. They’re way better than what you’ll find in the stadium. -Brandon Wetherbee


June 10

The Specials @ Fillmore Silver Spring

Groundbreaking ska act The Specials have broken up and reunited several times since they got their start incorporating rude boy vibes into the burgeoning late 1970s English punk scene. Their most recent incarnation features three of the band’s founding members, backed by a roster of mostly pretty newer ringers. Three out of eight or nine is good enough for me, I suppose! As far as live ska shows go, this is one of the less embarrassing ones you could probably end up at! -Matt Byrne

June 11

Tech N9ne @ Fillmore Silver Spring

Hyper technical underground favorite Tech N9ne stands in a class of his own, his knack for spitting intense, extremely complicated rhymes has made him an all-time great to a certain kind of rap fan. He’s built a network of similarly verbose, skilled rappers and producers through his Strange Music label over the last 20 years, a rotating cast of characters that regularly pop up across his massive discography. His live show is a high-octane showcase of his hardcore bonafides, a hyped-up, bare-bones setup that never relents. -Matt Byrne

June 14

Brandi Carlile @ Merriweather Post Pavilion

Carlile won the 2019 Grammy’s. She didn’t win the most awards, she won the night with her performance of “The Joke.” Her most recent album, 2018’s By the Way, I Forgive You, seems like an overnight success. A success 6 albums and 13 years in the making. -Brandon Wetherbee

June 15

Craig Finn & The Uptown Controllers @ Rock & Roll Hotel

More than just the frontdude from The Hold Steady, Craig Finn has built out a nice little solo career for himself, backed by a stable of musicians who have come to be known as The Uptown Controllers, who appear on all three of the solo works he’s released over the last five years or so. Less manic and boozy than his main band, Finn’s solo work gives our guy the chance to get (even more) introspective, full of personal details and observations filtered through the parade of character studies that populate any collection of tracks Finn touches. -Matt Byrne

Read our piece “How Long Does It Take The Hold Steady To Sing About The City?”


June 18

The Lonely Island @ The Anthem

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is an underrated mockumentary destined for midnight movie status. The Lonely Island is still funny and not nearly as annoying as any comedy musical group has any right to be after 20 years. -Brandon Wetherbee

June 19

Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss @ Merriweather Post Pavilion

Nothing lasts forever. No one lasts forever. Willie Nelson is 85. He’ll be 86 at this show. Appreciate one of the greatest songwriters of all time while he’ll still be able to appreciate it. -Brandon Wetherbee


June 20

Billie Eilish @ The Anthem

Billie Eilish seems like a parody of the LA teen life. Her middle name is Pirate, she’s worn a designer ziplock bag on her head as fashion, oh, and at just 17-years-old Billie Eilish’s debut EP has amassed over 750 million Spotify streams. Now she’s back with her first studio album, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? The full album is expected to be released on March 29, but the four songs she’s released so far have already blown up (for better or for worse). Eilish’s songs might seem to juvenile for some: After all, she’s a 17 year old writing songs about the monster under her bed and problematically wishing boys were gay. But she has a lovely voice, and there’s a sheer absurdity in Eilish’s overly edgy, eerie aesthetic that makes her music particularly enjoyable and indulgent if you just let yourself lean into it. -Afriti Bankwalla

Billie Eilish

June 21

Dido @ Lincoln Theatre

Guys, Dido’s back. And she’s here to prove she’s got way more to offer than the downtempo coffeeshop jams like “Thank You” and “White Flag” that first launched her to prominence back in at the beginning of the century. Her new album, Still On My Mind, has a massive synth pop influence, and has gotten pretty good reviews! Sure she put a record out a few years back but is about to embark on her first tour in 15 years, holy hell. Let’s all go welcome Dido back and show her a good time, you know? -Matt Byrne