What is a poor music lover to do? This weekend there are simply too many choices. Luckily, Dear Readers, you have two sleuths, who embrace discordant genres. While I tend towards the roots side of the equation, Jan, my partner in this column, is a lover of the punk and electronica side of the spectrum.
I admit it. I bought the package! Who can say no to two successive nights of Greensky Bluegrass? The band starts at the 9:30 Club on Feb. 2 and then moves to The Anthem on Feb. 3. This may be the first time a group has played both I.M.P. venues successively.
Hailing from the wilds of Michigan, this string band features Anders Beck on dobro, banjoist Michael Arlen Bont, guitarist Dave Bruzza, Mike Devol on the upright bass and mandolinist Paul Hoffman
“You can call us an acoustic ensemble, or a drum-less rock band, or a rock & roll bluegrass band,” says mandolin player Paul Hoffman. Hoffman and Bruzza are the band’s main songwriters. Their jaded view of the world of Trump is evident in “The Reverend.” Hoffman croons:
Couple beers with the reverend,
Am I safe from the night?
More money to the system,
Am I free from the fight?
I left myself behind in my home town,
Went looking for a new place, you won’t find me around.
I made peace with my country,
Though I never could believe,
Somebody else’s struggle
Is the reason that I flee
There’s none that miss me, they never thought I’d go.
So many things about me, nobody seems to know
Watch Mike Devol join in on the harmony.
Greensky is a live act playing more than 175 shows a year. Expect expansive instrumental improvisation and striking vocals.
On Feb. 2, doors open at the 9:30 Club at 7 p.m. $75 to $95. On Feb. 3, doors open at The Anthem at 6 p.m. $40 to $95. A two show package is available.
Looking for some innovative, pure excitement? Catch Anna Meredith on Feb. 3 at the U Street Music Hall. A composer and producer, Meredith blends both synthesizers and acoustic instruments. Varmints, her 2016 effort, was one of the best experimental albums of that year.
Meredith’s live performances are touted a “sheer exhilaration” and “wildly creative”. Expect a line-up of clarinet and electronics, plus cello, electric guitar, tuba and drums. $15 Doors open at 7PM
Caught up in college nostalgia? Check out the sounds of power-pop band, The Posies, on Feb. 3 at The Hamilton. Formed in Bellingham, Washington, in 1987, the band raced up the commercial radio charts. These labelmates of Sonic Youth, Nirvana and Teenage Fanclub are on their 30th Anniversary Tour.
The Posies consist of duo Jon Auer & Ken Stringfellow. Expect familiar favorites and deep cuts from their entire catalog, plus the occasional Big Star cover. Jon and Ken were part of Big Star’s reformed lineup from 1993 until Alex Chilton’s 2010 death. $25 to $60. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Get Your Tickets
Bruce may be aging, but his legacy lives on with Brian Fallon, the former front man of Gaslight Anthem. Listen to him rock out with The Boss on “No Surrender.” Springsteen, a longtime Gaslight fan, simply showed up at one of the band’s shows and the two have been singing together ever since.
Now on a solo tear, Fallon is bringing New Jersey blue collar gritty vibe to the 9:30 Club on April 28. Listen to his 2016 Painkillers.
As he walks in the footsteps of John Cougar Mellencamp and The Boss, expect Fallon to continue to author his share of great rock anthems such as “A Wonderful Life.”
Willing to venture farther a field in search of the next great string band? Moose Jaw Bluegrass takes the stage at the New Deal Café in Greenbelt, MD, on Feb. 9. With a tight harmonies and instrumentation featuring banjo, guitar, mandolin, upright base and fiddle, this talented young band is one to watch.
Moose Jaw Bluegrass is regularly featured at Mr. Henry’s Thursday night jams.
Jan Aucker lives in DC. She is a freelance writer for East City Art. She is a music enthusiast who frequents live shows keeping abreast of the current music scene.
Andrew Lightman is managing editor of Capital Community News. He lives steps from the Pearl Street Warehouse and The Anthem, where he can be found most weekends.