eliza berkon is a features writer and musician based in washington d.c. 

18 Concerts You Don't Want to Miss This Week


Musicians from Jimmy Cliff to James Blunt have taken on Cat Stevens’ enduring “Wild World.” But a particularly memorable version comes to us from British reggae artist Maxi Priest, whose 1988 recording begat a handful of ’90s hits, including “Close to You” and Shaggy duet “That Girl.” See him with Lenny Kurlou and the Reggae Allstars at the Howard Theatre. Doors 8 p.m. $29-$100. All ages.

It’s a real challenge to get through the day without hearing Sam Smith pop up anywhere there’s a speaker. But though you may criticize the British balladeer for being copyright-challenged, you can’t be surprised by his ubiquity—the man has some serious pipes. (Hear how his falsetto stacks up against Justin Timberlake). See him with “Burning House” country star Cam at Capital One Arena. Doors 8 p.m. $60-$125+. All ages, accessible venue.


If A Capitol Fourth isn’t your scene, or you’re in desperate need of a pre-concert concert, head over to the Wharf for:

Fourth of July Free for All with The GrandsonsVintage #18 and jazz/go-go fusion group JoGo Project at Pearl Street Warehouse. Doors noon. FREE. 21+, accessible venue.

And/or Brokechella, an annual music and arts festival, at Union Stage featuring Sir E.U.Bomani Armah (whose 2007 music video “Read a Book” caused quite a stir), Mr. DaywalkerSuper Nike Nando, and others. Doors 2:30 p.m. $18-$25. All ages, accessible venue.


Adriana-Lucia Cotes of Mock Identity sings with the articulation of another era, a voice well-suited for New Wave that pairs nicely with the drum-forward “post-post-punk” of her band. Hear the D.C.-based outfit with Puff Pieces, Faunas, and Born Dad at Black Cat. Doors 7:30 p.m. $10. All ages, accessible venue. (Faunas is no longer on the bill)

Hop aboard the “Love Rollercoaster” with Ohio Players, funk masters who scored 14 Billboard Hot 100 hits in the 1970s. Catch them at the Birchmere. Doors 6 p.m. $55. All ages, accessible venue.

Settle into Thursday night with the soothing soul of Austin-based The Nightowls and local pop artist Jenna Camille at Gypsy Sally’s. Doors 7 p.m. $12-$14. 21+, accessible venue.

Fort Reno continues its 50th anniversary concert series with No Plans, Victor Archie (whose sloppy rock single “Are You Ok?” warrants a solid listen on your lunch break) and Don Zientara. Doors 7 p.m. FREE. All ages, accessible venue.


With all the effort that goes into scoring a film, it’s a shame the music isn’t heard live more often. Experience the third in the series of Harry Potter flicks with the National Symphony Orchestra by your side at Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban-In Concert at Wolf Trap(also showing Saturday). Doors 7 p.m. $40-$65. All ages, accessible venue.

In case you hadn’t heard, Pusha T and Drake haven’t exactly been getting along lately, with their squabble recently spilling over into a series of brutal diss tracks. Hear Pusha's side of things when the Virginia Beach-bred rapper plays Echostage. Doors 9 p.m. $30. 18+.

While D.C. brass band Black Masala has yet to perform their own NPR Tiny Desk Concert, the genre-blending band was featured in a promo for the contest. Hear them at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. Doors 5 p.m. FREE. All ages.

Local dream-pop purveyor Distant Creatures comes to DC9 with GraylingFox Hollow, and Babbling April. Doors 6:30 p.m. $8. All ages, inaccessible venue.


Jonny Grave, one of D.C.’s regularly performing singer-songwriters, brings his introspective blues rock to Pearl Street Warehouse for an album release concert, with Lauren Calve. Doors 7 p.m. $12. 21+, accessible venue.

For many listeners, confusion continues to fester over the true meaning of “Sweet Home Alabama,” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ever-present Southern rock hit. But whether you love it or hate it, this concert may be your last chance to hear the song live, as the band stops near D.C. on its "Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour," with 38 SpecialFoghat, and Atlanta Rhythm Section at Jiffy Lube Live. Doors 5 p.m. $22-209+. All ages, accessible venue.

Be among the first to take in I’m Your Best Friend, Admit It at the EP release show for D.C. rock band Honey, with Tomboy and Bruce James at DC9. Doors 8:30 p.m. $8. All ages, inaccessible venue.


In the 1980s and early ’90s, Miki Howard released several catchy pop tunes, such as “Baby Be Mine” (back when saxophone was still a popular instrument choice for pop music) and the charmingly named “Love Under New Management.” Catch the second night of her show (Saturday is sold out) at Blues Alley. Doors 8 p.m. $40. All ages, inaccessible venue.

Modern folk artist Cheryl Wheeler has a reassuring voice with enlightened lyrics to match. See her with Jonathan Edwards (no, not that one) at the Birchmere. Doors 6 p.m. $35. All ages, accessible venue.


If you're a fan of Baltimore band Future Islands, you’re liable to find Vancouver-based Frog Eyes appealing. In May, the group released the album they intend to be their last, Violet Psalms, which they regard as “a rain-drenched allocution on hope vs. horror, paradise vs. pride, Marx and Brexit and bad acid trips.” See them with Hello Blue Roses at DC9. Doors 7:30 p.m. $12. All ages, inaccessible venue.

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