We're the winners in the windup to spring festival season, which kicks off with Austin's South by Southwest in March and won't stop till the humid fog of summer descends. Without having to sleep in our cars, endure the California heat at Coachella or lay out hundreds of dollars in one sitting, we can see everyone from lo-fi pop star Lorde to droney rockers Speedy Ortiz as they roll through town on their way to bigger destinations. Here are the concerts should make time for this month:
These rising Massachusetts rockers, currently on a slash-and-burn tour of Europe and the United States, are making a name for themselves with atonal, '90s-esque rock that has had the curious effect of time-warping the listener (and critics) back to the "120 Minutes" years.
Buzz factor: 8. Thrashing drums and guitarist-singer-poet Sadie Dupuis's literate warble and her penchant for not-so-subtlely trashing lesser bands have a way of making rock fun again. The band, which is quickly growing the kind of following we've seen for acts such as rocker Kurt Vile, returns for a second visit in the past year, this time at the Black Cat Backstage.
March 6 at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. 202-667-4490. www.blackcatdc.com. $12.
Like Daft Punk, Holy Ghost and other electronic acts, Australian dance act Cut Copy has taken a hard right on the path toward disco. "Free Your Mind," the group's latest record, has Cut Copy shedding its last bit of indie-rock grit for dance-ready confections that will sound just right on the dance floor of Echostage or, perhaps, in the bathroom of a fancy Miami lounge.
Buzz factor: 8. The group regularly sells out its Washington visits, and it's because the group splits the difference between being a DJ act and a live one. If Daft Punk won't tour, it's a tiny little comfort that you can see Cut Copy, one of the few acts that performs with live instrumentation.
March 20 at Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Rd. NE. 202-503-2330. www.echostage.com. $43.45.
The new season of Strathmore's indie, young-skewing Friday Night Eclectic series brings one big surprise of a season opener; hyped Baltimore rapper Rye Rye, an M.I.A. protege who caught national attention when she was still a teenager but is still emerging, with just a single album under her belt, will kick off the series on March 7.
Buzz factor: 6. Her album, 2012's "Go! Pop! Bang!", though critically well-received, was a long time coming for the Rye Rye, who still hasn't seen the kind of rap-world acceptance as say, Nicki Minaj. Her appearance is a coup for the series: Rye Rye, known for her unmistakably chirpy voice, has hit the touring circuit with Robyn and Katy Perry in recent years. We're excited to see what she'll do live.
March 7 at Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, Rockville. 301-581-5100. www.strathmore.org. $15.
Sting and Paul Simon
The pairing of these friends and soft-rock compatriots isn't quite the double-bill one would expect from performers at their level. Instead, their "On Stage Together" tour places Sting and Simon in an extended duet: Sting steps in on Simon and Garfunkel tunes, and Simon tries his hand at being a lost member of the Police. The tour, which has, in some cities, covered 30 songs, lands at Verizon Center on March 13.
Buzz factor: 6. The tour, which the duo has called "an experiment," should please lite-rock fans. If you prefer Sting on his own, take note: He's performing double-duty as an arts patron for the Duke Ellington School of the Arts the night before. He'll perform a benefit show at Strathmore and bring Simon along as just one of his special guests.
March 12 at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. 202-333-2555. www.strathmore.org. $250-$750, VIP, $1,000. March 13 at Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW. 800-745-3000. www.verizoncenter.com. $45-$250.
The Australian-born pop starlet has a voice as husky and rich as Katy Perry's and a growing dance-music following, thanks to a viral proposal video late last year that used her single "Somebody Loves You" as its theme song. What she doesn't yet have is a full-length album, although the major-label newcomer is set to release her second EP this spring. Until then, you can listen to what the young songstress has coming when she plays the Rock & Roll Hotel this month.
Buzz factor: 7. Momentum is everything, and Betty Who (a.k.a. Jessica Newham) is riding into town on a wave of goodwill, plus a strong showing with her first EP, "The Movement." Viral video aside, we have high hopes that she turns out to be the next Robyn.
March 23 at Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. 202-388-7625. www.rockandrollhoteldc.com. $16.