April’s must-see concerts, from Miley to a metal fest


The  M3 Rock Festival (and its devoted following of headbangers and glam rockers) returns to Merriweather Post Pavilion. (Photo by Amanda Voisard for the Washington Post)

From a spunky country singer to a metal festival, there's plenty of action in April. Along with concerts from Laura Mvula (the British star songstress who'll finally hit the Hamilton after postponing last fall) and blowouts including  the Broccoli City Festival, here are some of the shows on our radar:

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus is sticking to her word: She won't stop, or perhaps can't stop, being pop music's most cringe-inducing provocateur. Her "Bangerz" tour has an onstage bed, and  several outfit changes, each involving less fabric than the last.  But what's stranger still is its animated Miley, courtesy of John Kricfalusi, creator of the cult '90s cartoon "The Ren & Stimpy Show." Fans and critics, however, finally seem to be in on Miley's big joke: "Bangerz" may not be tasteful, but critics are reporting that it's definitely entertaining.
Buzz factor: 6. Since her roundly bashed performance at last year's Video Music Awards, Miley has clawed her way back from the cultural blacklist with her hit "Wrecking Ball" and a viral video of her delivering a winning twangy version of Outkast's "Hey Ya." (She has been performing the track on tour, along with Dolly Parton's iconic "Jolene" and a few other gems showing musical breadth.)
April 10 at Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW. 202-628-3200. www.verizoncenter.com. $22.50-$92.50.
Watch: "Hey Ya" (Outkast cover)

Ashley Monroe

Like her Pistol Annies bandmate Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe is shaping up to be one of country's great spitfires, a rough-around-the-edges Southern heroine who can croon "Give me weed instead of roses, bring me whiskey instead of wine" and still seem demure. The singer's well-received 2013 album, "Like a Rose," propelled her to national fame. Still touring on that success, Monroe hits the Birchmere this month.
Buzz factor: 8. Country purists are falling for Monroe's old-school twang and witty rehashing of such age-old problems as unpaid rent, parents with a taste for booze and bad boyfriends (so many bad boyfriends . . .). For fans, catching the rising star in the intimate Birchmere should be considered a coup.
April 13 at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. www.birchmere.com. $20.
Watch: "Weed Instead of Roses"

Cloud Nothings

The music media have a way of churning through bands, feverishly declaring even acts with no real music as the next big things. Cloud Nothings, however, has both buzz and music, including its 2012 single "No Future/No Past," which evokes the slow-burn
raging of lesser-known '90s Slint as well as early And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. It's gloriously rough stuff, thanks in no small part to the bellowing of frontman Dylan Baldi.
Buzz factor: 7. The ferocious Cleveland rockers are coming off high-profile South by Southwest concerts and have just released their third album, "Here and Nowhere Else." The band's concert at the Black Cat is perhaps the one club show you shouldn't miss this month; Cloud Nothings could well go the distance.
April 16 at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. 202-667-4490. www.blackcatdc.com. $15.
Watch: "I'm Not Part of Me"

M3 Rock Festival

The first festival of the year at Merriweather Post Pavilion is a metal-head's dream: the two days of the year that it's okay to don acid-washed anything, tease your hair, proudly rock your guyliner and bang your head to slick '80s pop-metal till your neck is sore.
Buzz factor: 5. Now in its sixth year, M3 (which stands for Metal, Merriweather and May, though this year it takes place in April) brings in nearly all of glam rock's enduring stars, including Sebastian Bach, Queensryche, Slaughter and Lita Ford, as well as vendors of all manner of metal paraphernalia. Music fans with a taste for the ironic also have caught onto the festival's so-bad-it's-good charms.
April 25-26 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. 410-715-5550. www.merriweathermusic.com. $40-$190.

Lavanya Ramanathan is a professional eater/drinker/thinker for Weekend and the Going Out Guide. University of Texas. Northwestern University. Rap fan.
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