October shows: A bounty of choices


The Weeknd’s Abel Tesfaye. (La Mar C. Taylor)
September 26, 2013

We offer our apologies now. This month, concert schedules are teeming with hit rappers (Drake at Verizon Center), dance avant-gardists (LCD Soundsystem lone wolf James Murphy at the 9:30 Club, F--- Buttons at U Street Music Hall) and cute pop starlets (teen queen Selena Gomez, who’s moving tickets at the vast Patriot Center). So in selecting just five must-see concerts this month, we had to leave out a dozen more. But the following may represent the best of the various genres: Laura Burhenn for fans of the singer-songwriter model, the Weeknd for hip-hop fans, Nine Inch Nails for those who miss the grungy nihilism of the ’90s. These are the concerts you shouldn’t miss, rated by artists’ buzz. For a longer list of picks, visit www.goingoutguide.com.

The Weeknd

Under the moniker the Weeknd, Canadian hip-hop crooner Abel Tesfaye is to hip-hop what Nine Inch Nails is to rock — all debauchery and drum machines and prone to confessing too much about addictions both narcotic and romantic. Couple that with a falsetto as thrilling as Michael Jackson’s, and it’s not surprising that the one-time American Apparel employee is one of the genre’s most compelling acts. The Weeknd began as an anonymous bedroom project, but this month Tesfaye released his first official album, “Kiss Land,” and has embarked on a tour of theaters with a three-piece band.

Buzz factor: 8. A trio of mixtapes that poured onto the Internet two years ago contained a surprising number of brilliant tracks, including the disquieting “Wicked Games,” in which Tesfaye sings, “Bring your love baby, I could bring my shame / Bring the drugs baby, I could bring my pain.” But “Kiss Land” has yet to deliver the same impact.

Likelihood of a sellout: High. Oct. 5 at DAR Constitution Hall, 1776 D St. NW. 202-397-7328. www.ticketmaster.com. $53.

Laura Burhenn

Before founding the Mynabirds and before she was wrangled by the Postal Service for its reunion tour this summer, Laura Burhenn lived in Washington, where she was one-half of the duo Georgie James. She also was one of Strathmore’s first artists in residence, soaking up professional mentoring from seasoned musicians. This month, Burhenn returns to her roots, kicking off a series of performances by the program’s alumni.

Buzz factor: 5. Her stint with the Postal Service certainly raised the stock of the flaxen-haired singer. Fans of the soulful Mynabirds will delight in hearing Burhenn share new material.

Likelihood of a sellout: Medium. Wednesday at the Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. www.strathmore.org. $17.

The Flaming Lips and Tame Impala

Wayne Coyne and Co. will play one of the final concerts of the season at Merriweather Post Pavilion with Tame Impala, an Aussie band you can credit with shaking up indie rock’s reign of chill-wavers and synth-poppers. Tame Impala delivered a catchy bit of sunny, guitar-driven psychedelia with last year’s sun-bleached album “Lonerism.”

Buzz factor: 6. What’s keeping the Flaming Lips in the headlines now isn’t its music — “The Terror” is a surrealist painting of an album — but its antics. The band sold a handful of $10,000 copies of a 24-hour song linked to “The Terror,” and when the album was released, Coyne, below, tweeted track-by-track insights to followers listening along. As for Tame Impala, if you haven’t seen the Australian export, now’s the time. The band sold out its most recent date at the 9:30 Club.

Likelihood of a sellout: Low. Oct. 4 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia.
410-715-5550. www.merriweathermusic.com. $35-$45.

Nine Inch Nails

Trent Reznor’s four-year hiatus from industrial music act Nine Inch Nails proved fertile; he seems to have conjured the old black magic that made the group one of the most affecting acts of the 1990s. (And how’s this for multitasking: With NIN partner Atticus Ross, Reznor also scooped up an Oscar for “The Social Network” soundtrack.) This year, Reznor returned to his bleak, nihilistic NIN, releasing “Hesitation Marks” and announcing a tour that surely will be one of the fall’s juggernauts.

Buzz factor: 9. A series of shows on the summer festival circuit revealed a Nine Inch Nails that can still drop jaws and render classics off “Pretty Hate Machine” and “The Downward Spiral” fresh again.

Likelihood of a sellout: High.

Oct. 18 at Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW. 202-397-7328. www.verizon
center.com
. $38.50-$99.

Jessie Ware

British singer Jessie Ware is one of a slew of current voices whose range seems to lend itself best to dance music’s thumping beats. It’s also why Ware can seem lost in the din. Her most recognized contributions remain singing with bass-driven electronic act SBTRKT and appearing with Disclosure, but for the best introduction to Ware’s soulful voice, check out her debut solo album, “Devotion,” particularly its single, “Wildest Moments.” Her star-making U.S. tour brings her to the Fillmore on Halloween night.

Buzz factor: 6, but it should be higher. The singer recently moved her New York concert to a smaller venue, signaling a less-than-enthusiastic reception. But we maintain that Ware could grow on any fan of pop singer Robyn.

Likelihood of a sellout: Medium. Oct. 31 at the Fillmore, 8656 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring. 301-960-9999. www.fillmoresilverspring.com. $22.50.

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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