The Washington Post

Robyn + Royksopp, Arcade Fire and more must-see August shows

It wasn’t long ago that we’d be complaining about the August doldrums, the period in which pretty much nothing happened in Washington, aside from a lot of sweating. But this month is filled with so many excellent concerts that we can’t mention them all here. Arcade Fire is bringing its disco road show to Verizon Center; dance queen Robyn’s unusual collaboration is landing at Wolf Trap; and hip-hop and EDM festival Trillectro is setting up in a new venue with such acts as Big Sean and Migos. Here are the shows you need to catch:

Robyn + Röyksopp

Robyn, center, and Royksopp are making magic together. (Photo: Kacper Kasprzyk)

The first collaboration between dance-pop goddess Robyn and Norwegian bleep-makers Röyksopp came nearly a decade ago, when the “Call Your Girlfriend” singer lent her glass-splitting voice to one of the duo’s tracks. This year, Robyn didn’t have a project of her own in the works, so they teamed up once more, coming up with not just a track, but a chugging, infectiously electronic mini-album, “Do it Again.” The collaboration transforms the singer’s vocals into a dreamy effect in Röyksopp’s soundscape — the song “Monument” has Robyn sounding digital and disaffected, as malleable as any instrument — and in turn makes Röyksopp sound more pop and accessible than ever.
Buzz factor: 9. A collaborative album and tour aren’t likely to happen again, and shows on this tour have been selling out.
Aug. 21 at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center, 1551 Trap Rd., Vienna. $42-$50.
Watch: "Do It Again"


Rubab player Quarashi  performs Afghan folk music. (Photo by David Sailor)

Afghan musician Quraishi is a virtuoso of the teardrop-shaped rubab, the multi-stringed instrument native to his homeland. It’s not a talent that came easily: Under the Taliban, music, even traditional folk on the rubab, fell by the wayside. The self-taught Quraishi has become its international champion. His new album, “Mountain Melodies,” is a quiet triumph, a lyrical and upbeat rendition of the music the performer knew from his childhood.
Buzz factor: 4. The New York-based rubab player isn’t exactly a pop star. But world-music fans should take advantage of the chance to hear tunes from “Mountain Melodies.”
Aug. 15 at the Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. Free.
Watch: "Valley" via the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Arcade Fire

Win Butler of Arcade Fire's Win Butler in early July in London. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Almost a year after Arcade Fire released its rather anodyne, disco-infused fourth record, “Reflektor,” the band is making its way to Washington for one of the last handful of dates on its epic tour. Never mind that the twee indie band that became one of the decade’s most successful arena-rock acts is playing Verizon Center, its biggest District venue to date. The band has worked to make the show feel a bit more intimate, with a mirrored set meant to mimic a much smaller club, silly papier-mache heads and, if you’re game, interactivity: The band has requested that concertgoers dress up in costumes or formal wear.
Buzz factor: 6. For all its marketing, “Reflektor” was one of the band’s most divisive albums, a move away from its singalong rock anthems. But fans who have been shut out of Arcade Fire’s many sold-out visits should know this: The band is still playing plenty of old favorites.
Aug. 17 at Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW. $30.50-$70.50.

Shabazz Palaces

Ishmael Butler was once a member of Digable Planets. (Photo by Patrick O'Brien-Smith)

Old-school hip-hop finds a fascinating intersection with the new wave in Ishmael Butler, a member of radio-friendly Digable Planets and whose current project, Shabazz Palaces, has left critics agape with its futurism. With lyrics that read like poetry and beats that hit the ear like Nintendo-era video-game music, Shabazz Palaces feels as if it could be the primordial soup providing the sustenance for the next era of hip-hop.
Buzz factor: 8. Shabazz Palaces, whose new record on Sub Pop, “Lese Majesty,” was released this week, isn’t hitting many cities on its tour, so get tickets soon to see the show at the Black Cat.
Aug. 21 at Black Cat, 1811 14th St NW. 202-667-4490. $15 in advance, $17 at the door.


(Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

The District-born festival that connects the dots between electronic dance music and new-wave hip-hop is heading into its third year and to a new venue — the festival grounds at RFK Stadium, a move intended to make room for its growing fan base.
Buzz factor: 7. Trillectro has reliably delivered acts to watch — from Schoolboy Q to Misun — but this year’s bill offers more household names and artists-gone-viral: Rap up-and-comers such as Drake progeny Big Sean; “Versace”-loving trio Migos; and trap DJ Baauer, whose “Harlem Shake” spawned a zillion clicks, top the eclectic bill.
Aug. 23 at RFK Stadium FestivalGrounds, 2601 Independence Ave. SE. $49-$130.
Watch: Migos's "Fight Night" (Note: Explicit. Like, really explicit.)

Lavanya Ramanathan is a features reporter for Style.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read
Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
From clubfoot to climbing: Double amputee lives life of adventure
Learn to make traditional soup dumplings
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Play Videos
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
The rise and fall of baseball cards
How to keep your child safe in the water
Play Videos
'Did you fall from heaven?': D.C.'s pick-up lines
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
How to get organized for back to school
How to buy a car via e-mail
The signature drink of New Orleans
Next Story
Tim Carman · July 31, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.