Democracy Dies in Darkness


4 shows to see in the Washington area over the next several days

August 29, 2018 at 9:00 AM

5 Seconds of Summer will bring its maturing pop to suburban Virginia next week. (Image from Wolf Trap)

Maren Morris

When life on the Nashville songwriting circuit wasn’t going as smoothly as Maren Morris expected, she decided to take matters into her own hands and go solo. Her 2015 debut single, “My Church,” was a nostalgic ode to cruising the highway with the windows rolled down and the music cranked up. It racked up a million streams within that week and, less than two years later, a Grammy. The song was born in the country music tradition with its bluesy drawl and down-home themes, but Morris has many weapons to pull. Her 2016 debut album, “Hero,” dabbled in catchy Top-40 styles, soul and even a bit of reggae. But her biggest hit? That would be “The Middle,” a glossy electro-pop track made with producer Zedd that’s amassed nearly half a billion streams on Spotify. Morris, as she charts her own country crossover trajectory, is proof that, sometimes, it pays to bet on yourself. Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. at Jiffy Lube Live. $20-$130.65.

Beau Young Prince

When D.C. native Beau Young Prince announced his record deal with Def Jam, the rapper marked the occasion by celebrating his home. His first label-released single turns a local slang phrase, “Kill Moe,” into the bedrock of his bouncing track of the same name. With references to homegrown dances (beating your feet) and local fashion staples (cuffed jeans), Beau has put his snapshot of the District on a national platform. The rapper has been releasing music for the better part of a decade, including songs he made as a member of Young Futura, a fruitful ongoing collaboration with French producer DJ Futura. As the area continues to grow its national footprint in hip-hop, Beau’s style adds a colorful spin to local textures — one befitting of his nickname, the Groovy God.

Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. at Songbyrd. $10.


An unearthed video clip from an old 2005 BET singing-contest show recently went viral when a viewer noticed the R&B; star Miguel auditioning for — and getting rejected from — the now defunct group Fatty Koo. Twitter latched onto the story of persistence, because the singer and guitarist is now a platinum-selling maven. Miguel’s genre-bending style sharpens R&B;’s smooth edges into a combination of experimental funk and electronic neo soul. His latest album, “War & Leisure,” promised a sense of political urgency, but the music’s enchanting grooves ultimately felt more like the night after a protest rather than the protest itself. Sept. 4 at 8 p.m. at the Anthem. $45-$295.

5 Seconds of Summer

In June, Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer made history when it became the only band to debut its first three albums atop the Billboard 200. With the accomplishment, 5 Seconds of Summer bested none other than itself when, in 2015, it was the only band to land the No. 1 spot with its first two albums. The pop-punk group began covering Ed Sheeran, Blink-182 and Bruno Mars on YouTube, but a chance to open on a One Direction tour increased its celebrity tenfold. Filling a demand for palatable angst that hadn’t been met by many mainstream acts since Paramore or Fall Out Boy, the band’s star grows. The only question is how this baby-faced quartet can keep evading boy-group stigma as it sheds its adolescent pop-punk background and settles into glossy pop-rock. Sept. 5 at 8 p.m. at Wolf Trap. $44.60-$84.60.

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