Tuesday, Jan. 22
Mick Jenkins at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue: On his confessional 2018 album “Pieces of a Man,” Mick Jenkins shifts nimbly between spitting rhymes about the religious upbringing that shaped his life and cooing melodies about self-motivation and authenticity. The album’s title is taken from the 1971 album of cosmic soul poet Gil Scott-Heron; Jenkins’s first track is a spoken-word treatise titled “Heron Flow” that serves as a sermonized mission statement for the songs that follow. Fittingly, Jenkins will preach his message at one of the District’s hybridized spaces for religion and art. 8 p.m. $22 to $25.
Dark Thoughts at Comet Ping Pong: When it comes to rock-and-roll, everything old will eventually be new again. So, if you fed a scrappy 21st century bar band a steady diet of old Ramones albums, you might get something like the Philadelphia punk trio Dark Thoughts. The band’s latest effort, “At Work,” barrels through 12 tracks in 19 minutes, bursting at the seams with perpetual-motion power chords, incisive melodies and forlorn lyrics about the struggles of trying to get by in this world. 9 p.m. $10.
Wednesday, Jan. 23
Petal at Songbyrd: If 2018 reminded us of anything, it’s that women are making the most magnetic and affecting indie rock — dismiss it as “sad girl” music at your own peril. Take under-the-radar Pennsylvania singer-songwriter Kiley Lotz, who performs under the moniker Petal. Her songs drip with searching lyrics, all plainly spoken in beautiful verses that might remind you of such ’90s alt-leaning singers as Aimee Mann. Lotz puts herself under the microscope on 2018’s “Magic Gone,” an album of tenderly spare moments where she finds serenity while mining the depths of her most heart-wrenching moments. 8 p.m. $15-$18.
Jason Rezaian’s ‘Prisoner’ book talk at Betts Theatre: Washington Post Global Opinions writer Jason Rezaian will recount the harrowing 544 days he spent captive in an Iranian prison at this talk for his upcoming memoir, “Prisoner.” Now back on U.S. soil, the Iranian American journalist will speak with Frank Sesno, the director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University and a former CNN correspondent, about his career, his trial in Iran after being arrested on charges of espionage and the high-stakes diplomacy it took to get him home. 7 p.m. $15 to $35.
Heavy Seas 23rd anniversary at ChurchKey: Baltimore’s Clipper City Brewing, established in 1995, might have been your first local taste of the craft beer movement. Though it changed its name to Heavy Seas in 2010, it has never stopped producing solid lagers and IPAs. Fittingly, one of the District’s best beer bars will be hosting a celebratory toast for Heavy Seas’ 23rd anniversary. There are 15 beers on tap at this party but the highlight of the night is the drink concocted specifically for the occasion: 23 Anniversary Ale, a triple IPA which tastes like a brew of berries, melons and pine. 4 p.m. Free; drinks priced individually.
Thursday, Jan. 24
Windhand at U Street Music Hall: Whenever the tempos accelerate on the Richmond metal band’s latest album, “Eternal Return,” it requires you to increase your focus. “This new album is a lot faster than things we’ve done in the past,” singer Dorthia Cottrell explained. “It made me think more critically about what I was singing, melody wise. I wanted the melody to slow down the music.” Was I hearing that right? To slow things down, Cottrell didn’t tamper with her phrasing. She tinkered with the notes themselves. That’s like trying to slow down a racecar by painting it yellow — an amazing, nonsensical tactic that’s impossible to visualize. And if you listen to this music hard enough, you might hear exactly what she means. 7 p.m. $15.
Natalie Prass at the Anthem: On her 2015 self-titled debut, Natalie Prass’s hushed vocals wafted around triumphant jazzy horns with brief detours into more soulful sounds, but on her latest album, “The Future and the Past,” the Richmond-based singer dives deeper into even groovier contours. Her songs are buffed up with thick and heavy bass lines that wouldn’t seem out of place on the ’90s R&B charts. Prass is at her most potent when her choruses soar with the support of her backing vocalists, conjuring the powerful sound of love triumphing over dread. 8 p.m. Sold out.
Friday, Jan. 25
Brandy at the Kennedy Center: Brandy hasn’t released an album since 2012, but the singer-actress has stayed busy, most notably by portraying murderous chorus girl Roxie Hart in “Chicago” on Broadway and beyond, including a stint at the Kennedy Center in 2017. When she returns to the D.C. performing arts center for a two-night run, it will be in an even more familiar role: R&B chanteuse. But instead of focusing on the hits of her quarter-century career, she’ll be joined by the National Symphony Orchestra, putting an orchestral spin on classics by other soul music mononyms like Aretha, Etta, Stevie and — naturally — Whitney. 8 p.m. $39-$139.
‘Fireworks’ at the Japan Information & Culture Center: The Japan Information and Culture Center has become the anime capital of Washington, thanks to its Animezing! series of free screenings. Friday night’s screening is “Fireworks,” which starts like a teenage romantic drama, but sprinkles in sci-fi elements as it reaches its climax. All advance tickets have been claimed, but a limited number of last-minute registrations will be available in the hours before the event. 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Free.
Frida Kahlo showcase at various Petworth locations: If you’re around Petworth on Friday night, this community art event is literally what it sounds like: 1,000 images of Frida Kahlo out in the open. There will be a showcase of artists displaying their works inspired by the Mexican artist at Ten Tigers Parlour, and installations at Fia’s Fabulous Finds and Upshur Street Books. The most public-facing display doesn’t even require you to step indoors: Artist Anthony Le will project Kahlo live on the wall outside Petworth Citizen. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Free.
— Hau Chu, Adele Chapin, Fritz Hahn, Chris Kelly and Chris Richards