Jan. 25: Spafford
Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW; Thu., 8 p.m., sold out.
Arizona-based band Spafford has been quickly building a following over the past couple of years thanks to the group’s penchant for improvised, genre-defying live jams, offbeat covers and a sound that recalls Phish. On Thursday, Spafford makes its D.C. debut at the recently opened Union Stage at The Wharf. To get ready for the show, stream the quartet’s live compilation “A Taste of Fall 2017” on Spotify.
Jan. 26 & 27: The Wood Brothers
Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW; Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m., $35.
Six albums in, The Wood Brothers have produced their most diverse recording yet. Rather than stick to one sonic theme or story, as the trio have often done in the past, singer-guitarist Oliver Wood, bassist Chris Wood (of experimental jazz group Medeski Martin & Wood) and multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix let the music take them wherever it led. The resulting album, next week’s “One Drop of Truth,” is a mix of joyous folk rock songs, somber ballads, blues shuffles and psychedelic Americana heavily indebted to The Band.
Jan. 27: Jon Cleary
The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW; Sat., 8 p.m., $15-$25.50.
Piano man Jon Cleary is from England but he might as well be a native of New Orleans. Since moving to the Crescent City as a teenager in 1980, Cleary has made the city his home — and his muse. His music, which pulls from institutions like Allen Toussaint, The Meters and Professor Longhair, makes it sound like he’s lived there all his life. Cleary covers the songs that inspired him to move there on his albums — like 2017’s “Live at Chickie Wah Wah” — and at his shows, and he keeps that spirit alive through his originals. Cleary is finishing up a new album as he heads to D.C. with his backing band in tow.
Jan. 31: Pun DMV
DC Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW; Wed., 7:30 p.m., $6.
Are you constantly making word-related jokes that cause your friends to roll their eyes? There’s a comedy show for that. At Pun DMV, you can either compete in or watch pun contests. In one event, contestants pre-register and prepare short, pun-filled speeches (sign-ups are full so you’ll have to settle for watching). In the other, you can sign up on the day of the event for a tournament of quick pun battles that revolve around a common theme for the chance to win prizes. D.C. comedian Dana Fleitman hosts (and delivers her own puns, too).