Ben Folds, the singer-songwriter and artistic adviser to the National Symphony Orchestra, is bringing two heavy-hitters to the Kennedy Center for his second "Declassified" concert — Sara Bareilles and Caroline Shaw. Both women are a perfect fit for a night of pop-meets-classical music. Bareilles is the singer-songwriter behind "Love Song," "Brave" and Broadway's "Waitress," compositions that beg for orchestral backing; Shaw is a Pulitzer-winning composer, violinist and singer, and the most exciting voice in contemporary classical music. And although Shaw doesn't have Bareilles's mainstream bona fides, she's no stranger to pop, remixing Kanye West's "Say You Will" and contributing to his album "The Life of Pablo." Jan. 12 at 9 p.m. at the Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. Sold out.
Brooklyn's Antibalas has been among Afrobeat's foremost ambassadors and innovators for two decades. In 2017, the 12-piece band returned with its first album in five years, "Where the Gods Are in Peace," a cosmic appraisal of oppression and survival expressed through jazz-, hip-hop-, and punk-inflections of the genre. "There's something unique about making music during these dark times. You're really able to make a difference," says founder Martín Perna. "Our role as musicians is to present the best art possible, which should ask more questions than it answers." As 2018 picks up where 2017 left off, Antibalas is asking all the right questions. Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. at the Hamilton. live.thehamiltondc.com. $20-$25.
It has been a few years since Fetty Wap crooned his way into our hearts, serenading his ride-or-die woman over ray-gun synths on "Trap Queen." Since then, the New Jersey native has been trying to figure out how to follow up a song that has half a billion YouTube views. It hasn't been easy, but as Fetty prepares his long-delayed second album, he needs to remember that drug-and-gun street talk isn't his strong suit. Rather, it's all that crooning: the moans and groans that can soundtrack a night that starts in the club and ends in a hotel room, all in the span of a single, AutoTuned vowel. Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore. fillmoresilverspring.com. $35.
Half the fun of Netflix's '80s nostalgia bomb "Stranger Things" is its soundtrack. The synthesizer epics by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein evoke memories of John Carpenter and Tangerine Dream scores like a bite of Proust's madeleine (or Eggo waffle, as it were). With that in mind, head to Union Stage for "Stranger-er Things," an evening where members of D.C. acts Tomato Dodgers, Humbalaya, Nag Champa, Raygunomics, Zack Be and Cartoon Weapons will live-score some equally iconic shows — "The Twilight Zone," "Dr. Who" and "Twin Peaks" — and turn TV nostalgia into an experimental, audiovisual experience. Jan. 16 at 8 p.m. at Union Stage.