No one is having more fun at a Jeff Rosenstock show than the man himself. The 39-year-old rocker performs like his music sounds: a bit jittery, a little rascally and, most of all, like he’s having a total blast. Rosenstock is a tireless worker in the indie music scene: For more than two decades, there hasn’t really been a year that’s gone by without a record featuring his voice and guitar, either solo or as part of groups such as Bomb the Music Industry. His latest solo album, “No Dream,” dropped in May 2020 — and was followed almost a year later by the maybe not-so-tongue in cheek ska-remixed version titled “Ska Dream.” “No Dream” is a fitting entry point into his prolific career with its focus on pressing sociopolitical issues and sounding like you want to crank it loud from a car stereo. Wednesday at 7 p.m. (doors open) at Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. Sold out.
At this point it doesn’t seem like anything can slow Bob Dylan. The 80-year-old legend concluded his wryly-named Never Ending Tour at the Anthem in December 2019. With everything else that came after, no one would have blamed him for letting up on the gas. But in June 2020, the maestro released “Rough and Rowdy Ways,” a late-career highlight of his storied contributions to music. Yes, there’s a 17-minute knotty track about the John F. Kennedy assassination, but Dylan’s insights into the construction of Americana are as biting and hard-earned as ever. Let’s hope he’ll be around to observe, write and perform for a long time to come. Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. Sold out.
Downhaul makes feeling lost and lonely on this Earth seem like a journey worth taking. The Richmond emo quartet tackles a dilemma so many 20-somethings face: The future is scary, and how do you proceed when someone you love is unable to make sense of that murky path alongside you? Downhaul’s latest album “Proof” can shift from country twang to triumphant rock in the same song, driven by its patient guitars and lurching drums. Frontman Gordon Phillips’s nasal drawl tries to untangle the aftermath of facing the dilemma in tracks such as “Eyesight”: “But if I lost my way/ And we splintered at the frame/ There’s not a second I would change/No, I would love you all the same.” Thursday at 8 p.m. at DC9, 1940 Ninth St. NW. $12.
Note: Proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test is required for admittance to these shows. Check venue websites for specifics.