These are the top five shows you should know this week
Friday, Jan. 13–Aaron Abernathy @ Kennedy Center. Show 6 p.m./FREE
Aside from his long list of musical accomplishments behind the scenes, like serving as the musical director for Black Milk and Slum Village, Aaron Abernathy also has a solid catalogue of solo works that he’s composed over the years. One of his best and most-recent works, Monologue, speaks to Abernathy’s past experiences and musings on life, love and family. His earnest songwriting, soulful production and impressive vocal range all contribute to Monologue‘s excellence, and you can hear some of the gems on this record live this Friday at Abernathy’s free show at the Kennedy Center.
Saturday, Jan. 14–Jazz and Freedom Festival @ Tropicalia. Show 3 p.m./$20 Donation
D.C.’s resource for all things jazz, CapitalBop, is presenting some of the area’s best musicians for its Jazz and Freedom Festival. Multi-instrumentalist Janel Leppin, vocalist Akua Allrich, jazz-pop fusion band MBowie and the Blast and more will perform at Tropicalia between 4:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Prior to the musical performances, a panel focused on artist displacement will kick-off the festival at 3 p.m. Your hard-earned dollars spent on this show will benefit local radio station WPFW.
Sunday, Jan. 15–Rare Essence, Junkyard Band and EU feat. Sugar Bear @ Howard Theatre. Show 10 p.m./Tickets $22.50
Legendary go-go bands Rare Essence, Junkyard Band and EU are performing at Howard Theatre for the third annual MLK Birthday Celebration. It’ll be a massive celebration that starts at 10 p.m. and rolls into the early-morning hours–make sure to stock up on that 5-Hour ENERGY.
Sunday, Jan.15–Lucas Brode, Nate Scheible, Luke Stewart,Mattson Ogg, Ian McColm @ Rhizome. Show 8 p.m./$10 suggested donation
Since it opened last year, Takoma Park’s Rhizome has served as a sanctuary for D.C.’s avant-garde music scene. If you haven’t visited it yet, this Sunday would be a great time to do so. New York experimental guitarist and composer Lucas Brode will perform in a trio with prolific D.C. avant-garde artists Nate Scheible and Luke Stewart. D.C. drone and improve wizards Mattson Ogg and Ian McColm will also make an appearance that evening for their first-ever live performance together.
Monday, Jan. 16–MLK Benefit Concert @ St. Stephen’s Church. Show 6 p.m./$5-$10 donation
Positive Force D.C. is throwing a massive benefit concert on Martin Luther King Day to support We Are Family DC, a senior outreach and advocacy organization. For this jam-packed show, they’ve rounded up a bunch of great acts like rock vet Ted Leo, beloved D.C. punks Max Levine Ensemble, avant-garde quartet Laughing Man, local hip-hop virtuoso Head Roc and more.