Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit and James McMurtry at the Altria Theater
Friday, Feb. 16
The former Drive By Trucker is considered one of the finest songwriters in Americana music. He's touring behind "The Nashville Sound," recently nominated for two Grammys, best Americana album and best roots song ("If We Were Vampires."). The show also features guest James McMurtry, an accomplished narrative songwriter from Texas, who was raised in Leesburg. 8 p.m. $32.50-$60.
NRBQ and Travis Meadows at Capital Alehouse
Friday, Feb. 23
One of the most musically talented bar bands, NRBQ now features only one original member, charismatic founder and pianist Terry Adams. But he's assembled an impressive, genre-shuffling group around him that knows how to get people happy and onto the dance floor. If you like your boogie blues with a healthy dash of Sun Ra and Thelonious Monk, don't miss it. 8 p.m. $25-$30.
High on Fire, Radio Moscow and Amplified Heat at Strange Matter
Monday, Feb. 5
Matt Pike, the stoner guitar god from Sleep, leads this bludgeoning Oakland metal trio that once sold T-shirts of Richard Pryor's head in flames above the band logo. If you love old-school power trios, this bill is stacked: San Diego's bluesy Radio Moscow is the closest thing to heyday-era Blue Cheer out there, while Austin's Amplified Heat continues the Lemmy-approved, pure rock assault. 8 p.m. $25.
Talib Kweli, Niko is … Everything featuring DJ Spintelect at the Broadberry
Wednesday, March 28
Known as one of the most socially aware rappers, Kweli has been crafting creative and lyrically impressive hip-hop for more than20 years with consistent quality. As comedian Dave Chapelle once described him: "The man who made Kool-Aid say 'Oh yeah!'" 8 p.m. $22-$27.
- Talib Kweli
Bettye LaVette Duo at the Tin Pan
Wednesday, April 4
A fierce soul original, LaVette was rediscovered around the turn of the century and has since been reinterpreting songs mostly in the rock and folk realms — including an album of Bob Dylan covers that will be released on Verve Records on March 30. This intimate show should feature a nice selection of those songs like you've never heard them. Doors open at 6 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $42.50 to $47.50 (at door).
- Bettye LaVette
Action Patrol, Iron Reagan, Champion Chills and Sick Bags at the Broadberry
Friday, April 13.
An April 14 reunion show at Strange Matter featuring popular emo-hardcore, mid-'90s bands Action Patrol and Sleepyime Trio sold out faster than you can say "assorted pork chops." So they just added this second show featuring a different line-up but same frenetic, beloved headliner from Richmond. Expect these to go fast, too. 8 p.m. $15.
St. Vincent at the National
Friday, March 2
One of the most intriguing performers in pop music, guitarist and vocalist Annie Clark always puts on a theatrical, highly choreographed show. This will be one of the last dates on her Fear the Future tour for the critically acclaimed and layered "Masseduction" album that delves into the very pop questions of artifice and authenticity. 8 p.m. $32.50.
Spoon at the National
Wednesday, March 7
These indie rock veterans from Austin, Texas, are still touring behind their ninth album, "Hot Thoughts." Live they can easily move the room with stomping, melodic hooks, but are just as comfortable exploring new electronic palettes. Either way, the lyrics and songwriting of frontman Britt Daniel are worth checking out at least once. 8 p.m. $28.50-$33.
Insane Clown Posse and Attila at the Canal Club
Friday, March 9
Horror-core bill of demented white dudes who rap or scream — in various states of clown dress — their over-the-top tales of thug life. They've got millions of YouTube views and the Posse's fans, or Juggalos, have strangely been labeled gang members by the FBI in 2011. According to a Washington Post story from last year, the Virginia Department of Corrections classifies the Juggalos among the major gangs in state prisons. The author also noted that they're in strong contention for "America's most hated subculture." All of which, we're sure, will only attract more fans to this small venue. 6 p.m. $30.
Out of Town for the Win
Dave Davies at the Beacon Theatre on Thursday, April 12: Co-founder of the Kinks, guitarist Davies sings like his better-known brother, Ray, and has mostly returned to form after a stroke years ago. Expect a night peppered with classics, both known and unknown. Doors at 6:30 p.m. $30-$50.
Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins with Ane Diaz at the Southern on Saturday, Feb. 24: The Modern Lover gone acoustic returns with his trusty sidekick to perform songs of the heart with a little flamenco flair, accompanied by drummer Tommy Larkins. Opener and Venezuelan ex-pat Ane Diaz did time in cult band the Causey Way. 9 p.m. $15-$17.
Yo La Tengo at the Jefferson Theater on Sunday, April 8: An indie rock mainstay with ties to Charlottesville, Hoboken's finest always puts on a great, meandering show of adventurous rock with power that sneaks up on you. 8 p.m. $20-$25.