WANT LIVE MUSIC IN WASHINGTON, DC? START HERE!
FEATURED UPCOMING LIVE MUSIC EVENTS
Check below for a SMALL sampling of upcoming live music events in Washington, DC. For a more exhaustive list of concerts (over 1,000 live music events per month), check out the daily concerts pages in the "MUSIC CALENDAR" pull-down menu above.
Thursday, January 18 - 7:00 PM
Circles Around The Sun. Few albums have the creation myth of Interludes For The Dead by Neal Casal's Circles Around The Sun. The 10 instrumental jams that encompass the release were commissioned by Justin Kreutzmann, the filmmaker son of Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, to accompany the biographical visuals he was compiling to be shown during set break at the "Fare Thee Well" concerts the living members of the Dead played in the summer of 2015. As guitarist in the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and a sometime participant in Dead bassist Phil Lesh's Phil & Friends jam sessions, Casal was a natural for the project; he, in turn, brought on Brotherhood keyboardist Adam MacDougall, bassist Dan Horne and drummer Mark Levy.
Thursday, January 18 - 8:00 PM
A Sound of Thunder delivers a unique and exciting blend of classic heavy metal, progressive, and rock. The young upstarts from Washington, DC pay no heed to trends, focusing on quality songwriting with memorable melodies and riffs that stand the test of time. Founded in 2009 by Josh Schwartz and Chris Hare, the band was later completed when Nina Osegueda on the vocals an Jesse Keen in bass guitar provided dynamics characterized by the band's sound and performance. After releasing several successful albums via crowdfunding, A Sound of Thunder teamed up with Valient Comics to create "Tales from the Dead Side," inspired by Shadowman, a well-known hero character from this publishing house.
Thursday, January 18 - 8:00 PM
Wyland are a four-piece alternative rock band based in a small town outside of the Meadowlands. Their sound, which has elements of atmospheric rock and indie singer-songwriter influence, has received praise for being “Coldplay-esque” and “intense and tasteful melodic rock [that] will resonate with the most endearing Lumineer fan.” CMJ said, “Wyland has an instantly digestible sound". In 2015, the band released a couple demos which eventually led them to appear alongside bands like Mumford & Sons, Alabama Shakes, and the Vaccines, to name a few. Their latest EP, In a Sea of Things Unsaid, which was released at the beginning of 2016, was received as “one of the strongest releases from a New Jersey band in 2016” by NJ.com.
Thursday, January 18 - 8:00 PM
From the budding music scene of the Upper Midwest comes the cutting edge Front Porch Americana soundscapes of The Last Revel. This powerfully talented trio of multi-instrumentalists from Minneapolis, Minnesota so naturally blends the genres of Folk, Rockabilly, Old Time String-Band and Rock to create a sound that is as equally original as it is timeless. The Last Revel trio utilizes their multi-instrumental abilities to bring the acoustic guitar, upright bass, fiddle, 5-string banjo, harmonica, kick drum and three-part vocal harmonies together to consistently deliver “Bombastic live performances,” as well as delicate and haunting folk ballads.
Thursday, January 18 - 8:30 PM
Round up a country band and an early R&B group with three lead vocalists, weave in a hefty amount of vocal harmony and witty turns-of-phrase, and let ‘em rock out like The Band. The sound of roots music mavericks Western Centuries sits at these crossroads, and their debut album Weight of the World introduces a band as skillful in their musicianship as they are innovative in their writing. With upbeat, barroom dance numbers, lilting, introspective tunes of heartbreak, and everything in between, the album strikes an oft-strived-for but rarely achieved balance between genre-busting experimentation and thoughtful continuity. Comprised of Seattle-based country musician Cahalen Morrison, jam band veteran Jim Miller (co-founder of Donna the Buffalo), R&B and bluegrass-by-way-of-punk rock songwriter Ethan Lawton, pedal steel player Rusty Blake, and bassist Dan Lowinger, Western Centuries are clearly a diverse bunch.
Friday, January 19 - 8:00 PM
"Perfect for a smoky, haze-filled cocktail lounge, Ezra Mae and The Gypsy Moon have an excellently refined grasp on backroom blues, with a touch of garage lo-fi for flavor. A rare treat, this DC-based foursome has good stage presence and the sort of sultry vocals that induce deep trances of wistfulness.. " -Jonathan Goodwin, The Deli Magazine It all began 10 years ago when Ezra Mae, a songstress with a mind of her own, met The Gypsy Moon, a bag-carrying whirl of mystic energy. These souls came together and the rest is history. Along the journey they’ve picked up hitch-hikers and friends, music-makers disguised as men.
Friday, January 19 - 8:30 PM
Jonny Grave is a guitarist, songwriter, singer, bandleader, teacher, musical historian, journalist, and Blues-man from Washington, D.C. Growing up in a musical family, Jonny Grave was introduced to the sounds of American traditional folk music early on. At age fifteen, he found himself learning slide guitar techniques from old Blues records, and by seventeen he was performing them live. Grave has performed at hundreds of venues from the red dirt floor of Gip's Juke Joint to the red carpet of the Kennedy Center.
Friday, January 19 - 6:00 PM
Dollarman is a force straight out of Brooklyn known for his dynamically gritty voice and innovative rhyme flow. He has been capturing his audience in a lyrical groove packed with rhythms and rhymes for over 15 years. Dollarman is the featured Dancehall artist on ‘Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now)’ produced by Bob Sinclar and the track went to number one on the Billboard Dance Chart in five weeks and won Dollarman a gold record for his vocals. The track also features Cutee B and Big Ali and samples the massive 90s hit ‘Gonna Make You Sweat’ by C+C Music Factory featuring Freedom Williams. Other hits of his that have hit the charts include ‘Sounds of Freedom’ and Dollarman also collaborated with Big Ali on the remake of ‘I’ve got the Power (Snap)’ called Big Ali feat.
Friday, January 19 - 8:00 PM
BoomBox. Filling in the Color by BoomBox A little house, a little blues, a little funk, a little rock, and a whole lot of soul blast through BoomBox. Since first emerging in 2004, founder, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Zion Rock Godchaux has been quietly seasoning this simmering recipe to perfection. However, it reaches a boiling point on his forthcoming 2018 fifth album, Western Voodoo [Heart of Gold Records]. At the same time, the Muscle Shoals, AL native stays true to what attracted countless fans in the first place. “I remain open to anything you would hear coming out of a boombox,” he explains. “There are a lot of different vibes and angles, but it still adheres to a universal rhythm.
Friday, January 19 - 8:00 PM
YACHT began as the solo project of Jona Bechtolt, a musician and multimedia artist who dropped out of high school in the 90s to play drums in a touring punk band with his older brother. In the latter part of the decade, he brought his DIY sensibility to laptop production, partnering with vocalist Khaela Maricich to release two albums with The Blow, an off-kilter pop group that gained a loyal following after 2006’s breakout Paper Televison. Bechtolt began recording as YACHT in 2002, releasing the largely instrumental Super Warren MMIV (States Rights Records) in 2003, followed by Mega (released as a 10” vinyl, CD, and DVD combo by Marriage Records in 2004), and I Believe in You.
Friday, January 19 - 8:00 PM
One of the most dynamic and determined bands continuously touring America for since 1989, Donna the Buffalo has created a community environment at their shows through their distinctive, groove-heavy, and danceable music. Donna the Buffalo is a band for the people that is accessible, positive, and memorable. With roots in old time fiddle music that evolved into a soulful electric American mix infused with elements of cajun/ zydeco, rock, folk, reggae, and country, Donna’s music often contains social and moral responsibility as core beliefs, and they are just simply fun to get out and celebrate life with. Donna the Buffalo drew its original inspiration from a cherished part of the American heritage: the old-time music festivals of the south that drew entire towns and counties together.
Friday, January 19 - 7:00 PM
A new and international project, Trifilio Tango Trio presents virtuosic performances of original tango music. Led by Argentinian Emmanuel Trifilio (composition, bandoneon) and Devree Lewis (arrangements, cello), TTT celebrates the tango classics while creating new repertoire for today’s audiences. The refined group has performed in different environments around the world; from their weekly appearances in D.C.’s small venues to their formal concerts in Buenos Aires, they present an intimate experience from any stage. Program will feature brand new tracks from their forthcoming third album, release date tba 2018.
Saturday, January 20 - 8:30 PM
The headlining act is Kitchen Noise. The opening act is David Bayles. Kitchen Noise started as a studio project. Cory Foley-Marsello is a Washington, DC-based audio engineer who started getting some ideas out alone in the studio after everyone had gone home. Originally playing everything on his first album Ceramics, he soon recruited talented friends to help him recreate the songs, and eventually work on new material. Joined by Matt Krist on bass, Andrew Toy on drums, and Jay Hardin on keyboards, the sound was given more structure. Cory's guitar work, still leads the band, but the added layers and rhythm create a heavier sound with cacophonous peaks, and hushed atmospherics.
Saturday, January 20 - 8:30 PM
Handsomebeast — yes, one word — is a five piece band based out of Houston, TX. They are the founders of an irresistible genre dubbed by the pioneers themselves as space-rock-bump-n-grind, which incorporates elements of classic and indie rock with futuristic electrofunk and infectious pop. Handsomebeast’s volcanic live performances quickly commanded the attention of the Houston music scene as they have become one of the hottest bands in the city. With one EP (2015’s Sexy Face Reaction Time) and one album (2014’s Estilo Gacho) out, and another album on the way for 2016, Handsomebeast is poised to take the nation by storm.
Saturday, January 20 - 9:00 PM
Wanted Man. “Wanted Man’s songs are about what we are, working people in America at a very strange time,” says songwriter Kenny Pirog. Formed in Washington D.C., Wanted Man plays rock ’n’ roll music as it once was, yet as it has never been. Over three years Kenny Pirog (vocals, guitar), Anthony Pirog (lead guitar), Scoops (bass, ask him about his name, you won’t be disappointed), and Rick Irby (drums) have crafted a sound usually only heard in one’s imagination. The release of their self-titled album in 2016 (available on all streaming outlets) showcased the band’s abilities to play in many different styles, as well as address vast subject matters.
Saturday, January 20 - 7:00 PM
Unlike rock 'n' roll, bluegrass music's boundaries are often defined in very narrow terms and that has caused some bands to carefully consider their place within the genre. But, in order to survive, everything must evolve... even bluegrass. Enter the Infamous Stringdusters, the very model of a major modern bluegrass band. “At a certain point in our career, there was hesitation in calling us a bluegrass band,” guitarist Andy Falco admits. “These days, we’re much more comfortable with that label.” Banjo man Chris Pandolfi echoes the point: “We love bluegrass, but we have been influenced by other genres as much, if not more.
Saturday, January 20 - 8:00 PM
PBC Vocal Band is a 5 person ALL VOCAL (a cappella) cover band that is known for remixing and mashing-up R&B, Pop, Fink, Disco and Soul hits of the last 5 decades. Unlike traditional a cappella, PBC has been described as everything from a "rock band" to "a party on stage" due to the ability to create a unique "full band" sound with only 5 voices. With professional beatboxers coupled with subharmonic bass, the tight harmonies and power lead vocals all combine for a live entertainment experience like no other. Performing highly recognizable music that is appropriate for all ages, PBC Vocal Band will have audiences dancing and singing and wondering how all of the music is created without any instruments.
Saturday, January 20 - 8:00 PM
The Iris Bell has crafted a distinctive style of Americana noted for its lush harmonies and soulful, acoustic rhythms. Playing at festivals and shows across the region, the band is both raucous and melodic, making music that goes from foot stomping to haunting. Switching instruments frequently, the five members of The Iris Bell use their range to bring a fresh sound to the world of indie folk. The band formed in 2013.
Saturday, January 20 - 8:00 PM
Raw, soulful, and with plenty of swagger, Town Mountain has earned raves for their hard-driving sound, their in-house songwriting and the honky-tonk edge that permeates their exhilarating live performances, whether in a packed club or at a sold-out festival. The hearty base of Town Mountain's music is the bluegrass triumvirate of Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. It's what else goes into the mix that brings it all to life both on stage and on record and reflects the group's wide-ranging influences – from the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia and the ethereal lyrics of Robert Hunter, to the honest, vintage country of Willie, Waylon and Merle.
Saturday, January 20 - 8:30 PM
“Dan Bern is a throwback, a singer-songwriter who marvels at life’s beauty, fragility, and complexity with a fresh, defiantly uncompromising style. In a perfect world, he’d be as beloved as Dylan or Lennon—he’s that good!” So wrote Stereophile magazine contributing editor David Sokol for that publication’s popular Records To Die For feature several years back. A remarkably prolific songsmith, Dan has released some two dozen studio albums, EPs, and live recordings since his first acclaimed Sony-distributed CD in 1997. Either fronting the prodigiously talented band Common Rotation or as a solo performer, he is comfortable and convincing, funny and topical, with an unassuming tip of the hat to the spirits Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash, the Beatles, and young Bob Dylan—all while sounding thoroughly original and 21st-century.
Sunday, January 21 - 8:00 & 10:00 PM
Touring in support of his new release on Mack Avenue Records, Project Freedom , DeFrancesco’s new quartet, features him on the Hammond B-3 — plus contributions on keyboards, trumpet and as a vocalist. Accompanying DeFrancesco are drummer Jason Brown, guitarist Dan Wilson and saxophonist Troy Roberts — collectively billed as the People. Joey DeFrancesco's emergence in the 1980s marked the onset of a musical renaissance. Organ jazz had all but gone into hibernation from the mid-'70s to the mid-'80s until DeFrancesco reignited the flame with his vintage Hammond organ and Leslie speaker cabinet. The son of "Papa" John DeFrancesco, an organist himself, the younger DeFrancesco remembers playing as early as four-years-old.
Sunday, January 21 - 3:30 PM
Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, delights audiences with highly polished recreations of the rustic music of the peasantry and the elegant sounds of the official wind bands of the late medieval and Renaissance periods. Its ever-expanding instrumentarium includes shawms, dulcians, sackbuts, recorders, krumhorns, bagpipes, lutes, guitars, harps, and a variety of percussion—all careful reconstructions of instruments from the period. On the final day of the exhibition Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry, Piffaro will respond to the various scenes of music-makers and images of musical instruments represented in the show, performing music Vermeer and his rivals may have been listening to as they painted.
Sunday, January 21 - 4:00 PM
One of Europe’s most exciting young string quartets, the Munich-based Goldmund Quartett, made its debut at Munich’s Prinzregententheater. Since then, the quartet has appeared at international festivals in Aix-en-Provence, Granada, and Ludwigsburg, as well as recitals in Denmark, France, Norway, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, China, and the US. With a repertoire anchored in the Viennese masterpieces of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, the Goldmund Quartett has attracted glowing reviews for its debut album of quartets by Haydn. Their Phillips program features works by Haydn and Beethoven, including the second of the Razumovsky Quartets, one of the boldest and most serious of Beethoven’s middle-period works.
Sunday, January 21 - 7:30 PM
Howie Day’s emotionally resonant lyrics and inventive melodies have earned him both critical praise and a legion of devoted fans. He is known for his energetic, heartfelt shows, where he connects with audiences through the strength of his songwriting and his quirky sense of humor. Day’s warm tenor voice “soars into fluttering, high registers, but also grates with real, pleading grit,” as one critic put it. After sales of over a million albums and two Top 10 hits, Day is back on the road showcasing old favorites, as well as new material from his upcoming studio release. A native of Bangor, Maine, Day began playing piano at age five and guitar at age 12.
Sunday, January 21 - 8:30 PM
The Money, the final volume in Charlie Mars’ Texas trilogy (out Oct. 14 on Rockingham Records/Thirty Tigers), opens with a scene of cinematic vividness. “Looking out a rainy window/In a hotel in Caroline/Drinking free coffee, smoking that smoke/From an apple by the exit sign.” He called the song “Hell Yeah,” a Rebel yell from this Oxford, Mississippi, resident not of celebration but of recognition. Maybe you, too, have found yourself far from home and feeling very alone, seeking relief in the substances at hand, exhaling out the open window as a practical measure. In those four lines, jotted down in a Hampton Inn in Greenwood, South Carolina, moments later, we find Mars (or a protagonist who closely resembles him) resuming his zigzagging trek through the darkness in search of the light.
Monday, January 22 - 6:00 PM
Eddie Jones, guitar; Johnnell Gray, keyboard; Les Campbell, bass; Freddy Gomillion, drums; Emmitt Queen, guitar; Eddie Kornegay, sax. The Young Bucks Band is a dynamic group of talented musicians who have remained strong, performing for over 40 years. The band creates an undeniable electrifying impact onstage. They capture the true spirit of old school funk and soul legends, featuring the best 70s, 80s and 90s funk, soul and blues classics and delivering them in a style refined as their own.
Monday, January 22 - 8:00 & 10:00 PM
Afi Soul is the critically acclaimed soul and r&b music artist whose self-distributed album, Lovely, landed the no. 10 spot on the SoulTracks Top 10 CDs list. “Baby, Its Cold Outside” — Afi’s signature tune. The music video for that single stayed in rotation on BETJ and VH1 Soul for months, and was featured on VH1Soul.com. ¤ Touring with artists such as Lil Mo and Raheem Devaughn, renewed interest in Afi’s debut prompted a 2010 re-release led by “Sorry (Gotta Go)”, a no nonsense hit that asserts a woman’s independence. The music video for this single quickly made its way across the internet. Shocking friends and family, Afi parted ways with the music industry from 2011 to late 2013 to rediscover herself and rebuild a life for her children.Now back in the studio, Afi returns a more empowered woman, mother and soulstress.
Monday, January 22 - 7:00 PM
MØ. With: Darius. The cat is finally about to be out of the bag. Not that Cashmere Cat has exactly kept a clandestine profile, working as he has with so many of the top names in pop, R&B, and hip-hop, from Kanye West to Ariana Grande -- a track record that's threatened to make him a household name just as a producer. But as a recording artist in his own right, he's taking off the wraps with the release of his first full-length album under his own nom de plume. The spring release sports guest appearances from a who's who of contemporary music, including The Weeknd, Selena Gomez, Camila Cabello, 2 Chainz, Tory Lanez, Francis & the Lights, Starrah, and other Cat lovers dropping in to help usher him into the ranks of true marquee artists.
Monday, January 22 - 7:30 PM
Charles Phoenix is a showman, tour guide, food crafter, and author. He is known for his live comedy slide show performances, madcap Test Kitchen videos, “field trip” tours, and colorful coffee table books, all celebrating classic and kitschy American life and style. On TV, Charles has appeared as a judge on Food Network’s Cake Wars: Christmas. He’s also guested on Storage Wars, Jay Leno’s Garage, Conan, and Martha Stewart, and is often heard on NPR. The Los Angeles Times says, “Call him the King of Retro,” and LA Weekly anointed him “the Kodachrome King.” Growing up in Ontario, California Charles was educated at theme parks, shopping malls, and his dad’s used car lots.
ABOUT DISTRICT CONCERTS
If you want to quickly see what live music is playing in Washington, DC, on any given day, you've come to the right place. The District Concerts site lists over 1,000 music events per month - a dozen or more on a typical Monday (the slowest music day of the week), and 50 or more on a typical Friday or Saturday. We cover all genres, venues, and price ranges.
Every day of the year has its own page - look in the "Music Calendar" pull-down menu, click on the date that you want. You'll find a list of most of the concerts that are happening in the District on that day, complete with descriptions, venue links, artist links, and, where applicable, links to ticket and/or music samples. You can also look a little farther ahead by going to the monthly calendar - click on the Music Calendar link itself (not one of the individual dates in the submenu).
If you aren't finding the music events that you want, it could be that we aren't entirely caught up in adding events to our database (it's a time-consuming task). In that case, you can use the "old school" approach - look through the websites for the music venues that are of most interest to you. If you scroll further down on this page, you'll find a long list of links for Washington, DC, music venues, organized by genre and how frequently they host concerts.
One last note - never forget that "free" isn't always free. Naturally, if a music event is being held in a bar or restaurant, there is an expectation that you buy something. But don't forget the musicians themselves! IF THERE IS A TIP JAR, PLEASE TIP GENEROUSLY!
Enjoy the site, support local music, and spread the word!
ONLINE RESOURCES FOR CONCERTS IN WASHINGTON, DCIf you are interested in live music in Washington, DC, and aren't finding enough on this site's daily Music Calendar pages, then check out the sites that are listed below the map. The websites are categorized by "value" - the first category is sites that list events at multiple venues, the next category lists the venues that offer A LOT of music, and each of the next four categories lists venue that offer progressively less music. The final category lists a few of DC's "iconic" music groups. Note that the genre categories are not perfect fits, as most venues offer music in a variety of genres.
CONCERT LISTINGS SITES
These are some other websites that offer concert listings and generally are pretty good about keeping their listings up-to-date.
Folklore Society of Greater Washington
The FSGW regularly sponsors folk music events in the area and maintains the area's premier list of local folk music events. However, the vast majority of events on the site take place in Virginia or Maryland.
Washington Folk Music Association
This site lists folk music from throughout the region, though the vast majority of the events that are listed take place in VA or MD rather than in DC.
Friday Morning Music Club
The Friday Morning Music Club puts on a host of classical concerts around the region, most of which are free and open to the public, and few of which actually take place on Friday mornings.
The Embassay of Israel hosts concerts on rare occasion, but their website is a good resource for information about concerts at area synagogues and by Jewish artists at venues throughout the region.
Washington Performing Arts
Washington Performing Arts supports various area arts organizations; their site selectively lists classical, jazz, world, vocal, dance, and spiritual performances throughout the region.
Jazz & Blues
Capital Bop sponsors about one jazz concert a month and also maintains a jazz music calendar. One caution - some of the recurring events remain on the calendar LONG after they've stopped recurring. You might want to confirm calendar events before committing.
If the venue link doesn't have the event you're looking for, try this alternative website.
Rock & Pop
DC DIY Site
This is a fantastic site for finding information about "Do It Yourself" shows, principally rock and pop, but occasionally some other genres as well. These shows typically showcase local artists, but more often than not also include touring artists. Most of the shows are in people's homes.
If you want to check as few sites as possible to track down some live music, these venues offer music almost every night and often give you more than one choice on a given night.
It's the Kennedy Center, THE busiest performing arts facility in the United States. It hosts dozens of far-from-free arts events every week (with music in all genres, but slanting heavily toward classical), and its Millennium Stage offers free performances (mostly music, but occasionally other art forms) 365 days a year.
Jazz & Blues
Blues Alley is one of the nation's premier blues and jazz venues, offering two shows on 6 or 7 nights per week, with a mix of local and traveling acts.
Madam's Organ provides music every day. Blues music is the primary offering, with rock once or twice a week. Most music starts at 9:30 on weeknights and 10:00 on weekends.
Twins Jazz is one of DC's legendary jazz hotspots, offering two shows on most nights of the year, with a mix of local and touring acts.
Rock & Pop
The 9:30 Club is the go-to venue for nationally recognized touring acts.
The Black Cat offers entertainment most nights; the principal type of entertainment is rock music, with a blend of local and touring acts.
Bossa offers live music most nights and offers a mix of rock music and world music.
DC9 offers live music most nights, in a cozy bar atmosphere. The vast majority of the acts perform rock or pop, and most acts are touring acts. Seating is available, but be prepared to stand if you want good viewing angles.
Gypsy Sally's offers music most nights of the week (though Monday performances are rare), with free concerts in their Vinyl Lounge and paid performances on their main stage (usually both in the same night). The fare tends to be rock or Americana, with a strong affinity for Grateful Dead cover bands.
Rock & Roll Hotel
The Rock & Roll Hotel offers live music most nights, with a blend of local and touring acts.
The Hamilton offers music most nights, in a wide range of genres, and with a mix of local bands and big-name touring acts. Most events take place on their live stage, but about once a week a free concert is also provided in their loft bar.
ALMOST DAILY VENUES
These venues offer music most days of the week (or offer music every day but have the same artists again and again.)
Hill Country BBQ
Hill Country offers music most nights, usually with no cover charge. The music is usually country or folk, with the occasional rock band, and most are touring artists.
Jazz & Blues
Columbia Station offers live jazz 6 nights a week, with afternoon and evening performances on Saturdays and Sundays.
JoJo offers jazz or blues music Tuesday through Sunday each week with rotating local artists.
Mr. Henry's offers Americana every Thursday and jazz every Friday and Saturday. Shows typically start at 8:00 and usually do not require a cover charge.
The Dubliner offers live Irish music 7 nights a week.
The Rumba Cafe offers world music on Thursdays through Saturdays.
Tropicalia is a great source for a wide variety of world music. Music is offered almost every week, and some weeks feature concerts on four or five different nights.
Rock & Pop
Flash provides music 5 or so nights a week, offering primarily electronica, with a mix of DJs and producers from the region and from around the globe.
Songbyrd is music-centric, combining both a music store and a music venue. They offer music most nights, with a mix of live music and DJs. The vast majority of musicians are local.
Sotto offers a regular mix of local artists on Tuesday or Wednesday through Saturday nights, and usually offers the music at an earlier hour than most venues. The offerings tend to be rock & pop or jazz. Expect patrons to talk loudly and pay little attention to the music - the music may be largely drowned out.
Takoma Station Tavern
Takoma Station provides music almost every night. However, their website is far from informative, so many nights you'll have to guess at the type of music provided and the cover charge.
U Street Music Hall
The U Street Music Hall offers music 4 to 7 nights a week, with a mix of DJs and live music acts.
The Velvet Lounge offers live music most nights, and is known for attracting under-the-radar travelling acts and up-and-coming local acts.
These venues regularly offer live music; most of them average more than one concert a week.
American University - Katzen
During the school year, American regularly offers concerts, principally at the Katzen Arts Center, but occasionally elsewhere on campus. and at the Greenberg Theater.
Arts Club of Washington
The Arts Club regularly offers concerts at The Monroe House, the mansion which was formerly the home of President James Monroe. If the grand venue and top-flight entertainment aren't sufficient enough inducement, an added bonus is that most of the concerts are free.
Church of the Epiphany
Epiphany is regularly a host of concerts and is the venue of choice for some of the area's classical groups.
During the school year, Georgetown regularly offers free, midday concerts and a wide variety of performances scattered throughout the school calendar. Concerts are usually free, but the campus can be tough to navigate. Classical music dominates the calendar, but jazz and other genres are also sometimes provided.
Levine Music's concert offerings vary between performances by Levine students, faculty, and/or alums, and guest performers. Most events are held at the NW DC campus or their Bethesda site, but some take place at THEARC or at off-campus locations.
National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art regularly hosts concerts. During the summer jazz is offered in the Sculpture Garden; the rest of the year classical concerts are offered indoors (in the West Building Garden Court or the East Building Atrium or Auditorium). All concerts are free of charge and tickets are rarely required.
Many of the Smithsonian museums offer live music (with the American Art Museum being the most frequent host), and most performances are free and do not require a ticket. (The website can be a little cumbersome, and be aware that NYC events are lumped in with DC events.)
Jazz & Blues
Bistrot Lepic offers jazz music on most Mondays and Wednesdays.
Black Squirrel is a great place to catch local jazz and experimental artists, with scheduling coordinated by Indie Adams Morgan (I.A.M). However, in the past the Squirrel has not included info about the music on their site, and I.A.M. has had website maintenance issues, so tracking down information about the music can sometimes be challenging.
Jazz and Cultural Society
JACS is a not-for-profit venue that is all about jazz, offering a dozen or so concerts a month at a low entrance fee and focusing on local musicians.
New Vegas Lounge
The New Vegas Lounge's house blues band performs every Friday and Saturday night, and the lounge hosts a guest band on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month.
The Tabard offers jazz on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays, with rotating local artists performing as duos.
Westminster Jazz & Blues
Westminster hosts blues almost every Monday and jazz almost every Friday, and usually also has a jazz appreciation day one Saturday a month. The music starts early (6:00), the cost is low ($5), and the musicians tend to be fantastic.
701's dining is accompanied by live piano on Thursday evenings and live piano and bass on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Georgetown Piano Bar
The Georgetown Piano Bar offers live piano seven nights a week.
Lisner is host to a wide variety of entertainment and draws internationally-recognized musicians.
The Corner Store
The Corner Store is a cozy arts venue with a wide variety of arts offerings and a mix of music that is diverse enough to be impossible to categorize. As a small organization its calendar is somewhat sporadic, but it's nonetheless well worth checking on a regular basis.
Rock & Pop
The Bayou offers live music most Friday and Saturday nights, but their website is not often up-to-date.
Capital Fringe is the host of the annual Fringefest, but also provides music, plays, and other events throughout the year. Fringefest takes place in multiple locations, but the majority of Fringe events during other times of the year take place either at the Fringe stage or at public libraries. As the name implies, Fringe music tends to be ecclectic.
Most weeks, Ebenezers offers live music once or twice, with a blend comprised primarily of pop, singer/songwriter, and folk.
Eighteenth Street Lounge
The 18th Street Lounge offers music Tuesdays through Sundays, with a mix of DJs and live acts. Their website is pretty but highly uninformative.
The Howard draws big-name acts and offers live music an average of 3 to 4 days a week, with a variety of ticketing options.
Ivy City Smokehouse
Ivy City offers a variety of music - a mix of rock and jazz, with occasional Americana. Most shows have no cover charge, but tickets are required for about a quarter of the offerings.
Jake's Boiler Room
Jakes offers live music most Friday and Saturday nights, but isn't particularly good about keeping their online calendar up-to-date.
Lost and Found
Lost and Found offers live music most Tuesday nights.
Marx Cafe regularly features DJs or live music, though their website typically offers no information beyond the name of the artist and/or the music genre of the night.
Mason Inn caters to the college crowd and offers 2 to 3 concerts most weeks. Most are rock or pop acts, but Americana acts are also in the mix. Most acts are from the greater DMV region.
Positive Force DC
Positive Force arose from the punk and hardcore scene and organizes concerts to fundraise for local causes. Their concerts are sporadic, but when they do occur they support good causes and offer a wide slate of performers, mostly local. St. Stephen's is their principal host.
Roofers Union offers live music most Friday and Saturday nights and some Wednesday nights. All concerts start at 10:00 and are free; most feature local artists.
Sixth and I Historic Synagogue
Sixth and I is a performance venue with a wide variety of offerings, including concerts, performing arts, and informative programs about Jewish life. Music is offered more weeks than not, and typically features world- or nationally-renowned performers.
The Electric Maid
The Electric Maid is a nonprofit arts and community venue that regularly offers live music. The venue's website provides minimal information, but suggested donations are typically in the $5 to $10 range, and concerts most often feature a touring artist with local musicians opening.
The Pinch regularly hosts live music in a wide variety of genres, though the music does tend toward harder fare. Concerts are usually inexpensive and tend to feature a wide variety of artists, mostly local.
ALMOST WEEKLY VENUES
These venues usually have a live music event during a given week (or offer a house musician multiple times a week).
Haydee's provides a nice blend of music on a "regular sporadic" basis - music is provided often but is unpredictable. Artists are generally local and tend to be bluegrass, country, pop, or world music. Note that the music listings on the website are in no particular order (good luck!).
American University - Greenberg
American University operates the off-campus Greenberg Theatre, which principally showcases the university, but which also features guest artists on occasion.
The Atlas is primarily a performing arts venue, but they do also provide music in a variety of genres (principally classical or jazz) on a somewhat regular basis.
Carter Barron Amphitheatre
Carter Barron is a premier location for outdoor concerts during the warm (and disgustingly hot) months of the year.
Dumbarton Concerts are presented in Georgetown's Dumbarton United Methodist Church, and the intimate concerts feature chamber and jazz music.
Folger Shakespeare Library
The Folger Shakespeare Library is the principal venue for the Folger Consort, which specializes in music appropriate to Shakespeare's era.
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress offers a regular slate of free, top-notch concerts. Tickets are usually required, and almost always are sold out very soon after becoming available. Nonetheless, some unclaimed "rush" tickets are generally available two hours before each performance.
The Phillips Collection hosts world-renowned classical musicians in an intimate setting; buy tickets early as performances sell out quickly.
S&R Foundation - Evermay
The S&R Foundation regularly sponsors premier classical concerts in intimate venues, with most events taking place at the Evermay Estate in Georgetown.
Jazz & Blues
The Brixton hosts DC's premier jazz jam most Sundays at 6:30.
Gallery O on H
The Gallery on O offers a wide variety of music in their courtyard on the weekends during the warm weather season and also participates in the DC Jazzfest and H Street special events.
Quill's house pianist performs Tuesday through Saturday evenings, starting at 9:00 p.m.
THEARC is a community arts venue that offers arts education and community services as well as a host of public performances. They regularly provide jazz programming and occasionally offer other genres as well.
The University of the District of Columbia offers a variety of jazz programming, including concerts by students and faculty and a "meet the artist" series.
The Banana Cafe offers a piano bar most nights of the week.
Busboys and Poets
The various Busboys and Poets restaurants each host at least one open mic night a month, and occasionally other music offerings sneak into their calendar as well. Of the DC Busboys, the Brookland location offers music most frequently.
The Lincoln hosts nationally renowned touring acts, though live music represents only a small portion of its calendar.
Mr. Smith's offers a sing-along piano bar on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 and at Fridays and Saturdays at 10:00.
WDC Jewish Community Center
The JCC's annual Jewish Music Festival is one of DC's great treasures; public concerts at other times of the year are a bit sporadic but generally worth seeking out.
Rock & Pop
Clyde's of Georgetown
Clyde's offers live music on Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 10:00 p.m., though who will be performing is typically listed only on their Facebook page, if at all.
Comet Ping Pong
Comet Ping Pong hosts an average of two or so rock shows each week; doors generally open at 10:00, and prices tend to range from $5 to $12.
Echostage is a mammoth dance music venue that offers a variety of DJs and live music, as well as outlandlishly high prices and a bafflingly frustrating website.
Penn Social offers entertainment most nights, with one or two live music offerings on most weeks. Unfortunately, their website is a bit painful to navigate despite being quite pretty.
Soundcheck offers electronica and house music about half of the nights each week.
The Warner Theatre is a performance venue of an epic scale that regularly offers arts entertainment, but which only occasionally hosts concerts. Their best seats sell out quickly, so it's best to look far ahead in their calendar.
Wonderland Ballroom generally offers entertainment about four nights a week, with live concerts once or twice a week, almost always featuring local artists.
These venues are a bit more of a roll of the dice - some are seasonal, others have regular music but don't keep their concert information up-to-date, and others have music pretty sporadically. This category also includes places whose sole music offering is a weekly jazz brunch.
Seeker's offers at least one or two concerts per month through their "Carroll Café." The concerts are usually Americana, but some other genres are offered on occasion as well. Not all of the concerts at Seekers are listed on the Seekers site - some are only listed on one of the regional folk music sites.
All Souls Unitarian
All Souls occasionally serves as a concert venue and is a regular host of a square dance with live musicians.
Catholic University occasionally hosts touring artists and also offers concerts by its students, particularly toward the end of the semester. Unfortunately, the University's website is not very informative about events.
Chevy Chase Presbyterian
Chevy Chase Presbyterian hosts one or two public concerts most months of the year.
Embassy of Austria
The Austrian Embassy occasionally hosts concerts, usually classical. Since the embassy is such a great place to see a performance, the website is worth checking every so often.
The Kreeger occasionally hosts classical concerts.
The National Cathedral occasionally offers concerts, many of an epic scale befitting the grand setting.
National City Christian Church
The National City Christian Church hosts free, midday concerts on most Fridays, generally featuring the church's organ. They also occasionally host other public concerts, though those concerts are not typically listed on the church's calendar.
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
The National Shrine often offers concerts and organ recitals during the summer; music offerings throughout the remainder of the year are spotty.
Jazz & Blues
Acadiana provides a Sunday jazz brunch.
Anacostia Arts Center
The Anacostia Art Center is predominantly a space for the visual arts, but they also offer theater, performance art, and music.
Fiola offers jazz music by local musicians on most Monday and Wednesday evenings.
Geogia Brown's provides a Sunday jazz brunch.
Malmaison provides a Sunday jazz brunch.
Petworth Jazz Project
Petworth Jazz project is offered seasonally, from late spring to early autumn each year, with a series of Saturday events.
Shaw's Tavern provides a piano bar on Wednesdays and on one Friday a month, and occasionally offers live music on other nights.
Showtime bar offers music by Granny and The Boys on Sunday nights and music by other artists on other nights on occasion.
The Society of the Cincinnati occasionally hosts concerts (principally classical or early Americana) at the historic Anderson House.
The Blind Whino is a community arts venue that occasionally hosts live music performances.
Bloombars hosts multiple events on most days of the year, though young children are the target audience for most events. When Bloombars does host musicians, they tend to be top-notch artists, and the cozy venue makes for a memorable experience.
Capitol Hill Arts Workshop
CHAW is a fantastic arts organization and well worth a visit; however, music is offered only occasionally.
Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital
The Hill Center is a community arts venue that occasionally hosts live music performances.
O Street Mansion
The museum regularly offers a rotating variety of music genres, but its admission policy is unclear - its jam sessios are open to musicians, and it seems that you can watch the jam session with the purchase of a tour pass, but you probably want to verify before going.
Rock & Pop
Boundary Stone offers an open mic night every Monday night and occasionally hosts other performances.
Capital One Arena
Events at Capital One Arena (formerly the Verizon Center) are quite frequent; concerts take place only on occasion. As one might expect, performers who take the Capital One stage are huge, internationally recognized acts.
DAR Constitution Hall
DAR hosts large events with the occasional concert. Very little concert information is provided on the DAR website, and most events use Ticketmaster, which also provides virtually no worthwhile event information. Good luck.
DC Convention Entertainment
This site covers events at the DC Armory and the Convention Center, as well as other locations under the organization's purview. Music pops up on the calendar only on occasion, but those events tend to be epic in scale.
Fort Reno Park
Fort Reno hosts concerts on Mondays and Thursdays during the summer, generally featuring area rock bands.
Zeba is a nice, sprawling neighborhood bar that somewhat regularly offers a variety of... umm... DJs? Their site has been so uninformative that we've never understood their offering and therefore have never added their stuff to the calendar.
There are FAR too many DC-based musicians to list here, but the following are some of the more "iconic" DC-based acts that tend to perform at venues (churches and special events, principally) that aren't listed above.
An established cultural institution in the greater Washington area for over 30 years, Washington Revels is dedicated to reviving and celebrating cultural traditions — music, dance, storytelling, drama and ritual — that have bound communities together over the ages and across the globe.
18th Street Singers
The 18th Street Singers is a fifty-voice ensemble of young professionals living, learning, and working in and around our nation's capital. The group's mission is to reinvigorate a new generation of choral music audiences by offering fresh, spirited interpretations of both traditional and contemporary choral works.
The Apollo Orchestra was founded with the goal of creating a superior chamber orchestra while showcasing young professional talent. Most members are graduates of conservatories or major music schools or have proven themselves in other well-recognized music venues and organizations, but hadn't yet had the opportunity to join a major orchestra or opera company.
The Washington Bach Consort is committed to the study and performance of the complete vocal and instrumental works of Johann Sebastian Bach and his contemporaries. As one of the nation’s critically acclaimed and widely recognized performing arts institutions, it has appeared at numerous festivals and has made three European tours.
Cantate Chamber Singers
The Cantate Chamber Singers ensemble attracts many of the Washington, D.C., area’s finest choral musicians, selected annually by audition. The group performs a broad range of great Western choral literature spanning the past five centuries and is recognized for championing neglected masterpieces and premiering newly commissioned works.
Carmina (Latin for “poetry” or “songs”) is a chamber choir devoted to exploring the diverse musical styles of the Middles Ages through the Baroque. Since its debut in 1998 the group has performed regularly in the Washington area, and often presents joint concerts with other local ensembles.
City Choir of Washington
The City Choir of Washington is known for its finely crafted sound and creatively programmed subscription series, which breathe new life into old masterworks and pairs them with stunning renditions of new or under-performed works.
DC Boys Choir
The D.C. Boys Choir is a group of musically talented young male students, established to help develop self-esteem by revealing and nurturing their creativity through artistic expression. The D.C. Boys Choir has established itself as one of the premier youth choirs in the nation and has emerged on the national and international scene with honor and distinction.
DC Public Opera
DC Public Opera is a new, alternative opera company, founded in the belief that opera at its best offers an immediate experience that engages the emotions and imaginations of a diverse audience. Their mission is to present relevant, engaging performances that reflect a 21st-century perspective.
DC Youth Orchestra
The goals of the DC Youth Orchestra Program (DCYOP) are to 1.) Provide quality music instruction and performance opportunities for young people across the DC metropolitan area’s full diversity, 2.) Develop a Youth Orchestra capable of competing successfully at the national and international levels, and 3.) Instill in its students the discipline and focus necessary to succeed academically as well as musically.
Inscape Chamber Orchestra
The Inscape Chamber Orchestra is pushing the boundaries of classical music in riveting performances that reach across genres and generations, and transcend the confines of the traditional classical concert experience. With its flexible roster and unique brand of programming, this critically acclaimed, Grammy Award-nominated group has quickly established itself as one of the premier performing ensembles in the Washington, DC, region and beyond.
National Children's Chorus
Performing locally and abroad, the National Children's Chorus is one of few youth arts organizations in the world to have its concert series presented by professional music halls.
New Orchestra of Washington
The New Orchestra of Washington’s mission is to make music relevant to new generations of audiences through virtuosic performances that combine a diversity of genres with fresh interpretations of classic works.
NSO In Your Neighborhood
On occasion the National Symphony Orchestra will inundate one neighborhood with a plethora of free concerts. It doesn't happen often, but when it does... bonanza!
Thomas Circle Singers
The Thomas Circle Singers is a chamber choral ensemble with a dual mission: to perform diverse choral works for the enjoyment of audiences in the Washington, D.C., area and to raise awareness and funds for organizations that address the pressing needs of the city’s underserved citizens.
The Washington Chorus (TWC) is one of the foremost symphonic choruses in the nation. Noted for the superb artistry of its performances and recordings of the entire range of the choral repertoire, TWC is widely recognized as a cultural leader in the nation’s capital. In June 2016, Chorus America, the national association for choruses, honored The Washington Chorus with the prestigious Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence.
Washington Concert Opera
The mission of Washington Concert Opera is to provide a secure home for rarely performed operatic masterpieces, to give established artists the opportunity to perform in debut roles as well as signature roles, and to introduce the exceptional talents of emerging artists. Washington Concert Opera produces high quality, seldom performed masterpieces of the operatic repertoire.
Washington Master Chorale
The Washington Master Chorale is a vibrant, sixty-voice professional and volunteer chorus that has quickly garnered a reputation throughout the Washington region for vocal excellence and discriminating concert programing. Since its debut concert in 2010, the Chorale’s performances have received repeated critical acclaim.
Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association (WMPA) is a not-for-profit organization of musicians and music lovers dedicated to making high-quality musical performances and opportunities accessible to the community. WMPA is composed of several major programs, including three orchestras, a free summer concert series, and a composition competition.
Jazz & Blues
Afro Blue - Howard U Jazz Vocal Ensemble
Howard Universityʼs premier vocal jazz ensemble, Afro Blue, performs music similar to the styles of The Manhattan Transfer, Take 6, and Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, while adding their own unique sound. This “vocal big band” has performed to wide critical acclaim.
Howard Gospel Choir
Formed on the campus of Howard University in 1968, the Howard Gospel Choir (HGC) is a body of students, alumni and community members dedicated to using the gift of music to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. As the first college choir of its kind in the world, HGC is a trailblazer for all gospel music ministries on collegiate campuses across the globe.
Coral Cantigas (“Cantigas”), is the only chorus of its kind in the Washington, D.C., area and most of the nation. Their mission is to increase awareness and appreciation of the many rich styles of Latin American, Spanish and Caribbean choral music, and unite communities through the joyful and transformative power of music.
Duke Ellington School of the Arts
The Duke Ellington School of the Arts was founded nearly forty years ago with a mission to promote excellence in arts education by supporting and recognizing students, leaders, educators, schools, institutions, and organizations.
Marine Corps Band
Various Marine Corps ensembles perform regularly around the country and often around the DC region; the DC venue at which they perform most regularly is the Marine Corps Barracks (and Annex).