Of Note: Forward Festival, Los Master Plus, Chain And The Gang, And Other D.C. Shows To Hit

By Ally Schweitzer and Catherine P. Lewis

YouTube stars Los Master Plus touch down at Artisphere on Friday.
YouTube stars Los Master Plus touch down at Artisphere on Friday.

Every Thursday, Bandwidth contributors tell you what D.C. shows are worth your time over the next week.

I Dream Of Wires
Thursday, May 15 at Goethe-Institut, $8 to $12

This isn’t actually a concert, but tonight’s showing of the documentary I Dream Of Wires (7 p.m.) is a must-do for followers of electronic music—or really any music that’s been shaped by synthesized sounds. Showing as part of the ongoing Forward Festival, I Dream Of Wires examines the development and influence of the modular synthesizer, one of last century’s most important and lasting musical innovations. Trent Reznor, Morton Subotnick, Gary Numan, and Carl Craig are just a few of the film’s key talking heads. After the doc, stop by Flash to check out an extended techno set from Daniel Bell, who’s also performing as part of Forward. The fest goes through the weekend. Check out its complete schedule at forwarddc.com. (Ally Schweitzer)

Panda Bear, Regal Degal, Geologist
Friday, May 16 at 9:30 Club, $25

Panda Bear (aka Noah Lennox) is the most prolific solo member of Animal Collective, having released four solo albums since the late 1990s. Truthfully, his career might have peaked in 2007 with the release of Person Pitch, which landed on several Top 10 lists thanks to the catchy haze of its single “Bros.” Still, Lennox promises a new solo album this year, with the ominous title Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper. The Los Angeles psych-rock band Regal Degal opens this show, and fellow Animal Collective member Geologist is on tap to DJ. (Catherine P. Lewis)

Los Master Plus, G-Flux, The Empresarios
Friday, May 16 at Artisphere, $12

Called the “new kings of cumbiatronica,” Mexico’s Los Master Plus may be better known for their silly YouTube videos. It’s hard to tell where the charismatic, funny duo draws the line between sincerity and absurdity, but somewhere in their comic routine, there’s a jab at machismo and the masculine ideal. When they come to town this weekend, their show at Artisphere will feature D.C.’s Empresarios and local space-cumbia producer G-Flux. (AS)

Titus Andronicus, Baked
Friday, May 16 at Black Cat, $15

Titus Andronicus is a New Jersey indie-rock band that puts on an intense live show—and if you don’t believe my word on that, then check out this report, published last year, of every single D.C. show the band has played since 2008. When Titus Andronicus plays live, expect the whole crowd to be jumping so vigorously that the entire building will either levitate or implode into itself, creating a Titus Andronicus-shaped black hole. Opening the show is Brooklyn rock band Baked. (CPL)

Franz Nicolay, Louis Weeks, Sean Barna, The Room Outside
Friday, May 16 at The Alamo, by donation

This show is a rare opportunity to see Franz Nicolay in a DIY space; his last few times through town, he’s played more-traditional spots like Black Cat and Galaxy Hut. The punk-rock musician is known for his time in The World/Inferno Friendship Society and The Hold Steady, but he also has a lengthy discography under his own name and with the composer/performer collective he founded called Anti-Social Music. Rounding out this show are D.C. songwriters Louis Weeks and Sean Barna, plus the New Mexico alterna-folk trio The Room Outside. (CPL)

Chain and the Gang, The Ar-Kaiks
Saturday, May 17 at DC9, $10

What’s left to say about D.C. songwriter, frontman, filmmaker, tongue-in-cheek intellectual, fashion plate, Instagram expert, and provocateur Ian Svenonius? The Washington Post recently deemed him the most interesting man in rock ‘n’ roll, and around these parts, he’s earned the title. His band Chain and the Gang—usually stacked with a rotating cast of promising young musicians—just released its fourth LP. The group’s Saturday show with Richmond’s The Ar-Kaiks promises to be part victory lap, part performance-art project, and part comic routine—just like always, and just how we like it. (AS)

Highasakite and Faces On Film
Sunday, May 18 at Black Cat Backstage, $12

Admittedly, most of the Norwegian acts I follow are metal bands, but Highasakite is a bright and bouncy exception. The indie-pop quintet gained a nod of approval from both tastemakers Pitchfork and Bon Iver at the 2012 Øya Festival, but the group’s newest album Silent Treatment shows that it’s not just a buzz band with no substance. There’s plenty of nuance in the band’s instrumental textures, but the real spotlight is on frontwoman Ingrid Helene Håvik, whose pronunciation adds to the band’s captivating feel—and who can somehow make the words “Darth Vader” sound both charming and seductive. Opening the show is Boston’s Faces On Film. (CPL)

Alice Despard Group: Farewell D.C. show with Marshall Keith and Sri Baba Marley Jones
Sunday, May 18 at Galaxy Hut, $5

Clarendon hasn’t always looked as trendy as it does now, but it’s (almost) always had the Galaxy Hut, the dive bar and local music venue that opened there in 1990. Singer-songwriter Alice Despard operated the space until 2005, when she sold it to longtime bartender (and half of the duo Aerialist) Lary Hoffman. Despard and her husband are now moving out of the area, so it’s fitting for her to say farewell to D.C. in the bar where she booked bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Low for all those years. (CPL)

Solstafir and Junius
Monday, May 19 at Empire, $12 to $15

Quick, name a band from Iceland besides Sigur Ros and The Sugarcubes. Stumped? Check out Solstafir to broaden your Icelandic horizons: The Reykjavik-based folk/progressive metal band is in the U.S. for a brief tour leading up to next weekend’s Maryland Deathfest. They’ll be joined on tour by Boston post-rock band Junius, who doesn’t hide its love for the Cure. (CPL)

Unholy Grave, War Master, D.O.C., Bestial Evil
Wednesday, May 21 at Union Arts, $10

This show’s Facebook event page isn’t kidding with the advertisement: “fast bands, over quickly!” These grindcore bands will fly through their sets, so don’t show up on punk time or you just might miss longstanding Japanese grind band Unholy Grave, who formed in the early 1990s but hasn’t been to D.C. in almost a decade. (They’ve kept busy, though, if their lengthy list of split 7-inches is any indication). They’ll be performing with the Bolt Thrower-influenced Texas band War Master, D.C. grindcore band D.O.C., and new Baltimore death/thrash band Bestial Evil. (CPL)

Also recommended this week:

The Chuck Brown Band at Howard Theatre (Friday); DTMD and Redline Graffiti: Luce Unplugged at the American Art Museum (Friday); Melanie Fiona and Black Alley at Howard Theatre (Sunday); Deer Tick at Black Cat (Tuesday [sold out] and Wednesday).

These and other show listings can be found on ShowListDC.