Today brings the start of this year’s Capital Fringe, the beloved annual blowout of thoroughly experimental, often untested and occasionally nude theater. While you comb the schedule and figure out what shows to catch over its two-and-a-half weeks—I know, there’s a lot, it’s hard—take some time to consider another side of Fringe: its live music schedule.
Stop by Fringe’s famous Baldacchino Tent Bar tonight and you’ll catch “Transglobal Express,” a promising showcase featuring the locally based Malian griot Cheick Hamala Diabate. Pop sensualist, trombonist and nudity champion SMOOTA—recently interviewed by Bandwidth—rounds out the bill with New York’s Karikatura and D.C.’s Sol Power All-Star DJs. 7:30 p.m. Free.
Avant-rock trio Heavy Breathing evolved from one of the most thrilling live acts D.C. had in the early aughts: Apes. The trio—consisting of Apes members Amanda Kleinman, Erick Jackson and Jeff Schmid—seems to take seriously the art of a wild performance (not to mention insane music videos). Friday, the envelope-pushing ensemble plays the tent bar alongside silly cover act The Dangles and D.C.’s Mundy. 7 p.m. Free. Note: The Fringe website lists the wrong time. This show begins at 7 p.m. tonight, not 5 p.m.
Saturday brings a fantastic-looking left-field electronic-music show called Cybertrax, which will host the New York-based “cosmic synth” outfit Forma in addition to two local acts: Rory O’Connor’s chillwave-esque Nitemoves and (my pals) Protect-U. 7:15 p.m. Free.
Thursday, July 17
For those put to sleep by folk music: Um, have you tried turbo folk? That’s the kind of mania peddled by Baltimore ensemble Orchester Praževica, which borrows its ideas from a handful of traditions, particularly Hungarian czárdás, Slovak folklore, gypsy swing, American jazz, and good ol’ fashioned drinking music. In the tent bar next week, the band plays a show billed simply “Turbofolk.” 9 p.m. Free. Note: The Fringe website lists the wrong time. This show begins at 9 p.m., not 7 p.m.
Saturday, July 26
D.C. “crime-rock” band Chain & the Gang, returned recently from a European tour, plays the Baldacchino Tent Bar the night before its show at Black Cat. I don’t think I’ve ever seen singer Ian Svenonius play a boring show—not in this band nor his previous ones I wasn’t too young to see—and the chance of a funny, spirited performance from the city’s most magnetic frontman seems about as inevitable as a swampy August in D.C. 8:30 p.m. Free.