Shake off those winter doldrums and start 2023 with a bang by heading out and enjoying some killer live music. From regional royalty to rising indie sensations to unique symphonic R&B collaborations, we’ve handpicked five of the most promising gigs happening this January in the D.C. area.
Rare Essence and Black Alley at The Hamilton
Known across the DMV as the area’s premier go-go band, Rare Essence is made up of living legends, responsible for some of the most influential and beloved music to ever come out of Washington. They’ve been lighting up stages for over four decades now, and show no signs of slowing down. They’re joined by Black Alley, D.C.-based purveyors of a genre they call “Hood Rock,” which combines elements of rock, trap and go-go. $35. 7 p.m. 600 14th St. NW, DC; thehamiltondc.com // @thehamiltondc
MorMor at Union Stage
After making waves with his debut single “Heaven’s Only Wishful” back in 2018, MorMor has become an underground favorite among fans of low-key, romantic pop music. His debut album “Semblance,” released in November 2022, delivers on the promise of those early singles, featuring delicately arranged and beautifully performed downtempo, R&B influenced bedroom pop nuggets. Our advice is to get hip to the MorMor vibe before he blows up in 2023! $25-$40. 7 p.m. 740 Water St. SW, DC; unionstage.com // @unionstage
Cass McCombs and Kolumbo at 9:30 Club
Over the last 20 years, cult singer-songwriter Cass McCombs has quietly been releasing some of the best indie rock music of the era, insulated from trends and larger movements. McCombs’ idiosyncratic songwriting and stylistic experimentation across ten acclaimed records has earned him a small legion of dedicated fans, ready to follow him down whatever sonic alleyways and sharp left turns he’s exploring. He’s currently touring in support of his recently released album “Heartmind,” a critically adored record that landed him on several best of 2022 lists. $20. 7 p.m. 815 V St. NW, DC; 930.com // @930club
1.27 + 1.28
NSO Pops: An Evening with Ne-Yo at The Kennedy Center
Three-time Grammy Award-winning R&B/pop singer Ne-Yo joins the National Symphony Orchestra for a pair of unique performances at the Kennedy Center. The wildly successful songwriter behind chart-topping gems “So Sick,” “Miss Independent” and “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)” will be backed by the full NSO ensemble, led by conductor Steven Reineke. Really special stuff! $44-$104. 8 p.m. 2700 F St. NW, DC; kennedy-center.org // @kennedycenter
Dry Cleaning + Spirit of the Beehive at The Howard Theatre
Catch two of the most exciting bands in indie rock together for a very cool evening at the Howard Theatre. Dry Cleaning’s angular, guitar-driven post-punk stands out among a crowd of wannabes thanks in part to the deadpan observations and non-sequiturs delivered by vocalist and lyricist Florence Shaw. They’re joined on tour by Spirit of the Beehive, a shape-shifting noise rock band that disassembles and rearranges the component parts of guitar music to create something new and exciting with every subsequent release. $25-$50. 7 p.m. 620 T St. NW, DC; thehowardtheatre.com // @howardtheatre
Enjoy this piece? Consider becoming a member for access to our premium digital content. Support local journalism and start your membership today.