Summer Music Guide

Where to go for live tunes when the temperature rises—from cool clubs to outdoor music festivals


1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. 703-875-1100,

Mother Falcon with the Family Crest and the Sea Life, 8 p.m. June 20. Hailing from Austin, Texas, Mother Falcon is an 18-member orchestral indie band with multiple vocalists. $15.

Debo Band with Feedel Band and DJ Underdog, 8 p.m. June 27. Blending Ethiopian pop music with American soul and funk, Debo Band is led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen and fronted by charismatic vocalist Bruck Tesfaye. $15-$18.


The 19th annual free festival, held June 13-14, kicks off with a Friday evening warm-up event at Penrose Square (2503 Columbia Pike). Saturday’s lineup will be staged at the intersection of South Walter Reed Drive and Columbia Pike.

Little Bit a Blues, 6 p.m. June 13 (Penrose Square). The D.C. area duo of Warner Williams and Jay Summerour, veterans of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, combine warm vocals with Piedmont-style guitar picking and harmonica.

Steve McWilliams & the Spectacles, 1 p.m. June 14. The band’s tagline is “American and British rock served hot with grits and booty shaking.”

Duffy Kane, 2 p.m. June 14. A classically- trained-violinist-turned-blues-rock-guitarist, Kane has performed with blues greats such as Johnny Winter, the Nighthawks and Tino Gonzales.

Memphis Gold, 3 p.m. June 14. Memphis Gold (aka Chester Chandler) has released four full-length albums and has shared the stage with artists ranging from James Brown to Robert Cray.

Billy Thomson, 4 p.m. June 14. The groove-oriented classic rock cover band originated in Baltimore’s Fells Point neighborhood.

Anna Popovic´, 5 p.m. June 14. Born in Belgrade (then Yugoslavia), the hard-touring musician blends electric funk and slide guitar with a blues groove and soulful, feminine vocals. Her album, Can You Stand the Heat was a “Pick of the Week” by USA Today and was featured on NPR Music. She has shared headlining stages with B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph, Jonny Lang and other blues greats.


The 8th annual free festival runs noon-9 p.m. June 28, on the Mount Vernon Recreation Center fields at 2701 Commonwealth Ave., Alexandria. No dogs allowed.

Rock of Ages Music, noon. Featuring kids’ bands from Rock of Ages Music Co., based in the heart of Del Ray.

Andrea Pais, 1 p.m. The classically trained pianist and songwriter delivers a captivating blend of soul, R&B, blues and pop, counting Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Etta James among her influences.

Lauren Calve Band, 2 p.m. Steeped in American roots music, the singer-songwriter has a vocal style reminiscent of artists like Patty Griffin, Bonnie Raitt and Emmylou Harris.

Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray, 3 p.m. The Cosmic Americana quartet combines psychedelic tones, blues, country and folk. Their most recent album, Lean Into the Wind, was released in March.

Elroy Jenkins, 4 p.m. The Alexandria band serves up its own brand of Americana rock with an occasional go-go influence.

The Cowards Choir, 5 p.m. Singer-songwriter Andy Zipf (stage name: The Cowards Choir) has been compared to Arcade Fire, Paul Simon and Tom Petty.

Kate Moran Band, 6 p.m. The hometown artist’s pop/rock sound is spiced up with notes of funk and soul.

Classified Frequency, 6:45 p.m. Get ready for a power pop pick-me-up.

The Pietasters, 7:30 p.m. This year’s headliner is a high-energy ska band that draws on elements of soul, rock and reggae.



Cherry Hill Park, 312 Park Ave., Falls Church. Free shows are held on Thursdays at 7 p.m. In the event of rain, concerts will be held in the Falls Church Community Center at 223 Little Falls Road.

Falls Church Concert Band, June 26. The community band performs an entertaining mix of marches, classical works, Broadway show medleys, regional tunes and American classics.

Big Tow, July 3. The D.C.-area alt-rock band counts Wilco, Ryan Adams, the Jayhawks and Steely Dan among its influences.

Verroneau, July 10. An international acoustic quartet whose world-jazz sound blends bossa nova, gypsy jazz, samba and swing.

The MSJ Project, July 17. Original songs by the rock trio range in style from rockabilly and blues to new wave and light jazz. They also cover classics by artists such as the Beatles, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones.

Andrew Acosta and the New Old-Time String Band, July 24. A Falls Church native, Acosta is a roots guitarist who learned his craft from bluegrass pioneer Benny Cain and Piedmont-style blues guitarist John Jackson.

Bob Gibson Big Band, July 31. Swing, bebop, blues, rock and Latin tunes are all part of the band’s repertoire.

Tom Principato, Aug. 7. Local blues rock guitarist Principato is the winner of 22 Wammy Awards from the Washington Area Music Association. His newest CD, Robert Johnson Told Me So, was released in 2013.


2711 Wilson Blvd, Arlington. 703-525-8646, Shows begin at 9 p.m. (maximum capacity 66 people). $5 cover charge.

Home Body and Cavale, June 23. Home Body, the duo of Eric Hnatow and Haley Morgan, has an electric pop sound that’s been compared to Bjork, Kraftwerk and Eurythmics. Cavale is an indie noise band.

The Courtesans, June 29. The dark, cinematic music of this female quartet explores themes such as narcissism, eroticism, insanity, feminism and the media.

The Scotch Bonnets and Askultura, June 30. Known for their funky reggae sound, the Scotch Bonnets released their debut album, Live Ya Life, in 2013. They’re joined by the rhumba ska punks of Askultura.

Andrew Grimm, Matt Hopper and Peter Piek, July 7. Baltimore artist Andrew Grimm is also the front man for the band June Star.

Dave Smalley and Very Americans, July 13. Dave Smalley is best known for his influence on pop punk music and his early contributions to the emo genre. He’s joined by Very Americans, an indie rock band from Harrisburg, Pa.

Eureka California and Good Grief, July 20. Eureka California, a garage-rock band from Athens, Ga., takes the stage with Good Grief, an indie punk band from Liverpool.

Curtis Eller’s American Circus, Aug. 31. Banjo player and songwriter Eller delivers edgy rock with an old-timey vibe.


2700 South Lang St., Arlington. 703-998-4555,

The Great American Century Songbook, 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday July 18-Aug. 16. Sing along to tunes by Victor Herbert, John Philip Sousa and others in an evening of folk and popular American music from the early 20th century. Presented by American Century Theater. $25-$40.



2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. 703-522-8340,

La Unica with Justin Trawick and the Common Good, 9 p.m. June 20. $10. La Unica (Spanish for “the one and only”) incorporates elements of Irish folk, Latin rhythms and contemporary American music.

Derek Evry and His Band of Misanthropes CD Release Show, with Middle Distance Runner and Dr. Robinson’s Fiasco, 9 p.m. June 21. $12. The alt/pop rock singer from Arlington has a sound that’s been likened to Jimmy Eat World, Weezer and Green Day.

The Bachelor Boys, 8 p.m. June 23 and July 21. Free. The cover band is popular on the wedding and party circuit.

The 9 Songwriter Series, 8 p.m. June 24 and July 29. $10. Founded in 2008 by local singer/songwriter Justin Trawick, the Series is a touring music collective of nine artists who perform in rotation and often sit in with each other.

Bio Ritmo Record Release Show, 8:30 p.m. June 26. The Richmond-based salsa ensemble combines African-Caribbean rhythms with electronica and big band brass.

The Beanstalk Library with Tinmouth and the Fire Tonight, 8:30 p.m. June 27. $12. Fronted by songwriter Ryan Walker, the Beanstalk Library injects classic pop and roots influences with a healthy dose of adventure and experimentalism.

Zach Bellas and the Company Band, 9 p.m. June 28. $10. Formerly the creative force behind the punk rock/reggae trio GroundScore, songwriter Zach Bellas released his debut solo album, Whatever You Want, in December 2012.

Don Kim CD Release Show, 8 p.m. June 29. $12. The D.C.-based musician and videographer plays the ukulele and guitar.

The Federal Hillbillies, 8:30 p.m. July 3. $10. The Baltimore band has a melodic sound that’s been compared to artists such as Ryan Adams, Gram Parsons, the Black Crowes and Jason Isbell.

Devon Sproule with Jackie Stem, 8 p.m. July 8. $12. Born in Ontario and raised in Charlottesville, singer-songwriter Sproule blends freewheeling lyrics with a playful sound that’s equal parts jazz, folk and pop.

Go Mod Go, 8:30 p.m. July 18. $12. The ’60s mod and go-go band is a D.C. area favorite.

Justin Trawick and the Common Good, 9 p.m. July 25. $10. Urban folk rock.

Note: August bookings were not available at press time.


Look for the stage at the corner of North Columbus Street and Second Street North in Arlington. Shows are at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; 6 p.m. on Sundays. Performances are free, though donations are encouraged. 703-228-1850 (weather hotline),

The Army Blues, 8 p.m. June 20. The 18-piece U.S. Army Blues, part of the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” is the premier jazz ensemble of the Army.

King Teddy, 8 p.m. June 21. With its own special brand of “Swing for the Modern Age,” King Teddy garnered a Wammy award from the Washington Area Music Association for Best Big Band/Swing Recording of 2012.

Halau O’Aulani & the Aloha Boys, 6 p.m. June 22. Native music and dance demonstrate the many facets of Hawaiian culture.

Margot MacDonald, 8 p.m. June 27. A “classically trained soprano and pianist captivated by Led Zeppelin,” MacDonald sang with the Washington National Opera at age 10 and released her second album at 15. She has appeared at the 9:30 Club, the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap and the Birchmere.

Arlington Philharmonic, 6 p.m. June 29. This first-class symphony orchestra makes classical music accessible to every Arlington resident.

The Grandsons, 8 p.m. July 5. Now in its 27th year, the band won Best Roots Rock Recording from the Washington Area Music Association for its sixth CD, Live at the Barns—The Legendary Wolf Trap Recordings, Volume Two.

Two Car Living Room, 6 p.m. July 6. The classic rock, blues and pop band is made up of technology professionals who previously worked as pro musicians.

Dead Man’s Hollow, 6 p.m. July 13. The band serves up tight harmonic vocals, backed by traditional bluegrass instrumentation including fiddle, banjo, mandolin, upright bass and guitar.

Dave Chappell, 8 p.m. July 25. Chappell has performed with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legends Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave), Percy Sledge, Johnnie Johnson and guitar wizard Danny Gatton.


CAMMO, 8 p.m. July 26. The Center for American Military Music Opportunities (CAMMO) promotes artistic experiences for veterans and service members, as well as musical therapy for the treatment of PTSD and traumatic brain injury.

Shenandoah Run, 6 p.m. July 27. Formed in 2011, the nine-member band blends vintage, classic and contemporary folk sounds.

Ted Garber, 8 p.m. Aug. 1. A genre-bending multi-instrumentalist, Garber combines classic showmanship with a singer-songwriter sensibility.

Russkie Musikanti, 8 p.m. Aug. 2. The ensemble of balalaika musicians represents the larger Washington Balalaika Society.

Laurie Rose Griffith and Peter Mealy, 6 p.m. Aug. 3. The duo includes Washington Area Music Association “Folk Instrumentalist of the Year” nominee Peter Mealy, and Laurie Rose, who has been compared to Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell by the World Folk Music Association.

Rose Moraes, 8 p.m. Aug. 15. Born in southern Brazil, singer Moraes performs genres ranging from samba and bossa nova to maracatu and frevo.

Andrew Acosta and the New Old-Time String Band, 6 p.m. Aug. 16. Acosta is a roots guitarist who learned his craft from bluegrass pioneer Benny Cain and Piedmont-style blues guitarist John Jackson.

Rico Amero, 6 p.m. Aug. 17. One of the standout performers of the 2013 season returns for a night of hip-hop jazz.


Strawberry Park, Mosaic District, 2910 District Ave, Merrifield. 703-992-7765,

Last summer, Mosaic broadcast some of rock’s most memorable concerts—from Billy Joel’s Last Play at Shea to Jimmy Buffet’s Live at Wrigley Field Double Header—on the outdoor screen by the Angelika Film Center. The series now continues with concerts airing on Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. Follow Mosaic on Facebook to find out who’s playing next:


Potomac Overlook Regional Park, 2845 North Marcey Road, Arlington. Concerts at 7 p.m. on select Saturdays. Performances are free, but a $5 donation is requested. 703-528-5406,

Stream & the Blue Dragons and Tom Teasley, June 21. Blending rhythms from the Middle East, Africa and Brazil, Stream & the Blue Dragons incorporates Turkish lute, bass, didgeridoos and drums of many kinds. The world music group is joined by percussionist Tom Teasley.

Skystone, July 12. The Virginia band plays a blend of bluegrass, country ballads and bluegrass gospel.

Local 12, July 26. Rock and blues.

The Taters, Aug. 9. The band’s curious mix of roots rock, power pop, country and Americana is reminiscent of musicians like the Mavericks, the Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison.

Four Star Combo, Aug. 30. The band describes its sound as “high-energy 1950s rockabilly and honky-tonk, played without any pretense of modernization or any damn-fool ‘fusion’ of styles.”

Second Wind, Sept. 6. If you like Southern rock, you’ll like Second Wind.


Pentagon Row, 1101 South Joyce St., Arlington. Shows are 7-9 p.m.

Kristen and the Noise, July 17. The Philly-based cover band has played at local hot spots such as Clarendon Grill, with a repertoire that ranges from Roberta Flack to Maroon 5.

Uncle Jack Band, July 24. The ’70s tribute band delivers funk, disco and dance music and dresses the part.   

Gonzo’s Nose, July 31. The hometown party band specializes in hits from the ’80s and ’90s.

Amish Outlaws, Aug. 7. Straight out of Lancaster, Pa., the Amish cover band plays everything from AC/DC to Young MC.

“The Natural Born Thriller Show,” Aug. 14. A tribute to Michael Jackson, starring Matt Macis.

Slippery When Wet, Aug. 21. The Bon Jovi tribute band performs favorites such as “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.”



Library/Signature Theatre Plaza, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Concerts are Thursday nights from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Justin Trawick, June 12. The Arlington musician is an urban folk-rock favorite.

The Morrison Brothers, June 19. A Southern rock band drawing on the musical traditions of Los Angeles, Nashville and New Orleans.

King Teddy, June 26. The popular band plays “swing for the modern age.”

Taylor Carson, July 3. Acoustic rock artist Carson counts Ray LaMontagne and Lyle Lovett among his influences.

Down Wilson, July 10. The hometown pop-rock cover band borrows its name from Arlington’s Wilson Boulevard.

Scott Paddock, July 16. The contemporary saxophonist combines jazz and funk in high-energy grooves.

Ewabo Calypso Band, July 24. Hailing from Trinidad and Tobago, Ewabo performs reggae, calypso and Latin music with an emphasis on tropical steel drums.

The Shack Band, July 31. The Richmond rock band plays progressive, jazz, funk Southern rock ’n’ roll.

Paul Pfau, Aug. 7. Singer-songwriter Pfau (rhymes with wow) is known for his rootsy blend of blues, folk and pop.

Lloyd Dobler Effect, Aug. 14. This ’80s and ’90s cover band has headlined multiple international Armed Forces Entertainment tours.

Dan Haas Trio, Aug. 21. Hailing from Annapolis, singer-songwriter Haas samples a diverse mix of genres and plays some of his own songs.


State Theatre, 220 North Washington St. (Lee Highway/Route 29), Falls Church. 703-237-0300,

English Beat with Nappy Riddem, 8 p.m. (doors open 6 p.m.) June 15. The English ska band from the ’80s is known for songs such as “Mirror in the Bathroom” and its cover of “Tears of a Clown.” $25.

NRBQ, 9 p.m. (doors open 7 p.m.) July 25. The band’s eclectic vibe includes British invasion pop, jazz and rockabilly influences. $20; $23 day of show.

Peter Murphy, 8 p.m. (doors open 6 p.m.) Aug. 9. Murphy is best known for singing in the post-punk/goth rock band Bauhaus. His latest album, Lion, was scheduled to be released in June. $25; $30 day of show.

Tab Benoit, 8:30 p.m. (doors open 7 p.m.) Aug. 14. The blues guitarist and singer-songwriter also works to preserve Louisiana’s coastal wetlands. $23; $26 day of show.

Jonny Lang, 8 p.m. (doors open 6 p.m.) Aug. 17. The rock/blues musician’s latest album, Fight for My Soul, was released last year. $45.


Sponsored by the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation, the festival runs June 13-15 in multiple Falls Church City locations (both indoor and outdoor). For a complete lineup of artists, locations, show times and ticket prices, visit


The outdoor beer garden features live music on Wednesdays from 6-8 p.m.; Fridays 6-10 p.m.; and Saturdays 5-9 p.m. 5863 Washington Blvd., Arlington. 703-536-5040,

BoxCartel, June 21. The roots rock band released its debut CD, Shutdown, in May.

Stewart Sisters, June 25. The Americana roots duo cite Bob Dylan, the Wailin’ Jennys and Be Good Tanyas as musical influences.

The Buzz Hounds, June 27. A three-piece Arlington band covering artists such as Tom Petty, the Grateful Dead and the Jayhawks.

Wilbur’s Redemption, June 28. North Arlington’s premier old-timey modern-day string band.

Sean Tracy, July 2 and 23; Aug. 6. The self-taught guitarist, bassist and singer-songwriter (and Arlington local) blends acoustic rock with heartfelt lyrics.

Sharp Cloud, July 4. Sharp Cloud is a four-dimensional atmospheric rock ’n’ roll band from Arlington.

Difficult Run String Band, July 5. The local cover band plays an assortment of bluegrass and old-time music, including songs such as “Panhandle Rag” and “I Shot Your Dog.”

Justin Trawick, July 9. The Arlington folk-rocker has opened for Brett Dennen, Edwin McCain and Sara Bareilles.

Jumpin’ Jupiter, July 12. Americana rock surf twang country-western bluegrassabilly blue punk jazz (according to the band’s Facebook page) fronted by beer garden chef Jay Jenc.

Malarky, July 16 and Aug. 13. The Arlington-based, all-female ensemble has performed its unique blend of Celtic, French-Canadian, Irish and old-time music at the White House.

Hang-Over Royale, July 18. Hang-Over Royale is a high-energy rockabilly swing band from Virginia.

Paul Carlson, July 19 and Aug. 16. Arlington resident Carlson plays Nordic, Celtic and bluegrass-style fiddle.

Front Porch Rockers, July 25 and Aug. 30. The acoustic rock/folk/blues band covers artists ranging from Jack Johnson to REO Speedwagon.

Perfect Heist, July 26. Based in Bethesda, the band rolls out rock, blues, alt-country and “unclassifiable originals.”

Farley Granger, Aug. 1. Embracing classic rock, roots rock, alt-country and Americana, the band counts Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin and Uncle Tupelo among its heroes.

Clarence Buffalo, Aug. 2. Specializing in soulful rock, the Arlington band cites Otis Redding, Van Morrison, Pearl Jam and Stevie Wonder as influences.

Michael Freeborn with We Crave Life, Aug. 8. The beer garden’s own Michael Freeborn performs.

J.C. and the Hepcats, Aug. 9. Come by to hear covers of swing, rockabilly, surf instrumental, country, jazz and rock tunes.

Colonel Josh & The HonkyTonk Heroes, Aug. 22. Classic country, honky-tonk and two-steppin’ jams.

Starryville, Aug. 23. The band describes its sound as “pure rock ’n’ roll, collectively influenced by retro, modern and alternative rock sounds.”

The Style Masters, Aug. 29. Based in Falls Church, the trio cranks out blues, rockabilly and honky-tonk jams.

Categories: Events