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Over the years, D.C.’s underground music scene has ebbed and flowed. But for the past couple of decades, the District’s weirdest musical corner—the experimental music scene—has not only endured, it’s thrived thanks to Sonic Circuits, the area’s preeminent promoter for experimental music. With its flagship festival—now in its 16th year—Sonic Circuits has helped the region become known as much for its outer sounds as it has for punk and go-go. This year’s festival is no exception. The festival kicks off Friday with a stacked bill featuring the gorgeous and haunting theremin drones of Pamelia Stickney, sound artist Byron Westbrook, experimental spiritual group Spires That In The Sunset Rise, The Lost Civilizations experimental music project, and the duo of Sandy Gordon and Derek Baron. Read more >>> The festival runs Sept. 9 to Sept. 11 at Logan Fringe Arts Space, 1358 Florida Ave. NE. $10–$50. dc-soniccircuits.com. (Matt Cohen)
Kick off Oktoberfest season at Neal Place Tap & Garden on Sunday with Port City Brewing Company. A $35 ticket gets you a bratwurst on a pretzel bun with sides like German potato salad, plus three pints of your choosing. The party runs from 3 to 6 p.m. Neal Place Tap & Garden, 1300 4th St. NE. twitter.com/tapandgarden. (Laura Hayes)
OH AND ALSO
Friday: African ensemble Kino Musica brings its diverse sounds to Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library as part of its Fringe Music in the Libraries series. Noon at 901 G St. NW. Free.
Friday: Rock & Roll Hotel hosts a night of hip-hop featuring sets from Skywlkr, KAAN, Chomp Chomp Beats, and 8Hundred. 9 p.m. at 1353 H St. NE. $12.
Saturday: In the late 1970s, Coventry, England-based band The Specials melded the pre-reggae Jamaican sound of ska from the late ‘50s and early ‘60s with punk rock. More frenetic than reggae, more rhythmically bouncy than punk, the ensemble’s songbook of originals and covers made room for soulful horns, alternately melodic or shouted choruses, and keyboard embellishments. After reuniting and breaking up several times since the ‘90s, the current incarnation now only includes three longtime members—singer Terry Hall, guitarist Lynval Golding, and bassist Horace Panter. This trio and a collection of newer members should still bring back the band’s vitality with the energy of “Do the Dog,” the lilt of “Message to You Rudy,” and the melancholy of “Doesn’t Make it Alright.” Read more >>> The Specials perform with The Far East at 8:30 p.m. at The Fillmore, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $35. (301) 960-9999. fillmoresilverspring.com. (Steve Kiviat)
Saturday: Sean Watkins, the bluegrass guitarist known for his work with Nickel Creek, plays a solo show at AMP by Strathmore with opening act Lauren Calve. 8 p.m. at 11810 Grand Park Ave., North Bethesda. $22–$32.
Saturday: The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland opens its doors to the community with its annual NextNOW Festival, featuring a variety of performances and classes related to all aspects of the arts. Among the featured acts on Sunday are local rapper Tarica June and New York-based indie act Mitski. 1:30 p.m. at Stadium Drive and Route 193, College Park. Free.
Saturday: The Anacostia Community Museum also welcomes visitors to its annual Fall Community Family Festival, which features local artisans, discussions, and a performance by Team Familiar. Noon at 1901 Fort Place SE. Free.
Sunday: That all the members of Culture Club would survive to celebrate the band’s 35th anniversary, let alone want to tour the world together, comes as something of a shock to anyone who’s seen the episode of Behind the Music detailing the band’s quick rise and catastrophic fall. With age comes maturity and now Boy George, Jon Moss, Mikey Craig, and Roy Hay, all in their mid-50s, have gotten clean and are ready once again to serenade listeners with the blue-eyed soul strains of “Karma Chameleon” and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” Read more >>> Culture Club performs with Groves at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. $65–$165. (301) 581-5100. strathmore.org. (Caroline Jones)
Sunday: Performance artist and musician Peaches brings her eccentric and unpredictable live show to 9:30 Club in support of her latest album, RUB. 7 p.m. at 815 V St. NW. $25.
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