We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.



Any group that bills itself as “the world’s hardest rocking chamber quartet” is either: (1) completely full of shit or (2) fully aware of the This Is Spinal Tap scene where the metal misfits play a free-form jazz set in an amusement-park amphitheater. It’s safe to say that No. 2 is true for Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, because the Boston-based group’s neoclassical compositions rarely fail to make a consciously witty gesture toward the majesty of rock or the fantasy of roll. It’s brainy, theory-minded stuff, but it’s also rooted in a gritty past—BOTM started as a Mission of Burma side project in 1980 and evolved into a wholly original blend of piano, synthesizers, guitars, and woodwinds. Burma boys Martin Swope and Roger Miller rotated out by the turn of the ’90s, but today’s lineup—including founding members Erik Lindgren and Rick Scott—still understands the power of a good ol’ punky drone. Birdsongs of the Mesozoic play in conjunction with the Kennedy Center’s “Prelude Festival” at 6 p.m. on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, Grand Foyer. Free. (202) 467-4600. (Joe Warminsky)