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Consciously or not, Merchandise has learned how to perform to a room’s strength. Playing a show through a crappy PA in a storage unit? Turn up the distortion and embrace the fuzz. Playing an outdoor festival’s mainstage? Ditch the thrift-store drum machine and buy fancy knockoff Coldplay jackets. Instead of pandering to its expanding listenership, the Tampa five-piece has restlessly mined the rich corners of ’80s alternative music for inspiration. Read more >>> Merchandise performs with Ninos du Brasil at 8 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $13–$15. (202) 667-4490. blackcatdc.com(Maxwell Tani)


Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken is now street legal in D.C. The food truck, which launched in Virginia in January, begins serving the District today with the same doughnut flavors in its Metro Center shop plus chicken fingers and fried chicken sandwiches. (Yes, that includes the Old Bay fried chicken sandwich.) The truck aims to spend about three days per week in D.C. and the rest in Virginia. Today, you’ll find it in Friendship Heights. Follow future locations on Astro’s Twitter feed: @astrodoughnuts. (Jessica Sidman)


Local electro-folk act Pree plays an early show at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. 6 p.m. at 2700 F St. NW. Free.

At Flashpoint’s Mead Theater Lab, Ambassador Theater begins performances of Ragea one-act play about a fraught confrontation between an unstable high-schooler and a pacifistic guidance counselor. 8 p.m. at 916 G St. NW. $10–$40.

Reggae legend Cocoa Tea takes the stage at the Howard Theatre. And since he’s in D.C., let’s hope he’ll play his tribute to a certain president. 8 p.m. at 620 T St. NW. $25–$60.

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