Sign up for our free newsletter
Mose Allison is exactly the kind of guy the Pixies would write one of their most joyful songs about. Musically, though, the Mississippi Delta–born octogenarian is as far from guitar-drenched alt-rock as you can get: He’s a pianist and singer who plays a jazz-blues hybrid with effortless swing and a sly, clear vocal groan. But what’s endeared him to musicians ranging from Van Morrison to Frank Black is his endless supply of inspiration. Onstage, he’s clearly delighted to once again sit behind the keys, and every note sounds with grace and aplomb as he finds new ways to attack 75-year-old Sonny Boy Williamson blues and his own originals. These songs should have long since been exhausted after hundreds of performances—or, for that matter, by the countless cover versions that have been made over the past half-century. Yet they’re somehow still fresh with every performance, and Allison’s Deep South charm lifts them into the sublime. Tonight through Sunday at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley. $25.
If you see The Hold Steady tonight, don’t take the standing-in-the-back-arms-crossed approach. You will experience self-fulfilled boredom. Get close, sing along, pump your fist, and prepare, perhaps, to wipe off frontman Craig Finn’s flying spit. It’ll be fine. At 7 p.m. at 9:30 Club. Sold out.
’90s punk! Guttermouth will probably say some ridiculous shit tonight at Black Cat. $13. 8 p.m.
Pianist and singer Amy Bormet organized the excellent Washington Women in Jazz Festival in March; our jazz critic Michael J. West also digs her music, too. She’s at Twins Jazz at 8 and 10 p.m. $10.
The Baseball Project, who once made a nice song about Stephen Strasburg, are paired tonight with another of bassist Scott McCaughey’s projects, Minus 5. Baseball Project’s Steve Wynn—-the former leader of Paisley Underground badasses The Dream Syndicate—-is also doing a solo set. Songs about sports, songs about loneliness. Sometimes both at once. At 8:30 p.m. at IOTA. $20.
The New York Times journalist Amy Waldman discusses her novel The Submission—-in which an architect with a Muslim-sounding name is selected to design a World Trade Center memorial, and much controversy ensues—-tonight at Politics & Prose at 7 p.m. Free