4 concerts to catch in D.C. over the next several days


Modern protest music lacks a certain oomph to spring people to action. Scratch that, maybe it’s just American protest music that’s falling short. If you tune your ears to Niger, you can hear the unmistakable starlight of Mdou Moctar’s guitar riffs and chantable choruses decrying the atrocities in his homeland. There are hints of the stateside guitarists that inspired Moctar, including Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen, but the darting, rapturous sounds the Nigerien conjures along a fretboard are all his own. “Afrique Victime” finds Moctar in a dynamite quartet formation (Rockville, Md.-raised bassist/producer Mikey Coltun provides tight structure to the sprawling jams) with anthems that rally for basic infrastructure and women’s rights for his people. You might not find music that speaks more to being alive. March 22 at 7 p.m. (doors open) at 9:30 Club. 815 V St. NW. 930.com. $25.

It would be kind of foolish to try to tell you what to expect from Claire Rousay when she sets up shop in the living room laboratory of Rhizome. The young, trans San Antonio-raised artist applies the baffling, yet delightful, descriptor of “emo ambient” to her art. You could look for clues in Rousay’s 20-minute breakout work, “It Was Always Worth It,” which blends naturalistic field recordings with gutting love letter excerpts chronicling the dissolution of a six-year relationship between her and a partner, filtered through an affectless, robotic text-to-speech tool. You might not know what Rousay will have in store, but there’s little doubt you’ll hear something unexpected and profound. March 24 at 7 p.m. at Rhizome. 6950 Maple St. NW. rhizomedc.org. $15-$20.

You can’t pin Sasami Ashworth down. Ashworth, who performs under the mononym Sasami, crafted a steady stream of synth-heavy shoegaze on her 2019 self-titled debut album. That makes it all the more jarring when her latest album “Squeeze” opens with a track (“Skin a Rat”) dense with the sludgy, melodic screeches of nu-metal made popular by the likes of System of a Down — whose hit “Toxicity” Sasami has covered. And then to keep you on your toes, Sasami leaps right into a charming, schmaltzy breakup power ballad (“The Greatest”). Mix in a cover of a Daniel Johnston song, and “Squeeze” yields a lively smoothie of genre-hopping from a voracious listener who’s in full control of her sound. March 24 at 7:30 p.m. (doors open) at Black Cat. 1811 14th St. NW. blackcatdc.com. $16-$18.

Note: Proof of coronavirus vaccination is required for admittance to these shows. Check venue websites for details.


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