Drums Of Life performing at ScapeScape in 2013. Screencap courtesy Youtube from footage by Thomas Kessler.

Drums Of Life, Jan. 5 / Boat Burning: Music for 100 Guitars, Jan. 7

Multiples of the same instrument playing all at once provides a very specific sort of musical reward.

At the Windup Space this week, Drums Of Life, a trio of high-profile local musicians (Michael Lowry of Big In Japan and Future Islands, David Bergander of Celebration; and jazzbo Mike Kuhl), all drummers who eek out complex compositions using only percussion. We think of percussion as loud, tough, abrasive; but just by giving you drums and nothing much else, Drums Of Life by encourages nuance and aural relativism of what we hear. Harsh snares in this context might sound like the pitter-patter of rain from a new age record, and thump, bangs, clangs, and all the rest invoke the disorderly beauty of city noise.

At the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., rumbling improvisers Boat Burning brings 100 guitarists together to build a big scary beautiful sea of riffs, plucks, and strums exponentially growing, the confounding experience of a sound magnified rather than simply amplified. Boat Burning has been moving toward a 100 guitar sound for a while now. Last year, the group performed Music for 70 Guitars at the Black Cat and the only thing that seemed to stop them from getting even bigger was the size of available venues—they were not lacking guitarists willing to step into the mix. So they’ve moved to the larger 9:30 Club and can now add 30 more to the roster. And it’s also just a celebration of music in D.C.—every kind of guitar player from every kind of band is included.

Neither of these shows offer the singular thrill of abundance, to be clear. This is not the bowel-rumbling low-end of say, Sunn0))), or something like that where what bowls you over and gets you all meditative is just overwhelming sound, singular, mean, unwavering—not that there’s anything wrong with that. Rather, this is music as a pile, something to dig through and find what you need, while avoiding the often-dreaded solo: This is not about showing off or highlighting the individual, but what happens when groups of people—three or 100, it doesn’t matter—collectively get together and explore. (Brandon Soderberg)

Also playing with Drums Of Life are Hestina, Plake 64 & the Hexagrams, and Coffee Enema. 8 p.m., The Windup Space, 12 W. North Ave., thewindupspace.com, $10. Also playing with Boat Burning is Trinary System featuring Roger Miller of Mission Of Burma and the Alloy Orchestra (who live score a silent film at Maryland Film Fest each year). 8 p.m. The 9:30 Club, 815 V. St. N.W., Washington, D.C., (202) 265-0930, 930.com, $25.

Melissa Wimbish (left) and Britt Olsen-Ecker of Outcalls. Photo by Steve Parke, courtesy Outcalls.


Jan. 6

A couple issues ago, Maura Callahan met up with Melissa Wimbish and Britt Olsen-Ecker of Outcalls to discuss their track, ‘Pillcauzbee,’ a hypnotic track from their recent album “No Kings” that details an attempted sexual assault: “Every single time I try to walk away I feel real high/ What did you do/ It’s getting late and maybe I was thinking I should say goodbye/ Why can’t I move,” the two sing. A recent, dark and wubby remix by producer Drew Scott has spread the song to even more listeners and it aligns with a welcome and long-due reckoning about sexual assault and harassment, which permeates every element of culture, from the president (though he has still met no real repercussions), to rich moguls such as Harvey Weinstein, to the jerks at parties and shows that we’re all attending. It is happening all around us all the time, and Outcalls’ song operates as a way of exploring it and highlighting its ubiquity: It even creeps into catchy, brilliant electronic-tinged pop. Also on the bill with Outcalls are Amazing Bill and Petunia. 8 p.m., Metro Gallery, 1700 N. Charles St., (410) 244-0899, metrogallery.net, $10. (Brandon Soderberg)

Ja Rule. Screencap courtesy YouTube.

Ja Rule

Jan. 10

Pity Ja Rule a little. The gruff-voiced rap and bullshit artist of the early 2000s—who was briefly ubiquitous with club-attuned, catchy, diet, caffeine-free Tupac approximations that nevertheless really knocked—has had it tough. He was unfairly usurped by rap bully 50 Cent, who killed Ja’s career by questioning his street cred and criticizing how much Ja sang on his songs, only to then sing on all his own songs. Lately, Ja is best known for being rolled up into a funny Chris Rock bit about how his iPhone is gonna get him robbed (“God forbid someone’s trying to kill me and I can’t call for help because I was listening to Ja Rule”) and Dave Chappelle’s bit about celebrity worship in response to MTV phoning Ja Rule for his perspective on 9/11 (“Think when bad shit happens I’m like, ‘Oh my god this is terrible, could somebody please find Ja Rule, get hold of this motherfucker so I can get sense of all this”). Oh and then there was the disastrous Fyre Festival, which Ja had a whole lot to do with. He still has the hits though, so head to Soundstage and sing along. Ja needs the support. Also on the bill are Donnie Breeze, Duck Myers, and Jaymoney Hackett. 8 p.m., Baltimore Soundstage, 124 Market Place, (410) 244-0057, baltimoresoundstage.com, $25-$30. (Brandon Soderberg)


Wednesday 3

Bertha’s. Big Bertha’s Rhythm Kings.

Cat’s Eye Pub. Automatic Slim & His Sensational Band.

The Sidebar. The Neckbeards, Have a Good Season, The Flat Stanleys, Triple Backflip Committee.

Tin Roof. Chris Diller.

The Windup Space. Baltimore Boom Bap Society.

Thursday 4

Baltimore Soundstage. Zoso – A Tribute to Led Zeppelin.

Bertha’s. Jeff Reed Trio.

The Birchmere. Rik Emmett of Triumph – Acoustic Duo Performance with Dave Dunlop.

Cat’s Eye Pub. Pete Kanaras Blues Band.

Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. BSO Pulse: Tank and the Bangas.

Metro Gallery. Sorrowseed, Nahja Mora, Snakefeast, DJ Candy Corn.

Motor House. Mood2Soul with DJ Discuji.

The Ottobar. Dirty Lives, Lazlo Lee & The Motherless Children, Barnyard Sharks, DJs King Gilbert and Johnny Alonso.

Rams Head On Stage. The Levin Brothers.

The Sidebar. Garuda Face, Skapparoneday, Ruins of the Leviathan.

Tin Roof. As If – A ‘90s Tribute.

U Street Music Hall. Glide.

Friday 5

Baltimore Soundstage. Jantsen, Anoxex, Nolweez, Seromatic, Delete Me, Born I Music, Powder Room Etiquette.

Bertha’s. The Juke Drivers.

The Birchmere. Roamfest.

Cat’s Eye Pub. Katie Bowers Band; Bad Neighbors.

The Crown. First Friday Karaoke Forever.

The 8×10. Mother’s 2nd Annual Winter Jam with Cris Jacobs and Friends, Amy Helm.

The Fillmore Silver Spring. Lightshow.

Germano’s Piattini. Lionel D. Lyles II.

Joe Squared. Kurt Deemer Band, Harlan County Kings, Go Dog Go.

Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Mozart’s Jupiter.

Metro Gallery. Bollymore, Jacob Marley, DJ Amyrekha, Ami Dang, Confetti The First.

Motor House. Anbessa Orchestra.

9:30 Club. The Dead Milkmen, Mindless Faith.

Rams Head Live. Get The Led Out.

Rams Head On Stage. Bruce In The USA.

Reverb. The Backflip Yetis, The Vibesmen, Warren Russell, DJ Average Joe Nigel.

The Sidebar. Classic Wrestling Night.

Tin Roof. Doc Marten and the Flannels.

U Street Music Hall. Jungle Fever, Mista Selecta, Mane Squeeze.

Saturday 6

An Die Musik. Dariusz Skoraczewski – Complete Bach Cello Suites; Folkal Point: The Honey Dewdrops.

Baltimore Soundstage. Winter Is Coming, ThrillKiller, Bag Of Humans, Paid In Full, Modern Fuzz, Echoheart, Offensive, Cyber Strike, Metanium.

Bertha’s. Automatic Slim and His Band.

The Birchmere. Roamfest.

Cat’s Eye Pub. Eddy & The Haskyls; Roger Girke Band.

The Crown. Sauce: DJ Ayes Cold & James Nasty; Vague Saturday featuring Trenton Chase.

The 8×10. Mother’s 2nd Annual Winter Jam with Cris Jacobs and Friends, Ivan Neville.

The Fillmore Silver Spring. Fillmore Flashback: 80’s vs 90’s Dance Party featuring Biz Markie, The New Romance, Here’s To the Night.

Germano’s Piattini. Rhoda Harrison.

Joe Squared. Cheem, Mineral Girls, Salt Circles, Graver.

Metro Gallery. Amazing Bill, Outcalls, Petunia.

Motor House. Amy Reid presents “Hirsute.”

9:30 Club. Hot In Herre: 2000s Dance Party with DJs Will Eastman and Ozker.

The Ottobar. Girlfriend In A Coma, N.E.W. Athens.

Rams Head On Stage. Bruce In The USA.

The Sidebar. Sheer Terror, Unruly Boys, Cold As Life, Syringe, Colin of Arabia.

Tin Roof. Bond & Bentley.

U Street Music Hall. A Night At The U Street Disco with Jellybean Benitez, Sam “The Man” Burns.

The Windup Space. MC Bravado is For The Children: A Benefit for Baltimore City Schools with MC Bravado, Eze Jackson, Giddeon Gallows (Drew Scott), Cypher Junkies, Donnie Breeze, Mixxed Opinion, DJ sets by Logicoma, Moosejaw.

Sunday 7

The Birchmere. In Gratitude: A Tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire and Motown & More: A Tribute to Motown & Soul Legends.

Cat’s Eye Pub. Steve Kremer & The Bluesicians; Grapefruit Kings.

Germano’s Piattini. Steve Glasser.

Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Mozart’s Jupiter.

9:30 Club. Boat Burning: Music for 100 Guitars.

Rams Head On Stage. Maggie’s Celtic Celebration for the New Year featuring Maggie Sansone & Robin Bullock.

U Street Music Hall. Junkyard Band, Flex Mathews.

Monday 8

An Die Musik. Monday Jazz Jam hosted by Alex Meadow and Joshua Espinoza.

Cat’s Eye Pub. Phil Cunneff New Trio.

9:30 Club. The Wombats, Blaenavon, Courtship.

The Ottobar. Tentacles Of God, Collapsing, DJ Alex R; Metal Monday.

Tuesday 9

Cat’s Eye Pub. Drunken Uncles.

The Crown. Karaoke Forever.

9:30 Club. Passion Pit.

The Ottobar. Itty Bitty Bit Gen 2.

Red Room. Volunteers’ Collective.

The Sidebar. Tosser, Marblemouth, Mothpuppy, Mouse Fitzgerald.

Tin Roof. The Harikaraoke Band Gong Show.

The Windup Space. Bachelor Boys Showcase.

Wednesday 10

Anthem. The Killers, Alex Cameron.

Baltimore Soundstage. Ja Rule, Donnie Breeze, Duck Myers, JayMoney Hackett.

Bertha’s. Whale Show.

Cat’s Eye Pub. Muleman Band.

9:30 Club. Passion Pit.

Rams Head On Stage. Brian McKnight.

Reverb. Matt Pleas, Out of System Transfer, Izzy Stone Band.

Tin Roof. Building The Band.

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