THURSDAY: Madball brings old-school NYC gruntcore south of the Mason-Dixon line with Walls of Jericho, Misery Signals, and Full Blown Chaos at the Ottobar. Sugarland soundtracks the Baltimore Ravens Cheerleader Party—sponsored by Miller Lite, no less—at Rams Head Live. Shadows Fall makes us nostalgic for the thrash records we sold in college at Towson’s Recher Theatre with the Haunted, Bury Your Dead, and Gizmachi. The Marksmen punk-out (but melodically) at Charm City Space with Gracer, Chris Bavaria, and Burkins. No longer zillionaires but still just as classy, ABC rolls nostalgically into Washington’s 9:30 Club with the English Beat.
FRIDAY: Channels—the new band featuring J. Robbins of Jawbox/Burning Airlines—continues the XTC-meets-D.C. sound of Burning Airlines at the Talking Head with Rahim, More Than a Monument, and Rain the Shining. A Steve Perry-less travesty calling itself Journey plays Rams Head Live.
SATURDAY: The Reverent Fog Festival spills noise rock all over Davis Street for two days outside the Talking Head starting at 2 p.m. with Dan Deacon, Ecstatic Sunshine, Octis, More Dogs, Sightings, and Dead Meadow, plus Vincent Black Shadow, the Expotentials, Greatest Hits, and the Cherry Valence inside the club starting at 10 p.m. Billy Idol—a grown man unashamed to include a lemons/testicles metaphor on his latest album—sweats all over the front row at Rams Head Live. CKY plays compressed-to-an-inch-of-its-life metal with Fireball Ministry and the Knives at Sonar. Idlewild lands at the Eight by Ten with Inara George. Haste the Day plays the early show at the Ottobar, and Dr. Know plays for all the night owls with Municipal Waste. And yes, it’s Badfish, everyone’s favorite Sublime tribute band, at the Recher Theatre.
SUNDAY: It’s day two of the Reverent Fog Festival at the Talking Head, again starting at 2 p.m. with the Convocation, Arbouretum, 16 Bitch Pileup, Endless Boogie, and Lungfish outside, plus Paul Flaherty and Chris Corsano, DJ Jason Urick, and DJ Twig Harper inside. The Exploited, still portly and bemohawked after all these years, plays the Ottobar with Resilience, Celebrity Murder, and Deep Sleep. DJ Z-Trip mashes up the 9:30 Club with mash-ups (and regular turntablin’) along with Black Sheep and the atrociously named DJ Golden Chyld.
MONDAY: Every Time I Die plays the Recher Theatre, but you’ll really want to go for the bone-splintering riffing of High on Fire, a doom band that remembers there are more tempos than “grinding sludge.” The Octopus Project plays the Ottobar with the Seldon Plan, Cue, and the always enticingly mysterious “guests.” Amber Pacific plays peppy pop-punk (say it five times fast) with Houston Calls, Socratic, and Valencia at Sonar. Melissa Ferrick floats into the Eight by Ten with Natalia Zuckerman.
TUESDAY: The Juliana Theory holds its CD-release party at the Ottobar with Lovedrug, Days Away, and the Goodwill. The Reputation bashes and pops at the Talking Head with Karmellas Game, Hockey Night, and Avec. Greyskull plays leftist metal for people with dreadlocks and dogs on strings at Charm City Space with Lovers and Killers. John Cruz (says here he played with Jack Johnson at Bonnaroo if that gets you open) plays the Eight by Ten with Eric Hutchinson. The New Flesh plays the Sidebar with Swordhaven, R.L. Stein, and Social Junk. Ladybug Mecca of future Trivial Pursuit answer Digable Planets plays Washington’s Black Cat with interstellar soul god Steve Spacek and Mr. French.
WEDNESDAY: New-school no wavers Magik Markers and outsider legends Sunburned Hand of the Man get real gone at the Talking Head. Amazingly, Bonerama isn’t a Ween tribute band but brass-band funk from waterlogged New Orleans at the Eight by Ten. Mike Doughty strips away Soul Coughing’s jazzy hooks and drum ’n’ bass beats to the songs underneath at the 9:30 Club.
IN THE WINGS: Lyrics Born rocks his old-man flow at Sonar Oct. 10, while the Bravery embarrasses uptight scenesters with its Good Charlotte-of-nü-wave routine Oct. 21, and Ghostface Killahbrings his gorilla hood dada Oct. 27. (For more info call  327-8333 or visit www.sonar.us.) Come for the concert but stay for the train wreck Oct. 13 when Cat Power plays the Ottobar, and return on Oct. 19 to have an unscheduled colonoscopy from the tectonic shifts of Boris. (For more info call  662-0069 or visit www.theottobar.com.) Someone has a mortgage payment due: The reformed Helmet works off the guilt for inventing nü-metal Oct. 2 at the Recher Theatre. (For more info call  337-7178 or visit www.rechertheatre.com.) Current critical flypaper and Modest Mouse tribute band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah_plays the Black Cat Oct. 18. (For more info call  667-7960 or visit www.blackcatdc.com.)
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