WEDNESDAY: Virginia's Driving East, a perfectly fine pop-punk confection, stops off at the Ottobar with Parade the Day (Virginia emo band with great hair), Joy in Tomorrow, and Arden. At the Lyric Opera House, Jill Scott sings from her first record in some three years, The Real Thing, a reputedly lovely thing of sexed-up pop R&B. The Reconsidered Big Band brings back big-band jazz for the night at the Peabody Institute.
THURSDAY: On the lighter side of things, jazz guitarist Michael Raitzyk performs with his trio at Club 347. A couple blocks farther downtown, Sourvein dumps a load of wet concrete hardcore sludge all over the Talking Head with Zoroaster, Oak, and Ol Scratch. Funked-up brass and drums jazz trio the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble celebrates its 35th anniversary at An die Musik with two shows. Dismemberment Plan descendent Statehood, the Big Sleep--a truly excellent Brooklyn posteverything rock trio--and Aerialist all play Washington's Black Cat.
FRIDAY: Electro-metal heart attack Genghis Tron puts more cracks in the walls at the Talking Head with Ponytail and Brooklyn's howling, shrieking tribal noise creature Aa. Meanwhile, R&B crooners Trey Songz and J Holiday catalyze a few babies at Rams Head Live. "Freezing/ Can't move at all/ Screaming/ Can't hear my call/ I am dying to live/ Cry out/ I'm Trapped Under Ice"--yep, the local hardcore outfit, and assumed Metallica lover, headlines a night of loud at the Sidebar with Reign Supreme, Dead and Buried, Swamp Thing, TAEA, and Bad Habit. Washington's Apes, releasing a new straight-ahead sort of rock album rather than the dementia we once loved, takes the stage at the Black Cat with Kid Congo Powers and Baltimore shattered-beat hip-hop trio Food for Animals.
SATURDAY: Local jazz dudes Carl Grubbs and Lafayette Gilchrist make the room sparkle at Jazzway 6004. The spastic punk meltdowns of San Antonio's Make Your Own Maps hit the Talking Head with Pfisters, fellow Texans Crotch on Fire, and Werewolves. The Murderland Metal Massacre happens at Dundalk's Black Hole Rock Club with way too many bands to mention here, but it's a safe bet that they'll all hurt, and at least a few will hurt in a good way. Recently signed to big-deal Merge Records, Wye Oak has been spending serious time on the road sharing its lovely indie skygaze with the rest of the country, but tonight it makes a local stop with Low Moda at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson. Avant composer Christian Kesten and sound/text artist Alessandro Bosetti take over the Red Room at Normals Books for another Saturday night of wonderful oddness.
SUNDAY: Papa Grows Funk, well, you know, at the 8X10 with New Orleans' Big Sam's Funky Nation. Danish psychobilly six-piece Horrorpops soften up the Ottobar with mega-generic rock outfit Pink Spiders, Steve E Nix and the Cute Lepers, and the Deadneks.
MONDAY: Baltimore regular Peelander-Z, a New York by way of Japan goof/costume punk band, returns to the Ottobar with the Degenerettes (featuring City Paper contributor Rahne Alexander), Entertainment System, and Geisha Lightning. At Joe Squared, DJs Obtuse and Stretch drop some hip-hop and funk with maybe an appearance by the beat-boxing Bow-Legged Gorilla. Blind Melon--featuring a new vocalist--is still an absolute ass-hat band at Washington's 9:30 Club with the Sketches
TUESDAY: Oak gets all kind of black, doom, and death at the Talking Head with Philadelphia schizo spazz-popster Red Rocket, Nocnitsa, 4th Horsemen, and Savory James.
IN THE WINGS: Ageless Japanese psych freakout band Acid Mothers Temple comes to the Ottobar March 22 with Portland, Ore.'s Danava and Baltimore's the Convocation. (For more information visit www.theottobar.com or call  662-0096.)
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201