Culture | June 7, 2022 8:00 am

The 20 Best Concerts, Shows and Festivals Coming to DC This Summer

It’s going to be a great summer (especially for Kraftwerk fans)

Japanese Breakfast, Coi Leray, Arlo Parks
Japanese Breakfast, Coi Leray, Arlo Parks and more are coming to DC this summer
Natasha Moustache; NBC; David Wolff - Patrick; all via Getty

DC’s reputation is that its summers are unpleasant.

Congress skips town for long stretches, leaving behind hordes of tourists who block the sideways and metro escalators around the National Mall. The weather veers between sudden storms and the kind of humidity that soaks you in sweat after mere seconds. There is a kernel of truth there, but this is also the time when outdoor events thrive, along with late-night shows in cramped clubs.

No matter what type of live music you prefer — or how much sunblock you require to see it — DC has something for everyone, whether it’s hip-hop, twee indie pop or experimental noise rock. 

This is your guide to the best, most exciting DC shows this summer. Don’t worry: they all still have tickets on sale.

June

A Place to Bury Strangers at Songbyrd, June 7

Because you believe post punk gets exponentially better with each added effects pedal

Quelle Chris at DC9, June 13

Because you like your hip-hop with a sense of world-weary deadpan comedy  

Coi Leray at Howard Theatre, June 14

Because if you’re going to party, it’s going to be with folks who treat “No More Parties” as their new mantra

Belle and Sebastian with Japanese Breakfast at Wolf Trap, June 15

Because twee sad bastard music sounds better with rosé wine and picnic blankets

Something in the Water Festival at The National Mall, June 17-19

Because you *want* to be excited about Pharell and Tyler the Creator, but you’re secretly there to see Dave Matthews Band without judgment

Kraftwerk at The Anthem, June 19

Because a 50-year-old song about robots still sounds like it’s from the future

Purity Ring at The 9:30 Club, June 30

Because your desire for ethereal pop music hasn’t waned, even though you and your partner bought tickets two friggin’ years ago

July

Bikini Kill at The Fillmore Silver Spring, July 11-12

Because the war on women is about to take a dark turn, and you need a sense of angry solidarity in order to fight it

The Linda Lindas at The Black Cat, July 20

Because young punk rockers are not jaded yet, and still have something to prove

Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen and Julien Baker at Wolf Trap, July 21

Because you need no fewer than three amazing vocalists weaponizing their talent and heartbreak to make you feel something

Shamir at Songbyrd, July 22

Because of course the talented, multi-genre artist who draws comparisons to Prince sounds nothing like him  

Tim Heidecker at The Capital Turnaround, July 30

Because maybe this time you’ll be able to figure out exactly when he’s trolling and when he’s not

August

Charli XCX at The Anthem, August 6

Because she oozes charisma and the documentary about her pandemic record might be the best movie you’ve seen this year

Summer Spirit Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion, August 7

Because soul music and party hip-hop beat the heat better than a trip to the pool

Starjuice at The Pocket, August 18

Because punk with lots of “whoa-ooh” choruses sounds better in a space not much larger than your living room

Los Campesinos! at The Black Cat, August 26

Because you’re an aging millennial who fondly remembers back in 2008 when you could enter a club and recognize nearly everyone there, and maybe go home with the ones you didn’t

Boris at The 9:30 Club, August 31

Because the most exciting metal bands constantly evolve, and don’t give a fuck about how weird they get

September

Arlo Parks at 9:30 Club, September 13

Because the refrain “it won’t hurt so much forever” doesn’t sound like a lie when she sings it

Nation of Language at Union Stage, September 14

Because you saw Kraftwerk back in June, and need more danceable music performed by nerds

Pet Shop Boys and New Order at Merriweather, September 21

Because a lawn concert with cross-generational appeal is the only way to celebrate the summer that’s gone too soon