Must-See DC Concerts November 4-10: Tiesto, Superorganism and More
Japanese British singer Rina Sawayama’s song “XS” from her 2020 album “Sawayama” is dressed as a classic Britney-style pop song about shopping. But, as she repeatedly screams in her dance-inducing chorus, it’s “more!” A vigilant critique of a festering culture of overconsumption, the title signifies excess. She sings, “Do me less, so I want more,” poking listeners with unwelcome truth. Most of the album fits the theme that “XS” so masterfully pulls off: a deep, meaningful message wrapped in sparkling skin. On the song “Bad Friend”, Sawayama sings honestly about a broken friendship. The chorus begins with “I’m so good at crashing,” with robotic sound effects that make her voice sound bigger, like she’s weighing you down. On his latest project, “Hold the Girl,” Sawayama takes the seriousness we got on “Bad Friend” and runs with it. She’s still heavily influenced by early pop music, perhaps more pop-rock Kelly Clarkson than Spears this time around. On “Catch Me in the Air”, she sings to her mother, “I was scared, but you gave me wings.” The chorus feels liberating as Sawayama expands the “tune” to multiple syllables more than one – as if she’s singing it while really flying. November 5 at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring. fillmoresilverspring.com. Exhausted.
Courtney Marie Andrews is on eight albums and continues to find a way to evolve. “Old Flowers,” released in 2020, was nominated for Best Americana Album at the 63rd Grammy Awards. Still, his 2022 project, “Loose Future,” wouldn’t necessarily fit into that category. A new producer, Sam Evian, and a more upbeat lyrical style take her music to places she’s never seen before. While on “Flowers” Andrews weaves through darker emotional tunnels, his latest album is the metaphorical light at the end. After diving so deep, Andrews’ new songs feel free to be happy, a joy that has somehow been earned. On “Satellite”, she sings, “But I, I, I love you all the time / A constellation that I always find / And me, I, I love to see you shine / My favorite piece of sky.” She speaks to us of an all-consuming love alongside relaxed acoustic strumming and resonant spatial synths. Although the song “Thinkin’ On You” finds Andrews in a place of nostalgia, the full band’s dynamic sound is anything but sad. It has a cheerful country vibe thanks to the steel guitar. Andrews sings, “The heart in you is the heart in me.” She’s sad, but it’s beautiful. Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. at Songbyrd, 540 Penn St. NE. songbyrddc.com. $20.
Echostage, DC’s first EDM venue, celebrates its 10th anniversary this fall with a lineup of some of the world’s top DJs. This includes Zedd, Kaskade and, of course, the “godfather of EDM” Tiesto. The Dutch DJ has been in the game for over two decades, defining and pushing the boundaries of what electronic dance music can be, and helping bring it to the mainstream of popular music. Earlier in his career, Tiesto was best known for his trance music – a hypnotic, rhythmic sound designed for club nights that end with a sunrise. His remix on the song “The silence” from Delerium with Sarah McLachlan was his big introduction. It might have been considered an odd song choice at the time, but McLachlan’s ethereal vocals and delivery were a perfect fit for the transcendent remix and a testament to Tiesto’s vision. By the end of the first decade of the 2000s, pop music and EDM were interacting in more recent ways, with the two genres influencing each other. Tiesto evolved with these changes, leaning into pop music sensibilities. Twenty years later, he continues to make club music in tune with the times. Nov. 10 at 9 p.m. at Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Rd. NE. echostage.com. $65.