Music Preview: Commencement

So you’ve gone to school for four years now in a city known the world over for its jazz scene. For all you seniors, this might be your last chance. Besides, now that your parents are in town, you can show them how cultured you’ve become over this very expensive stay in Foggy Bottom.

Mike Stern and Dennis Chambers will bring their unbelievably skilled jazz-fusion to Blues Alley in Georgetown (1073 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) from May 15-20. The pair will feature a very special bassist each night. Victor Wooten, who has recently gained college-age popularity by playing with the likes of the Dave Matthews Band in addition to his forty some-odd years of pure chops, will perform with the two from the May 15-17. Richard Bona, another of the most influential bass players of our time, will fill in for Wooten after that. Shows are at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., with tickets running $37.75 – perfect if your folks are fronting the bill. Blues Alley is truly a musical landmark in D.C. and there is no better way to experience it than checking out some living legends doing what they do best.

However, if the price tag is an issue, which is understandable, there are plenty of jazz clubs around that might not have the big names, but they certainly aren’t lacking when it comes to the music. Check out for a comprehensive list of all the clubs in the area.

For a little more modern scene, the 9:30 Club will be hosting Elvis Costello and the Imposters on May 18, with tickets set at $75. Joseph Arthur and the Lonely Astronauts are a slightly more affordable option for the alt-rock enthusiast wanting to get one last fix of the 9:30 Club in. Tickets for the show on May 21 are only $15.

Because not all parents will enjoy the 9:30 Club, the Kennedy Center might be a bit more up their alley. On May 19, the National Symphony Orchestra will hold a show remembering their long time musical director and world-renowned cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.

From classical to modern by way of jazz, there is something for everybody during Commencement weekend. The wonderful thing is that this is far from abnormal. The diversity of music within the city is unbelievable, and for the graduating seniors, this might be the last chance to get in that last show or two or three that you’ve always wanted to go see. And for parents, this is a time to celebrate your son or daughter’s academic achievements, but no one said that means you can’t enjoy yourselves as well. Chances are, over the past four years, your children had plenty of fun in this city, so now it might just be your turn. Enjoy!

Concert Calendar

May 14 – Washington National Opera presents Macbeth – Kennedy Center – $68-$170

May 15-20 – Mike Stern & Dennis Chambers (w/ Victor Wooten, Richard Bona) – Blues Alley – $37.75

May 15 – Stephen Stills – Birchmere Music Hall – $65

May 16 – The Arctic Monkeys with Be Your Own Pet – 9:30 Club – Sold Out

May 16-17 – Dark Star Orchestra (Grateful Dead cover band) – State Theatre – $24

May 17 – Gwen Stefani – Nissan Pavilion – $25-$69

May 18 – Elvis Costello and the Imposters – 9:30 Club – $75

May 18 – Black Sabbath – Merriweather Post Pavilion – $29.50-$49.50

May 18 – KRS One – Black Cat – $20

May 19 – National Symphony Orchestra remembers Mstislav Rostropovich – Kennedy Center – $45-$80

May 19 – Seal – Merriweather Post Pavilion – $40-$75

May 19 – Grace Potter & the Nocturnals – State Theatre – $15

May 21 – Joseph Arthur and the Lonely Astronauts – 9:30 Club – $15

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