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Posted at 5:00 PM ET, 02/21/2008

Nightlife Agenda Pick of the Week

By Fritz Hahn

Keren Ann brings her globe-trotting pop sound to the Black Cat on Feb. 27. (Courtesy of Blue Note Records)

You'd be forgiven for feeling slightly uncomfortable at a Daniel Johnston (listen) show. Imagine standing there watching someone who you know could have a breakdown at any second ... well, in this Winehouse/Spears era, it's not quite as shocking as it once was. Johnston's history of mental illness and battling personal demons has been well-known in the music underground for decades, and it was illuminated further with the 2005 documentary "The Devil and Daniel Johnston," which chronicled his manic depression, bipolar disorder and also, of course, his prolific songwriting career. Outside of Robert Pollard, it's hard to think of anyone who has recorded as many songs over the past couple decades. Johnston has an undeniable knack for memorable indie-folk tunes, even if his nasal voice will turn some people off. It never turned off Kurt Cobain, Beck, Tom Waits, Wilco, the Flaming Lips and dozens of others who have either covered his tunes or praised his work. It's been ages since Johnston has played in D.C., and you never know when he'll give up touring altogether, so if you're looking for an in-person underground rock history lesson, the Black Cat is the place to be Saturday. Benjy Ferree (listen), whom we've somehow gone a few months without mentioning, opens.

This is just one of the events in the new Nightlife Agenda column, which also highlights an appearance by one of the Spank Rock DJs, a CD release party by local rockers the Jet Age, a Dominican Independence Day celebration and a concert featuring Keren Ann (right) at the Black Cat. Not familiar with Keren Ann? You can hear a track by her on our latest podcast. Either download the mp3 or subscribe through iTunes.

By Fritz Hahn  | February 21, 2008; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Music  
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