Five years after the release of Songs, and six after the breakout Love Is Real, John Maus remains something of an enigma, a man with short songs, big ideas, and a stage show you never saw coming. Inspired by home-recording wiz Ariel Pink and the French philosopher Alain Badiou, this Ph.D. attempts songs that draw out and redouble the poppiness of pop before coming to the stage and screaming his lyrics and smashing the microphone against his head. Tonight, he opens for Baltimore’s Dan Deacon with a set that draws also from last year’s We Must Become Pitiless Censors of Ourselves.

Thu., July 12, 6 p.m., 2012

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