Tonight: Franz Nicolay (Formerly of The Hold Steady) at the Sunset

Konstantin Sergeyev
Franz Nicolay, with Moneybrother, Charles Leo Gebhardt IV. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $8. You probably know Franz Nicolay as the mustachioed, accordion-toting, wine-quaffing fellow with the Cheshire Cat grin - looking like a cross between Salvador Dali and Super Mario - rocking out alongside Craig Finn and company in the Hold Steady for the past several years. Things have changed for Nicolay recently - not his look, but he quit the Hold Steady. But the singer and multi-instrumentalist has a burgeoning solo career to fall back on. Last year Nicolay issued his debut LP, Major General, which merged anthemic bar-rock with Balkan textures and cabaret atmosphere. He's touring behind that album at the moment before hitting the road as a touring member of Against Me! later this spring and working on another album due later this year. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

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