It’s a tradition as old as The Tonight Show: Most nights, bands big and small play on the national stage of late night television. Sometimes good things happen, sometimes bad things happen, but the performances are always worth watching. They’re captivating mostly because they offer the raw sound of a live band and the professional video and audio recording of a late night television show.

This week (Aug. 5-9), Earl Sweatshirt, the most lyrically gifted member of the Odd Future camp, performs on FallonJoan Jett performs on Kimmel in support of her first album in seven years; and Daft Punk performs on American television after a long, long time away.

Also, in case you missed it, host Jimmy Fallon cemented his spot as the king of late night musical performances when he joined the Roots and Robin Thicke for another of his improvised toy instrument renditions, this time of “Blurred Lines.”

Late Show With David Letterman

This week, Letterman is pretty much all repeats, but check it out if you missed anything. Non-music related, his interview with Lohan (airing on Wednesday) is worth a watch.

Monday, August 5 – Fitz and the Tantrums
Tuesday, August 6 – Houndmouth
Wednesday, August 7 – Gary Clark Jr.
Thursday, August 8 – Wale
Friday, August 9 – Darius Rucker

Jimmy Kimmel Live

Monday, August 5 – Jamie N Commons
Tuesday, August 6 – Michael Kiwanuka
Wednesday, August 7 – Mayer Hawthorne
Thursday, August 8 – Joan Jett

Joan Jett has been going nonstop since the ‘70s, starting with her band the Runaways and then soon after on her own. She’s one of rock’s most enduring artists, and surely a torchbearer for women rock ’n’ rollers everywhere. Her new album, Unvarnished, will be released in October, and this is the first in what’s surely to be a long line of appearances by the killer performer.

The Tonight Show With Jay Leno

Monday, August 5– Amos Lee
Tuesday, August 6 – Patti LaBelle
Wednesday, August 7 – Parachute
Thursday, August 8 – Gavin DeGraw
Friday, August 9 – KT Tunstall

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Monday, August 5 – 2 Chainz
Tuesday, August 6 – The Head and the Heart
Wednesday, August 7 –Brett Eldredge
Thursday, August 8 –Jake Owen
Friday, August 9 – Earl Sweatshirt

When Tyler, the Creator and Hodgy Beats appeared on Fallon to perform “Sandwitches,” it ushered in two things: Odd Future’s presence in the greater consciousness of mainstream America, and, arguably, the importance of late night television performances. Earl Sweatshirt is the most gifted MC of the OFWGKTA bunch, so while his performance will probably be a bit more subdued than Tyler’s, it is still one to see.

Last Call with Carson Daly

Monday, August 5 – Tomahawk
Tuesday, August 6 – Walk the Moon
Wednesday, August 7 – Maximum Hedrum
Thursday, August 8 – Glossary
Friday, August 9 – Big Black Delta


Monday, August 5 – Florida Georgia Line
Tuesday, August 6 – Steve Martin and Edie Brickell
Thursday, August 8 – Twenty One Pilots

The Colbert Report

Tuesday, August 6 – Daft Punk

The robot duo’s new album Random Access Memories is one of the summer’s biggest albums, and the single “Get Lucky” is all over the place, filling the streets and stores of NYC and beyond. In a surprise that was previewed by host Stephen Colbert briefly popping up onFallon, Daft Punk will bring their earworm-y take on old-school disco and dance to your living room. And who knows how the duo will manifest themselves in this live setting—it’s been several years since they’ve made a televised appearance. Colbert usually interviews his musical guests before they play live, but it’s doubtful that’ll happen with the infamously tight-lipped duo. Oh, the excitement and suspense.

– Shane Barnes,


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