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It’s a tradition as old as the Johnny Carson show: Most nights, since 1966, 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, April 1-5, that tradition continues with a couple of indie heavyweights returning after a few years off, as well as a few tried-and-true standbys. We’ve even included a few clips of last week’s standouts, just in case you missed ’em.

Late Show With David Letterman

Monday, April 1 – The Band Perry 

Wednesday, April 3 – The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips are nothing if not entertaining, though their past late night performances haven’t had the panache of their usual live shows. Their new album, The Terror, is scheduled for an April 16 release, and this will be a good preview of what to expect of their headlining gigs at this summer’s festivals.

Thursday, April 4 – Tyler, The Creator 

Tyler, The Creator solidified his place as an artist-to-watch on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and now, two years later, he’s bringing a song from his new album Wolf (out April 2) to the Late Show stage. Expect lots of jumping around and several seconds straight of bleeped out, network television-inappropriate swear words.

Friday, April 5 – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are releasing Mosquito April 16, and it only makes sense they’d return to Letterman, who has a gnarly crush on YYY front woman Karen O. (See evidence at the end of this performance of “Down Boy” off their 2007 EP Is Is)


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