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, May 20 – 26, is all about rock ‘n’ roll: The National are performing on two late night shows; former (and possibly future) Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty is performing two nights back-to-back; and Thirty Seconds to Mars bring on the emo resurgence.

Late Show With David Letterman

Monday, May 20 – The National

The National are one of indie rock’s most finely tuned machines, pumping out croon-filled crescendos like no other band can. They’ve already done a stint on Fallon, but this week they’ll start out performing for the Ed Sullivan Theater crowd and take the stage over at The Colbert Report on Wednesday in support of their new album Trouble Will Find Me, which is set for a May 21 release.

Tuesday, May 21 – John Fogerty 
Wednesday, May 22 – John Fogerty with Dawes

Sometimes the oldies are the best, and Fogerty – who may or may not be participating in a CCR reunion sometime soon-makes a case for that. This week he’s performing back-to-back on Letterman, one night by himself and the next with rock up-and-comers Dawes.

Thursday, May 23 – Jake Bugg
Friday, May 24 – Steve Earle & The Dukes (and Duchesses)

Jimmy Kimmel Live

Monday, May 20 – Jewel 
Tuesday, May 21 – Thirty Seconds to Mars 

Thirty Seconds to Mars started off as what seemed to be a vanity project by actor Jared Leto and has since turned into the scream-y front man’s main endeavor. Their newest album, LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS is due out May 21, and is said to be somewhat of a concept album, which, in the age of the digital single, is a rare thing. See them here or later in the week on Conan.

Wednesday, May 22 – Darius Rucker
Thursday, May 23 – Reggie Watts

Get the full line-up on


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