Sure, Soundgarden reunited in earnest a few years ago, but critics note the band really hit its stride in recent months as evidenced by a series of shows in England and North America, not to mention some high-profile late-night TV appearances.

When the band headlines the DC101 Chili Cook-Off, fans should expect to hear an array of new songs from the band's latest studio album "King Animal" -- its first new one in 16 years -- intertwined with grunge classics such as "Black Hole Sun."

"Everybody is pretty much the same. We have all been about playing, focusing on the music end of things," said bassist Ben Shepherd from a tour stop in Phoenix. "We really know each other well. It's been like reuniting with family. Only the four of us really know what it's like to be on stage as Soundgarden."

The Chili Cook-Off gives music fans a chance to sample a smorgasbord of bands with unparalleled sound, including Awolnation, Silversun Pickups, Capital Cities, Beware of Darkness and RDGLDGRN.

If you go
DC101 Chili Cook-Off
» Where: RFK Stadium, 2400 East Capitol St., Washington
» When: Noon, Saturday
» Info: $60.15 in advance (including service fee) or $65 at the door the day of the event, online tickets purchased on Saturday are subject to a $16 fee, online sales end at noon Saturday; featured acts include Soundgarden, Awolnation, Silversun Pickups, Capital Cities, Beware of Darkness and RDGLDGRN; visit for more information.
Note: Children under age 16 discouraged from attending.

Even if some of the bands aren't as well known as others, chances are good fans will discover some new favorites and up-and-comers that critics bet will make it big.

Consider Capital Cities. The duo of Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian had their song "Safe and Sound" debut all over radio and it climbed the alternative charts. The two are preparing their debut album, which they hope will be released early this summer. Although they are keeping the names of the guests and other details secret, they promise it will be filled with the high-energy beats that made "Safe and Sound" a standout.

"We found our thing in the summer of 2011 when we released our music independently," said Simonian. "Our live shows take on more electronic, our concerts became more fun and joyous and party style."

If past Soundgarden concerts are any barometer, the Chili Cook-Off party may go old-style with a mosh pit and slam dancing to classic songs such as "Hunted Down."

"We come from an era and style where people do it the way they want to do it," said Soundgarden's Shepherd. "Why the hell would you want to do it any other way. We spend our lives away from our families, so we want to work the way that makes us happy."