There are no excuses for not catching some great local rock on Friday night; bars (and Clydesdales) celebrate 75 years of legal beer drinking; hip-hop legends Biz Markie and Slick Rick perform; Sasha and Digweed bring their reunion tour to Ibiza; and the Minister of Rum comes to Bourbon.
(Anheuser Busch Inc.)
Wednesday, April 2
With Dupont's Club Chaos closed, its resident attractions are finding themselves dispersed across the city. Drag bingo now takes place on Tuesdays at Nellie's Sports Bar and BeBar, and the fantastic D.C. Kings drag revue has moved its first-Wednesday-of-the-month showcase to BeBar. Expect everything from dance routines to burlesque to comedic skits, especially now that the monthly party features the out-of-this-world burlesque dancers of the D.C. Gurly Show. There's no cover.
Thursday, April 3
Fashion is slowly edging its way into the land of jumbo slices, live bands and manic crowds. Now Stussy joins Commonwealth in adding some street sensibility to Adams Morgan's coterie of boutiques. The latter kicked things off with Clipse and A-Trak a while back, and Stussy is bringing out the Diabolical himself, Biz Markie. As a Maryland resident for over 10 years now, he's a familiar face, but his starpower generally finds him playing for the bourgie set. At Chloe tonight he should be able to add his beloved clown schtick to selections befitting a hip-hop legend and over the top record collector. (If you'd rather see Biz in a larger club setting, he's hosting his birthday party at Ibiza on Friday night with a special appearance by the legendary Slick Rick.)
Friday, April 4
Are you ready to see some live music on Friday but you're feeling overwhelmed by the many quality choices the city has to offer on this one night? Why not let your mood dictate the show you attend? If the long work week has drained much of your energy and you don't want to deal with something too loud, then Beach House (listen) at the Rock and Roll Hotel is the show for you. The Baltimore duo makes music that's appealingly sleepy but never boring. The organ-heavy dirges are highlighted by Victoria Legrand's dreamy vocals, and the band's sense of songcraft has improved greatly from last year's self-titled debut to this year's "Devotion." The similarly laidback Papercuts (listen) open, along with Stamen & Pistils (listen).
On the other hand, if the long work week has left you with lots of pent up energy and you just want to let loose, don't think twice about checking out Les Savy Fav (listen) at the Black Cat. Maybe you won't be able to get as crazy as the Brooklyn indie-punk band's lead singer, Tim Harrington, but not many people approach his onstage insanity. By the end of his shows, Harrington can sometimes be seen wearing nothing but skivvies and his wizard-like beard, kissing audience members or hanging from the rafters. It's quite the spectacle, but Les Savy Fav is no novelty act. The band's fourth album, "Let's Stay Friends," came six years after its third, but it's the best one yet. It sacrifices none of the angular guitar energy of the early efforts and the songs are the band's catchiest to date. The Big Sleep (listen) and the Dodos (listen), featured in last week's column, open.
If you're feeling energetic and also risky, then the Apes/Health show at the Velvet Lounge is for you. We've written about locals Apes (listen) and their pounding, lots-of-low-end, guitar-free attack on many occasions. It's heavy, hypnotic and good -- but you knew that already. L.A.'s Health (listen) is one of those bands that is going to have the word "noise" attached to most of its descriptors -- the band's Web site is healthnoise.com -- but the quartet does a fine job of turning that noise into something more than just disarming feedback. That noise will be right in your face (and ears) at the tiny Velvet Lounge, so bring earplugs as necessary.
And finally, there's Enon (listen) at Iota. This is the choice if you don't want to deal with the city and just want a relaxing night in those comfortable NoVa burbs. Granted, this band probably won't knock your socks off, but it's been an underappreciated and consistent presence on the indie-rock scene for most of this decade. The band takes a kitchen-sink approach to its music, playing everything from icy electro-pop to lounge pop to straightforward, guitar-centric rock. The Epochs (listen) open.
When is a house party not a house party? When it's a store party. For one night only, the District Line -- purveyor of fine British threads from Fred Perry, Ben Sherman, Boxfresh and the like -- is packing its clothes away and hosting a open-bar event featuring DJ Tittsworth (listen), whom we shouldn't have to tell you any more about, and Gavin Holland of Nouveau Riche spinning over two floors. For $20, you get unlimited Bass beer, vodka and Red Bull from 8 to 11. It's going to be rammed, so get there early or be prepared to wait for the old one-in, one-out.
Saturday, April 5
For fans of progressive house and trance, it doesn't get any bigger than the reunion of Sasha and John Digweed (listen and listen). The two British DJs defined the hook-filled, keyboard-heavy sound in the '90s with a residency at the London club Renaissance, which spawned an accompanying mix CD; chart-topping releases on the Ministry of Sound label, including the double-disc "Northern Exposure"; and residencies at clubs around the world, including New York's Twilo, where fans witnessed epic 12-hour sets. The duo began to gradually do more solo albums and mixes, and they haven't toured together since the massive "Delta Heavy" shows in 2002. While that tour was heavy on the lasers and video walls, Sasha and Digweed are promising a more "underground" feel this time around, so you know Ibiza is going to have an amazing buzz. Doors open at 10, and lines are going to be long, so arrive early if you don't want to wait.
This year marks 75 years since the repeal of prohibition, and while the 21st Amendment was ratified on December 5, allowing again for the sale of "intoxicating liquors," Americans actually began drinking alcohol months earlier. Congress sent the 21st Amendment to the states in February, and on April 7, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed an amendment to the Volstead Act that allowed brewers to sell beer that was 4 percent alcohol by volume instead of the previous 0.5 percent. According the national Brewers Association, more than 1.5 million barrels of beer were consumed in the first 24 hours. (The population then was just over 125 million.) There are going to be a number of celebrations in coming days, especially on April 7, but Budweiser is getting an early start by hosting a block party outside the Dubliner and the Irish Times from 6 to 8 tonight. They're bringing a team of Clydesdales, who will be posing for pictures from 6 to 8, and the bars will serve $3 Budweiser and Bud Light bottles. Live music at both bars runs from 9 to close.
Sunday, April 6
The Glenmont Popes (listen) were a staple at biker rallies, rockabilly shows, rockin' blues bars throughout the '90s, blasting out their straight-ahead turbobilly sound, which owes as much to the rocked-up blues of the Vaughn Brothers as the Rev. Horton Heat or the Drive-By Truckers. Though the group's MySpace page says it "officially" ended in 2001, and frontman Rodney Henry now devotes most of his time to his pie-making company, Dangerously Delicious Pies, the members get together regularly for reunion shows in their native Baltimore. They haven't played in D.C. in years as far as we can tell -- until tonight, when they're playing at a benefit for local radio station WRYR, alongside Gist (listen), Kodiak (listen) and a half-dozen other bands at DC9. We're going to guess that most of our readers have never tuned in to WRYR, a funky community station based out of southern Anne Arundel County. Its 100-watt signal doesn't regularly extend into D.C., and the low-power station's programming ranges from "holistic" fortune telling and local news to showcases for area bands and amateur performers. But seriously, this is, as David said, "the Glenmont [expletive] Popes"! Admission is $10; the Popes are on around 10:30.
Monday, April 7
Breweries around the area are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the end of (beer) prohibition today with special events and more special brews. Rock Bottom Brewery in Bethesda is tapping its Kolsch, a light, German-style beer, and leading a toast at 6:30. The Rock Bottom in Ballston is also leading a toast and offering any pint in the house for $2.50 until 9 p.m. Capital City Brewing Company in Shirlington is tapping a special cask of its dark, hoppy (and appropriately named) Prohibition Porter around lunchtime and serving pints for $5.50 all day. Up in Frederick, the Barley and Hops Restaurant and Microbrewery is offering beers at the very retro price of 33 cents per pint from 8 to close.
Ed Hamilton lives the life that most of us dream of: He sails around the Caribbean on his boat, a sloop dubbed the Triton, visits distilleries making the world's finest spirits, and writes about them on his Web site, the Ministry of Rum. Hamilton, the author of four books, estimates that he's tried about 300 rums over the years. Tough job, right? He's docking at Bourbon in Adams Morgan tonight to discuss the rums of Martinique, whose rhum agricole, or rums made from pure sugar cane juice, are some of the best around. Yes, there will be samples. Fritz got a sneak taste of the three versions of the rums from Neisson, the smallest distillery on the island, and he's madly in love with the smooth, citrusy Rhum Agricole Blanc and the Rhum Agricole Ã‰levÃ© Sous Bois, which spent 18 months in oak casks, giving it a soft, rich taste that belies its 100-proof strength. Hamilton will discuss these and other rums in Bourbon's upstairs bar tonight from 7:30 on.
Tuesday, April 8
It's good band, good cause when the Beanstalk Library (listen) takes to the Black Cat's backstage for a show to support the National Coalition for the Homeless. The local band hasn't made it to the upper echelon of D.C. acts yet, but that could change in 2008 as more people familiarize themselves with the excellent 2007 album, "America at Night." It's full of crisp songs with memorable hooks, neither indie pop nor quite indie rock, but simply good rock music. Bottles/Cans and PS24 also lend their support to the cause.
Wednesday, April 9
Apparently Five's new management wishes to demonstrate a show of power by setting it off tonight with a couple of veritable hip-hop deities. You'd be hard pressed to find another hip-hop act who dropped their first single in 1985 and can still set crowds aflame today, but Slick Rick is that dude. With classics, charisma (what the kids call "swagger" these days) and style by the ton, Slick Rick is a mandatory study in crowd rocking for anyone who seriously considers himself a true b-boy. Roc Raida is his aethetic counterpart on the turntables. As one of the cornerstones of modern turntablism, Raida combines personality and a showman's flair with his flashy deck skills. A fortunate slate of locals kick off the show led by underground trooper T.A.M.U.
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