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Posted at 6:09 PM ET, 05/27/2008

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

Mambo Sauce, D.C.'s 2007 breakout go-go band, performs at Artomatic this weekend. "Welcome to D.C.," indeed. (Richard A. Lipski/The Washington Post)

After the bustle of Memorial Day, this is a relatively quiet week on the nightlife scene, but you can still catch the hottest young go-go band in D.C., celebrate the "Sex and the City" movie with cocktails for charity, tour Annapolis's favorite after-dark haunts, hear a "punk funk" band that melds new wave, Prince and J. Dilla, or taste five dozen beers from across Maryland.

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday

Thursday, May 29
Okay, we were as shocked as anyone when Lil Wayne's "Lollipop" went to #1 earlier this month. It's not because of the song itself -- a stupidly catchy ode to sex that will get everyone in the club rushing the dance floor -- but because it's the first chart-topping song of Lil Wayne's long career. That means there should be lots to celebrate tonight at Love: Not only the success of "Lollipop," but the impending release of Weezy's next solo album, "Tha Carter III." The man is simply unstoppable at this point: named "Hottest MC in the Game" by MTV and "Best MC" by Rolling Stone, he's still basking in the critical acclaim for last year's "Drought" mixtape series. There's going to be a crowd tonight, so get your tickets from Groovetickets to skip the line and arrive early to find a good spot.

As hip-hop producers have ascended from key but misunderstood figures to stars in their own right, hip-hop heads have discovered more material to emulate and debate over. Along with rhyme schemes and scratch hooks, there's now drum layering to analyze and sample sources to discuss on blogs. 9th Wonder uses Fruity Loops software? You're scrambling to get a copy. Just Blaze retires his MPC drum machine? Traditionalists balk. If you love breaking down the minutiae of the beat, then tonight's Illmatic Beatdown Live Remix Party is right down your lane. A burly lineup of D.C.'s best track architects are getting together at the Rock and Roll Hotel to take the standard beat showcase beyond the tournament battle format. Best Kept Secret, Judah, Oddisee, Kev Brown, J-Scrilla and Overok are part of the group who will be performing a completely remixed version of Nas' classic "Illmatic" album live from end to end. The first 200 attendees get a CD of the remix album.

How fluid is the D.C. club scene? Fritz wrote a how-to-get-into-clubs-for-free story last week, and we've already gotten updates on a new party: Eargasm Thursdays at Play. Featuring resident DJ Bikram Keith playing hip-hop, mashups, top 40 and international sounds, the event starts with an hour of open bar, beginning at 10 p.m. Men get in free until 11 if they RSVP; women are admitted free all night. It's an 18-and-over party, which is perfect timing for the interns and summer students descending on D.C. Remember to "dress trendy" to ensure admission, and hit for guest list spots.

Friday, May 30
The "Sex and the City" movies arrives in theaters today, but most of the parties and celebrations have ties that are tenuous at best; they seem like ad hoc "have a cocktail before you and your girlfriends see the movie!" gatherings. The best we've seen is a Race for the Cure fundraising happy hour tonight at Mate, which is especially appropriate given the "Samantha has breast cancer" story line in the final season of the show, and star Cynthia Nixon's recent announcement that she was diagnosed with the disease. From 5 to 7, Mate's offering $6 cocktails, $7 specialty martinis and half-price appetizers and sushi. From 7 p.m. on, there's a $10 suggested donation at the door, which will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Those who donate get special $5 cosmos. We should probably point out that Mate is right next door to the AMC Loews Georgetown 14, which is showing the movie at 9:35 and 10:15 -- earlier times are already sold out.

As the Pietasters (listen) enter decade number two on the D.C. music scene, it only seems natural that the area's flagship ska band is dialing down a bit. The band's recent "All Day" is a throwback to vintage '60s reggae and rocksteady, eschewing the aggressive punk-ska edge of songs like "Maggie Mae" and "Perfect World" -- the very sound that led to the band's late-'90s stint on Hellcat Records and its appearances on the Warped Tour. At the same time, the music is better than it's been in years -- the deep bassline workouts and key-fed riffs on "Ooolooloo" and "Late Night Call" make up in soul what they lack in raw power, and Steven Jackson's voice is in top form. We're looking forward to seeing how new songs like the punchy "Triflin'" and the Motown-influenced "Fozzy Part 1" slot in alongside fan favorites "Girl Take It Easy" or "Dollar Bill," and we'll get our chance tonight when the Pietasters headline the annual Herndon Festival. There's no cover, but you'll want to bring a couple bucks for funnel cake before the music starts.

Saturday, May 31
Annapolis has always been a favorite day trip for its historic colonial atmosphere, waterfront location and numerous bars for crawling. You can get a taste of Maryland's centuries-old capital today during the annual Tavern Tour, which pops in at 18th-century pubs as well as modern dockside restaurants. The day kicks off at 1 at the old Federal House on the City Dock -- formerly known as Griffin's Restaurant -- and includes stops at eight bars, including the popular waterfront rum bar Pusser's Landing and the college favorite Acme, for $2 Miller Lites and other various specials. The night wraps up with a party on the spacious patio of the Sly Fox Pub from 9 to close. Tickets are $10, or $7 if you bring two cans of food for the Anne Arundel Food Bank.

We're sure there are plenty of reasons to hit Artomatic today, but we can't think of a better one than Mambo Sauce (listen). The break-out go-go band of 2007 had the best go-go song of the year: "Welcome to D.C.," which namechecks Chuck Brown, Madness gear, Backyard Band and the expression "Lunchin', Joe" over an irresistible synth groove, growling guitars and a pocket that's tighter than Secret Service protection. If any go-go band is going to break out of D.C. right now, our money's on this one. Check out Mambo Sauce on the Electric Stage at 10 p.m., and arrive earlier to wander through the displays set up by hundreds of area artists. As always, there's no cover at Artomatic, but donations are appreciated.

Rick Preston's music just sounds like a party: deep, banging house music with funky bass and drums that carry you onto the dance floor. (Listen to "Free" and the "Move Yo Feet Remix" on his MySpace page.) Soaring female vocals and squiggly keys and drums wash into the mix, but it's the steady beats that are the lynchpin of his sound, and the reason we expect the dance floor at Geisha Lounge to be busy tonight. Geisha is an odd little place -- a basement-level sushi restaurant and cocktail lounge around the corner from the White House -- but it's been bringing in some quality DJs in recent months. Preston, an underground house DJ who puts out records on labels like Glasgow Recordings and Viva in his native California, is a very special guest indeed. Opening are local househeads Big Sexy and Aaron Lee. There's no cover between 9 and 11, and it's $5 afterwards, but if you show up early, free mix CDs are yours for the taking.

The beers of the Free State hog the spotlight at today's Maryland Brewer's Spring Fest at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick. A dozen breweries will be pouring at least 60 beers throughout the day, while musicians like the Freddie Long Band (alternative rock) and the Reagan Years ('80s covers) perform. Tickets include six starter tokens, which can be redeemed for samples from such top-notch brewers as Oliver's (from Baltimore's Wharf Rat), the Brewer's Art, Duclaw, Clipper City and Flying Dog. (The latter is based in Denver but it's now brewed in Frederick, making it at least technically a Maryland beer.) The setting is better than the usual parking lot or armory you get at many Maryland festivals, with lots of beer garden-style seats. Admission is $17 in advance from or $20 at the gate; additional beer tokens are $1 each.

Wednesday, June 4
Taylor McFerrin (listen) really keeps the origin of his surname under wraps. It seems like he's trying to make his way in the music game without taking an equity loan on the name of his famous father Bobby, which is admirable. But once you experience his vocal percussion skills, it's hard not to get into an internal nature versus nurture debate. The younger McFerrin is probably a combination of both. He's adept at creating entire compositions with just his mouth and voice, but his music is anchored by precision beatboxing that borrows from hip-hop, drum 'n' bass and broken beat. He's also created a live show where he accompanies his beatboxing improvisations with an array of samplers and synths. His "Broken Vibes EP" (on which his pops makes an appearance) along with collaborations with Amp Fiddler and Ty have kept him buzzing in progressive soul and electronic scenes worldwide for the last couple of years. D.C. can get familiar with him at Bohemian Caverns tonight.

Thursday, June 5 The micro-genres keep splitting themselves into more granular fragments as the music scene gets ever more crowded with new hopefuls trying to stand out. "Punk Funk" is an interesting one often used to describe J*DaVeY (listen) but it's more an ethos than an accurate stylistic description. Made up of Brook D'Leau on a barrage of synths and the freaky, seductive vocals of Jack Davey, the J*DaVeY sound melds new wave, Prince and Dilla when he was in space funk mode. Jack Davey can go from intergalactic sex kitten mode to twisted George Clinton vocal layers to raw battle raps in the space of one tune. Her stage presence reflects that same unpredictable energy while D'Leau backs her with his sharp-edged electro sleaze beats. The duo lands their revamped version of the Mothership at Bohemian Caverns tonight.

-- Fritz Hahn and Rhome Anderson

By Fritz Hahn  | May 27, 2008; 6:09 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Music  
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