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Posted at 2:53 PM ET, 07/ 2/2008

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

Local indie-rockers Metropolitan may play their final show on Saturday night. (Veronika Lukasova)

The long holiday weekend means more chances to go out and have fun, whether you're rocking to hip-hop DJs, indie bands, happy hours for a good cause, classic soul or a new trivia night.

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Monday | Tuesday

Wednesday, July 2
With a freewheeling improvisational approach that often includes a set list made entirely from fan requests, Vinx accompanies his rich tenor with just hand drums and a few choice bits of gear that allow him to layer his own harmonies. If your pockets aren't fat enough to get a taste of this artist when he usually stops through Blues Alley, his two sets at Bohemian Caverns tonight are your golden opportunity. The Caverns allow the same intimate experience as Blues Alley, which is crucial for the Vinx experience.

It's Beat Grinder time at Liv, again and along with the dueling drum machines and hot 16-bar verses from local hip-hop producers, you can come up on tons of free sportswear and video game shwag. Damu the Fudgemunk and his brother and Major partner DJ Underdog will keep the proceedings moving between the elimination rounds. Oddisee is a beast on the tracks and on the rhymes and is established enough to not be competing against the up and comers anymore. He'll be a featured performer along with Kokayi, another do-it-all artist and D.C. cornerstone.

Irish pubs (or their American facsimiles) were originally the bastions of pub quiz culture in D.C., but now everyone seems to be running a trivia night, from billiards halls to sports bars. The latest establishment to jump on the bandwagon isn't a hot new watering hole but a historic synagogue. Sixth and I is hosting its second "6th in the City Trivia Night," in which teams of up to five people answer questions about pop culture, politics, history and sports to win prizes. There's a $10 cover ($40 per team of five), but that includes unlimited snacks and beer, wine or soda. The games begin at 7. To save your team's spot, e-mail or call 202-408-3100. (If you can't make it tonight, there will be other chances on August 6 and September 3.)

Thursday, July 3
After Nation closed in the summer of 2006, its three weekly parties went on hiatus before surfacing elsewhere. We know what happened with Buzz (a nomadic existance before moving to Fur) and Velvet Nation (its founders eventually opened Town Danceboutique and moved the action there), but it's easy to forget the first one to rebound was Alchemy, the goth/industrial DJ night. Within a month of Nation's closure, Alchemy launched at Club Envy. But then Alchemy left that club, and now its promoters throw somewhat irregular parties at venues around town. Town was the setting for the Goth Prom a few months ago, and Alchemy's returning to Eighth Street tonight for its annual Freaks United extravaganza. Four bands -- XUBERX (listen), the Opposite Sex (listen), the Drowning Season (listen) and Middle Child Syndrome (listen) -- are performing alongside DJs Dirty B, Jen Lasher, Kangal, Neska, Transept and 2501. Admission is $10 all night, and doors open at 8 p.m. There's no dress code, but be creative as possible -- everyone else will.

Friday, July 4
It's Friday and Fourth of July, but things might be a bit mellower than usual at We Fought the Big One. That's because the members of dream-pop band Mahogany (listen) will be the special guest DJs. Now it's possible that the band will stick the usual wiry, post-punk goodness that bursts out of the Marx Cafe speakers the first Friday of every month. But Mahogany is known for lush, ethereal mood music, so perhaps the band members will stick to bliss-out material. Either way, it promises to be a good, off-the-beaten-path choice for post-fireworks hanging. To complete the Mahogany experience, you can catch the group at the Black Cat on Thursday night, opening for local shoegazers Lorelei (listen).

The holiday forecast for beats and soul is really strong, kicking off with Eric Roberson and Franklin Bridge at the 9:30 club. A Gen-X heir to old-school soul with a hip-hop lean, Roberson creates explosive and unique moments no matter how many times you see him.

It is with a heavy heart that we're writing about the end of Rebirth at Mirrors. The upside is that this soulful house party had a strong two-year run, which is props worthy for a music scene that remains underground. The sound system always had the balance of boom and warmth that's crucial for the genre, and the padded hard wood floors gave just the right balance of spring and slide. A bit of baby powder set it off lovely for the hardcore dancers who were serious about their steps. Rebirth also had a nice synergy between big name guests like Ruben Mancias and strong local residents DJ Divine and DJ Oji. For its farewell edition, vocalist Tamara Wellons makes another appearance along with DJ Ron Pullman and DJ Chuck Balt. You can also enter a raffle for an iPod pre-loaded with mixes from the Rebirth family.

We're entering a strange new world of consumer choice. Radiohead and Girl Talk let fans name their own price to download new albums. And now charities have taken notice. Tonight at the Red and the Black, a coalition of local bands called the la La Walk is holding its first Name Your Cover fundraiser. You decide how much you want to give -- anything from a penny to $100, and all proceeds go directly to three charities: Food and Friends, which brings groceries to D.C. residents with serious illnesses; Students for a Free Tibet; and Jail Guitar Doors, which uses music to help inmates in D.C. prisons. (Find out more about the beneficiaries involved on the la La Walk Web site.) After you've dug into your pockets, enjoy music by the Big $$ DJs and $3 drinks until close.

Saturday, July 5
Old bands don't break up -- they just go on "hiatus." Ask Fugazi. Or Lungfish. Or, after tonight, Metropolitan, the zippy Arlington-based indie rock band (listen). Metropolitan's been a Nightlife Agenda favorite since we heard the record "Down for You Is Up" earlier this century. The group's sound -- a mix of Dinosaur Jr.-esque guitars, melodic basslines and crisp drumming -- ducks and weaves from song to song. You never know what you're going to get, but it always has a strong hook. But now bassist Shyam Telikicherla is moving to Chicago, so Metropolitan's not going to be playing together "for the foreseeable future," according to singer/guitarist John Masters. Give the band a proper sendoff tonight on the mainstage of the Black Cat, where they're playing with Wye Oak, Bellflur and the Face Accidents.

Sunday, July 6
As the July Mixtape tells you, it's a great month for wordly sounds. But Africa isn't the only continent that produces funky sounds, as evidenced by tonight's show at the Black Cat. Opener Chicha Libre (listen) takes its inspiration from the the sounds of South America, particularly Peru and the Amazon. The band's name derives from the chicha genre of music, which grew out of Peru in the '70s. There are no horns; instead it focuses on rhythm and surf guitar. Simply put, you can dance to it and it's fun. Headliners Dengue Fever (listen) takes its cues from the the psych rock and Cambodian pop. The band often sings in Khmer and covers some of your favorite Cambodian songs from the 1960s. So for all of you who think that the Black Cat's scope in bands and their influences ends at Brooklyn, tonight is a welcome change.

Monday, July 7
Fleet Foxes (listen) are on fire. Back in March, the Washington (state) indie folks known for their rich harmonies served as an opening act on the Black Cat's backstage. A few months later they were slotted to headline the club's smaller, downstairs space, but demand was overwhelming and the show will now be on the mainstage. It's not hard to understand why. The band manages to create something dreamy and soothing, but does it in the context of actual songs. "Ragged Wood" sounds like it would fit perfectly in between the first two My Morning Jacket albums. (That's a whole lot better than fitting comfortably between the fourth and fifth My Morning Jacket albums, by the way.) Get there early for openers the Dutchess and the Duke (listen) a duo that sounds like some great band you'd discover on some random psych-folk compilation from the late '60s. A couple of acoustic guitars + boy/girl harmonies + some tambourine = something pretty great, it turns out. The lo-fi recording -- which probably won't get lost in a live setting -- adds to their charm.

Tuesday, July 8
No Age (listen) is one of many bands making some figurative noise by making some literal noise. The noisy, lo-fi not-quite-movement spearheaded by No Age and fellow Nightlife Agenda favorites like Times New Viking and Jay Reatard is even big enough that even MTV did a little news report on it. (Watch the video; it has John Norris!) The band's attack consists of some effects-laden guitar noise and primitive bashing on the drums, but there are enough hooks, especially vocal ones, to give the songs individual identities as opposed to sounding like a continous blast of feedback. High Places (listen) and Abe Vigoda (listen) open at Rock and Roll Hotel.

-- Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz

By Fritz Hahn  | July 2, 2008; 2:53 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Music  
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Dengue Fever link is dead. Thanks for the info on this great band.

Posted by: Marianne | July 3, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

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