Fans of soul make out like bandits this week, with appearances by YahZarah and PPP, plus a new night of classic funk and soul 45s. But you can also hear a member of A Tribe Called Quest DJ, sample cocktails at an organic garden party, dance to soulful house at Gallery, drink cheap beers while listening to mellow tunes or watch classic punk and hardcore bands perform at CBGB.
(Looking for Bastille Day-related events? Read this blog post.)
Wednesday, July 9
Though many restaurants now bat around terms like "organic" and "sustainable" as often as "dessert" or "wagyu," the Hotel Monaco's Poste has long been ahead of the curve. The garden in the hotel's spacious courtyard provides herbs and veggies for the kitchen as well as the cocktail bar, and chef Robert Weland leads seasonal tours of nearby farmers markets, then teaches attendees how to prepare the local ingredients. Tonight, Poste is hosting its first Garden Party on its patio, with the unveiling of Weland's new "organic and sustainable" menu, as well as cocktails made with Square One organic vodka. The kicker is that the whole night is a benefit for nonprofit environmental group The Trust for Public Land. The $10 admission fee, which includes appetizers and two cocktails, will go to the organization, as will the $5 charge for each additional drink.
If you've collected YahZarah's work with everyone from Erykah Badu to Marcus Johnson to the Foreign Exchange project with Nicolay and Little Brother's Phonte, you'll have a chance to hear her leading her own combo and pulling from her own solo material at Bohemian Caverns tonight. This product of Duke Ellington School of the Arts has an astounding multi-octave soprano (listen) and sometimes calls upon her Purple St. James persona when she deviates from soul and jazz into rock territory.
Thursday, July 10
Though the legendary New York nightclub CBGB closed in 2006 and founder Hilly Kristal passed away less than a year later, the punk landmark's legacy lives on through distressed T-shirts, beach towels, women's underwear, keychains -- all available from the CBGB Web site, or, failing that, your local Urban Outfitters or Hot Topic. (Hell, you can even get your own firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address!) What's gotten lost in all the merchandising and stories about the club reopening in Las Vegas or becoming a John Varvatos boutique is that it was the womb of American punk rock and hardcore, home to the Ramones and the Dead Boys and Blondie and the Talking Heads, then, years later, nurturing the nascent NYHC scene Sick of it All and Gorilla Biscuits and the Cro-Mags. For God's sake, leave your CBGB shirts at home tonight and go to the Black Cat for the Live at CBGB's Double Feature, where you can watch a 1977 Dead Boys concert -- odds-on that Stiv Bators does something snotty -- and then an electric 1982 show by D.C.'s own hardcore legends Bad Brains. Movies are shown on the backstage, and there's no cover, so arrive before 9 to get the best seats.
Friday, July 11
Just two years ago, Gallery looked like it was going to give house and dance fans a reason to skip driving into D.C. on weekends. Why deal with crowds and parking hassles when DJs like Ron Trent and DJ Sneak are providing beats for breakdancers and graffiti artists at a cool indoor-outdoor nightspot in Silver Spring? Then what looked to be a golden situation got caught in the same-old tar pits of promoter switches and ownership changes, and before you knew it, it was flailing around, looking for theme nights and untried DJs and sinking deeper and deeper. Now, finally, it looks like someone's thrown the club a lifeline. Local promotions team 88, which was behind Gallery's best events in 2006, has retaken the reins for Loda, art-and-music events that begin at 6 every Friday and keep going until 3, with dancing going on inside the club and in the cozy alleyway out back. Tonight, the headliner is New York deep house DJ Freddy Sanon, who regularly spins at (and managed) the legendary Shelter nightclub and ran the Shelter record label. He's joined by the up-and-coming Jacques Renault, a Bethesda native whom Paper Magazine named "Best NYC DJ." Renault's released his slick blend of disco, funk and "nu-disco" under the name Runaway and his remixes on hot labels like Italians Do It Better and DFA. D.C. soulful house legend Sam "The Man" Burns and Disco City DJ Chris "No Relation" Burns are also on the bill, which should guarantee an amazing time for all. Admission is $10, and it's $5 if you e-mail email@example.com for a password.
D.C. doesn't get many "special" shows. Sure, almost all of the big tours roll through town, but we didn't get Sonic Youth playing for free on July 4th, y'know? So when we get a rare show, it's worth taking notice. Half Japanese (listen) will be at the Rock and Roll Hotel tonight, up in Baltimore on Saturday and that's it for the rest of the year. For a long time, David considered Half Japanese one of those weird bands that you respected more than you liked, but then he saw them down in Austin during SXSW and became a complete convert. The band is rightly revered for being DIY pioneers, but there's more than mythology and intense fandom from the likes of Kurt Cobain and Yo La Tengo at work. Over the last 30 years, brothers Jad and David Fair have crafted an enormous body of work that ranges from skronky bedroom-noise mayhem to indie-pop perfection, always served with a solid dose of humor and honesty. Don't miss it.
Classic soul nights are proliferating rapidly in our area as diligent excavators of rare funky vinyl connect with larger audiences who have grown more appreciative of their finds. For DJ Nitekrawler's launch of his monthly Moneytown party, he's bringing heavy artillery to Dahlak in the form of Dante Carfagna. In the world of vinyl hounds, Carfagna's name holds weight. Some of us stick to the 12-inches and LPs, but it takes a special kind of devotion to immerse oneself in the world of 45s. Carfagna toured with DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist on that duo's 7-inch-only Brainfreeze tour, and he's currently authoring a book on funk with Shadow. He's also a contributor to Wax Poetics, a record-collecting bible that opens up lost worlds of obscure releases and the stories of the artists behind them. This is your chance to groove to records that you otherwise would never have known even existed.
Waajeed came out of Detroit's underground hip-hop scene with grimy slabs of beats developed alongside colleague J Dilla and then joined multi-instrumentalist Saadiq to craft some of the modern soul movement's most iconic tunes. Platinum Pied Pipers is now PPP (listen), and if you think you know them from the debut album three years ago, a lot more has changed than the name. The new single "On A Cloud" brings the tempo up and touches the group's future funk with '60s soul. Tonight at the Black Cat they'll be joined by Blu & Exile, a hip-hop duo that refocused attention on the West Coast underground with last year's "Below The Heavens." Wes Felton forms a bridge between the two acts with his combination of song, verse and MCing.
True School's back at Liv tonight, and this time Cuzzin B and 9th Wonder are joined by a celebrity guest who dabbles on the turntables. Stringer Bell, "The Wire" star Idris Alba himself, will be playing host and also trying his hand at dropping classic late-'80s hip-hop and R&B plates. With his starpower also coinciding with a bash for Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, you'll have to dig deeper into your pockets, but where else can you suck on a Jolly Rancher, play Connect 4, watch "House Party" and then dance to Al B. Sure?
Saturday, July 12
The Hip-Hop Theater Festival is providing many opportunities this week to experience the healthy aspects of a culture under siege. You can blame soulless artists and corporate consolidation for bringing down hip-hop music, but it's the inevitable technology and market forces that rendered the extinction of the vinyl record, a medium that nurtured generations of hip-hop fans. At the Waxploitation: Lost in Transit art exhibit at Pacific Cafe tonight, an army of artists reflect on the relationship that many of have of us have with those black plastic discs. As a grand finale to the festival, the soundtrack will be provided by Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest (listen), himself a highly pedigreed collector, manipulator and producer of many noteworthy life moments captured on wax.
Asylum's Miller High Life Countdown is already one of the best weekend happy hours around -- beers for 50 cents, people! That's two quarters! Mere pocket change! It seems like it would be hard to make that better, but DJ Moose is giving it his best shot tonight by adding music to the mix. The Soft Rock High Life Countdown lets you sip your discounted suds to the sounds of Journey, Whitney Houston, Bread, Chicago and other "Adult Contemporary" artists. We'll put this into the category of "The more you drink, the better it gets," and wager that some people will forget how cool they
are supposed to be and will be singing along to Hall and Oates by 9. There's no cover. As always, the beer costs 50 cents at 6 p.m., and the price rises 50 cents per hour.
A cool Lincoln is all you'll need to jump into the deep end with a few serious house DJs at Geisha tonight. Sub-Sub's headliner is Ian Friday, (listen) the main force behind the Tea Party label (listen) of soaring house anthems and New York's Libation party, where dancers go for emotional cleansing and ecstatic release. Balancing Friday's uplifting sound will be Double o7 with the aggressive style favored by his 3 Degrees Global crew.
Sunday, July 13
Two weeks ago, the D.C. Caribbean Carnival had soca fans dancing in the streets (literally). Now it's the reggae lovers' turn. The Jamaica Day Outdoor Reggae Festival shows off a spectrum of styles, from the Studio One roots and dancehall legend Sugar Minott (listen) to dancehall star Frankie Paul, known as "Jamaica's Stevie Wonder" (listen) to the younger Mr. Easy (listen), who mixes lovers rock and rougher styles. Throw in some of the best local bands, including Jah Works and S.T.O.R.M., and food and music vendors, and the Anne Arundel County Fairground should be the hippest place this side of Kingston.
Tuesday, July 15
The distorted thumb piano at the beginning of Nomo's (listen) "All the Stars" might have you thinking you've stumbled across a new recording by Congolese trance rockers Konono No. 1. But this music comes from a far less exotic locale -- Michigan. But don't discount Nomo's funkiness just because of its home state. The large ensemble can hold its own with any band dealing in Afrobeat rhythms, and its show at the Rock and Roll Hotel tonight promises to be a sweaty summer delight. "Hot horns + heavy percussion" is the band's motto and it fully delivers on that promise. You'd have a right to be skeptical about University of Michigan jazz studies graduates attempting to recreate the classic sounds of Fela Kuti, but here's betting that after the first five minutes of the show you'll be dancing too much to even remember why you were skeptical in the first place.
-- Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
Posted by: Graham Meyer | July 9, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse
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