Dress as a tourist and brave the bars of Adams Morgan for charity, hear some of the top voices in hip-hop, arm wrestle a rollergirl (after a few free beers), dance to African superstars, celebrate happy hour on a rooftop deck, or check out upscale speed dating. Sound like fun? Read on for more information.
Wednesday, July 23
N'digo Rose (listen) and Ab & the Souljourners (listen) borrow some key pages from the D'Angelo playbook, but that's meant as a compliment, especially since his self-imposed exile shows no signs of ending. Both artists employ soaring falsettos, warm Rhodes accompaniment and tightly arranged vamps and breakdowns. In Ab's work you can also hear that irresistable muted brass sound that Roy Hargrove laced throughout D'Angelo's "Voodoo" album. Of course, the two singers have their own unique hallmarks, which come out most clearly in their shows. Ab's sets shine through with gospel influences, while N'digo Rose uses the stage as a playground for some of his more eccentric impulses -- perhaps an impromptu dance on top of his keyboard if he's really feeling it. These local soul scene mainstays play two shows at Bohemian Caverns tonight as part of the Rhythm & Soul Series.
Since people apparently can't get enough of Kostume Karaoke, the city's kookiest karaoke night, it's expanded to twice a month at Solly's. Wear your own costume or grab an outfit from the assortment provided, then pick a song from the 11,000 options. Singing begins at 8, though you might want to try to sign up earlier. As always, there's no cover.
Thursday, July 24
All these poolside happy hours had us flashing back to one of our favorite happy hours of yesteryear -- Afterlight, held on the roof of the Embassy Row Hilton. Great view of from Dupont Circle to Virginia, summery tunes, fresh food coming off the grill, a small bar serving frozen drinks and a small pool to lounge beside or dip your feet in. Tonight, the International Club of D.C. is hosting a happy hour atop the Hilton, and the formula is staying the same. Admission is $5 in advance if you register at internationalclubdc.com or $7 if you just show up. The party runs from 6:30 to 9:30.
What could make speed dating "upscale"? It's gotta be more than the dress code, since you'd want to look good to score first-impression points, right? Find out tonight at "All Things Considered: Speed Dating With a Twist" the Sideline, LaVar Arrington's football-themed bar, where WPGC DJ Osei the Dark Secret -- host of the steamy late-night "Love Talk and Slow Jams" show -- and relationship expert and author Ki-Ki Rockstar present a free night of speed dating. (We don't think we've ever seen a free speed dating event before, so take advantage.) Dates take place between 7 and 10, and you really do need to dress up -- no sneakers or flip-flops, people. You never know who you'll meet.
Local DJ night My Favorite Dress is a bit like stepping into a time machine back to late-'90s Mousetrap, when the city's original indie-pop dance night played stuff that didn't necessarily tear up the dance floor but was jangly and catchy and twee. As Mousetrap got bigger and needed to appeal to a wider audience, MFD stepped up to fill in the true indie-pop void, giving people a chance to enjoy bands like Aislers Set, Acid House Kings and the Wedding Present. All of those bands will be featured on a mix CD that DJs Kathryn and the Holiday Girl will be giving out in limited quantities to celebrate MFD's third anniversary. Also being given out in limited quantities? Free Peroni -- the best kind of Peroni. After the free drinks run out, they'll be $4, which is actually cheaper than usual. Damn this economy. Champagne drinks are $5, but the killer indie-pop is free all night at Cafe St-Ex.
Friday, July 25
Funky local literary journal Barrelhouse Magazine throws parties that are almost as good as the prose within. So when the editors decided that issue No. 6 would be devoted to stories, interviews and poems about roller derby, well, they had to do something that lives up to the sport's reputation for bonecrushing coolness. That's why you should head over to the Hillyer Art Space tonight for License to Brawl, which features readings, videos, music by DJ Adrian Loving, food and drink from the Flying Dog Brewery, a huge mural by Cory Oberndorfer (who had some derby-themed works up at the Katzen Art Center earlier this year) and arm wresting with some local derby stars. There's a $10 cover charge; or pay $15 if you want the new issue of Barrelhouse, which you will. Doors open at 6 and the event's over at 10.
Zimbabwe is the source of a lot of sad news these days, but Oliver Mtukudzi (listen) is an ambassador of strength, positivity and hope for his country. Known lovingly as "Tuku" back home, his nickname also functions as shorthand for his unique mixture of South African mbaqanga, Zimbabwean jiti and the katekwe drumming of his clan. After 30 years and 40 albums, Mtukudzi shows no signs of slowing down, still singing protest songs in his native Shona. He's joined at Zanzibar's Kololo African music festival by singers Nana Frimpong of Ghana and Loide, a Maryland resident with roots in Mozambique and Guineau Bissau.
The motto of Jason Pierce's former band, 1980s drone rockers Spacemen 3, was "Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to." Pierce has adhered to that mission statement for his entire career, the last two decades of which have been spent as the creative force behind the sublimely spacey Spiritualized (listen). He's probably not dabbling with the mind-altering substances so much these days, especially after a recent near-death experience resulting from a bout with pneumonia (no, really, it was pneumonia). That doesn't mean his music isn't still blissed-out psych rock that makes you wish you were back in college and had no responsibilities for the next 72 hours. Spiritualized's latest album, "Songs in A&E," has more of Pierce's beautiful, sweeping epics, and the band's live show is always appropriately mind-altering, even if it's just because of the lighting and guitar effects. Detroit garage rockers the Dirtbombs (listen) make for an unlikely, but pretty awesome, opener at the 9:30 club.
The demise of Buzz at Fur and the ongoing "temporary" closing of Five should mean a net loss for dance music in D.C, but shows keep going on, finding their way into smaller and more interesting venues. As much as we'd like to see London-based breakbeat DJs Slyde (listen) in a large club, we're happy to catch one of the duo's first U.S. shows in the comparatively intimate environs of Eyebar. Slyde's new album, "Everyone's Entitled to Our Opinion," bounces, jumps and skips through a mix of electro party tunes, sounding at times like a dream paring of Fatboy Slim and Peaches. Think huge beats with a touch of sleaze. Support comes from a deep lineup of DJs, including Joe Kopasek, Catalyst and Brandon Black. Tickets are $7 in advance from wanttickets.com or $12 at the door.
Anthony David (listen) might as well buy a vacation home in Washington, because he's here all the time. D.C. will do that to you though. Audiences here will turn underdogs into superstars when they come to town, surprising under-the-radar artists with their knowledge, support and enthusiasm. The only things that D.C. requires are talent and sincerity, two areas where David excels. The southern new generation bluesman might be on the way to losing that underdog status, since his third album, "Acey Duecy," was released under India.Arie's major label imprint. Anthony David will be joined at the Black Cat tonight by N'Dambi (listen), a former Erykah Badu background singer who has found her own wider orbit with an upcoming album on Stax Records.
Tonight was supposed to be Continental Pool Lounge's fifth anniversary celebration, but unfortunately, the club has had to put the event off until August 29. Instead of moping, they're turning their special day into a fundraiser for the D.C. Burn Foundation. All night long, 50 cents from every pint of Hook & Ladder beer will go to charity. (And with the beer at $2.50 at happy hour, your wallet won't be too much lighter after doing some good.) General Manager Daniel Williams suggests trying the Ember Amber -- a black-and-tan-style mix of the Backdraft Brown and Golden Ale.
Saturday, July 26
The juxtaposition of the phrases "bar crawl," "Adams Morgan" and "Saturday night" ordinarily sends shivers down our collective spines, but, well, when it's for charity, and when there's a theme involved, we'll let you decide for yourselves whether it's worth the trip to 18th Street. Between 6 and 11, the Tacky Tourist Mini Bar Crawl asks participants to donate a minimum of $10 in exchange for drink specials at several bars on the strip ($3 domestic drafts and rail drinks at Grand Central, $3 pints and $10 pitchers at Adams Mill, cut-price beer at Asylum, etc.). Proceeds go to a team called Save the TaTas that's participating in the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Breast Cancer 3-day walk in October. You're invited to come dressed as a Washington visitor, but let's be more creative than FBI T-shirts and fanny packs -- think matching Old Navy flag T-shirts, Crocs, RayBans ... maybe spending a few minutes outside the Woodley Park Metro station will give you some ideas. Register at Grand Central between 6 and 10, then head off.
Sunday, July 27
Nas' new album is actually pretty decent. A Tribe Called Quest keeps threatening to get back together, much to the delight of audiences when they do spot dates. After 20+ years in the game, De La Soul can still tear down any venue. And newer acts like Kidz In The Hall and Wale show that the kids might be okay because they actually learned something from their forebears. When you temporarily ignore the output of a bunch of Young/Yung's, Lil's and 'Eezies, hip-hop has a lot to offer these days. Even The Pharcyde is reuniting for Rock The Bells today. Maybe you're still on the fence because you know that getting in and out of that venue in the bucolic hamlet of Columbia could turn P.M. Dawn into "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted"-era Ice Cube. For those concerns, On Tap has you covered with a breakfast pre-party, lawn ticket and bus ride deal for $55. Even old, crotchety hip-hop heads can't front on that.
Tuesday, July 29
Thurston Moore has always seemed like the kind of guy who could ramble on endlessly about bands that you've never heard of, let alone heard. You can put that theory to the test tonight at the Corcoran when the Sonic Youth singer-guitarist/alt-rock icon will team up with Bryan Coley to talk about "No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980," the new book the two co-wrote about the city's short-lived, highly-influential scene that inspired Sonic Youth and, in turn, all the bands Sonic Youth inspired. Moore and Coley will answer any questions you have about acts like James Chance, Lydia Lunch, DNA and Mars, even if those questions are, "Who are these people?" There will probably also be a chance to ask Thurston some Sonic Youth fanboy questions or badger him about "selling out" to Starbucks.
-- Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
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