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Posted at 3:31 PM ET, 07/24/2008

Nightlife Agenda Update

By Fritz Hahn

Blues guitarist Bobby Parker played with all the greats, and he's called D.C. home for more than four decades. (Chris Stanford/The Washington Post)

It's pretty shocking that guitarist Bobby Parker hasn't moved beyond the D.C. blues scene in the last four decades. The Louisiana native spent the 1950s touring and recording with Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Jackie Wilson, then settled in D.C. in 1961. He almost took off once -- Jimmy Page tried to sign him to Led Zepplin's Swan Song label, which may have been payback for the way Page turned Parker's hit "You Got What It Takes" into the riff for "Moby Dick," but Parker never recorded a demo for Page. He still takes the stage at Madam's Organ on an occasional basis, but Parker turns 71 next month and his health isn't what it was -- hospital care has pushed his bills over $100,000. Madam's Organ owner Bill Duggan has organized a special fundraiser for Parker tonight, headlined by a band called the Coalition of the Willing. The dueling guitars belong to former Hungarian ambassador Andras Simonyi, whose love of rock made him a "Reliable Source" fixture during his tenure in Washington, and former Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, who's traded yacht rock for positions as a defense consultant working on missile defense. (Weird. We know.) Also on tonight's bill are the Johnny Artis Band and local burlesque starlet Miss Kitty Victorian. All you gotta do is pony up a minimum of $10 as a donation at the door, with all the money going to Bobby Parker -- who will take the stage himself at some point during the night. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Where's the best place to see some excellent underground music this weekend? Would you guess the third floor of University of Maryland's South Campus Dining Hall? It's true. The building that houses the Diamondback and WMUC -- and the place where Fritz, David and Rhome all spent far too much time during their formative college years -- has something good to offer each night this weekend. On Friday and Saturday that would be the first DNA Test Fest, which is being presented by DJs Sean Gray and Nicholas Szczepanik, who host the "DNA in the DNA" show on WMUC each Friday. The lineups are plenty obscure but not without some definite highlights. Friday features the stately outsider folk of Tall Firs (listen), throwback power-pop of the Lampshades (listen), a DJ set by True Vine Records co-owner and world music expert Ian Nagoski (listen) and the slapdash lo-fi indie rock of Home Blitz (listen). Saturday's lineup features naughty-named acts like Homostupids (listen) and Turboslut and Buckets of Bile (listen). You can expect all sorts of nasty noise from those acts. Music should start around 6 p.m. on both nights and everything's free.

Expect things to be more jangly and mopey, respectively, when Julie Ocean (listen) and the Antiques (listen) stop by WMUC to perform for Third Rail Radio on Sunday night. The station's weekly live music showcase is always free for anyone who wants to stop by and watch bands perform in a more relaxed setting than the usual club gig. We've talked about both bands plenty in this space -- Julie Ocean's "Long Gone and Nearly There" is indie-pop with some punch, the kind of stuff that would make the band's namesake (the Undertones) proud. David once described the Antiques as "the best moody British band from 1986 that's somehow making music in D.C. right now" and he liked it so much that he'll use it again.

-- Fritz Hahn and David Malitz

By Fritz Hahn  | July 24, 2008; 3:31 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music  
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