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Posted at 5:18 PM ET, 08/12/2008

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

Sam "The Man" Burns is among the DJs giving you a late-night fix of soulful house music at Hometown Heroes on Friday. (Stephanie K. Kuykendal for The Washington Post)

We're dreaming about teleporting and time travel because of the concerts taking place simultaneously on Thursday, including the final Fort Reno show and a band featuring Television's guitarist, but there's plenty of other good stuff this week. Two legendary DJs from Red join forces at a new venue, Mousetrap celebrates nine years of Britpop at the Black Cat, a Bethesda happy hour offers VIP tickets for "The Daily Show" and local turntablists tear the club up for free.

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday

Wednesday, Aug. 13
Lovers of classic indie pop who have been searching for current bands worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as luminaries such as Black Tambourine and 14 Iced Bears will not want to miss New York upstarts Vivian Girls (listen) and Crystal Stilts (listen) at DC9 tonight. Both bands play fuzzy, shambolic, punchy, catchy songs and they would have fit right in on Slumberland Records back in the day. In fact, Crystal Stilts fit in there right now; its full-length debut (an eMusic-only EP came out earlier this year) will be released by the recently awoken label. Vivian Girls' self-titled debut is on garage rock powerhouse In the Red, and while the trio might not be quite as loud as most of its labelmates, the primal rhythms and lo-fi sound make it anything but twee.

The Ex is a slippery sort of band, and they like it that way. The Danish anarchist quartet (we know, we know, not another one of those) is often billed as an avant-ethno-improv-punk band, a bunch of qualifiers that are far away from anything as simple as "pop" or "rock" or "folk." The group started out as simple punks but embraced tons of outsider sounds over the course of the last three decades. They were especially struck by native sounds of Ethiopia, so much that on this current U.S. tour they brought Getatchew Mekuria along to add his scintillating saxophone to the band's already diverse output. You may recognize his work from some of those killer "Ethiopiques" compilations, but if even if you won't, his presence on stage should make this one of the Ex's more casual fan-friendly performances in recent years. Shortstack (listen) are the unlikely openers at the Black Cat.

Beyond the stereotypical bell bottoms, afros and roller skates that are the talismans of cheesy disco nostalgia lovers, there's a whole bigger world of records that rocked dance floors in the '70s. These are not the songs that you'll find on any standard compilation nor would they have been played at Polly Esther's. They haven't been recycled ad nauseum in television ads or featured in a flashback episode of a sitcom. These are the dollar-bin jewels that get passed over because the names aren't familiar. These are the plates DJ Chris Burns uses to arm his crates. Get some obscure boogie-inducing trippiness with Burns and Ed Dudes tonight at Saint-Ex for This Ain't No Disco.

Thursday, Aug. 14
Thursday is one of those days when you wish that scientists had figured out that whole cloning thing. (Come on, science, what's taking so long? No flying cars, no matter transporters, no human cloning -- very disappointing.) There's an embarrassment of riches to be enjoyed tonight, so if you didn't get tickets to the sold-out Hold Steady show at the 9:30 club, don't fret -- there's still plenty to do. Let's start at the Black Cat, which hosts a pair of worthwhile shows. Upstairs on the mainstage it's (kind-of) local hero Thao Nguyen (listen), whose album "We Brave Bee Stings And All" is a lock for David's year-end Top 10 list thanks to its sprightly indie-folk songs and Nguyen's charming voice. Downstairs on the backstage it's neo-folkie Jane Hunter (listen), who takes a more mellow and mysterious approach to her songwriting.

We were wrong about Shudder to Think closing out the Fort Reno lineup. Sorry if we got anyone's hopes up just to leave you disappointed. For the record, David tracked down STT frontman Craig Wedren at Virgin Festival on Sunday and asked him point blank if the band was playing on Thursday. "No, but we'd love to! That would be awesome," he said. So, you know, something to keep in mind for next year, planning committee. The final show of the season is still a winner, featuring office favorites/indie-rock purists the Jet Age (listen), garage-punk rabble rousers Yell County (listen) and the live debut of Title Tracks (listen), featuring John Davis, Andrew Black and Michael Cotterman, formerly known as the male three-quarters of Georgie James. That's a mighty strong triple bill. Besides, you didn't really think Fugazi or Dismemberment Plan would be playing, did you?

But wait, there are still more options for Thursday. Over at the Velvet Lounge you've got the Sufimonkey Trio. Who? Fair question. It's a band that features Richard Lloyd on guitar and Billy Fica on drums. Who? Less fair question. Study up on your punk rock history, will ya? Lloyd and Fica made up half of the original lineup of Television, one of the band's that helped define the mid-'70s punk scene in New York based around CBGB. All those killer solos on songs like "Marquee Moon," "See No Evil" and "Little Johnny Jewel," that's Lloyd's handiwork. Expect him to reel off plenty of that caliber at tonight's show. Local avant-jazz trio DCIC opens.

And finally, for the Virginia folks, there's another office favorite, the Beanstalk Library (listen) at Iota. It's good old-fashioned American rock-and-roll, and they brought along good old-fashioned Americana singer-songwriter Brandon Butler (listen) as an opening act. So there are your myriad options for music this evening. There's no more "Last Comic Standing," so you have no excuse.

Good magazine is a periodical with a novel mission: It covers topics like the disappearance of honeybees, green design, the decline of jazz audiences, and the actual costs of driving a sedan vs. a minivan vs. an SUV, right down to how much you pay for tires per mile, in a tone that manages to be hip, conversational and educational at the same time. An annual subscription costs $20 -- which is promptly donated to one of a dozen nonprofit organizations. You select whether you'd like to help YouthAIDS, Teach for America, Malaria No More or another worthy charity. (Actually, selecting one can be the hard part.) Anyway, the magazine's founders also eschew direct-mail advertising, preferring to throw parties that attract like-minded people. There's a chance to see what Good is all about tonight at a happy hour at Lotus Lounge, with drink specials, gift bags and networking with entrepreneurs, including the folks behind the Center for Inspired Teaching and the Community Bank Initiative. Sound like fun? RSVP here; doors open at 6.

DJ Tru and Dimitris George are back for another installment of the Fringe at Napoleon. This is where a lot of your favorite DJs and bartenders hang out to trade stories about some of you crazy nightclub patrons and get blenderized servings of retro hits and club bangers fresh out of the blogosphere. You can catch up with the duo at, a spot to cop some free downloadable mixes with a name that is more than a little tongue in cheek.

Friday, Aug. 15
Rhome and Fritz are still missing Red, the old south-of-Dupont dance club with a come-as-you-are attitude, great vibes and two of the city's finest soulful house DJs, Sam "The Man" Burns and Doug "95 North" Smith. When one of them was on the decks, the atmosphere in the candlelit room changed: everyone relaxed, everyone got funky and you never knew what kind of journey you'd be taken on. No wonder the regulars compared it to "going to church." Since Red closed, to be replaced by Fly, it's been hard to find a venue that could recapture the old Red spirit, a place for laidback, friendly folks who didn't want to deal with dress codes or bottle service. Well, the Everybody Loves Music promoters think they've found the perfect spot -- the Trinidad and Tobago Association Hall in Petworth, ordinarily used for reggae and soca nights -- and they're kicking off a series of events with the appropriately titled Hometown Heroes. Sam the Man and 95 North are in the DJ booth for the night, ably supported by Rusty B of the All Good Funk Alliance and Chris Burns of Disco City, so expect to start dancing at 10 p.m. and go until, well, your legs fall off. The cover charge for this 18-and-over is $10, and it includes free Flying Dog beer until midnight.

Sometimes we get so caught up in visiting DJs and superstar turntablists that we overlook the folks who rock parties week-in and week-out. Let's take a moment, then, to acknowledge what looks like a killer weekend at Wonderland -- after all, there are not too many places where you can really dance to great music for free wearing whatever you want. Friday night features DJ Meistro (listen), whose mix of reggae, hip-hop and funk turns the second-story dance floor into a sweaty, crazy scene reminiscent of a late-night house party, and Saturday is DJ Nitekrawler (listen), who drops old-school hip-hop, electro, raw-edged funk and disco into the groovy mix.

Saturday, Aug. 16
Speaking of things we take for granted, tonight marks nine years -- a lifetime in the nightlife world -- of Mousetrap, D.C.'s longest-running Britpop and indie-rock dance night. We just took a look at the archive and realized that we only really mention this trailblazing event when its anniversary rolls around, but that's because DJ Mark Zimin has his night down to a science: Play classics from the golden 1995-2000 era (Blur, Pulp, Oasis, Suede, Elastica, etc.) salted in with newer cuts and some '80s indie gems (Smiths, New Order) and voila: Everyone from under-21 college students to over-30 hipsters shows up at the Black Cat and the dance floor is full for most of the night. Admission is $10; when you need to catch your breath, head downstairs to the backstage, where Kicks features DJs Sara and Kim rocking Judas Priest, the Ramones, Joan Jett, the Rolling Stones, the White Stripes -- you know, anything that rocks.

A happy hour in Bethesda tonight holds out the promise of free food, drink specials and the chance to win four VIP tickets to a taping of "The Daily Show." Even better: it's all for charity. Asia Khan, who's running a half-marathon to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, has put together an impressive party at BlackFinn. The silent auction includes restaurant gift certificates, theater tickets, a "girlfriends day" of makeovers, golf classes -- and those "Daily Show" tickets. (You can see a full list of items up for bids on her blog.) The $10 cover goes to charity, and it's good for sliders, wings, quesadillas, etc. from 7 to 10.

DJ Nitekrawler at Wonderland (See Friday listings)

-- Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz

By Fritz Hahn  | August 12, 2008; 5:18 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music  
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How can you bring up Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) without announcing the BIG Shabba Ranks and Machal Montano (A T&T native) going on at Dar Consitution Hall, this Friday, Aug. 15????

Posted by: anonymous | August 13, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse


How can you bring up Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) without announcing the BIG CONCERT of the SUMMER -- Shabba Ranks and Machal Montano (A T&T native) going on at Dar Consitution Hall, this Friday, Aug. 15????

Posted by: anonymous | August 13, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

not bad

Posted by: ms | August 13, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: sm | August 13, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the shout out for Wonderland! Still one of the best places in the city to dance in a casual atmosphere w/ affordable drinks. Slight correction- this Friday is Dirty Bombs w/ Meistro & Deep Sang. Going nearly 3 years strong!


Posted by: Deep Sang | August 13, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

There are a lot of amazing parties going on this Friday including Meistro's and Nitekrawler's residencies... Much respect to two major DC locals.

But I hope everyone will come get down at Hometown Heroes. If you miss that magic from a night out on the dancefloor, this is the place to be on Friday night!

Posted by: Joe L. | August 13, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Everybody Loves Music, have been putting together amazing events. I have been waiting for this Hometown Heroes event FOREVER!!!

Posted by: -S | August 13, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

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