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Posted at 2:10 PM ET, 08/ 1/2008

Nightlife Agenda Update

By Fritz Hahn

Rising English singer Estelle performs her hit "American Boy" for free at the Hard Rock Cafe on Friday night. (estelleonline)

Every Tuesday, we compile the week's top concerts, happy hours and after-dark events into the Nightlife Agenda column. Sometimes, there's so much that we can't fit it all in one column, or information comes in after our deadline. When that happens, we like to offer you a Nightlife Agenda Update.

Friday, August 1
Jay-Z's in town for tonight's Africa Rising concert at the Kennedy Center, where he and John Legend are among the artists performing to raise awareness about (and money for) African's humanitarian problems. All the tickets selling for $100 or less are gone -- even the pricey seats have mostly sold out -- so if you really just want to see Hova, your best chance is to head to Love, where Jay's performing with the Clipse and Madskillz. Don't expect this to be anything like last summer's American Gangster tour, a huge stage show where the rhymes were supported by a live band -- if we're lucky, we'll get a half-hour or so of Jay-Z rapping over beats provided by a house DJ. Admission is $30 in advance through Groovetickets if you just want to get into the club, or $80 if you need access to VIP rooms. Doors are at 8, but don't expect a show until a few hours later, and remember to dress up if you want to get in -- tickets or no tickets.

The DC Comedy Fest that kicks off next week looks to have plenty of laughs to offer but we wonder if any of the performers will be able to match what Brian Posehn brings to the Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse on Friday and Saturday. And that's no judgment on the Comedy Fest participants; it's just that Posehn is one of the most reliably hilarious stand-up comics around. You've certainly seen him on TV, whether it was as part of the Comedians of Comedy, as one of the neighbors on "The Sarah Silverman Show" or as a long-ago cast member on "Mr. Show." Posehn is a self-proclaimed metalhead and nerd, and much of his comedy combines those two into something he calls "Nerd Rage." Most of his matieral isn't fit to be quoted here, so we'll just direct you to this short YouTube clip, which is definitely NSFW, but very, very funny.

We seem to feature monthly post-punk night We Fought the Big One on a monthly basis, but we don't really have a choice as long as they keep bringing top notch guest DJs to Marx Cafe. Tonight that would Chuck Warner, certainly not anything close to a household name, but he's one of the best in the world at what he does. And that is digging up obscure, long-lost DIY, post-punk stuff from 30 or so years ago. His label, Hyped 2 Death, is a treasure trove of rare gems, with recent highlights including a three-CD retrospective of cult legends the Homosexuals (one of David's all-time favorites), primitive post-punkers Animals and Men and power-pop should-have-been stars the Shivvers. His Messthetics series of compilations is the obscure post-punk equivalent of the old Funkmaster Flex mixtapes. Warner will bring some of his favorite records to spin; we suggest you bring a pen, paper and take notes on some great new (old) discoveries.

Estelle's "American Boy" is one of the catchiest songs of the year, featuring a killer groove, Estelle's silky, soulful vocals on the hook, and some deft rapping and clever lyrics from Kanye West. (Watch the video.) How has it not gone higher than #16 in the three-plus months it's been on the Billboard chart? We have no idea. One of the brightest young stars on the U.K. scene, Estelle (listen) mixes R&B and hip-hop in a way that similar one-name acts Adele or Duffy can only dream of. Get a glimpse of this rising star for free -- free! -- tonight at the Hard Rock Cafe. (We know, since we're not tourists, we generally avoid the place, too.) Doors open at 8, and it's first-come, first-served.

Saturday, August 2
Brian Posehn at the Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse (see Friday listing)

Sunday, August 3
Every August, the Jamaican Embassy celebrates the county's independence with a huge day-long party in the gardens of the Organization of American States. Authentic food, drinks, crafts, vendors and plenty of live music keep the vibe light. Today's free celebration, which marks 46 years of the country's freedom, is no exception. Headlining is the Bare Essentials band, which has been gigging on the Island for more than 40 years, and excels at playing classic reggae and ska covers -- think Bob Marley and Skatalites songs that everyone knows the words to -- as well as their own material, including the staple "Miss Jamaica." We know "reggae covers!" may sound corny, but it works -- the Bare Essentials had the entire crowd dancing non-stop when they performed at the festival a few years ago. Also on the bill are two Jamaican singers General Degree (listen) and Richie Stephenson (listen), plus locals Image Band (listen) and S.T.O.R.M. Reggae Band (listen). Gates open at 1, and everything wraps up by 8.

-- Fritz Hahn and David Malitz

By Fritz Hahn  | August 1, 2008; 2:10 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music  
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