This week's top stops: a couple of our favorite local bands share a bill at the Black Cat, Redskins cheerleaders help kickstart the NFL season, a bhangra legend visits MCCXXIII and New York's best rocksteady/reggae band plays the State Theatre.
Wednesday, Sept. 3
There's been a serious lack of cupcake-related content on the City Guide lately, so let's do something to fix that. Tonight at City Tavern Club, Kate Marie Grinold -- that's Miss D.C. 2008, of course -- will be hosting Cocktails & Cupcakes for Innocents at Risk, an evening of cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, live music, dancing, a silent auction and 250 cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake. The proceeds from the evening will benefit Innocents at Risk, a group that works to stop human trafficking. Items in the silent auction will be provided by the likes of Cafe Milano, the Washington Nationals and the Washington National Opera. Tickets are $30; don't dress like a schlub.
Thursday, Sept. 4
Sure, we write about Shortstack (listen) a lot. We also write about Suns of Guns a lot. So when they play a show together, as they will do tonight on the Black Cat's backstage, of course we'll give it a mention. Not familiar with the pub we've given them already? Here's a refresher. Shortstack: "The band's excellent "The Covers EP" tackles artists as diverse as Captain Beefhart, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Lungfish's Daniel Higgs, and it gives each song the Shortstack treatment, adding just a bit of twang and Southern gothic feel." Suns of Guns: "The band's sound is heavier than most indie rock, more nuanced than most garage rock and even has a bit of a groove. With regular gigs, the quartet has become one of the best bands in the city." Ah, content repurposing. Isn't that what the Internet is all about?
It's early September, that time of the year when Redskins fever breaks out all across the DMV. Hallucinatory visions of a Redsksins Super Bowl victory afflict some fans, while milder cases involve folks thinking that owner Dan Snyder will leave his meddling to a minimum. The Redskins will once again kick off the NFL season with a Thursday night game, this time against longtime rivals and defending Super Bowl champions the New York Giants. The game is in New York -- er, New Jersey -- so you probably won't be there in person, but you can, of course, watch the game at home or pretty much any bar in the area. But only Mister Days will have the Redskins cheerleaders there. Now, that might mean you want to go to any bar that isn't Mister Days, but if pom-poms and hot pants are your thing, you know where to find a performance prior to kickoff.
Friday, Sept. 5
"Citizen Kane" was a groundbreaking movie because of the lighting and camera angles used by director Orson Welles. "2001: A Space Odyssey" was groundbreaking for its special effects and dramatic use of people in ape suits. "Blow-Up" was groundbreaking for its nudity. Take that, deep focus! Michael Antonioni's 1966 film was the first British movie to showcase full frontal nudity, making the world safe for the likes of "Showgirls." Thanks? It's one of those mid-'60s films that's more about aesthetic pleasure than any sort of great story to tell, but the capturing of mod culture, celebrity cameos and score by Herbie Hancock have helped make it a cult favorite. It shows tonight the AFI Silver Theatre with a post-film dance party featuring DJs, dancing and themed photo shoots. Just try to keep your clothes on. And if you can't, just know that your naked body will probably be seen on BrightestYoungThings.com (the event co-sponsors) when you get into work on Monday. The screening starts at 9:30; party starts at 11.
Saturday, Sept. 6
It's hard to overestimate the significance of Bally Sagoo (listen) to the whole bhangra scene. He could really be seen as a founding father who paved the way for DJ Rehka and others, creating an opportunity that didn't exist for South Asians in the U.S. as recently as the mid-'90s. When Sagoo was coming of age in Britain in the '80s, Indians had already become a significant immigrant demographic, but black music from America and the Caribbean held the cultural clout. While immersing himself in hip-hop and soul, Sagoo was also experimenting with incorporating traditional Indian music into his club sets. It didn't take long before his remixing touch reached an audience hungry to hear a new spin on the music they were raised on. With placements from Bollywood films to "Bend It Like Beckham," Sagoo has been an international star for more than a little while. He'll have party people bouncing their shoulders with their hands to the ceiling at MCCXXIII tonight. Advance tickets are available at DesiClub.com.
Liam Finn (listen) was destined to be a musician, and he didn't waste much time getting to it. His dad is Neil Finn, leader of Split Enz and Crowded House, legends of New Zealand and Australia, respectively, and when Neil was still in his teens his band Betchadupa released an album on seminal New Zealand label Flying Nun. It wasn't until his solo debut, last year's "Call Me Lightning," that he began to gain notice half a world away, but this isn't a case of simple nepotism. Finn's album is an excellent collection of off-kilter pop songs that always have a catchy chorus. He's also intriguing live performer -- check out this performance from "Letterman" -- and after a month on the road playing for some disinterested crowds as Eddie Vedder's opening act, he's surely looking forward to his first headlining tour in the States. Dramatic rockers the Veils (listen) open at Rock and Roll Hotel.
Your best bet for getting down to thumping electro beats is to check out Deadmau5 (listen) at Ibiza tonight. Deadmau5 (it's pronounced Dead Mouse) is Canadian Joel Zimmerman, and he had no problem working the crowd in Virgin Mobile Festival's dance tent into a frenzy during a mid-day set a few weekends ago, so we'd expect him to do the same at a late hour on a Saturday night. This isn't electronic music to chill out to or have a casual drink over. You guzzle some water and then go sweat it all out on the dance floor.
Sunday, Sept. 7
The Slackers (listen) isn't a ska band, OK? Just because the band has a horn section and plays music with Jamaican roots and came to prominence in the late-'90s, when ska had its brief dalliance with the mainstream, doesn't make it so. Rocksteady, the Jamaican music that led to ska, would be a more accurate term, but much of the group's appeal is that one genre doesn't do it justice. Reggae, jazz, rocksteady, garage rock, it's all part of the Slackers' mix and the New York group has been serving up its tasty stew of sounds for more than 15 years -- before the ska boom, during it, after it. The band's most recent album, "Self Medication," shows no drop off from early career classics "Redlight" and "The Question." In fact, the songwriting has become more varied, and despite a rotating lineup, the band sounds as locked in as ever. The one constant has been frontman Vic Ruggiero, who in additon to being the Slackers' ringleader possesses one of music's most alluring voices, a thick, authentic Brooklyn drawl that adds a city flavor to the band's island rhythms. Catch them at the State Theatre.
-- Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
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