The holiday season's feel-good factor extends to bars and clubs this week, with a number of happy hours and bar crawls collecting money or goods for the less fortunate. We've also got a full slate of local rock bands, a jazz pianist endorsed (and accompanied) by Roberta Flack, some tasty beers and wines, a black-tie party at the House of Sweden, the return of the legendary DJ night Panic and much more.
Wednesday, Dec. 10 Winter is a season when our local and regional brewpubs and microbreweries really shine, producing all manner of winter ales and fortified stouts. You could spend your time touring from Baltimore to Leesburg, sampling along the way (with a designated driver, of course), or you could hit one of the Brickskeller's annual tastings. The Holidaze Extravaganvee is one for hardcore beer fans, with brewers introducing and discussing their seasonal selections before everyone in the room gets a small glass. Tonight, find out what's new at Vintage 50, Brewer's Art, Sweetwater Tavern and Franklin's, among others. The night's hosted by the esteemed Bob Tupper, who's tasted more than 15,000 beers around the world. Tickets are $35 from lovethebeer.com, which includes all your samples and a chance to help polish off the kegs at the end of the night.
Another reason to love the Points: whenever D.C.'s finest plays a show, it's always with some worthy openers. When your life is committed to rock-and-roll and you can spend a month on the road without worrying about an office job, it helps you connect with good bands across the country. Tonight at the Velvet Lounge the Points will be joined by Detroit's Terrible Twos , who play a similar brand of whiplash rock-and-roll that's a little more garage than punk. Expect squealing keyboards, howling vocals and general mayhem. Baltimore's the Electrocutions also get the rock started.
Thursday, Dec. 11
An endorsement from Roberta Flack carries some hefty expectations, but Davell Crawford has been meeting those since his teen years. This piano master documents Louisiana roots music while infusing it with modern energy; he moves between sacred music, blues, ballads and New Orleans jazz on his critically lauded recordings. Roberta Flack will actually be joining Crawford tonight at Bohemian Caverns, the spot where Les McCann first discovered her 40 years ago. That's the type of history that gives a Guru chills.
If you want to get Fritz's attention, use the following phrases in any order: "French wine," "free" and "happy hour." Domasoteca, the cool little wine shop attached to the Hotel Palomar's Domaso restaurant and lounge, is offering a taste of "Noel en France" from 5 to 6:30 today, offering samples of a half-dozen varieties of French wine, some of which you'll probably be familiar with (champagne, Bordeaux) and some of which you might not be (Savennieres, a dry white from the Loire, or Banyuls, a fortified sweet dessert wine from the Roussillon region). Small bites, like cheese, are usually provided during the tasting.
The Caribbean is a perfect band to play in a record store. The band's subtle melodies and thoughtful lyrics should appeal to the type of folk who still shop in brick-and-mortar shops. Also, volume isn't a key ingredient, so the makeshift setup shouldn't put a damper on anything. It's more music to think to than drink to. And maybe record shop to. Locals the Cut-Ups also do the free, in-store thing at Crooked Beat.
Friday, Dec. 12
Chicago's Roy Davis Jr. returns to Gallery tonight as a guest of Loda. Davis comes from a tradition of world-famous Chicago DJs who carry the human element of disco and deep dance classics into the modern realms of techno and house. His is a style that brings more dynamic variation to a club set: he melds the elastic tempos and timbres of live bands from the '70s with their more rigidly programmed offspring of modern R&B. Tonight's Loda is part of World AIDS Day, with proceeds going toward the construction of a NextAid community center in South Africa.
Gavin Rossdale met fame in the '90s as the frontman of Bush, the post-grunge band who had huge success with "Comedown," "Everything's Zen," "Swallowed," "Glycerine" and other radio-friendly hits. These days, despite a new solo album, "Wanderlust," and the single "Love Remains the Same," he's still better known as Mr. Gwen Stafani. Rossdale's been talking up the chance of a Bush reunion in the press recently, but tonight at Clarendon Ballroom, it's just him and an acoustic guitar at a free show sponsored by local radio station Hot 99.5. Doors open at 9, and there's bound to be a very long line, so arrive early for the best chance of getting in.
Way back at the beginning of this century, one of the most popular DJ nights in town was Panic, which mixed '80s favorites, '90s classics and Britpop singles into one dance-floor-filling cocktail. Held at the Metro Cafe every Friday, Panic was hosted by DJs Jim Noble (one of the founders of the '80s dance party at Club Heaven), Tim Pogo (of WHFS) and Olli, who provided the really cool visuals on screens around the club and took a turn on the decks. Panic fizzled out after Metro Cafe closed in the summer of 2002. Olli moved to Berlin, where he opened the very cool (and highly recommended) 8mm Bar in Prenzlauer Berg. Pogo took a job in Chicago, where he spins alternative rock on Q101. Noble still works for a film production company in Northern Virginia. Tonight, Noble and Olli are again joining forces, along with frequent Panic guest DJ Victory Rose, at DC9, where they'll battle the Liberation Dance Party's resident Matt Dunn. Expect everything from retro jams to current electro-tinged hits, with a healthy dose of Anglophilia. Admission is $6, which includes an open bar on rail drinks from 9 to 10:30.
There will be plenty of groups of oddly dressed people barhopping on 18th Street tonight, but only one set of them will be raising money for a deserving charity while knocking back $1 beers. To spot that one, just look for the wigs. The Wig Walk, which starts at 6 at Toledo Lounge, raises money for Dr. Bear's Closet at the Children's National Medical Center. A $20 donation -- 100 percent of which goes to buy toys for children at the hospital -- gets you $1 beers on the crawl, which moves from Toledo (6 to 8) to Madam's Organ (8 to 10) before winding up at Adams Mill Bar and Grill. (10 to midnight). At least 100 people are expected to participate, which means you'll make some new friends before the night is over. Which leaves just one question: Why wigs? According to Wig Walk's Beth Dahlman, the idea was hatched when founders Kate Farrington and Leslie Hall were saying that they love living in D.C., but "unlike NYC or some other cities, it's just not the kind of place where you can walk around in a crazy wig without drawing strange looks. This, they thought, was a tragedy, because sometimes everything is just a little more fun in a wig. The solution: get a lot of people to walk around in a wig with you." And if it makes sick kids happier, that makes everything a lot more fun.
Recent Nightlife Agendas have been stuffed with events asking you to bring toys for sick children or canned goods for needy families. The Washington Humane Society has an interesting twist on that tonight at Midtown, asking guests to bring pillows or blankets for dogs at the Humane Society's shelters. An incentive to be generous: you get a free shot for every item you donate. Women receive free admission all night; guys should RSVP to email@example.com to skip the $20 cover charge.
If you haven't seen Chris Dubia's stark, shadowy black-and-white photographs at the Dissident Display Gallery, tonight's your last chance to see the images, which show non-postcard views of cities from Paris to D.C. Dubia's exhibit, part of FotoWeek, is going out with a bang at the Nightmare Before Christmas Holiday Party, which Dissident Display is billing as "The alternative Xmas party for those who want nothing to do with hokey corporate Xmas parties featuring drunk co-workers and bad DJs!" Well, they'll at least have the music part right, as DJs Adrian Loving and Chris Burns will be on the decks from 9 p.m. until the party's over, spinning a mix of house, funk, disco and other good sounds. Doors open at 7:30 for drinks and browsing the art. A $5 donation is suggested.
We don't see much of the Hall Monitors around these parts anymore because of the old band-members-living-in-different-time-zones thing. That's definitely an impediment to playing. But our favorite good-time garage rockers have all hands on deck this weekend and will be duck walking all over the Quarry House Tavern tonight while delivering rock-and-roll raveups. If you like a little showmanship with your bluesy "Nuggets," then stake out a spot on the dance floor in Silver Spring.
One takeover of Iota wasn't enough for the Federal Reserve collective this month. The local bunch of twangy, folky types will be raising money for Community Lodgings at tonight's showcase. The roll call looks to be pretty near complete, as mini-sets, collaborations and general revelry can be expected from Vandaveer, These United States, John Bustine, Revival, Rose, the Moderate and Brandon Butler.
If you were to peg the musical style of Pretty and Nice by its name you might think it would be wispy indie pop with cooing vocals and soft keyboards. A more appropriate name might be Jagged and Spastic. Which is, of course, more appealing than pretty and nice any day of the week. The Boston trio has the kind of nervous energy you like in a young band, playing its songs just a bit too fast while throwing in all sorts of wacky synth sounds and stop/start rhythms. Get to the Rock and Roll Hotel early to catch them opening for the Postelles and local faves Jukebox the Ghost.
Saturday, Dec. 13
We can't believe it's been two years since Oh Snap! ended its run at Wonderland. DJ Meistro and Dave Nada's weekly romp established that spot as a dance club with the feel of a neighborhood house party, but the energy of a big room bashment. Over the last two years, Dave Nada has followed in the path of his friend and cohort Jesse Tittsworth, and his remixes and originals propelled him into the class of DJs whose phones are always ringing for international bookings. Meistro kept the Wonderland energy going with Deep Sang and expanded his local empire with numerous featured sets on the area's biggest parties. These two will be reuniting tonight where it all started, which will likely yield a lot of sweat and inappropriate Facebook photos.
Continuing this week's mini-theme of good shows at not-the-usual clubs, there's a very nice triple bill at Comet Ping Pong featuring the Jet Age , Greenland and the Kyle Sowashes . If you were excited about this week's reissue of Pavement's "Brighten the Corners," this should be a show for you. None of the bands sound all that much like Stephen Malkmus and Co., but the freewheeling '90s indie rock spirit is present for all the bands. Catch 'em all.
The House of Sweden caps off its very successful 2008 with the After Dark Lucia Ball, a black-tie party commemorating the Swedish holiday of Santa Lucia. In Sweden, the feast day of St. Lucia is marked by a procession of young women wearing crowns of candles, which symbolize her martyrdom and also light piercing the dark Scandinavian winter. Here in Washington, the Swedish Embassy is sponsoring a Lucia procession, but the party also includes live music, an open bar, a Swedish buffet and drinks on the rooftop deck. All-inclusive tickets are $80.
There are less than two weeks before Christmas, and how better to celebrate than getting dressed up in your finest Santa suit and hitting up bars in Georgetown? The Santa Stumble has become a tradition around M Street and Wisconsin Avenue over the last decade, with dozens of Father Christmases and Mrs. Clauses and the occasional Rudolph, Blitzen and elves showing up for a couple of pints of holiday cheer. Holiday attire is essential, but have fun with it -- previous years have included Santa Elvis, Santa wearing Kiss facepaint, Pimped-out Santa, you name it. The 10th annual Stumble kicks off at Third Edition at 4 p.m. The group heads to Rhino Bar en masse at 8, confusing shoppers and delighting children along the way, and then moves on to Garrett's at 10, where the party rages until after midnight. And since it is Christmas, organizers are asking participants to feel the spirit of the season and donate to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, which offers support to active duty or retired members of the naval services and their families around the world.
Sunday, December 14
Well, that was fast. Lizard Lounge, the cruisey, fun gay happy hour that made a triumphant return to Lima this summer after a long hiatus, is shutting down again after Sunday's party. Founder/promoter Mark Lee says that the stuttering economy means the night is no longer viable. Shame. Send the Lizard off with a bang tonight. As always, there's no cover, doors open at 8, and Kostas and Luke Easley provide energetic dance music for the end of your weekend. Get there early: Absolut vodka drinks are $2 until 10.
Monday, December 15
As the holiday season rolls around, kids spend hours compiling lists of what they want for Christmas or Hanukkah. (Ours were filled with Stomper cars, Transformers and baseball cards.) The Children's Inn at NIH has a list, too: Organizers there are looking for things that will brighten the lives of sick residents and their families, from card games to pajama pants to nail polish kits. The promotions group LatinVIP.com is asking you to take a look at the Children's Inn Wish List before heading out to Lima tonight. Bring something on the list, whether a gift card or a video game, then take advantage of drink specials, salsa lessons and a night of dancing to hip-hop and Latin music.
Tuesday, December 16
Always be wary of a singer-songwriter who gets compared to Bob Dylan. Just because you've got an acoustic guitar and sing about stuff, that doesn't mean you have anything in common with The Great One. But with Elliott Murphy, the comparison works. He's a troubadour who has flown under the radar for his entire career, despite a long-term friendship with Bruce Springsteen, who he's even shared the stage with on more than a few occasions. Take a listen to "Last of the Rock Stars" on the December Mixtape and tell us it doesn't sound exactly like "Blood on the Tracks" era Dylan. Sometimes Murphy can fall a little too in love with his lyrics, but he's proven to be a craftsman who knows his way around a song.
--Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
Posted by: davidfogel | December 11, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse
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