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Posted at 4:15 PM ET, 01/21/2009

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

Sam "The Man" Burns, a longtime fixture on the D.C. house music scene, launches a new party at Muse Lounge on Thursday night. (Stephanie K. Kuykendal for The Washington Post)

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Tuesday

Wednesday, Jan. 21
After a hiatus of several months, the Modernist Society returns to Bourbon tonight. The monthly salon has featured Q&As and cocktail chatter with such varied characters as Thievery Corporation/Eighteenth Street Lounge founder Eric Hilton, Marine-turned-Al-Jazeera English reporter Josh Rushing, edgy New York filmmaker Richard Kern, Pop Candy blogger Whitney Matheson and punk rocker-turned-architect Simon Jacobsen. This installment, timed to the new administration, features Reason magazine's Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, who will be tackling the topic of "Libertarian in the Age of Obama." Bring your questions. The conversation -- with audience participation -- begins at 10, followed by funky soul music by DJ D-Mac. Doors open at 9, and selected bourbons are $4 all night.

Thursday, Jan. 22
Now here's an interesting idea: Take one of the city's best-known mashup/hip-hop/superclub turntablists and put him in the same club on the same night as one of the city's most beloved proponents of soulful and underground house. We're not sure exactly how much audience crossover there will be for DJs Geometrix and Sam "The Man" Burns at Muse tonight, but we're happy to see the lounge's promoters offer something different on its two floors. Admission is free from 10 until midnight if you join the guest list at or print out a pass from the same Web site.

Friday, Jan. 23
The honor is alternately assigned to everyone from the Last Poets to Jamaican dancehall DJs, but without James Brown there would be no hip-hop as we know it today. During hip-hop's golden age, scores of records were built upon his grunts, vamps, bridges and beats. And before sampling became a common practice, b-boys borrowed from the Godfather's fluid vocabulary of moves. So while all of popular music owes a huge debt to James Brown's science of funk, hip-hop has an even more intimate relationship with his work. It is in that spirit that DJ Roddy Rod, Cuzzin B, 2 Tone Jones and Grap Luva host A Tribute To The Funky President at the Loft tonight. When digging through the crates of James Brown's legacy, there's the early post doo-wop, the deep funk, the live workouts, remixes, and then all the hip-hop tunes that sampled him. This crew of heads knows it all. Note: this event has been cancelled due to The Loft being shut down over the weekend.

Kicks is one of the more user-friendly DJ nights on the Black Cat's monthly calendar. From Queen to the Cold War Kids, Cheap Trick to the Vivian Girls, the Ramones to the Rolling Stones, it's a night of pure fun rock and roll, mainly from the '70s and '80s, that begs you to have a couple of beers and jump around on the backstage. Just when you think you're ready to leave, DJs Kim and Sara drop "Rebel Rebel" or "Teenage Kicks" and you find yourself saying, "Okay, one more song," and then the next thing you know the lights are coming up and it's time to go home, even though you meant to leave 45 minutes ago. Whoops. Things should be extra cool at tonight's one-year anniversary party, when Ian Svenonious of Make Up/Weird War/Nation of Ulysses fame joins the ladies in the DJ booth. As always, admission is free, and doors open at 9:30.

Mittenfields (listen) sounds like a twee pop band, doesn't it? Maybe that's just an unfair association I have with anything to do with mittens, since ultimate twee label K Records famously sells its own mittens. But the band is certainly more atmospheric than twee, favoring layered sounds as opposed to shambolic rhythms and atonal vocals. Lots of bands fall into this trap and forget about actual songwriting, but Mittenfields doesn't seem like one of them. There's definitely something wintry about the band, so maybe that's where the mittens come in? Guess who has freezing hands while typing this? In warmer news, the Caribbean is also on the bill at Solly's.

Saturday, Jan. 24
"Saturdays at Ibiza just got sexier!" screams the flyer for Ibiza's new "LADIES NIGHT!!" We don't know about that, but we like the sound of free admission for women all night and an open bar for everyone from 10 to 11. Headlining the new event are two very different Baltimore DJs: Jen Lasher (listen), whose mix of synth-pop, electro and industrial has garnered her frequent appearances at Buzz and spins on BBC's Radio 1, and Charles Feelgood (listen), the house music don who was throwing warehouse parties and hosting Carl Cox and Derrick Carter back in the '90s.

Sunday, Jan. 25
Tonight is Burns Night, the annual worldwide holiday that honors Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland. Best known for his poems "Auld Lang Syne," "To a Mouse" and "A Man's A Man for A' That," Burns was the author of "Address to a Haggis," a tribute to the traditional Scottish dish. In the Washington area, the best Burns party is always at Wheaton's Royal Mile Pub, which, not coincidentally, has the best selection of single-malt Scotches for miles around. Tonight, the pub will serve haggis and have live music beginning at 7 -- bring your own instrument and join in. An open mike will be available if you'd like to read your favorite Burns poem.

Tuesday, Jan. 27
Anchorage (listen) is at Iota tonight, continuing the seasonally appropriate band names theme of the week. (It's the middle of winter, Anchorage is in Alaska, and Alaska is cold, see?) If the name Mittenfields sounds like a twee band, then Anchorage's name makes you think it be would be like what Mittenfields actually sounds like. You follow? But Anchorage actually has a bit more kick. The band does have an atmospheric side, though, provided by a pedal steel guitar, one of those instruments that just always sounds good. And singer Terrence Henry sounds like Neil Young, so that's a winning combo. Catch them at Iota.

--Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz

By Fritz Hahn  | January 21, 2009; 4:15 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Music  
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