Thursday, Jan. 29
As long as there are afterparties that go until 5 a.m., there will be a place in the world for Nightmares on Wax (listen). George Evelyn is the man behind NoW -- sometimes he goes by his other moniker, DJ EASE -- and his landmark 1995 album "Smoker's Delight" is widely regarded as one of the best chillout/early morning albums outside of the Holy Trinity of Portishead, Tricky and Massive Attack. For folks who just spent six hours in a packed club with incessantly thumping beats, EASE's slow grooves and atmospherics are exactly what you want to hear. Even without the first half of that equation, his set tonight at the Black Cat should be hypnotic. Now if only the club would move some couches into the backstage performance space...
Hometown favorite Wayna (listen) scored big with a 2008 Grammy nomination; she's among an exciting field of nominees that finally acknowledges the diversity in modern urban music. It's an honor that's doubly sweet in that her cover of Minnie Riperton's "Loving You" is a collaboration with D.C.'s Kokayi on vocals and production. Sound of the City is hosting a send-off party for the songstress tonight at Liv that also features Emoni Fela and fellow Grammy nominee Raheem DeVaughn.
Friday, Jan. 30
We have to admit that we didn't think too much of the Red Lounge -- the bar and dance floor above International Grill on 14th Street NW -- when it burst onto the scene last year, but it has managed to wrangle itself some of D.C.'s more interesting dance nights without charging a cover. The recent Fatback anniversary there was a sweaty mess with surprisingly good sound, so we've got high hopes for the lounge's $weat$hop tonight. It promises Sneakers in the Club DJs Trevor Martin (listen) and Jackie O (listen) getting the kids crunk (or whatever they call it these days) and a straight-up mix of hip-hop, Baltimore Club, electro, bass, etc. (Make up a subgenre and someone might play it for you.) Come dressed to dance and dressed to sweat, but don't worry about paying the cover, because there isn't one. Doors open at 9.
DC's preminent hip-hop hustler/educator Bomani Armah (listen) of "Read A Book" fame has been working hard to counteract the complaints of every grown-up hip-hop head who doesn't think there are any shows worth patronizing. Tonight's Radio Friendly Recession Rent Party at Artmosphere features Bomani rocking his humorous and astute rhymes with his live funk band, minus all of the annoyances the mature hip-hop head has grown to loathe, including heavy door pressure, much delayed start times and drawn-out and lame opening acts lacking in showmanship. The show's theme isn't just a catchy meme: admission is only $5.
It's rare to find hip-hop and any form of electronic music on the same bill these days. The two genres have a long history of sharing DNA, back to the pollination of rap and electro in the early '80s when Afrika Bambaataa took Kraftwerk's "Trans Europe Express" to "Planet Rock." When drum 'n' bass first rose from the primordial ooze of acid house in the early '90s, it was considered a strictly "urban" music, created by predominantly black DJs with many old-school hip-hop samples and getting played on underground pirate radio stations in the UK's largest cities. It's never had that kind of street cred in the U.S. At Loda tonight, though, organizers are gunning for crossovers. In Gallery's main room, London-based DJ and producer Klute (listen), who has dropped some no-nonsense ruffage on seminal labels like Metalheadz and Hospital as well as his own Commercial Suicide, joins veteran locals Bobby Jae and Harry Ransom. Meanwhile, in the lounge one floor up, local MC Flex Matthews and DJ Dan Amitai host a "Local Indie Hip-Hop Showcase" with a group of MCs and producers whose names may be common on flyers but aren't quite common knowledge yet. One to look out for is Slim Kat, a producer who plays live with Asheru's the EL's and Op Swamp 81.
Saturday, Jan. 31
February 3 marks the 50th anniversary of The Day the Music Died, when a plane crash took the lives of early rock-and-roll stars Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper. Perhaps you've seen a recounting in a movie starring Lou Diamond Phillips or Gary Busey, or pieced it all together thanks to Don McLean's "American Pie." But really, you should just listen to every Buddy Holly record you can find if you want to know what a huge loss it was for the music world. Holly was just 22 when he died in 1959 and he had already penned a slew of hits -- "That'll Be the Day," "Peggy Sue," "Not Fade Away" and "It's So Easy" among them -- and it's not exactly outlandish to say that had he lived and continued at his pace he would have landed at that sweet spot the Beatles hit before the Fab Four did. That's just fun rock-and-roll speculation, though, and even with a catalogue limited to a few dozen songs, it's still plenty worth celebrating. That's why every year around this time local rockabilly fave J.P. McDermott rounds up a crew of friends to pay tribute to one of rock's greatest talents. Joining J.P. at Surf Club Live, members of the Slickee Boys, Hall Monitors, Grandsons, Last Train Home, the Thrillbillys and the Billy Coulter Band will work their way through one of the best -- but briefest -- songbooks in the rock canon.
In terms of Black Cat dance nights, Homo/Sonic has been one of the growers. Since getting its start as a one-off on the backstage last year, Homo/Sonic -- billed as "an alternative co-ed dance party for queer folks and their friends" -- has become a solid night of dance floor-friendly Britpop, electro and alternative hits. Earlier this month, the playlist stuck pretty close to the M.I.A./Ting Tings/Hot Chip axis, with multiple appearances by the Pet Shop Boys for good measure, but also a healthy dose of fun, left-field songs by the Pipettes, Bratmobile, B-52s and Dead or Alive. Anyway, Homo/Sonic makes an unusual second-time-in-a-month return to the club tonight, landing on the mainstage while Razzmatazz provides the Pulp/New Order/Lily Allen Britpoppy goodness downstairs. Doors for both open at 9:30.
--Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
Posted by: scubahoya | January 27, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: davidfogel | January 28, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: patrickneil | January 28, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: dougkaiser10 | January 28, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.