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Posted at 6:11 PM ET, 02/10/2009

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

For this long weekend, you can choose between pro-Valentine's Day or anti-Valentine's Day parties. Or you can ignore the holiday altogether: there's also the Going Out Guide's Kostume Karaoke happy hour, a slew of local Americana bands, old-school hip-hop, a Scotch tasting, Daytona 500 viewing, a Sunday night go-go battle and some tasty punk rock.

Say farewell to Washington burlesque queen Kitty Victorian at Ozio on Thursday. (Nate Lankford for The Washington Post)

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday

Wednesday, Feb. 11
There's Lambchop, the beloved sock puppet, and then there's Lambchop, music for grownups. The latter is the finest country-soul-Americana band in the land. It's so subtle and nuanced, there aren't riffs -- there are arrangements. So if you're just looking to rock out, then check out the Turboslut show on Tuesday. (Seriously, it'll be a good one.) But Lambchop leader Kurt Wagner has proven himself to be one of Americana's most reliable songwriters and that holds whether he's composing for himself, the band's dozen-piece incarnation or the quintet that he's on the road with now. Last year's "Ohio" is perhaps the band's smoothest outing yet. So why not get classy and see the Nashville band on the Black Cat's backstage?

Thursday, Feb. 12
There's so much good stuff going on tonight that we need to tell you about, but if you're looking for the best thing to do after work, we humbly recommend attending our own Going Out Guide Happy Hour at Solly's. We've arranged for a special night of Kostume Karaoke -- wear your own crazy getup or borrow the capes, hats and props provided when you get up to sing. We'll have food catered by Oohs and Aahs and a number of drink specials ($5 Jack Daniels, $3 beers). You can also enter to win an iPod shuffle or tickets to "Avenue Q." Doors open at 6, and we'll be there until at least 8.

For the last few years, we've sung the praises of Kitty Victorian, burlesque dancer and instructor par excellence, who makes the tantalizing removal of a single opera-length evening glove seem like the most seductive thing you'll ever see. Unfortunately, she's moving away from D.C., but not before the Golden Triangle Cabaret sends her off with a special Valentine's Cabaret. Expect the usual mix of striptease, live jazz and magic acts, with the atmosphere set by the usual mix of swing dancers, cigar girls and other characters. (Reminder: Ozio has an exemption from the smoking ban.) Doors open at 8. Admission is $20 ($40 for table reservations), with a $25 drink minimum.

Except for DJ Premier, no one we know keeps the torch lit for that classic New York Timberlands-and-hoodie, boom-bap hip-hop sound like Large Professor (listen). On A Tribe Called Quest's "Midnight Marauders" album, the Extra-P intoned "Queens represent, buy the album when I drop it." It never came out offically, but bootlegs of it still make the rounds of the Internet some 15 years later. Large Pro introduced the world to Nas on the classic Main Source album "Breaking Atoms," which was packed with other golden era mainstays like "Looking at the Front Door" and "Just Hanging Out." The master of the Akai S950 sampler brings his baritone to the Sound of the City jam session tonight at Bohemian Caverns. It'll almost be like when he rocked with Brand New Heavies on "Heavy Rhyme Experience Vol. 1" back in the day.

If, like one of us, you celebrated a birthday over inauguration weekend, your special day probably got swept aside in a tidal wave of Obama parties, black-tie affairs and late-night drinking. But fear not: Adrian Loving feels your pain. His birthday was January 18, and so he understands if you didn't get the spotlight you deserved. Get noticed tonight at the Belated Capricorn Birthday Bash at Lounge 201. DJ Chris Burns will join Loving on the decks for house, Afrobeat, Brazilian tunes, disco and "Valentine's Day classics." There's no cover, and drink specials will be available all night.

Okay, Scotch lovers, have we got something for you: The Willard Hotel's new Scotch bar is hosting a Signatory Scotch Tasting tonight that might just blow your mind. For $20, you get tastes of nine rare and little-known whiskeys, including a cask-strength Bunnahabhain whiskey from Islay thats been aged for 27 years, the 16-year-old Royal Lochnagar from the Highlands and a 10-year one from Jura that's "unchill-filtered," which preserves tastes that are usually filtered away when it's bottled. Hors d'oeuvres are included. The party starts at 6, and the tasting begins at 6:30. Advance tickets are available from the Wine Specialist.

U.S. Royalty (listen) is making it very easy to hear its revved-up blues and Americana this weekend, starting with the new Thursday residency at Fire Flies in Del Ray. It'll last for the rest of the month, with special guests joining the band each week. Tonight, the honor goes to Pree (listen), the local group fronted by ex-Le Loup guitarist May Tabol. There's no cover, so drop in for some good music.

The bar industry is very good about taking care of its own. When employees run into health issues or are victims of unfortunate circumstance, the community always rallies with benefits and fundraisers. The latest wish-we-didn't-have-to-report-it case concerns KT, the Rock and Roll Hotel's manager and bartender, who has messed up her back and now has to deal with some enforced R&R, plus mounting hospital bills. Not cool. So there's a big benefit going on at the Hotel tonight, with a rack of bands and DJs from across the city. Heading up the live music is Domino Team, a group that is punk rock personified. It'll be a little weird to see band members Arnold and Andrew (punk rock, no last names!) on the Rock and Roll Hotel stage since the two of them have been such longtime employees at the Black Cat, but benefit shows can make you reach across club lines. Also performing will be soul-rockers Tom McBride and the Whig Party, power-pop locals the Public Good and the always mysterious Stewart Lupton. DJs lending their support are Bliss's Will Eastman (Black Cat), Shannon Stewart of the Liberation Dance Party (DC9), the Razzmatazz DJs (Black Cat) and Nacey and Steve from Nouveau Riche and Kids (DC9 and the Hotel). As you'd expect, all proceeds from the night -- a $5 cover and 100 percent of the drink sales -- will be donated to KT.

Friday, Feb. 6
Friday the 13th: You can go see the same-old psycho-killer-wearing-a-hockey-mask movie, or you can head up for a spooky night of music and DJs at Jimmy Valentine's Lonely Hearts Club. DJs Lexus King, Smudge, Gordon Gartrelle and Rich Edward will be rocking house and funky beats from 10 p.m. until the wee hours in one of the funkiest little bars in D.C. There's no cover charge.

(Jimmy Valentine's is having some issues with the ABC and the size of its dance floor, and will not be hosting DJs this weekend. The bar will, however, be open as usual if you want to stop in for a bottle of Mickey's.)

Tonight is the Pug's two-year anniversary. In honor of this momentous occasion, many cans of Natty Boh, Schlitz and other cheap domestic beers and way too many shots of Irish whiskey will be consumed on H Street.

Saturday, Feb. 14
Valentine's Day parties tend to fall into several different camps: The most popular include "Yay, I'm single!" "Screw Hallmark holidays," "I hate my ex(es)," or "Forget hearts and candy, let's dance." We've got a little of each of those for you.

For the tenth year running, Black Cat bartender Chad America is hosting a Rock and Roll Dance Party that keeps everything simple: Two live bands (the soulful ska of the Ambitions [listen] and the garage-punk of the Electricutions [listen]), followed by the DJs spinning classic '50s and '60s rockabilly, doo wop, R&B and jump blues that are short on saccharine but long on dance floor-filling grooves. The action is on the club's backstage beginning at 8 p.m. There's an $8 cover charge to see the bands, but no cover if you just want to dance after the show; Chad expects that portion of the evening to start around 10:30.

The Fatback DJs are trading in the usual mix of uptempo funk and hip-hop tonight and going all-out with slow-jams and "sweet baby-making music" for slow dances at 1905. The bar has the right vintage/gothic look to set the mood. There's no cover all night.

"Loud punk anti-ballads" will be blasting all night at Gazuza's "Forget Romance, Let's Drink" Anti-Valentine's Day party. Black attire is encouraged; drink specials include $8 Heartless Martinis and Lonely Island Iced Teas and $5 Teardrop shots.

So your ex did you wrong, and you're still more than a little annoyed. Don't just stew over it on Valentine's Day -- get violent and move on. The annual Shred Your Ex, Find Your Next party takes over the Bottom Line tonight, and if the name isn't a big enough give away, here's how it works: Bring photos of you and your ex, old love letters, Valentine's Day cards or whatever to the bar. Put them into a large shredder. Whoop with joy as the keepsakes are destroyed. High-five your friends over $3 shooters and $2.50 Miller Lite bottles. Dance to a DJ, and maybe meet someone new. The shredder gets fired up at 8, and the specials run all night.

"Couples stink" is the theme at Garrett's in Georgetown. To help facilitate introductions, every time a man buys a lady a special Vanilla Kiss Martini for $4, he gets a free bottle of Budweiser. How's that for a deal? Organizers promise "a nauseating yet fun decor" and appropriate holiday music. There's no cover charge.

Okay, let's go to some NON-Valentine's events, shall we?

Free Benjy Ferree! No, this isn't some Arthur Lee or Mumia type thing. It's just that the local singer-songwriter will be giving a free in-store performance at Crooked Beat tonight. Not a bad way to start your Valentine's Day evening and it makes the perfect gift, too. "Honey, I got you tickets to a free show at a cramped little record store!" OK, maybe it's not the perfect gift. And maybe Ferree's new album, "Come Back to the Five and Dime Bobby Dee Bobby Dee" isn't the perfect gift, either, but it's certainly not a bad one. It finds Ferree drifting away from the lilting, backporch folk of his debut album in favor of a confident, glammed-up sound. It'll be tough to get the full effect at an in-store set, but Ferree should make up for the stripped-down nature with plenty of the swagger that his shows have been full of lately.

After an amazing debut in 2001, a scuttled sophomore album and a tenuous label situation, Bilal (listen) continues to tour regularly and motivate an army of devoted fans. The market is tough for artists with regular releases, so it's a testament to Bilal's talents that he continues to stay relevant. Jazz trained, hip-hop infused, gospel spirited, and one of the vanguards of the neo-soul movement, Bilal either thrills or polarizes all that hear him, because his approach is fearless and full throttle. A very emotional performer, he improvises and pushes his falsetto to its limits. He can also calm down and work a ballad properly, as was proven on his hit "Soul Sista". He'll probably be drawing from that reservoir for his Valentine's evening run of two shows at Bohemian Caverns tonight.

The Afrorikan Vybe nights were some of the best experiences at Club Five's early years. The Philly-based team of Dennis Perez and Rich Medina rocked sets that turned that big room into an intimate space where Perez's Afro-Cuban touches came together with Medina's funk leanings. It was the same energy that went on to fuel Rich's successful run of Jump-N-Funk Afrobeat parties. Dennis will be rekindling those conga, clave and bata drum memories when he plays at Eighteenth Street Lounge tonight.

Here's one that's so hip that even the hipsters probably won't even be onto it. Dahlak is hosting an evening of out-there electronic delights tonight, featuring a rare performance by Protect-U. It's electronic music, but it's played live. There will be lots of buttons being pushed. Even more than when your jerk of an uncle tries to pick a fight with your dad after he's downed a few beers at a family get together. And it will be warm and soothing, but not too much so. Right when you think you've settled into something extremely relaxing, you'll get hit with something weird and discordant and maybe a touch disturbing. It'll keep you on your toes. Beautiful Swimmers, combining the DJ talents of Maxmillion Dunbar of deranged local hip-hop heroes Food For Animals, and Ari G, formerly of hard-hitting techno powerhouse Manhunter will offer up some tunes on the turntables. So will DJs Ron Morelli and C Rob. You probably haven't heard of most of these people, right? See, it's just really hip. It's all free, and you will want to be there.

Sunday, Feb. 15
Holidays weekends are always better with a few serious Sunday night dance party options. Will Eastman's saluting President Obama's new eligibility for President's Day recognition tonight with dance floor debauchery at Metropolitain. Expect everything from indie rock sleazed up with techno beats to custom remixes to Baltimore club workouts.

It's the Battle of the Go-Go Legends on a No-Work-Or-School-Monday holiday weekend! At Fur, Black President's Day finds Rare Essence (listen), still the Wickedest Band Alive, joining forces with the recently-reunited L!ssen Band and the Publicity Band for a party that goes until 3 a.m. The cover's $25. Meanwhile, out in Crystal City, the Positive Black Men Coalition is taking over the Hyatt Regency's ballroom for an NBA All-Star Game viewing party. When the hoops are over, it's time for Familiar Faces, which features former members of Rare Essence, E.U., Junkyard Band and Northeast Groovers, and Godfather of Go-Go Chuck Brown. Michel Wright of WPGC is the host. Tickets are $30 in advance.

7 Seconds is one of those bands that you better be careful bringing them up around certain people. The hardcore pioneers may not have ever been the most popular band in the world, but the kids they connected with back in the '80s continue to carry the torch for them today, not unlike local bands like Minor Threat or Rites of Spring. On the title track of the most recent album by the Hold Steady, Craig Finn sings (well, speak-shout-sings, y'know) "The early 7 Seconds taught me some of life's most valuable lessons." That intense connection with fans has helped the band remain a cult favorite almost 30 years into its career, even if records and tours aren't a regular occurrence. But frontman Kevin Seconds has been using that extra time to embark on solo tours, and his current one brings him to the backstage of the Black Cat. Seconds has always seemed wise beyond his years, so just imagine how wise he is now that he's actually older. If you thought those early 7 Seconds taught some valuable lessons, just wait until tonight. As an added bonus, continuing the frontman-of-cult-favorite-band-goes-solo theme of the evening, Vic Ruggiero of rocksteady/ska stalwarts the Slackers is the opening act. As we wrote back in September, the band often gets lumped in with every other ska band in the world, but it's really Ruggiero's songwriting and voice that sets the band apart. This solo set should prove that very nicely.

The Tortilla Factory in Herndon is an unassuming family-friendly Mexican restaurant, but it's also home to the Herndon/Reston Folk Club, which runs open mike nights every Tuesday and books larger concerts on a monthly basis. Today's guests are Eric Brace, the frontman of popular once-local band Last Train Home, and his compatriot Peter Cooper. The two country singer-songwriters recently released a collaborative album called "You Don't Have to Like Them Both" (listen) and did a live session on BBC Radio while touring in England to support its release. The pair's music got a rave from No Depression earlier this month, which called it "a true-hearted pleasure of an album." They're opening for Nashville-based Australian singer Audrey Auld, who has played with Buddy Miller, Dale Watson and Kieran Kane. The show starts promptly at 4.

It's Daytona 500 day, and a number of bars will be showing the race live. If you've got a sense of humor about NASCAR, head over to Porter's Dining Saloon on 19th Street, where you'll find an all-day "Redneck Party" with Coors Light deals ($10 pitchers, $3 drafts or bottles), door prizes every 50 laps and a contest for the "best redneck garb." The race starts at 3:30.

--Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz

By Fritz Hahn  | February 10, 2009; 6:11 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Music  
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Apparently the event listed for Jimmy Valentine's on Fri. 2/13 has been postponed.

Posted by: textdoc | February 11, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

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