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Posted at 5:13 PM ET, 03/10/2009

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

On Sunday, Estelle makes her first trip to D.C. since picking up a Grammy for "American Boy." (estelleonline)

Join the Going Out Gurus for happy hour, visit a members-only lounge while helping the Humane Society, hear classic U.K. punk, local jazz fusion or "addictive" indie-pop, revisit high school with two of D.C.'s top bartenders and welcome St. Patrick's Day by drinking green beer in a parking lot while a Celtic punk band plays.

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday

Wednesday, March 11
The last time David saw the Coathangers (listen) he was one of just seven people in the audience at the Red & the Black. The presence of three other bands on tonight's bill at the Rock and Roll Hotel ensures that the group's next D.C. show will be more well-attended, even if it's only with other band members. Hopefully there will be actual paying customers to catch the Atlanta group's fun, brash party punk. It's nothing too thrashy or bratty, but the band packs plenty of attitude into its songs. It's equal parts new wave fun and riot grrl mayhem, and the songs on new album "Scramble" represent a quantum leap forward from the still-fun, self-titled debut. Locals Caverns (listen) open, while All the Saints (listen) and These Arms Are Snakes (listen) try to keep the energy up after Coathangers.

Thursday, March 12
We're having a happy hour at Rocket Bar tonight with drink specials, free pizza and mini-burgers from Matchbox, and a team shuffleboard tournament where you and a partner could win a pair of iPod Shuffles. You should come. It runs from 6 to 8, and we'll be disappointed if we don't see you.

Mother Nature is such a tease. We went from a gorgeous break-out-the-flip-flops Saturday and Sunday to chilly, overcast days. (At least our weekend was great, right?) If that brief glimpse of spring made you break the shorts out of storage, put 'em on and head down to Asylum tonight for Shorts, the DJ night where the only rule is that you have to wear shorts. It doesn't matter if they're Daisy Dukes or Jams, but you need to be wearing shorts to get past the door. Then you can enjoy tunes spun by DJ Gavin Holland (Nouveau Riche), who will forgo his usual mix of electro for "corny" alternative rock and hip-hop that's perfect for dancing on the bar, and sip $20 bottles of California champagne. Woo!

The economy may be tightening, but there are some things you can't put a price on. Like love, for example. Tonight, though, you can at least buy a chance at love. The Arlington Young Democrats are hosting a charity date auction at Clarendon Grill, with proceeds benefiting the Arlington Food Assistance Center, which provides groceries to needy families. The auction beings at 7, and the $5 admission includes a raffle ticket that could net you prizes from Union Jack's, Shoefly, Best Cellars, the Rhodeside Grill and other local businesses. Sadly, you can't preview photos of the folks who are putting themselves up for bids, but you can scope out other attendees on Facebook. (If you want to auction yourself off, see the Arlington Young Democrats Web site for details.)

This Washington Humane Society event is too good to pass up: a happy hour at the uber-exclusive L2 lounge. If, like 95 percent of the bar-hopping public, you're not a member and aren't friends with a member, you probably haven't set foot inside this cool, loft-style members-only lounge. Admission is $10 at the door, and there will be specialty cocktails that benefit the Humane Society. Doors open at 9, and the party goes until midnight.

Friday, March 13
Next week David leaves for Austin and the annual South by Southwest music festival. If he sees one performance that's even half as memorable as the one the Homosexuals (listen) gave last year, then it'll be a great week. The U.K. art-punk originals from the late-'70s set themselves up for an eternity as a cult favorite the day they decided on their band name, but a "controversial" name doesn't make you remembered 30 years later. But the Homosexuals' brilliant, fractured punk songs did the trick on that front. A 2004 reissue of a compilation containing the band's long out-of-print singles brought it to the attention of a new generation and even though frontman Bruno Wizard is the only original member left, he's figured out a great way to keep the band relevant. The "new" Homosexuals consist of members of New York bands Apache Beat and the Unsacred Hearts, a pair of New York groups who can play Homosexuals classics like "Neutron Lover" and "Hearts in Exile" better than the originals, leaving Wizard to stalk the stage with the same boundless energy he had 30 years ago. Presumably, at least. This isn't a can't miss, or even a Can't Miss. This is a CANNOT MISS!!!! Fiasco (listen) and Arrington open at Comet Ping Pong.

Saturday, March 14
When putting together their recent N.A.S.A. project, producers Sam Spiegel and Ze Gonzales (listen) tapped more talent than the Grammys, VMAs and American Music Awards shows combined. Hip-hop demigod Kanye West, Swedish siren Lykke Li and buzz-artist Santigold are all on one single. Elsewhere, songs feature George Clinton, Method Man, the RZA, Sizzla, M.I.A., Karen O, KRS-One, Seu Jorge, Spank Rock and Ghostface Killah, among others, laced over beats that wander from crunked-up electro to sharp reggaeton to club-rocking hip-hop. N.A.S.A. stops off at the Rock and Roll Hotel tonight in support of the "Spirit of Apollo" album, and the night should be hot -- even without their roster of guest stars. Opening are the Kids DJs (Lil' El, Nacey, Steve Starks and Jackie O), best known for their nights at DC9.

With 40 bands, pub games, a rock climbing wall, sideshow acts, restaurant tents and all the green beer you can handle, Shamrock Fest easily takes the title of the biggest St. Patrick's Day party of the year. And with headlining acts like celtic punk veterans Flogging Molly, local Irish rockers Scythian and half the bands on this summer's Dewey Beach calendar (Mr. Greengenes, Burnt Sienna, Junkfood, etc.), it shouldn't fail to entertain. (Top of our must-see list: Girls, Girls, Girls, "the world's first and only all-girl Mötley Crüe tribute band.") However, we have to warn you that if your idea of fun is NOT excessive drinking in a parking lot, or you don't want to be around hundreds of people who think that excessive drinking in a parking lot is the PERFECT way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, you might want to steer clear of RFK today.

If you've left your rave days behind you but still get the urge to go buck to some pounding big room acid house, tonight might be the biggest reason you've had to seek out a dance floor in a while. One of the first DJs to popularize mixing on three decks and regularly play to crowds of thousands as opposed to hundreds, Carl Cox (listen) brings his techno mastery to Fur tonight as the Glow headliner.

If strep throat forces Morrissey to cancel his show tonight at Warner Theatre, David will cry and cry and cry, but at least he'll still be able to see a great show. On pretty much any non-Moz evening a Clem Snide (listen) reunion would be the easy choice for show of the night. The star-crossed band built up an impressive discography over its decade together, using wry, clever lyrics from frontman Eef Barzelay as its main calling card. Clem Snide grew out of the indie rock scene, and the slight twang in its songs increased as years went by, while Barzelay's lyrics shifted from ironic to sincere. Band strife caused a breakup in 2005, but most of the crew is back on board for this tour, which will feature tracks from the new "Hungry Bird" as well as choice cuts from the band's entire past. If you like solid songwriting that can make you laugh but also go, "Aw, that's nice" -- think Jonathan Richman -- then IOTA is where you'll want to be tonight, no matter the health of Morrissey's vocal chords.

Sunday, March 15
Crystal Stilts (listen) is a perfect band. That doesn't mean it's the best band -- although it might be the best in Brooklyn, which to some folks would mean it actually is the best -- but there's nothing about it that you'd want to change. It's all shambolic and full of reverb, and the singer can't sing and he's not even really trying and the drummer plays the exact same thing in every song, just alternating between slow/fast and soft/loud. Out of this warbling, woozy mess emerge some of the most addictive indie-pop songs in years; the band's debut, "Alight of Night" is filled with them, front-to-back, not just one song that sounds great on a blog with 10 more for filler. For indie-pop fans, tonight's show at DC9 serves as the perfect dessert to an otherworldly weekend of live music.

In just two short years, Estelle (listen) has captivated American audiences with hip-hop influenced pop that balances its catchiness with sincere songwriting. There isn't a trace of auto-tune and when she leans on her rap chops that precede the singing fame, it's definitely not a gimmick. With a grounding in London's hip-hop and reggae scenes, plus a few years of serious touring under her belt, Estelle has collected the tools she needs to hold audiences' attention on big stages. Catch our adopted Brit sweetheart with Ryan Leslie at the 9:30 club tonight.

"Bringing back the high school party with a touch of class" is how top-flight bartenders Owen Thompson (Bourbon) and Adam Bernbach (Bar Pilar) are billing "Billy's Parents House," which they're throwing tonight at the Warehouse Theater. It's a little nicer than those 11th-grade gatherings we remember: The two have concocted their own wine coolers and will be pouring upscale tequila shots and slinging cans of microbrew beer in lieu of Montezuma or Natty Light. And instead of putting on a mix CD, they've drafted in Yellow Fever, who have residencies at Saint-Ex and Marvin. There's no cover all night. The chaperone-free night begins at 7 p.m. sharp.

Jazz is all about swing, but sometimes you just want to sit in the pocket, get hit upside the head by the one and feel the groove. Will Rast's Funk Ark (listen) scratches this itch, swapping out the acoustic piano for Wurlitzer and clavinet and dabbling in Afrobeat grooves. So if you're feeling the urge to pull out some "Head Hunters" or "Bitches Brew," you can get a live jazz fusion experience when Funk Ark plays Twins tonight.

--Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz

By Fritz Hahn  | March 10, 2009; 5:13 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music  
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