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Posted at 6:47 PM ET, 04/ 7/2009

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

"If you know Comet Gain," says David, "you don't need anyone to tell you how awesome and legendary they are." Hear why at the Black Cat on Wednesday. (Courtesy of Comet Gain)

Hear the "legendary" Comet Gain, join the Going Out Gurus for happy hour with drinks and free sushi, hit some funky, sweaty DJ nights, meet "Stringer" Bell, get down to the next up-and-coming local soul star or say "sayonara" to the National Cherry Blossom Festival with music, films, dancing, art and drinks at an Anacostia warehouse.

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Monday | Tuesday

Wednesday, April 8
On the Black Cat's Web site you can click on a band name on the schedule and you'll get a paragraph or two describing what to expect. For tonight's Comet Gain (listen) show, it simply says: "Awesome. Legendary. Believe it." And, really, that's all that needs to be said. If you know Comet Gain, you don't need anyone to tell you how awesome and legendary they are. And if you don't know Comet Gain, well, it might not be your thing. And that's not meant to sound snobby or iconoclastic. It's just that Comet Gain makes music for a very, very specific segment of the population. The British band covers the indie-pop spectrum, from jangly strummers to dance-night rave-ups to wistful ballads, all littered with lyrical references to mixtapes, cigarettes, French New Wave movies, obscure bands and characters whose lives are perpetually on the verge of falling into complete chaos. Do you like mixtapes, cigarettes, French New Wave movies, obscure bands and is your life hanging on by a thread? Of course, yes (unless my dad is reading), oui!, duh and good God, yes. Therefore Comet Gain is one of my favorite bands in the world. True to form, the group can rarely get its act together well enough to hit the road, so tonight's show at the Black Cat is its first D.C. appearance in eight or nine years. It will be epic. Normally openers Crystal Stilts (listen) and Cold Cave (listen) would merit more than just a passing mention -- same with the fact that We Fought the Big One DJs will be providing between set tunes -- but there's only one main attraction tonight.

We love it when DJs mix things up, and tonight at Science Club, "Ill Experiment" features DJ Lil'El of DC9's monthly Kids party and Balagan, a Baltimore-based DJ and producer whose mixes have drawn Internet raves from the likes of Spank Rock. The duo is promising "Sex Pistols into Snoop Dogg and MSTRKRFT into Mary J." Sounds good to us. And hey, PBR is $3 all night. (Yeah, it's just that hipsterish.)

Thursday, April 9
As you may know by now, Second Thursday of the month = Going Out Gurus happy hour, with free food, discounted drinks and fun for all. This time, we're heading for the upscale sushi bar and lounge Current, where there will be free sushi, free chicken and veggie skewers, and a heavy list of drink specials, including $4 sake bombs and $5 house cocktails (wild cherry mojitos, black cherry cosmos, etc.). On the decks is DJ Christine Moritz (listen), who opened all five of Thievery Corporation's sold-out shows at the 9:30 club in January, and whose 2009 gigs have stretched from the Eighteenth Street Lounge to London's Big Chill Bar. We'll also be raffling off a pair of tickets for Lily Allen's sold-out 9:30 club show and two pairs of passes to the National Zoo's Grapes With the Apes wine-tasting event. Doors open at 6 and specials run until 8, but if the last few months are any indication, you should arrive on the early side to score free food.

Stringer Bell was one of the most popular characters on "The Wire" -- a calculating, if easily duped, would-be real estate developer who worked for the Barksdale organization. He was a an enigma of a man who read Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" and also had a penchant for bad ideas like wanting to assassinate a senator who pocketed a $250,000 bribe. Much of the credit for Stringer Bell's believability comes down to English actor Idris Elba, who portrayed Bell for three seasons. Elba, named one of People's 100 Most Beautiful People in 2007, has a career on the rise, with a lead in "Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls," an appearance in "American Gangster" and an a new recurring role as Charles Miner on "The Office." His next project is "Obsessed" a suspense thriller with Beyonce and Ali Larter, which will be released later this month. Elba is in town to do some promotional appearances, and he's hosting the weekly Pandora happy hour at the Park at 14th tonight. There's an open bar from 5 to 6, then happy hour with drinks and snacks from 6 to 8, and DJs Oz and Money spin the hits until 2 a.m. E-mail your full name (and names of your friends, if attending) to by 5 p.m. Thursday for free admission before 10.

Leesburg-based singer-songwriter Justin Trawick (listen) was among the local musicians featured in a recent Weekend Section story about the area's rising young talents. Trawick, whose rough-hewn acoustic pop has been compared to Jason Mraz and O.A.R., is back in D.C. tonight at the Rookery, a semi-private club that's begun hosting weekly (open-to-the-public) concerts on Thursday nights. There's a $5 cover, and the show begins at 10.

Twenty months ago, Peru was hit by an earthquake that measured 8.0 on the Richter scale -- a particularly devastating event that killed hundreds, destroyed 58,000 homes and leveled 80 percent of the city of Pisco. The region is recovering slowly, and more help is still needed. Tonight at the Josephine Butler Parks Center, the charity Coprodeli USA is hosting Cocina de Coprodeli, an evening of food, drink and music to raise money to help those in the Ica region of Peru. Dine on tapas prepared by chef Manuel Flores of Ceiba, sip wine or pisco sour cocktails made with Macchu Pisco, listen to traditional music and watch dance performances, and all proceeds go to housing reconstruction and business development. Tickets are $15 in advance (purchase here) and $20 at the door. Tip: they're fully tax-deductible.

OK, if for some reason you feel like forsaking us at the Going Out Gurus Happy Hour on Thursday, then at least make your way to Dahlak for the opening reception for the new show "I'm With the Band," a collection of concert photos by local photographers. We should note that one of show's featured photogs, Kyle Gustafson, is a regular contributor to Post Rock. But he's a regular contributor because his photos are good! Also expect to see fine photos of rock stars and indie-rock almost-stars by local shutterbugs Martin Locraft and Nestor Diaz.

Friday, April 10
The National Cherry Blossom Festival wraps up with fireworks on Saturday evening, but the cool kids will be bidding it farewell tonight with food, drinks, music, art, anime films, poetry and dance at Cherry Blast in Anacostia. A joint project between the Pink Line Project and festival organizers is filling an empty warehouse with electronic music by Yoko K + Aphrodizia, Optical Groove and 302acid, video mashups by the Video Killers, anime movies selected by the D.C. Anime Club, performances by the CityDance ensemble, art displays by Cory Oberndorfer and Words Beats Life Inc., food from the On the Fly carts and much more. (See the Pink Line Web site for a full list.) Shuttle buses will run to the warehouse from both the Anacostia Metro station and Dupont Circle. (Look for a yellow school bus at 20th and Massachusetts on the half hour between 8:30 and 1:30.) The $10 admission includes two drinks.

Do people still say "off the hook"? It's hard to keep up with slang these days. Anyway, if that phrase is still in use and it still means, roughly, "cool," then man, tonight's extravaganza at Comet Ping Pong is going very off the hook. Let us indulge in some hyperbole here and say that Lovefingers and Lee Douglas are sort of the Sasha and Digweed of the underground, nu-disco revival. No, their names won't be near the top of lists in DJ magazines, but they do spin around the world and have that knack for finding the deepest, funkiest cuts that really get people moving. This is going to be a sweaty one, so wear some shorts or something. Maybe you'll look a little ridiculous but nobody will notice because everyone will be breaking it down on the dance floor, trust us. Before Lovefingers and Lee Douglas do their thing, local duo Beautiful Swimmers (listen) will get everyone properly prepared by spinning their own disco delights. As if you needed more convincing, it's all free and will sound better than you can imagine thanks to the recently installed PA at Comet. Which is, of course, the newest, chillest nightspot in town. Yes, we think this will be a fun evening.

Wondering about the state of drum 'n' bass in 2009? Let your ears do the walking to Gallery, where Loda's DNB Directory 2009 offers six hours of tunes rinsed by most of the area's top selecters, including Slant and Bjoo, Harry Ransom, Bobby Jae, Deinfamous and Locks. It's only $5 if you get there before 10, but it's $10 after that.

Here's what we know about local band OCDC (listen): not much. OK, we know that the first band listed as an influence on its MySpace page is Jonathan Fire*Eater. Plus one almost old-school D.C. scene point! OCDC has a song called "Revolution Summer." Plus one old-school D.C. scene point! The band's music is catchy and a bit ragged, the way most music should be. But what caught our eye about OCDC's show at the Red & the Black tonight is that it's an album release show, but not just any album release show. There will be no vinyl. There will be no CDs. Instead, the songs will be available on 256-MB flash drives. Pretty cool! You get the songs, relevant Internet links, liner notes and then you can re-use the drive for, y'know, whatever people use flash drives for. Plus one innovation point. The Main Drag (listen), Friendly Foes (listen) and Prussia (listen) also play.

Saturday, April 11
D.C. keeps developing intriguing young female soul stars, and the world outside the Beltway is finally taking notice. For every Wayna, Deborah Bond and Muhsinah already out there, an up-and-comer is pressing up indie releases, getting blog buzz and tastemaking radio show spins while cultivating a home following with a consistent live show grind. Alison Carney is one of those working her way up the ladder, and she's often seen rocking with drummer/producer Jon Laine and vocalist Bilal Salaam. You can catch her at Posh tonight with Laine and a band. It's a supper club-style situation with a $20 drink minimum, so make it a dinner-and-a-show date night.

When scratch nerds grow up, they can turn into rock stars. After years of perfecting turntable routines and traveling for battles where the prizes are little more than pride, some of the waning turntablism age's biggest talents are sneaking into the pop arena through the nightclub's back door. DJ Craze, for example, combined his background in drum 'n' bass circuit and Miami bass to become the popular anything-goes party DJ he is now. Nine years ago, DJ Craze teamed up with Klever, an Atlanta DJ with a dirty south style. Now the two of them slice and quick-mix everything from grimy electro to hard rock with blinding precision. Catch the southern scratch duo rocking together on four decks supported by Stereo Faith and Jerome Baker III at the Rock and Roll Hotel tonight.

Bajofondo's (listen) appearance at the 9:30 club provides you with a perfect opportunity to get in touch with some global sounds. The South American collective -- members of the octet hail from Argentina and Uruguay -- manages to combine Latin rhythms, tango and all varieties of chilled-out electronic music. Founder Gustavo Santaolalla helped popularize rock-and-roll in Argentina nearly four decades ago. His muse has certainly shifted, and that's the case within Bajofondo itself. The tango-meets-electronic thing is certainly a calling card, but you'll hear plenty more than that and it will be silky smooth.

Tuesday, April 14
So, tax day is tomorrow. At least one of us hasn't even started yet. If you've finished your 1040 -- or you're looking for a sweet reason to procrastinate just a bit longer -- check out the Museum of the American Cocktail's "Non-taxing and Slightly Evasive Cocktail Seminar" at Darlington House, where you'll learn how American history, money and cocktails are intertwined, from the Whiskey Rebellion to Prohibition and beyond. Along the way, you'll try tasty drinks like the Rum Runner, the Income Tax Cocktail and the Three Mile Limit. Phil Greene of the Museum of the American Cocktail, Derek Brown of D.C.'s Craft Bartenders Guild and author and historian Garrett Peck are the hosts for the evening. Tickets are $40 in advance from the Museum's Web site and $45 at the door.

We've already gone on about how Friday night at Comet is going to be a funky and sweaty affair, but Tuesday should come close to matching it. That's when Extra Golden (listen) -- the best D.C./Nairobi collaboration in the world -- brings its African pop/psych rock fusion to town. Extra Golden's show last summer at the Black Cat's backstage was a real winner: the band's three guitarists created a muscular sound, but you could still pick out the subtleties in each of their parts. Now not to start any false, never-gonna-happen rumors, but you know what junior senator and fan helped Extra Golden members get visas for a 2006 tour? Yeah, the guy who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania. No prez sightings will be necessary to make this show worth attending, though. The surprisingly prolific band's new album, "Thank You Very Quickly," raises the funk quotient while adding pop flavor with extra vocals.

--Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz

By Fritz Hahn  | April 7, 2009; 6:47 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music  
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hmmm, nice Sasha and Digweed reference (I think)...

Posted by: Tweaked | April 10, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

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