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Posted at 6:16 PM ET, 05/ 5/2009

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

We defy you not to dance to the infectious funk and soul of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. (Lois Raimondo/The Washington Post)

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings perform for two nights at the 9:30 club, Wisconsin's favorite foods (and beer) come to U Street, local hip-hop artists and West African MCs make up a triple threat at Asylum, Japanese psych-rock heroes Ghost visit D.C. for the first time in seven years and the Finnish embassy takes a page from the House of Sweden's book with a late-night exhibition and DJ party.

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Monday

Wednesday, May 6
For whatever reason, date auctions and charity go hand-in-hand. Tonight, head to Midtown for a night of drink specials and singles benefitting Put Your Best Foot Forward, an organization that offers job training and professional attire to low-income men and women in Alexandria and Arlington. Nine women and 11 men have put themselves up for sale -- complete with dinner and date packages -- to raise money. (Take a look at the auctionees here.) There's a $5 donation at the door, which gets you $3 beers, $5 rail drinks and $5 glasses of wine all night. Bring gently used business casual clothing for donation, and you'll receive a raffle ticket for every two items. The fun gets underway at 6 and wraps up by 10.

Wisconsin comes to U Street tonight when Leinenkugel hosts a party at Local 16 to celebrate the arrival of spring. From 6 to 9, get free Wisconsin bratwursts, free Wisconsin cheese and free tastes of Leinie's newest beer, Leinenkugel Amber. (Man, if this is what spring in the Badger State is like, we can't wait to visit.) A suggested donation of $10 benefits D.C. Greenworks, a nonprofit that champions eco-friendly roofs. E-mail to get on the RSVP list, and mention Local 16.

Thursday, May 7
The Rosetta Stoned collective is one of the most active crews on the local scene, and its events provide space for emerging MCs to rip microphones. Their Cake & Kisses show at Asylum tonight features a combination of the true school, the new school and free cake. The Package (listen) has long filled area heads' nutritional requirements of raw raps over rugged beats, in various formations dating back to Infinite Loop in the '90s. X.O. (listen) is the product of the later wave of U Street MCs who cut their teeth on countless freestyle sessions, is currently enjoying a huge international buzz courtesy of his Diamond District project, which also features Oddisee and yU. Senegalese duo Wagëblë will be making this gig a stop on its current U.S. tour, showcasing the community based and politically aware styles that have long been bubbling in West African hip-hop. Any one of these artists would be worth heading down to Adams Morgan for. To have all three on the same bill is rhe icing on the (free) cake.

Friday, May 8
Washington is the funkiest (and luckiest) town in America for the next two days, thanks to a pair of 9:30 club appearances by the amazing Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (listen). Last fall, David wrote a blog post from the Virgin Festival called "Please Explain to Me ... Why Sharon Jones Isn't a Huge Star," which pretty much sums it up. When Jones, who turned 53 on May 4, steps on stage, it's like she wandered through a rip in the space-time continuum from Memphis' Stax Studios in 1967. She is a dynamo of the first order, dancing her butt off while roaring and cooing her way through new songs that could have been part of the James Brown/Otis Redding songbook, backed by the relentlessly funky and punchy eight-piece Dap-Kings. You don't have to own any of her three albums to enjoy her live show; you'll just be busy shaking your tailfeathers. We dare you to stand still. Jones headlines on Friday; note that Saturday's show is an early one (doors at 6:30) to accommodate a show by English grime MC Lady Sovereign.

You'd imagine by now that the other Scandinavian countries are getting a little jealous of the House of Sweden. A steady stream of achingly hip late-night parties, cutting-edge exhibits and concerts by vaunted Swedish musicians has made the embassy -- a k a Stockholm-on-the-Potomac -- into one of the coolest venues in town. Well, now the Finns are fighting back. Earlier this year, the Finnish government invited 12 Washingtonians, including jazz musician and educator Davey Yarborough, video artist Ayodamola Okunseinde and Restaurant Nora owner Nora Pouillon, to come to Helsinki, and paired them with host organizations. The 12 then documented their experiences in a new exhibit called "My Helsinki" at the Finnish Embassy, which runs through the end of the month. Check out the results tonight at a happy hour and party with food, drinks and a set by DJ Adrian Loving, which runs from 7 to 10. Send a note to to get on the list.

Saturday, May 9
If you've never been up to Baltimore for Taxlo at Sonar, you're missing the area's best dance party since, well, Buzz. Two weeks ago, Simian Mobile Disco headlined Taxlo's seventh anniversary party, and MSTRKRFT, Diplo and Treasure Fingers are among the guests who've graced the decks in recent months. But the anchors of Taxlo are founders/residents Cullen Stalin and Simon Phoenix, whose razor-sharp mix of electro/club/house keeps the kids dancing all night. They'll be giving D.C. a taste of the scene tonight at DC9 when the duo guests at the monthly Feedback party, alongside DJ Stereo Faith. (Tonight also features the debut from the Heat, a Baltimore Club-flavored collaboration between Stereo Faith and Baltimore DJ Johnny Blaze. As always, admission (and vodka-and-Red Bull drinks) are free before 10.

Two-and-a-half years ago, Be:Bar opened on 9th Street after winning a prolonged campaign waged by local ministers who didn't want a nightclub -- especially a gay one -- in their neighborhood. Be:Bar eventually won out, becoming one of the top stops on the city's gay party circuit, and expanding its reach with events like X, a night for gay-and-straight artists and DJs. But now Be:Bar has decided that it's time for a change, and is closing for a "reinvention" after tonight's Disco Last Dance closing party. Hosted by Cyoni Dharling of Philidelphia's Size Queen night and featuring DJ Carl Michaels, the Last Dance is aiming for a Studio 54 vibe, with the invite asking "Do you have what it takes to get past the Velvet Rope?" (If you do, there's an open bar from 10 to 11.)

Sunday, May 10
It's a rare treat at the Velvet Lounge tonight as Japanese psych rock veterans Ghost come to town. It's been seven years since the band last played in town, so that whole, "It's a Sunday night and I'm tired, they'll be back soon" argument won't fly this time. What makes Ghost stand out from its trippy brethren is the band's ability to cover the entire spectrum of heady sounds. If you like it heavy, Ghost will deliver full-on sonic overload. And the stinging solos of guitarist Michio Kurihara will always find their way to the forefront. But you won't just be bludgeoned, as Ghost also does the haunting psych-folk thing to perfection, as well. Songwriting is often the forgotten element of psychedelic music, but that's not the case with Ghost. The fact that the band excels in different styles is just the icing on the cake. Well maybe the icing on the cake is the fact that Magik Markers, punky, noisy, improv rabble rousers, favorites of Sonic Youth (not always a positive, but in this case it is) will be the opening act.

Reviewers toss around genres like "electro," "breaks," "trance" and "dubstep" to describe DJs -- yes, guilty as charged -- but after listening to Drop the Lime, it's pretty apparent that none of them will really pin down his style. The 28-year-old New Yorker has DJed bass-heavy tunes at grime and dubstep nights, released breakcore tunes filled with manically rushing beats and samples. But his recent singles and remixes -- including a stunning rework of Moby's "Alice" that's currently on his MySpace page -- throws all his experience into one heady brew, dropping wobbly, quivering bass over a thumping four-on-the-floor track with quivering bass frequencies, tossing in whizzing vocal samples and catchy synth stabs in all the right places. Drop the Lime -- real name Luca Venezia -- has a full summer ahead, including the release of a new album and a series of European festival dates. But first, he's got a U.S. tour opening for Fischerspooner, which drops by the 9:30 club tonight. Drop the Lime is performing as a full live band on this tour, but after the headliner's finish, he's running downstairs for a late-night DJ set in the 9:30's Backbar. Local DJs Micah Vellian and Will Eastman are on at 10 and 11, respectively, and then the Lime drops from midnight to close. There's a $5 cover.

Monday, May 11
So you didn't get tickets for Animal Collective's sold-out 9:30 club show. Bummer. But, unlike Ghost above, they'll be back soon, don't worry. It doesn't mean you're resigned to a music-free evening. Wye Oak (listen) is at the Black Cat's backstage and the Baltimore band has been a welcome breath of fresh air since they first appeared on our radar two years ago. In the fine Merge Records tradition of Butterglory, the Rosebuds, Guv'ner and more, the band is comprised of a couple, singer/guitarist Jenn Wasner and singer/drummer Andy Stack. But don't worry, it's not cute overload. It's pretty, though. The duo, somewhat surprisingly, manages to create an appealing wall of sound, but not one that obscures the melodies of the songs. It's a sort of shimmering shoegaze, and it's hypnotic in all the best ways.

--Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz

By Fritz Hahn  | May 5, 2009; 6:16 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music  
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On the Finnish Embassy item... was the RSVP e-mail address supposed to be It's listed as

Posted by: textdoc | May 6, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

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