Thursday, July 30
There are some people who don't start really thinking about the Redskins until the NFL season kicks off in September. And then there are the people who are already thinking about whom Jim Zorn should start in the first preseason game against the Ravens on Aug. 13. But you'll probably find all types at Public Bar on Thursday for the official debut of the 2009-2010 Redskins cheerleaders calendar. The cheerleaders will be there to show off their dance moves, participate in a fashion show and sign swimsuit photos of themselves. Won't it be nice to think about something Redskins-related without worrying about the state of the offense?
To get inspiration for their new series of limited-edition beers, the brewers at Indiana's award-winning Three Floyds Brewing Co. looked to America's top tattoo parlors. First was an English IPA named for San Francisco's Blackheart. Next up: a batch honoring Georgetown's own Jinx Proof. Greg Jasgur, the beer guy at Georgetown's Birreria Paradiso, calls the Jinx Proof Pils "a drinkable pilsner with a really nice hoppy character -- it's really bright and clean." Here's the irony: Three Floyds doesn't distribute its beers in the mid-Atlantic region. If you want a taste of Jinx Proof, you'll have to head to Birreria tonight for Thursday's release party, where there will be two kegs of the beer and special pizzas colored with squid ink. Pints of Jinx Proof are $5 all night.
Cass McCombs is a nice study in contrasts. His songs are mostly gorgeous little indie-folk ditties, but there's a woozy undercurrent to them that might leave listeners a bit disoriented, dizzy and reaching for the Dramamine. He has an inviting, innocent voice and he sometimes sings about love, like on his charming new single "Dreams Come True Girl." But other times he coos about killing lions and scrubbing toilets; his recent album "Catacombs" is filled with hypnotic dirges. With a full band backing him on this current tour, he should be at his entrancing best at Iota.
The personal connection Eric Roberson creates with his fans is a prime component of his success, along with his prolific output, energetic shows and classic soul songwriting. His new album, "Music Fan First" is dedicated to those who have supported his career; even the artwork is even composed of fan-submitted photography. Get an advance taste of the record and hang with Roberson at the Playlist listening party tonight on Ibiza's terrace. Roberson will be schmoozing, not performing, but you'll get a full set from vocalist Alison Carney (listen).
Already?! Sure, the Fort Reno concert series is ending a few weeks earlier than usual this year, so it's not the same "unofficial end of summer" that usually marks the season finale. But it does mean that we're officially into the dog days, which is kind of sad. You should still get out for the last show, though; it's a good one. Title Tracks will provide the crunchy power pop with hooks. Casper Bangs does things a little more dramatically -- David got a very Echo-and-the-Bunnymen vibe from this band at a Black Cat show a few months ago -- but in an equally catchy way. And Grendel Babies, we make our dreams come true. No, wait, that's Muppet Babies. Well, maybe Grendel Babies will do the same. Gotta get to Fort Reno to find out!
Friday, July 31
For the past year, Chris Burns' string of events at the Trinidad & Tobago Association have lined up house music's biggest names to beat the block with tunes until the wee hours. It's fitting that for the last party before the series takes a break, T&T will host Afterhours featuring Quentin Harris (listen), a product of New York's Shelter who has a hot hand for remixes. He's also the producer responsible for some of the biggest anthems of the past seven years; his 11-minute rework of Donnie's "Cloud 9" remains epic. Burns and Harris helm the main room, while Will Eastman, Nacey, Harry Hotter and James Nasty join forces to bump the basement.
Red Lounge hasn't been a regular venue for live music in a while, so we're curious to see how the downtown spot handles tonight's four-band bill. Hopefully everything goes smoothly, because the free show is a top-to-bottom winner. S PRCSS has been hating vowels and loving slashing guitar rock for a decade, and after a number of hiatuses, it seems no worse for the wear. At a recent Comet Ping Pong gig, the band upstaged headliners Enon, who were no slouches themselves. Buildings used to go by BLDGS, but that would have just been too many capitalized consonants for one show. The local quartet now goes with the more standard moniker, but it's keeping the trademark dashikis and spacey, sonically engaging sound. Hume sounds like one of those experimental bands that Animal Collective would get as an opening act, designed specifically to challenge its fans with odd sounds. And Foul Swoops is basically D.C.'s version of Times New Viking, which is about as high praise as David can dole out. Did we mention this show is free?
Saturday, Aug. 1
It's back! After a brief absence Run For Cover returns to the Black Cat. For the uninitiated, the evening consists of one-performance-only local supergroups that play cover songs. Hey, they're not trying to fool anybody with the name. This year's lineup includes Blonde on Blonde, The Fly-Bys, The Dee Cees, Guided By Vices, Five Imaginary Boys and Cherry Bombz. We'd guess that Blonde on Blonde is tackling Bob Dylan songs, but Fritz swears that's not the case. The Dee Cees sounds like a Dischord tribute act -- or is it a local twist on the Bee Gees? Guided By Vices is either Guided By Voices or multiple indie-rock interpretations of the "Miami Vice" theme song, Five Imaginary Boys has got to be the Cure, and Cherry Bombz could be the Runaways or Joan Jett or some combo. It's one of the most consistently fun nights out of the year, and it's for charity. Proceeds go to Fort Reno, and considering that its 2009 season will have been over for less than 24 hours at the time of this show, the series will be getting a tremendous head start on raising funds for 2010.
Besides Run For Cover, there are some big names in town on Saturday. Well, Paul McCartney is one of the biggest names in the history of rock music, and Tori Amos fans will spend hours convincing you that she is as well. But your sleeper show of the evening is over at the Rock and Roll Hotel with the Veils and Foreign Born. Headliners the Veils caught David's attention almost a year ago when the London/New Zealand quartet opened for Liam Finn at the Hotel. The band delivered a half hour of stirring, dramatic rock with a heavy '80s influence (in the non-synth category). It never sounded derivative; it was always passionate. Commanding attention, Finn Andrews proved to be the rare frontman you couldn't take your eyes off of and not because he was doing something ridiculous. Openers Foreign Born has a quirky and catchy enough take on Americana to be one of those bands that suddenly headlines the 9:30 club or Black Cat next time in town.
Sunday, Aug. 2 You're unlikely to see a more unique performance this month than when the Alash Ensemble, a group of Tuvan throat singers comes to Arlington. The quartet specializes in the sort of vocal gymnastics that you'd never hear on "American Idol" -- more like "Ancient Central Asian Idol." The singers each have the rare ability to hit multiple notes -- ranging from croaks to whistles -- at the same time, all while playing a variety of stringed instruments you will not find at Guitar Center. Expect to be slackjawed, mystified and awestruck at Iota.
-- Fritz Hahn, David Malitz and Rhome Anderson
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