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Posted at 9:55 PM ET, 08/ 4/2009

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

Erykah Badu joins D.C. go-go institution Chuck Brown at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Friday. (Marvin Joseph - The Washington Post)

Spend the weekend rocking out at Velvet Lounge, catch "the best hip-hop group of all time" (according to Rhome), celebrate Wonderland Ballroom's five-year anniversary with music and drink specials, hit a surfing-themed party to raise money for charity, bring your dog to happy hour and hear soul goddess Erykah Badu as she joins Godfather of Go-Go Chuck Brown.

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Tuesday

Wednesday, Aug. 5
We're kinda meh about Asher Roth around these parts, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Some of Roth's youngling peers are worth your attention, and few of them will be at the 9:30 club tonight before the keening co-eds rush the stage barrier for Roth. Of Kid Cudi, 88 Keys and B.o.B., the last seems most interesting: Dungeon Family revisited for the skinny-jeans set with admirable rap chops and the ability to craft pop records that aren't dumb. (Listen).

Whether you have a dog or wish you had a dog, the Washington Humane Society's monthly happy hours at the Park Hyatt are a good time. The $10 cover at the canine-friendly event, which includes tickets for two drinks, benefits the society, and the Mobile Adoption Unit shows off dogs from local shelters that are looking for new homes. (Bring your own dogs and they can play on the hotel grounds and enjoy free treats and water.) Doors open at 6 p.m.

Party for a cause tonight at Bridges in Fairfax, where the weekly Transit party is collecting money for the D.C. Rape Crisis Center. Drop a donation at the door at the door in lieu of a cover charge, then dance to DJs John C., Aligning Minds, ContrAversY + Frankie Bass and Sess spinning a mix of techno, house, electro and drum 'n' bass. The music starts at 8; get there a little earlier for free pool, $2 domestic beers, $2.50 rail drinks and half-price appetizers.

Thursday, Aug. 6
August has barely begun and we're already wondering where the summer went -- and whether we'll be able to get to get away to a sunny beach while it's still warm enough to enjoy it. Seems like the perfect time for a surfing-themed party, doesn't it? That's the plan at L2 Lounge's "Endless Summer" party, where swimsuits and flipflops are de rigeur, a surfing simulator will test your board skills, a contest will reward the best outfit and everyone enjoys drink specials. But what's even better, in our opinion, is that it's a fundraiser for Luke's Wings, a local charity that supports wounded soldiers at Walter Reed by paying for their families to fly to Washington and visit them. The first 150 people to donate $10 to Luke's Wings get in free; admission will be $15-$20 at the door, and all proceeds go to Luke's Wings.

DJ Wondermike and DJ 2-Tone Jones team up tonight for Body Rock, a hip-hop party at Napoleon. Jones is the traditionalist of the two, but he's also prone to pulling out all the album cuts you forgot about. Wondermike balances him out with electro and club excursions.

Friday, Aug. 7
The first Friday of the month means opening parties for art shows at D.C. galleries, and we have a soft spot for exhibitions at Hillyer Art Space, the cozy venue tucked behind the Phillips Collection. Going on display is "Six in the Mix," a group show curated by well-known local artist Renee Stout. Hillyer's receptions always draw a lively crowd, and this one features live music by Temple Hills jazz guitarist Deon "CleanCutt" Clark (listen) as well as the usual free drinks and snacks. A $5 donation is requested at the door; tips for beer and wine are always appreciated.

JT Donaldson is deep. That's the best way to describe the Brooklyn-based DJ/producer/record mogul, whose disco and jazz-tinged house music has found fans all over the globe. Pop over to his MySpace page and cue up the funky "Lagos Jumpin'" or the lively "Talking to the People," and the percussive groups will have you moving in your chair. He's spinning tonight at Gallery -- a club that's no relation to Donaldson's Gallery Music Group record label -- along with some of the residents of Baltimore's Moog night during the weekly Loda. Admission is $5 before midnight and $10 after.

Spend the weekend at the Velvet Lounge and you'll get a good taste of the local music scene. (Just remember to change clothes before going back to the office Monday.) Friday is an EP release show for the always-fashionable Ffffever, who play hip-shaking-yet-laid-back indie rock that's heavy on the reverb. Saturday marks the final performance for Len Bias, a quartet that favors ragged guitars, shifting rhythms and shouted vocals. Sunday's show features Screen Vinyl Image, certainly one of the city's loudest bands, who exist at the point where shoegaze, goth and electro intersect.

Saturday, Aug. 8
The summer outdoor concert season is drawing to a close, and you can bid it farewell in grand style at Merriweather this evening. Chuck Brown will exhort the faithful to wind him up, and his adoring public will eagerly oblige. Most of them won't know Foreign Exchange (listen), but the future soul outfit headed by Little Brother's Phonte and producer Nicolay makes a great first impression. The sophomore album "Leave It All Behind" was the best release of 2008 for hip-hop heads with wide reaching tastes, and the group's live show pulls everyone into the experience. Erykah Badu, Raphael Saadiq and Chrisette Michele round out the best collection of modern soul you'll see in one place for the rest of the year.

Jesse Tittsworth (listen) is a DJ meant for big things, whether that's playing in front of 40,000 people at an Australian festival, remixing Kanye West joints or headlining parties at the 9:30 club. So to hear that he's spinning at the comparatively tiny DC9's monthly Feedback party gives us pause -- and then we decided this will be one of the hottest, sweatiest, action-packed evenings in town. You'd be crazy to miss it -- especially with free admission and free Red Bull and vodka drinks before 10.

If there were ever a time to give your brain a break and give in to the biggest beats possible, it would be a hot and humid Saturday night in August. Fur is providing you with a chance to do just that as it hosts an evening of electronic music from MSTRKRFT and the Crystal Method. Do not expect any subtlety from either act. MSTRKRFT has become a favorite on the festival circuit for its massive, pulsing, pounding beats, where the bass reverberates in your bones. The Crystal Method was part of the '90s electronica takeover that never really materialized, but its single "Keep Hope Alive" was one of the genre's few breakout hits. Don't be surprised if Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland drop it into their DJ set.

Sunday, Aug. 9
Before Columbia Heights became a festival of chain stores and pricey eateries, the neighborhood's biggest destination was the Wonderland Ballroom, a two-level dive bar offering DJs, Delirium Tremens and one of the city's best jukeboxes. Over the years, Wonderland has been known for its marathon trivia nights, annual sundress parties and other odd events, but beyond that, it's the best bar in Columbia Heights. For its fifth-anniversary celebration, owner Matt McGovern says "we're taking it back to when we first opened," with $2 Yuengling beers all day (including the pleasant Lord Chesterfield Ale), live music, and happy hour prices from 5 to close. Stick around for the annual toast with the champagne of beers.

Mos Def's new album "The Ecstatic" is a creeper. It requires some investment, which runs counter to the instant-gratification ethos of today's hip-hop. The straight-ahead boom-bap kids are happy with it, and he takes enough risks to please those who wondered why some were so displeased with his last two records. He also takes risks in his shows, which can make them polarizing affairs. But if recent performances of "Casa Bey" and "Quiet Dog" are any indication, seeing him rock his new material live at the 9:30 club tonight should be a priority.

One man, many concepts. That's Joe Pernice. As the longtime mastermind behind the Pernice Brothers, he's stood out in the indie rock world for his literary lyrics and tasteful arrangements. His way with words isn't limited to songs, though. He recently penned a novel, "It Feels So Good When I Stop," which, somewhat predictably, has music as a theme. The book contains references to some fictional songs. Or rather, once-fictional songs. Pernice made those songs a reality, and they are included on an album that serves as an accompaniment to the book. On his current tour, he can promote them both, by playing the songs and reading from the book, which is exactly what he'll do at Iota.

Monday, Aug. 10
There are a handful of bands we feel obligated to write about every time they roll through town. Nomo is one of those bands. Why every time? Because even though you, our loyal readers, should know by now that you can't miss the Afrobeat/funk/psych/jazz/Krautrock, we don't want to be responsible if someone says, "My friend said he was at the sweatiest, funkiest, most incredible dance party of the summer -- why wasn't it in Nightlife Agenda?" So, just like the last four or five times the band came to D.C., we again implore you not to miss Nomo, this time at the very cozy DC9. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, Aug. 11
Name a better hip-hop group than De La Soul. Outkast? Only if they stay together five more years. Public Enemy? Uneven output after their classic albums. Same for Wu-Tang. A Tribe Called Quest and Gang Starr are both defunct. We'll save you the debate. De La is the best hip-hop group of all time. Their live show gets stronger, their lyrical styles continue to evolve and they've got hits. See them in a different light at the 9:30 club tonight with the Rhythm Roots All-Stars, an ensemble that has backed Rakim and Ghostface Killah.

-- Fritz Hahn, David Malitz and Rhome Anderson

By Fritz Hahn  | August 4, 2009; 9:55 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music  
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"The sophomore album "Leave It All Behind" was the best release of 2008 for hip-hop heads with wide reaching tastes"

See "Los Angeles" by Flying Lotus

"De La is the best hip-hop group of all time."

No way. Your first guess was right. Outkast takes that title.

Posted by: agl132 | August 5, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

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