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Posted at 10:02 PM ET, 08/11/2009

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

Local piano-pop trio Jukebox the Ghost performs at the Rock and Roll Hotel's weekend-long anniversary party. (Shervin Lainez)

Celebrate 10 years of D.C.'s busiest Britpop dance night and three years of the Rock and Roll Hotel, learn more about rum at two free tastings, explore a new H Street bar, watch "Anchorman" at a pool, get down to top-flight local DJs and join the Going Out Gurus for a rooftop birthday party.

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Monday

Wednesday, August 12
Matt Nordstrom (listen) is pretty well known as half of the top-notch local DJ duo Nadastrom -- if you said "Who?" seriously, stop sleeping -- but he's also got an amazing project going with D.C.'s Orlando Villegas (listen). Recording for the London-based Saved Records, they've released a couple of atmospheric techno bangers, including "Lucky Drawl" and "Spanglish" that work as well on your iPod as in a dark club. It's no wonder they've been getting played from Ibiza to L.A. Villegas and Nordstrom team up from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Steve's Bar Room for what should be an amazing mid-week throwdown.

Two Cow Garage -- the name may make you groan, but the band itself will make you want to drink cheap domestic beer and maybe take up smoking even though you know it will eventually kill you. This is country-infused punk done right -- chugging guitars, gravelly vocals and songs about being down and out and just trying to make it to the next day. So you can drink more beer, of course. The Columbus, Ohio, band plays in between a pair of rustic solo acts, Austin Lucas and Mike Hale at DC9.

Congrats: The week is more than half over. Celebrate at Eyebar's Sensual Wednesdays, where there's no cover, women drink free from 10 to 11, and copious drink specials include $2 shots and $3 beers. DJ Geometrix spins mash-ups and hip-hop on the main floor, while DJ Chris spins salsa and Latin hits upstairs.

Thursday, August 13
Want to be one of the Going Out Gurus? It turns out that where you grew up or went to college isn't as much of a predictor as the month of your birth. Four of the seven Gurus were born in August, including two of the authors of this column, so we've decided to turn our monthly happy hour into a group birthday party. In addition to the usual drinks and free food at Clarendon Ballroom, there'll be birthday treats from Georgetown Cupcake and sweet giveaways including a two-night stay in Rehoboth. Doors open at 6, the party goes until 8, and if you want to stick around to catch Dewey Beach favorites Burnt Sienna later in the evening, you'll skip the $8 cover charge.

The Black Cat's stage better be sturdy. It will get a good test in structural integrity tonight as it hosts a pair of bands -- each boasting a dozen members -- for what promises to be one of the sweatiest and horn-filled double bills of the summer. First up is sprawling local group Chopteeth, who blend the funkiest sounds from West Africa and America into a continuous groove indebted to Fela Kuti and James Brown. Headliners the Budos Band record for Daptone Records, the country's premier funk and soul label. The band's self-described brand of "Afro-soul" is equally retro and rousing; it combs the '60s and '70s for influences and cooks up tunes to get even the most stationary observer moving.

The Heineken Red Star Soul concert and CD series did its part to push first wave neo-soulers to larger audiences. Now it's standard to see other adult beverage brands trying to class up their image by putting marketing dollars behind non-mainstream musical acts. Red Star gave Raheem Devaughn some of his first corporate-budget-propelled exposure, and it paid off big. Critically favored emerging songbird Melanie Fiona (listen) is on the current Red Star tour, riding a wave of attention with the help of a huge co-sign from ?uestlove. The Roots drummer and Jimmy Fallon musical director liked her so much he did a free live remix version of her debut album (download). For tonight's stop at Ibiza, Fiona shares the stage with Ludacris and DJ Clark Kent.

We don't like to think about "human trafficking," a problem the U.N. describes as ranging from the smuggling of migrant workers to the kidnapping and exploitation of children who are sold into the sex trade. But it's real, and it happens across the U.S. as well as in the D.C. area. Next month is "Combating Human Trafficking Month," which will include demonstrations and walks around the country. Here in Washington, a nonprofit called Stop Modern Slavery is organizing a walk that begins at Meridian Hill Park on Sept. 26. It's holding a fundraiser at Lotus tonight with two high-powered teams of DJs: Steve and Nacey from Nouveau Riche (listen), and Fabiana, Ca$$idy and Austin of the Rock and Roll Hotel's Garutachi night (listen). Stop by between 6 and 8 for happy hour; a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Stop Modern Slavery.

Friday, August 14
The Rock and Roll Hotel, the centerpiece of the recent H Street revival/gentrification, is going all out to celebrate its third birthday, with a whopping five events over Friday and Saturday nights. The main event is Friday night's show, which has many kinds of pop: piano-pop from Jukebox the Ghost, power pop from Title Tracks, playful pop from Bellman Barker and prog-pop courtesy of Tereu Tereu. Saturday is all about variety: there's an early show featuring glammy locals Death By Sexy and Atlanta garage-psych band Gringo Star; Garatuchi's free indie-dance DJ night upstairs; and the gay-friendly, electro-heavy Mixtape + Taint late show.

Forget flavored vodkas, high-end tequilas and artisanal gin: Rum is set to be the next big spirit craze, say the people who know about such things. Proof? The coolest lounge in Las Vegas is the Mirage's Rhumbar, which has 65 different versions. Philadelphia has two: a cool downtown Rum Bar with 140 rums, and Cuba Libre, a bar/restaurant/nightclub that's opening a D.C. branch in Penn Quarter next spring. In the meantime, you can get ahead of the curve this weekend at Cafe Atlantico, which is offering a "Rum Weekend" full of tasting flights and $75 dinners. The fun begins, though, with a Friday happy hour that features representatives from Pyrat, Mount Gay, Appletons, Flor de Cana and Neisson dispensing free samples of their high-end rums and answering any questions you may have. It starts at 4. Arrive on the early side, because we have a feeling this is going to be a zoo.

The world knows King Britt (listen). He began his career with Digable Planets and still drops a hip-hop record from time to time, but it was his partnership with Josh Wink that launched him into the house and techno stratosphere. He's remixed everyone from platinum-selling Grammy winners to hidden underground artists. He graces DJ booths on multiple continents, continues to push new talents to the forefront, and he's one of Philadelphia's most successful musical exports. The world doesn't know Sam Burns as well, but DJs do. So do any dancers who've lost themselves in a four-to-the-floor beat in D.C. over the past few decades. Tonight, Loda is basically the equivalent of a tag-team match, with one team made of two champions in different weight classes. King Britt and Sam Burns combine forces for one special night as Loda takes temporary residence at Muse Lounge.

Have you heard about Little Miss Whiskey's Golden Dollar yet? Don't worry if you haven't -- the brand new two-story bar at 11th and H streets NE is from the team behind Jimmy Valentine's Lonely Hearts Club, and they like to keep things low-key. That means no sign outside, no Web site, no big ads. Jimmy V's is the kind of place where you'll find hipsters mingling with dubstep heads and dressed-down neighborhood residents having drinks with tattooed club kids, and we expect Miss Whiskey's to keep a similar vibe. Here's an excuse to check it out tonight: Woman 7, a DJ night starring Jackie O (of Kids and Sweatshop), Decibelle (of Fives) and Smudge (a regular at Jimmy Valentine's and Cafe Japone). There's no cover all night; the hip-hop, house and electro beats run from 10 to 3.

As summer draws to a close, many good things must come to an end: pool parties, outdoor movies and concerts, the D.C. government's ART Unplugged series. The latter was an eight-week series that put local performers, from hip-hop star Tabi Bonney to the Beat Ya Feet Kings dance crew, in unconventional venues all over town. Tonight's finale brings neo-soul stalwart Wes Felton (listen) and a live band to Helix Lounge, which is better known as a place for mod martinis than a hotbed of live music -- but that's the point. Felton takes the stage at 6; as with all performances in the series, it's free.

Saturday, Aug. 15
Local label Future Times always delivers the goods at its parties, and tonight's free bash at Comet Ping Pong promises to be another winner. Hieroglyphic Being (aka Jamal Moss) is a minor legend in the Chicago techno/house scene as both a promoter and performer. His space-age house music has a decidedly futuristic bent, so he's an especially fitting choice for this show. Also on the bill are Steve Summers, who will present a live set of acid house with the help of lots of samplers and synths, and Future Times flagship DJs Beautiful Swimmers, spinners of all things freaky and funky, just back from a two-week tour of Europe.

Waaaay back in the year 2000, the Mousetrap became the first-ever DJ night to become a monthly fixture on the Black Cat's schedule. That doesn't sound like a big deal now, when every rock club worth its salt has a couple of DJs getting the kids dancing on the weekends, but it was an eye-opening move in the days when indie rock clubs were for bands and dance music was relegated to huge nightclubs that no self-respecting T-shirt-and-Adidas-wearing Blur fan would visit. But at the Black Cat, DJ Mark Zimin's mix of Pulp, the Smiths, Belle and Sebastian and the Stone Roses drew hundreds, and the next thing you knew, indie rock DJs were taking up residence everywhere. Zimin's formula hasn't changed since he began his night at the now-defunct Metro Cafe in the late '90s: Give the Anglophiles and rock fans what they want to dance to. Don't bother with too many fancy remixes. And try to make sure "Common People" finds its way into the set for a big singalong. Mousetrap celebrates its first decade tonight on the Black Cat's mainstage, and it should be as much of an all-ages party as ever.

In its golden age, lots of hip-hop drew from a standardized universe of sample sources, but DJ and producer Prince Paul wanted to sample Steely Dan and the Turtles instead of James Brown. His crate-digging sense led to a creative breakthrough as the prime sonic architect of De La Soul's "3 Feet High and Rising." From the recording of the first hip-hopera ("A Prince Among Thieves") to his collaborations with Dan the Automator, the method to Prince Paul's madness always bore fingerprints of a DJ flipping the odd bits in his vinyl collection into new contexts. As tonight's guest at DC9 for Moneytown -- one of D.C.'s popular rare groove dance parties -- Prince Paul gets free rein to get back into full DJ mode.

Sunday, August 16
You'll be forgiven for not being able to keep track of all the latest and greatest on the burgeoning lo-fi indie rock scene. But Woods, playing at DC9, is one band to pay attention to. It has an appealingly laid-back sound that's equally jangly and jammy. While the pinched, squeaky vocals may be a turnoff to some, they fit in with the subdued tunes, floating innocuously on top. Throw in a few fuzzy guitar solos, and you have something that's just the right amount of ramshackle, weird and catchy.

Screen on the Green may be over, but we're actually more excited about Spike'd Cinema at the Capitol Skyline Hotel. No offense to Screen on the Green's many fans, but rushing out of work to stake out a patch of grass on the Mall is nowhere near as fun as spending a day at the pool, chowing on a fresh-off-the-grill burger, sipping sangria and then watching the film from the comfort of a deck chair or inflatable raft. (And besides, the Mall doesn't allow alcohol or grilling.) Spike'd Cinema, hosted by restaurateur/former "Top Chef" Spike Mendelsohn, kicks off this week with a screening of "Anchorman." Films start at dusk, or roughly 8:15, but doors open at noon so you can make a day out of it. Arrive before 4 and your $10 cover includes a veggie or beef burger with all the fixins, and all drinks are $5 or less.

Monday, August 17
When Fritz was in the Dominican Republic a few years ago, he drank a lot of Ti Punch. It's one of the most beautiful and simple drinks around. Take French rhum agricole, which is young rum aged in charred barrels, like bourbon, then add sugar cane syrup and chunks of fresh lime for a bit of bite. That's all it takes to craft one of the most refreshing drinks you'll taste on a hot day. (Check out a recipe here.) The key thing, though, is to make sure you have the right rum. Ed Hamilton, who runs the popular Ministry of Rum Web site, is in town this weekend for $75-per-person rum dinners at Cafe Atlantico on Sunday, but he's sticking around on Monday to lead a tasting of Martinique's favorite rum drink on the patio at Room 11 from 5:30 to 7:30.

-- Fritz Hahn, David Malitz and Rhome Anderson

By Fritz Hahn  | August 11, 2009; 10:02 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music  
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So stoked for King Britt and Sam. LODA continues to provide the city with Win.

Posted by: davidfogel | August 13, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

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