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Posted at 9:35 PM ET, 09/15/2009

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

John Forte's shown a new maturity since spending seven years in prison for drug trafficking. (Fiona Aboud)

Local artists rule the scene this week, whether we're talking about hip-hop showcases, album release parties, free concerts or DJ duos with new videos. Our picks include the return of the popular Uncle Q's Living Room hip-hop night, a no-cover performance by Baltimore's Dan Deacon, a rare show by John Forte or a night starring English drum 'n' bass pioneer Andy C.

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday

Wednesday, Sept. 16
When DJs Gavin Holland (of DC9's Nouveau Riche) and Chris Burns (Rock & Roll Hotel's Disco City) got together for a jock-jammin' night called Party Bros at Selam a few years ago, they probably didn't expect it to morph into an actual creative outlet with a synth-driven, Daft Punk-esque single called "OooBayBay" and an accompanying video that stars "Free Money" infomercial icon Matt Lesko, a sweet Corvette Stingray, a phlanx of D.C. DJs and friends in swimsuits and a fridge full of PBR. Burns and Holland -- a.k.a. the Party Bros -- hosted a release party for the video at Wonderland last week, and they're teaming up tonight at the weekly Local Wednesday at Local 16. Watch the video below, then get ready to party from 6 to 10.

It's D.C. Fashion Week, so we're seeing an increase in fashion-related events around town. (Not that we'd know much about fashion, of course.) Fashion Fights Poverty, the organization that encourages fair trade, micro-loans and sustainability as ways to end global poverty, is hosting a fundraiser at Georgetown's tony L2 tonight with former Miss D.C. Kate Michael. The event marks the release of the Dress Responsibly Lookbook, which shows clothes and accessories from progressive-minded designers, and the first 50 people to donate $20 at the door walk away with the book. Really, though, this is a chance to dress up, hang out at a members-only lounge and give money to charity. Nothing wrong with that. Doors open at 7.

If you like drum 'n' bass music, you owe it to yourself to see Andy C (listen), the veteran English DJ who has been a staple of the scene since the early '90s, when "Valley of the Shadows" -- released under the pseudonym Origin Unknown with Ant Miles -- became a staple of clubs and pirate radio. These days, Andy C's best known for his "Nightlife" mix CDs, running the Ram Records label and for his endless live performances, which scored him a position of #28 in DJ Magazine's annual list of the world's top 100 DJs. Andy C's on the decks at Ibiza, where the heavy bass system should do justice to the beats, with MCs Sharpness and Armanni as his hype men. Four local DJs will be participating in battles -- Deinfamous goes head-to-head against Illeffect while Don Vega takes on Jungle Jim -- and Serial, Frankie Bass, and MC High IQ are also on the bill for the 18-and-over show. Tickets are $15 in advance, or the last-minute crew can brave the lines and pay $20 at the door.

Drag Bingo turns two at Freddie's Beach Bar tonight, so the staff is celebrating with some extra special prizes, including a 2009 Holiday Barbie. (If you've been to Freddie's, you've seen owner Freddie Lutz's collection of boxed Barbies that adorns one wall.) Hosts Regina Jozet Adams and Ophelia Bottoms get the show underway at 8; karaoke follows at 10. There's no charge to play or sing.

Thursday, Sept. 17
During its quarter century together, Yo La Tengo has seen countless trends and buzz bands come and go. Meanwhile, the Hoboken, N.J., trio continues to follow its own path, playing songs that toe the line between accessible and experimental, with moments of gentle guitar bliss and piercing sonic freakouts. The band's latest album, called "Popular Songs" (with tongue firmly planted in cheek), probably won't become a Billboard hit, but it further cements the group's status as one of the most consistent bands of its time. And past times. And, in all likelihood, future times. Endless Boogie opens at the 9:30 club.

A few years ago, Uncle Q's Living Room was a weekly staple for hip-hop heads. You had two of the city's top DJs, Dredd and Harry Hotter, spinning jams from Sugar Hill Gang to Jay-Z, Salt N Pepa to Biggie, with a healthy dose of New Edition and Prince in the mix. You had Daryl "Uncle Q" Francis of Critically Acclaimed, working the cozy upstairs room at Bourbon like it was his own house party, greeting guests with a smile and a hug. Then the hosts went their separate ways. But now they've decided to reunite for another weekly party, and we couldn't be more excited to see if they can recapture the old magic. Our bet is on "Yes." Save yourself $5 at the door by RSVPing to

As he made his way as a hip-hop artist in the early '90s, John Forte (listen) kept good company, including Talib Kweli and Lauryn Hill, whose friendship led to Forte contributing material to the Fugees' 1995 classic "The Score" and landing a solo deal. His promising trajectory crashed when he caught a 14-year bid for drug trafficking and then improbably was pardoned seven years in by President George W. Bush. Forte's current material is tinged with redemption and maturity, with Brooklyn block raps sharing space with guitar ballads and adult contemporary songwriting. Forte will be sharing these songs in an all-acoustic show for this D.C. stop at Bohemian Caverns.

D.C. native Laz Alonso has taken an unusual road to Hollywood. After majoring in business at Howard, he became an investment banker at Merrill Lynch in New York but decided that the financial world was less interesting than scoring guest spots in music videos and hosting shows on BET. His big-screen career had an inauspicious beginning -- including an appearance in "Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood" -- but he's taken a step forward with roles in "Miracle at St. Anna," "Stomp the Yard," this year's money-maker "Fast & Furious" and James Cameron's upcoming sci-fi film "Avatar." Welcome Alonso back to D.C. when he hosts the weekly Pandora happy hour at the Park at 14th, with $5 cocktails from 5 to 8, followed by DJs spinning until 2. Pandora's line can be chaotic, so do yourself a favor and e-mail your name to by 5 p.m. to get VIP admission before 10.

Friday, Sept. 18
The big local music news of the last week is that Wale -- D.C.'s great hip-hop hope -- has been picked to be the opening act on Jay-Z's "Blueprint 3" tour. Of course, this means yet another delay for Wale's already long-overdue "Attention: Deficit" album, but we suppose more exposure for the local scene is a small price to pay. Wale's performing tonight at a warehouse in Northeast D.C. at a free show sponsored by Kia. (Dan Deacon's playing Saturday; more on that below.) After the concert, Wale's making a short trip up New York Avenue to Love, where he'll join Suitland native and Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant for a joint and sure-to-be-lavish birthday party. Neither is actually celebrating his big day -- Wale turned 25 last Friday, Durant hits 21 on the 29th -- but it's still a party, with an open bar from 10 to 11 and free admission until midnight when you grab a pass from Love's site. Also performing at this birthday party is Jeremih (listen), the Chicago R&B singer best known the ubiquitous "Birthday Sex" slowjam. How ... appropriate.

If D.C. still had reliable indie rock dance nights -- you know, the kind where you pogo around to guitar-driven indie rock, not get funky to the latest electro remixes -- then Jack Penate (listen) would probably have more fans around these parts. His 2007 debut, "Matinee," featured revved-up indie rockabilly influenced by Stray Cats and the Libertines -- "Second, Minute or Hour" and "Spit at Stars" are ecstatic three-minute rushes of jittery guitars that sound great coming out of club sound systems. (As a whole, the album was too much the same for repeated listens, but the singles held up.) New material has taken a completely different direction -- summer single "Tonight's Today" lopes instead of jumps, with a deep, dubby bassline and handclaps under the guitars, and the more recent "Pull My Heart Away" is a richly layered, stormy slow-burner. Making tonight's show at the Rock & Roll Hotel even more interesting is Miike Snow (listen), the Swedish trio whose smart, airy singles "Animal" and "Song for No One" suggest Animal Collective with a pop edge. (Top 40-friendly leanings shouldn't be surprising -- two of the members are better known as Bloodshy & Avant, the songwriting/production team which created Britney Spears' "Toxic" as well as songs for Madonna, Kelis and Jordin Sparks.) The Penate/Miike Snow tour has sold out a couple nights in New York this week -- it's heading back up to Maxwell's in Hoboken for another packed house tomorrow -- so you'd be advised to see this while the hype machine is in full force.

The Detroit Grand Pubahs (listen) draw from some the best parts of electro -- rubbery bass, Kraftwerk-esque synths and blips, crisp and snappy beats -- and add a whopping helping of fourth-grade humor. (Seriously, they make lots of "Uranus" jokes.) That's why they're so much fun. The Pubahs are at Gallery tonight for Loda, along with local Measax and Docindo. Admission is $5 before midnight.

Metropolitain is always a good place to take a date -- with champagne cocktails and a chic Euro-style atmosphere, how could it fail? -- but it's even better when you can hit Royal Jelly, a loungey night of house and international dance music from DJs Manulita and special guest Trevor Martin. The party starts at 10; half-price champagne cocktails are served from 9 to 11; entry is free.

The Black Cat is going funky tonight, with DJ Rekha (listen) of New York City's Basement Bhangra spinning bhangra, traditional percussive beats from South Asia, mixed with hip-hop and dancehall on the main level alongside DJ Dredd. Downstairs, K La Rock and Bryan Senyo mix up go-go, hip-hop and Baltimore Club to "getcha booty on the floor" on the backstage at their "Work the Walls" night.

One of the most unique CD release shows in recent memory will take place tonight at the Bethesda Writer's Center. Roofwalkers, an excellent local band, does mellow, deceptively catchy indie rock. Its performance will be a highlight of the first installment of StoryStereo, a new series curated by Chad Clark (Beauty Pill) and Matt Byars (the Caribbean) that teams local writers with local bands. In addition to Roofwalkers, local authors Suzanne Frischkorn and Neil Smith will read from their works. StoryStereo will continue on a monthly basis.

Saturday, Sept. 19
Baltimore electronic music madman Dan Deacon is no stranger to playing warehouses, but his Saturday performance will be a bit different than most previous shows. Instead of a quasi-legal, BYOB celebration in a questionable part of Charm City, this will be a corporate-sponsored event in D.C. where you can test-drive a Kia. It's all part of the car company's Soul Collective tour, which hits D.C. this weekend and features a free show from local rapper (and recent MTV VMAs house act) Wale on Friday and neo-psych favorites MGMT on Sunday. (You have to test-drive a car to get an invite to that one.) Deacon's interactive, high-energy show -- expect a dance competition -- and his hyperactive electro jams make him the highlight of the weekend.

Lots of good local action tonight, so make sure you get into something. Benjy Ferree headlines at Iota, and you know that will be awesome, but so will opening act Suns of Guns. They have no album, no single, no Internet presence, so the only way to hear their howling protopunk songs is to hear them in person. In between the two local acts will be New Jersey's the Black Hollies, who do throwback garage rock and add in touches of soul and bluesy licks to keep things from staying on the same note too long.

D.C.'s grassroots hip-hop soldiers wrap up a packed week of Bootleg Festival music, film and discussion events with a collection of shows that you can take in bar-crawl style, as they're all happening on one night within blocks of each other. Bomani "D-Mite" Armah, Lyriciss and Educated Consumers lead an army of rappers rocking for free at the Lincoln Theatre. You can then take your pick of lyrical showcases at Expo, Axum and Bohemian Caverns.

Casper Bangs is one of the more promising new entries on the local scene, playing dramatic rock meant to be heard in big spaces. Those flourishes should have some extra kick coming from the Black Cat's mainstage, as the band opens for Jesus and Mary Chain soundalikes Crocodiles and U.K. shock-rockers turned surprisingly good shoegazers the Horrors.

The Velvet Lounge continues its welcome trend of supplying quality entertainment on two levels with tonight's installment of Velodrome. Upstairs hosts a showcase by uber-hip local dance label Future Times, featuring performances from Protect-U and Steve Summers. Expect lots of keyboards and hard-hitting rhythmic delights. DJs Ed Dudes and Scott Bauer will keep things funky before, between and after the sets. Downstairs, the DJs of We Fought the Big One will man the decks, spinning the very best in obscure post-punk as they do every first Friday at Marx Cafe.

Sunday, Sept. 20
Even though Delirium Tremens is not currently on tap (please bring it back -- soon!) there's still no better way to end the weekend than with a relaxing evening at Galaxy Hut. Bonus points for good tunes, and that will be the case tonight as Boston's Hands and Knees bringz its bouncy, off-kilter indie-pop to Arlington's best bar. The band's latest album, "Et Tu, Fluffy?" is full of galloping romps that recall Scottish heroes of yesteryear, the Vaselines. As in, it sounds like things might be on the verge of falling apart at any moment, but the band successfully holds things together for three minutes at a time, and the result is an undeniably fun record.

-- Fritz Hahn, David Malitz and Rhome Anderson

By Fritz Hahn  | September 15, 2009; 9:35 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music  
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Been waiting a year to hear the pubbahs in DC. Good call GOG!

Posted by: davidfogel | September 16, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

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